Sandra Bland Act Heads to Governor’s Desk / Experts Analyze Mental Health Challenges / Federal Healthcare Update

Sandra Bland Act Heads to Governor’s Desk

Today the Sandra Bland Act passed the Texas House of Representatives on third reading, and now heads to the Governor’s desk. It is time that we make progress in criminal justice reform that will keep both law enforcement and the public safe and prevent future tragedies like Sandra Bland’s. The Sandra Bland Act came about during an interim study by the House Committee on County Affairs that I chair.

I thank House Speaker Joe Straus, Representative Joe Moody, Representative Todd Hunter, Representative Senfronia Thompson, Representative James White, and Senator Whitmire along with advocacy groups and law enforcement for working with me.

The Sandra Bland Act will have a meaningful impact on mental health in Texas’ county jails and will act as a building block to build upon in the future. The Sandra Bland Act alongside Senator West’s SB 30 that I am a joint sponsor with Representative Thompson on will make everyone safer.”

Click here for the PDF version Representative Coleman’s press statement.

Representative Coleman laying out the Sandra Bland Act on second reading in the Texas House of Representatives on Friday evening, May 19, 2017.

Friday evening’s unanimous vote on the board when the Sandra Bland Act passed the House on second reading, 139-0.

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus shaking Representative Coleman’s hand, congratulating him on passage of second reading of the Sandra Bland Act on Friday evening, May 19, 2017.

Experts Analyze Mental Health Challenges

Last month, I joined Mental Health America and the Texas Sheriff’s Association at a roundtable discussion with KXAN Austin to discuss mental health and criminal justice issues. It was featured in KXAN Austin’s new investigative segment, Fallen. Click here to watch the round table discussion.

What we are supposed to do in government is solve problems, not run away from them. There are certain tools that we can use to keep everyone safe and also have a better dialogue between the public and the police.”

-Representative Garnet Coleman, April 26, 2017

Healthcare Update

It is reported that the U.S. House of Representatives may be headed for another vote on the G.O.P. driven American Health Care Act (AHCA). After failing to get a vote on it in March and passing it by only four votes in April, it is possible there will be another vote.U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan hasn’t sent the bill to the Senate because the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has not completed it’s analysis yet. The first version of the bill was estimated to cause 24 million Americans to lose their health insurance by 2026. The U.S. House G.O.P. was in such a hurry to vote on their bad healthcare bill that they did not wait for the CBO analysis, which is not slated to be ready until next week.

U.S. G.O.P. House leaders wants to ensure the bill aligns with the Senate rules for reconciliation, a procedure that allows Senate Republicans to pass the bill with a simple majority. It is reported that if the CBO concludes the AHCA doesn’t save at least $2 billion, the U.S. House G.O.P. would have to start all over with a new budget resolution. Congressional rules would likely prevent Republicans from fixing the bill after it’s in the Senate. If the U.S. House G.O.P. holds on to the bill until the CBO report is released, they could still redo it with one more U.S. House vote.

It’s unclear what will happen with the CBO analysis, but if millions of Americans sign up for the cheaper, minimal insurance under the ACHA, potentially hundreds of billions of dollars could be lost in a decade because of the tax credits.

This further proves that the U.S. House G.O.P. voted on a bill without fully understanding its repercussions on millions of Americans. Even some of the U.S. House G.O.P.’s own members could not get on board with the bad healthcare plan. I will continue to update you on this very important issue.

Click here to read the full article.

Editorial cartoon on House Republicans and health care and the Senate

As there are only 9 days left in the 85th Texas Legislative Session, our song of the week is “I’m Almost There.”

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