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Weekly Action Digest: Week of February 27, 2017
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Week of February 27, 2017

Dear fellow Democrat,

My name is Michael, and I need your help. As the 2017 Texas legislative session begins, our elected officials are debating what programs to cut in the state’s budget. The state comptroller has announced a 2.7% decrease in available state funds from the previous session. At times like these, we hope that legislators will make deliberate decisions based on taxpayer input and comprehensive data supplied by our state agencies.

I am writing you today to let you know about House Bill 1336 (aka, “Transparency in Testing”), which has received bipartisan sponsorship in the legislature. This bill would require school districts to specify all expenses related to the administration of the STAAR tests on the yearly financial reports they already submit to the TEA. Many sources, including several state legislators, have stated that the standardized tests only cost $90 million per year. In reality, that accounts for little more than the state’s contract with ETS & Pearson to print and score the test, and to provide a few roaming consultants.

Recent estimates based on statewide financial data available on the TEA’s website have indicated a total price tag much closer to $13 billion per year. That is roughly ¼ the entire public education budget! This includes direct costs associated with administering the exams, such as teacher salaries and testing security. Imagine what else we could do with that money (like hiring tens of thousands more teachers and significantly reducing class sizes), if the public and legislature were given access to the true total cost of the tests.

Click here to view a copy of House Bill 1336 (aka, “Transparency in Testing”)

HB 1336 will soon be assigned to a House Committee. It is my sincere hope that you will help me build public support for this common sense bill. Together, we can ask our elected officials to support this legislation, so that they can have access to better information as they make decisions regarding the future of ALL Texas children.

As the original author of the bill, I thank you in advance for your help in this matter. If you have any questions regarding HB 1336, please do not hesitate to contact me.
 
Sincerely,
Michael Messer 
DFW Regional Organizer, Save Texas Schools
Founding President, Collin County Young Democrats
michaelmesser@live.com
LEGISLATIVE WATCH
As of 2/24/2017
Texas Legislature
(For assistance in reading state legislation, please refer to this guide.)
  • HB4/5/6 "CPS Reform Bill" (Various): PLACED ON EMERGENCY CALENDAR (HB4 & 5 ONLY)
  • HB363 "Coverage for Special Needs Students Bill" (Huberty R-127):  REFERRED TO PUBLIC EDUCATION
  • HB510 "Teachers Union Bill" (S. Davis R-134): REFERRED TO STATE AFFAIRS
  • HB1333 "Teaching Over Testing Bill" (Isaac R-45): FILED
  • HB1923 "First Amendment Defense Act" (Krause R-93): FILED
  • SB3 "School Voucher Bill" (Bettencourt R-7): REFERRED TO EDUCATION 
  • SB4 "Sanctuary City Bill" (Bettencourt R-7): RECEIVED FROM THE SENATE
  • SB6 "Bathroom Bill" (Kolkhorst R-18): REFERRED TO STATE AFFAIRS
  • SB8 "Anti-Abortion Bill" (Schwertner R-5): LEFT PENDING IN COMMITTEE
  • SB13 "Teachers Union Bill" (Huffman R-17): COMMITTEE REPORT PRINTED AND DISTRIBUTED
  • SB21 "Constitutional Convention Bill" (Birdwell R-22): PLACED ON INTENT CALENDAR
  • SB165 "LGBT Anti-Discrimination Bill" (Rodrigues D-125): REFERRED TO STATE AFFAIRS
  • SB258 "Anti-Abortion Bill" (Huffines R-16): LEFT PENDING IN COMMITTEE
  • SB415 "Anti-Abortion Bill" (Perry R-28): LEFT PENDING IN COMMITTEE
  • SB641 "HCDE Zero-Based Budget Bill" (Bettencourt R-7): REFERRED TO FINANCE
  • SB646 "HCDE No-Revenue Bill" (Bettencourt R-7): REFERRED TO EDUCATION
  • SB651 "Religious Liberty Bill" (Perry R-83): REFERRED TO BUSINESS & COMMERCE
  • SB884 "Astrodome Bill" (Whitmire D-15): FILED
United States Congress
  • HR610 "School Voucher and Nutrition Standards Bill" (King R-IA): REFERRED TO THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND THE WORKFORCE
  • HR621 "Disposal of Excess Federal Lands Act of 2017" (Chaffetz R-UT): REFERRED TO THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON FEDERAL LANDS
  • HR637 "Stopping EPA Overreach Act of 2017" (Palmer R-AL): REFERRED TO THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON WATER RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENT
  • HR804 "Protect the National Security Council From Political Interference Act of 2017" (Murphy D-FL): REFERRED TO HOUSE INTELLIGENCE (PERMANENT)
  • HR861 "Kill the EPA Bill" (Gaetz R-FL): REFERRED TO HOUSE SCIENCE, SPACE, AND TECHNOLOGY
  • HR899 "Kill the Dept. of Education Bill" (Massey R-KY): REFERRED TO THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND THE WORKFORCE
LOBBY DAYS
February 27, 2017TX BLACK WOMEN RISE UP ADVOCACY DAY
#TXBlackWomenRiseUp and meet The Afiya Center at the Texas Capitol to let your voice be heard about Women's Reproductive Rights! Join us for a rally with Guest Speaker Dr. Willie Parker along with other abortion rights and other Texas RJ leaders. After the rally participants will head to the Capitol for hill visits.
 

