With pre-filing of bills for next week’s special session of the Texas Legislature continuing at a rapid clip, we’ll soon be in the thick of battle in the state Capitol in Austin. Just today, for instance, we saw the filing of companion bills to take away your freedom to use your own paycheck as you please to pay your union or employee association dues via payroll deduction, at no cost to taxpayers. These ill-advised bills, identical to one that failed in the recent regular session, are HB 156 by Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) and SB 7 by Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola), measures of which we will have more to report as the special session unfolds. On the positive side of the ledger, we also saw today the filing of HB 151 by Rep. Lance Gooden (R-Terrell), which would devote a billion dollars from the state’s overflowing Rainy Day Fund to protect retired school employees from crushing cost increases for their TRS-Care health coverage.
Before our focus turns almost entirely to the special session, though, we also have grass-roots work to do to stop a destructive bill on health care in the U.S. Senate. The latest, unimproved version of this bad legislation, unveiled by Senate leaders on Thursday, would still take away health coverage from millions of Americans, make coverage more costly and less beneficial for millions more, and kill hard-won protections of affordable coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions. If enough of us speak out against this bad proposal, we can stop it. Here are two things you can do as this legislation heads to the Senate floor for what could be an extremely close vote as early as next week:
— Continue making calls to senators via this number–1-855-272-3909—and this website: https://www.aft.org/call-now.
— Continue sending letters to senators: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/healthcare.