Update on Sandra Bland Act / Officer Who Shot Jordan Edwards Indicted For Murder / GOP Healthcare Bill Barely Passes

Update On The Sandra Bland Act
On Tuesday, Senate Bill 1849—which is the  Senate companion to my House Bill 2702 known as the Sandra Bland Act—was voted out of the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice. Thank you to the Chairman of that committee, Senator Whitmire, for carrying the bill and working hard to get it voted out of committee. Click here to read more.

Officer Who Shot Jordan Edwards Indicted For Murder

On Thursday, I joined my fellow members of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus to bring attention to the death of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards, who was shot and killed when an officer opened fire on the car he was in while leaving a house party.  It was originally stated the car was backing towards officers before the shooting, but the story proved false, because the officers were equipped with body cameras. The officer was terminated, and as of Friday morning, he has been indicted for murder.

I commend the Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber for handling the situation the way he did.  We need to make sure we are in support of both good policing and protecting the public. This incident was not only a tragedy, but shows there is additional training that needs to be done.  The Sandra Bland Act that I filed will address some of these issues and prevent future tragedies.

After Failing Multiple Times, U.S. House G.O.P. Healthcare Bill Passes

The U.S. House voted yesterday on the G.O.P. bill to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA). After failing multiple times to garner enough votes to repeal and replace the ACA—which has given 20 million Americans access to affordable, accessible health insurance—the U.S. House G.O.P. passed their bill.

The G.O.P. bill—known as the American Health Care Act—has changed considerably since it was first introduced, but the bill that passed yesterday is even worse for Americans than the original one. The revised bill still includes the harmful provisions that were in the original legislation introduced in March. Those provisions would:
  • Leave 24 million Americans uninsured
  • Increase the cost of insurance for millions of Americans
  • Cut Medicaid funding and protections for Texas children, pregnant women, seniors, and people with disabilities
A new amendment to the bill would also allow states to strip requirements for insurance companies to cover essential health benefits such as maternity care, prescription drugs, and mental health care

The U.S. House G.O.P. insisted on voting without waiting for a new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of the changes so we can’t be sure of the repercussions this plan will have. It is problematic as it won’t protect people from being charged higher premiums based on pre-existing conditions as the ACA does. Without that part of the ACA, insurance companies could go back to charging exorbitant premiums to people with pre-existing conditions.

Major health groups like the American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association are strongly opposed to the measure, warning of coverage losses and other problems.

Our fight is far from over. This bill passed the House by only four votes and still has to go to the Senate, where it will most likely be overhauled. Next, the bill would be sent to a conference to work out the differences between the House and Senate versions. Then, it would still have to pass the House and the Senate again before it ever gets to the president.

Please call U.S. Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz and ask them to vote NO on the G.O.P. healthcare plan.

Sen. Cornyn:
(202) 224-2934 in Washington D.C.
(713) 572-3337 in Houston
Fax: (202) 224-5220
Click here to email Senator Cornyn.

Sen. Cruz:
(202) 224-5922 in Washington D.C.
(713) 718-3057 in Houston
Fax: (202) 228-0755 in Washington D.C.
Click here to email Senator Cruz.

I will continue to update you on this important issue. You can find more information on the healthcare vote from yesterday below.

Washington Post
Health care is now set to be a defining issue in the next election cycles

Prestigious medical groups denounce health care vote

New York Times
The House Passed Its Health Care Bill. Now the Scorekeepers Will Weigh In.

Washington Post
Democrats turn up the pressure on Republicans for health-care vote

Business Insider
A bunch of House Republicans admitted they didn’t read the GOP healthcare bill

Bill Updates
On Tuesday, in the House Committee on Public Education, I laid out two bills that would greatly benefit Texas students.

I filed House Bill 3853 that would require that school districts to have licensed behavioral health professional available to each public schools. Despite the high rate of mental and behavioral health problems among Texas students, most schools do not have staff to provide behavioral counseling or other needed services. At some high schools in Texas, the counselor’s case load is as high as 1 counselor per 520 students, dramatically exceeding the American School Counselor Association’s recommended ratio of 250-to-1. My bill would ensure students have access to mental health professionals in school so they can get the help they need and deserve.

I filed House Bill 1847 which would increase and maintain communication between the schools and the parents and guardians. It requires the school to give written notice in the event that a full-time nurse or the equivalent of  a full-time nurse will not be on campus for more than 30 instructional days. My bill increases transparency between the school and the parents, allowing for open and encouraged communication.

Our song of the week is “The Payback” by James Brown.

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