February 28, 2017HIV ADVOCACY DAY
Join Texas HIV/AIDS Coalition and Legacy Community Health for HIV Advocacy Day in Austin. Registration is free. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. For questions, please email James Lee at jlee@legacycommunityhealth.org.

February 28, 2017WE ARE ALL TEXAS: DAY OF ACTION FOR IMMIGRANT AND REFUGEE RIGHTS

March 6, 2017TRANS TEXAN LOBBY DAY 2017
Join other Transgender Texans, allies, family, and friends at the state capitol to share our personal stories with lawmakers in an effort to inform them how legislation effects us, our families, and those we love. Advanced registration is required. Lunch will be provided.

March 6, 2017HEALTH COVERAGE FOR ALL TEXANS: ADVOCACY DAY 2017
Join health care supporters from across the state on March 6th at 11:00 am at the Texas Capitol to protest these harmful cuts, and to visit legislative offices. We have to tell our elected leaders to:
  • Defend the progress we've made under the Affordable Care Act;
  • Protect Medicaid for low-income children, seniors, pregnant women, and Texans with disabilities; and
  • Insist on expanding health coverage to the uninsured

March 6, 2017SOCIAL WORK ADVOCACY DAY 2017
Advocate for our profession! All professional social workers and social work students are invited to join us at the Capitol or visit your local legislator's office to help promote the NASW/Texas Legislative Agenda.

March 6, 2017NCJW DAY ON THE HILL 2017
Workshops and training on advocacy to lobby our core issues – Reproductive Justice, Repeal Campus Carry, Reform Foster Care, Human Trafficking, Medicare Expansion, and Voting Rights.

March 7, 2017TEXAS ABORTION FUNDS ADVOCACY DAY 2017
It's time for the 85th Texas Legislative Session, and since this is Texas we know what that means: attacks on abortion access. But we also have pro-choice legislators who want to protect the right to an abortion. Join us as we talk to our friendly legislators about how they can do their best to support access and push back on stigma as they work their way through this legislative session.

March 8, 2017URGE TEXAS ADVOCACY DAY 2017

March 13, 2017HOUSTON GLBT POLITICAL CAUCUS’S HOUSTON GOES TO THE CAPITOL!
The Texas Legislature is in session now, and we have local elected officials that wish to pass discriminatory bills right here in the state of Texas. The Houston GLBT Political Caucus is willing to stand up and be a local voice in the movement for fully realized equality. On March 13 we are traveling to Austin to speak with our elected officials about stopping these discriminatory measures. All you need to bring is yourself! We’ll provide transportation from Houston to Austin and information on all the issues so you’re ready and able to ask your elected leaders to end discrimination against LGBTQ Texans, reject anti-immigrant policies that turn Texans against our neighbors, and flush the job-killing, anti-transgender SB 6 down the drain of history.

