Protecting Our Public Schools/Other Side of TX Interview/Royce West Symposium/Event Recaps/Last Weekend to View Sandra Bland exhibit at HMAAC

Protecting Our Public Schools

I announced this week that I will be filing a bill when the 86th Legislature convenes in 2019 to repeal statutory language that allows the Texas Education Agency to take over schools and entire local school districts.

The intent of House Bill 1842 in the 84th Regular Texas Legislative Session—which I voted against—was to improve chronically underperforming schools who had no solution in sight. However, the law has fallen short and created a quagmire that is putting our schools and school districts in jeopardy. I will work with my Harris County colleagues towards a reasonable solution that repeals or substantially modifies the language that passed as part of HB 1842.

Many members have been pointing out for decades that something needs to be done to improve our children’s education in underperforming schools, but HB 1842 did not accomplish that. Our school districts need several options that allow them to find the best solution to fit their community, but burning down the house does not solve the problem. Our children and parents deserve good schools in every neighborhood.I will continue to fight for Blackshire Elementary and Mading Elementary, located in District 147 that I have proudly represented since 1991.

Click the picture below to view a video from CW 39 Houston about my announcement yesterday.


Other Side of Texas Interview

On Tuesday, I joined host Jay Leeson on The Other Side of Texas radio show on KRFE AM 580 Lubbock to discuss the effects of Texas’ opioid epidemic on foster children.

The opioid crisis has resulted in $350M in unmet costs and 2/3 of CPS caseloads. The hardest hit cities in Texas are Texarkana, Longview, Odessa, and Amarillo.

Chairman of the Select Committee of Opioid and Substance Abuse Four Price (R-Amarillo) spoke on the show as well, highlighting the opioid crisis in rural areas. I am proud to serve on the Committee with Chairman Price.


Recap: 2018 Royce West Symposium

On Thursday, I spoke on the Race, Trust and Police Legitimacy: Strengthening Communities panel at the 2018 Royce West Symposium at the Texas Juvenile Crime Prevention Center at Prairie View A&M University.

I was honored to attend and to discuss the Sandra Bland Act and its implementation in terms of the mandates of the law and its focus on behavioral health.

Other panelists included:

  • Retired LAPD Sgt. