Say Her Name / Juneteenth Celebrations / Houston Joins SB 4 Lawsuit / Healthcare & Redistricting Updates

SAY HER NAME

Thank you to Sandra Bland’s Family — her mother: Geneva Reed-Veal, and her sisters: Sharon Cooper, Shavon Bland, and Shante Needham. On a daily basis Sandra Bland’s family had to relive her death while passing the Sandra Bland Act, and that sacrifice deserves high praise. Texas should continue to honor her family’s sacrfice with passing more robust criminal justice reform. The Sandra Bland Act will say her name in perpetuity. SAY HER NAME.


JUNETEENTH WEEKEND CELEBRATIONS

Last weekend, we celebrated Juneteenth and the re-dedication ceremony of Emancipation Park and ribbon cutting for Emancipation Avenue. Emancipation Park was originally purchased by a group of freed slaves lead by the Reverend Jack Yates in 1872, and was Houston’s first public park. The main street leading people to the Emancipation Park was originally named East Broadway, but changed to Dowling Street after Confederate Commander Dick Dowling to insult the Black community. But with hard work and dedication we have changed the name of Dowling Street to  Emancipation Avenue.  I am proud of all the work we have done and thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate with us.

Representative Coleman and Mayor Sylvester Turner at the Re-Dedication Ceremony of the historic Emancipation Park, Houston’s oldest park on June 17, 2017.

Representative Coleman at the Re-Dedication Ceremony of Emancipation Park on June 17, 2017.

Representative Coleman speaking at the ribbon cutting for Emancipation Avenue in Houston’s historic Third Ward on June 19, 2017.

Representative Coleman and Mayor Sylvester Turner cutting the ribbon on the newly renamed Emancipation Avenue on June 19, 2017.  


Houston Joins Lawsuit Against SB 4: The Sanctuary Cities Law

Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the country and we must celebrate diversity instead of passing harmful, discriminatory legislation that will tear Texas families apart. Click here to read the letter some of my colleagues and I sent to the Houston City Council in support of Mayor Turner’s recommendation to join the City of Houston in the lawsuit against SB 4, the “Sanctuary Cities Law”.


Health Care Update

U.S. Senate Republicans reviled their draft version of their Healthcare bill yesterday. Like the U.S. House version of the bill the Senate version makes deep cuts to Medicaid and removes many of the patient protections created by the Affordable Care Act. For more information on the bill please read below for a portion of an article by the New York Times or click here to read the full article.

Senate Health Care Bill Includes Deep Cuts to Medicaid

By Robert Pear and Thomas Kaplan | June 22, 2017

WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans, who have promised a repeal of the Affordable Care Act for seven years, took a major step on Thursday toward that goal, unveiling a bill to cut Medicaid deeply and end the health law’s mandate that most Americans have health insurance.

The 142-page bill would create a new system of federal tax credits to help people buy health insurance, while offering states the ability to drop many of the benefits required by the Affordable Care Act, like maternity care, emergency services and mental health treatment.

The Senate bill — once promised as a top-to-bottom revamp of the health bill passed by the House last month — instead maintains its structure, with modest adjustments. The Senate version is, in some respects, more moderate than the House bill, offering more financial assistance to some lower-income people to help them defray the rapidly rising cost of private health insurance.

But the Senate measure, like the House bill, would phase out the extra money that the federal government has provided to states as an incentive to expand eligibility for Medicaid. And like the House measure, it would put the entire Medicaid program on a budget, ending the open-ended entitlement that now exists. It would also repeal virtually all the tax increases imposed by the Affordable Care Act to pay for itself, in effect handing a broad tax cut to the affluent, paid for by billions of dollars sliced from Medicaid, a health care program that serves one in five Americans, not only the poor but almost two-thirds of those in nursing homes. The bill, drafted in secret, is likely to come to the Senate floor next week, and could come to a vote after 20 hours of debate.

If it passes, President Trump and the Republican Congress would be on the edge of a major overhaul of the American health care system — onesixth of the nation’s economy.


Redistricting Update

On Monday the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would take up a case on gerrymandering in Wisconsin, where a federal appeals court ruled last year’s lines were drawn unconstitutionally benefiting Republicans.

The Wisconsin case is based on partisan gerrymandering, but the ruling may indirectly affect cases dealing with racial gerrymandering, including Texas’ case. In March, a panel of judges ruled that 36 congressional districts in Texas were illegally drawn. In April, the same panel of judges ruled the Texas state house districts intentionally discriminated against minorities. Texas could lose the case, and with a trial on both maps set to begin in July, the state could find itself with new political maps ahead of the 2018 elections.

While the the U.S. Supreme Court can set a new limit on how politics drives redistricting, the justices also have to determine whether they even have the power to rule in the Wisconsin case. As for Texas, map drawing in the state could change if a ruling is made, providing critics of the current maps fresh fodder to challenge them. 

Click here to read more from the Texas Tribune on this issue.


The song of the week is “You Don’t Own Me” by Lesley Gore.

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