March 20, 2017ALL IN FOR EQUALITY ADVOCACY DAY (Urge state lawmakers to protect LGBT Texans from discrimination), sponsored by Equality TexasACLU of TexasHuman Rights CampaignTexas Freedom Network, and Transgender Education Network of Texas
Join us to have face-to-face conversations at the Texas Capitol about LGBTQ equality issues that matter most to you and your family. This is an opportunity for YOU to ask state leaders to pass inclusive policies that protect all Texans, including our children; and end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

March 21, 2017LATINO DAY OF ACTION
More details to follow

March 27, 2017TEXAS CAMPAIGN FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

March 29, 2017TRTA DAY AT THE CAPITOL
TRTA Day at the Capitol is set for Wednesday, March 29, 2017 on the heels of the 64th Annual TRTA Convention. Day at the Capitol raises awareness on Texas public education retirees’ most important issues and encourages immediate legislative action to address them.

April 4, 2017REALTOR DAY AT THE TEXAS CAPITAL

April 5, 2017PLANNED PARENTHOOD TEXAS LOBBY DAY 2017
On Wednesday, April 5, you’re invited to join hundreds of the loudest, proudest and pinkest reproductive rights advocates in the state as we come together to demand that Texas women and families be heard. Together, we will educate legislators on reproductive health care issues and share personal stories of Texas women and families who depend on and support the vital health care services Planned Parenthood provides. You’ll also have the chance to meet other activists and supporters who believe in Planned Parenthood’s mission and hear from women’s health champions. Don’t miss out!

April 10, 2017BLUE RIBBON LOBBY DAY, hosted by Texas Democratic Women
A day when women from all over Texas come to the capital to lobby for issues of importance to progressive women.
RESOURCES
Click to access the following documents:
OUTREACH ACTIVITIES AND EVENTS
WEBINAR: TexasVAN: Using MyCampaign
Tuesday, February 28, 2017 at 5:30 PM
You'll learn how to use MyCampaign to help track all volunteer-related activities.
Click HERE to RSVP to this event.

 
OUR REVOLUTION TX SD11 SOCIAL
Our Revolution TX SD11 Social will be held Thursday, March 2, 2017 from 6:00pm-8:30pm at the restaurant in Bass Pro Shops (1000 Bass Pro Dr, Houston, TX 77047). The purpose of this event is to allow people to meet fellow revolutionaries and to help identify candidates for our local structure.
ADD TO CALENDAR >> iCalendar  •  Google Calendar  •  Outlook

PEARLAND PANTSUIT REPUBLIC MEETING
The Pearland Pantsuit Republic group will meet at Los Cucos Restaurant on Monday, February 27, 2017 at 11:30 a.m.
ADD TO CALENDAR >> iCalendar  •  Google Calendar  •  Outlook
 
PEARLAND PANTSUIT REPUBLIC ACTION MEETING
The Pearland Pantsuit Republic group will meet at 3403 Wellsbrook Ct, Pearland, TX 77584 on Sunday, March 5, 2017 from 7:00-9:00pm. 
ADD TO CALENDAR >> iCalendar  •  Google Calendar  •  Outlook 

GREG ABBOTT, THE PEOPLE'S STATE OF THE STATE PROTEST
Governor Greg Abbott will be giving his State of the State address at the Hilton Americas-Houston (1600 Lamar St, Houston, Texas 77010) on March 24, 2017. A group will gather outside the hotel at 11:00am to protest. 

ADD TO CALENDAR >> iCalendar  •  Google Calendar  •  Outlook 

BRAZORIA COUNTY MISSION 22 HIKE
Brazoria County Mission 22 is hosting the 2nd Veteran Suicide Awareness Hike on March 25, 2017 from 8am-12pm at the Lake Jackson Civic Center Plaza. There will be Veteran Resource Booths, Vendor Booths and a Silent Auction. The hike is a family-friendly event, and everyone is welcome! VOLUNTEERS NEEDED, especially VDRs, to supervise the booth, interact with hikers, and speak about causes in the county. E-mail Terri Martin for more details.
ADD TO CALENDAR >> iCalendar  •  Google Calendar  •  Outlook
 
PEARLAND CANDIDATE FORUM
There will be a candidate forum for Pearland Mayor and City Council candidates on March 30, 2017 at 7:00pm at Shadow Creek High School. Monica Morgan is coordinating voter registration at this event and is in need of additional volunteer VDRs. Please contact Monica directly at monicamorgan1@live.com or 832-816-8175.
ADD TO CALENDAR >> iCalendar  •  Google Calendar  •  Outlook
 
2nd ANNUAL SHADOW CREEK RANCH CLEAN AND GREEN 2017
The Pearland Democrats Club will sponsor a booth for voter registration at this event, which will be held on April 1, 2017 from 7:30am to 10:30am. It is a family event with an emphasis of teaching children to keep their community clean and recycle. We will need volunteer voter registrars to attend, and we welcome any volunteers and kids to participate in the community clean-up or bring your recycling. We need to get commitments from people early: the West Pearland Republican women will also have a booth there, and since this is one of our Democratic strong hold communities, we need to show up in strong numbers! Please contact Monica Morgan if you can volunteer.
ADD TO CALENDAR >> iCalendar  •  Google Calendar  •  Outlook
 
TRIP TO WASHINGTON, D.C.
The Texas Coalition of Black Democrats will be taking a trip to Washington, D.C. in Summer 2017. Please contact F.J. Jones if you are interested in attending.
 
2017 VETERANS WALK (PEARLAND)
Volunteers needed in a variety of capacities for the 2017 Veterans Walk in Pearland, TX. Please contact James Grable (USN '78-'84) at 832-618-3202.
 
2018 MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. PARADE
Volunteers needed in a variety of capacities for the 2018 MLK, Jr. Parade in Pearland. Please contact Robert Williams if you are interested.
SAVE THE DATE
April 15, 2017 - Tax Day March
April 22, 2017 - March for Science
April 29, 2017 - People's Climate March
CLUBS AND GRASSROOTS ORGANIZATIONS
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
NEXT MEETING
Thursday, March 16, 2017 - 7:00pm
Location: TBD


 
ADD TO CALENDAR
iCalendar  •  Google Calendar  •  Outlook 
NORTH BRAZORIA DEMOCRATS
NEXT MEETING
Saturday, March 18, 2017 - 9:00am
Busy Bee Cafe
4009 Broadway St.
Pearland, TX 77581
ADD TO CALENDAR
iCalendar  •  Google Calendar  •  Outlook 
SOUTH BRAZORIA DEMOCRATS
NEXT MEETING
Saturday, March 25, 2017 - 10:00am
I.U.O.E. Local 564
2120 Brazosport Blvd N
Richwood, TX 77531
ADD TO CALENDAR
iCalendar  •  Google Calendar  •  Outlook
PEARLAND DEMOCRATS
NEXT MEETING
Thursday, March 9, 2017 - 7:00pm
Los Cucos Restaurant
8126 W Broadway St
Pearland, TX 77581
ADD TO CALENDAR
iCalendar  •  Google Calendar  •  Outlook 
PROGRESSIVE WOMEN VOICES
NEXT MEETING
Monday, March 13, 2017 - 6:30pm
La Madeleine Cafe #1600
11200 W. Broadway
Pearland, TX 77584
ADD TO CALENDAR
iCalendar  •  Google Calendar  •  Outlook 
TX COALITION OF BLACK DEMS
NEXT MEETING
Monday, March 6, 2017 - 7:00pm
Comfort Suites Inn
2806 Miller Ranch Rd.
Pearland, TX 77584
ADD TO CALENDAR
iCalendar  •  Google Calendar  •  Outlook
BRAZORIA COUNTY PROGRESSIVES
PANTSUIT REPUBLIC
INDIVISIBLE
OUR REVOLUTION
DEEDS NOT WORDS
GREATER HOUSTON DEMOCRATS
PREPARING FOR ACTION
ACTION LIST FOR DEMOCRATS, INDEPENDENTS, AND REPUBLICANS OF CONSCIENCE
DONATE
VOLUNTEER
FIND YOUR PRECINCT CHAIR
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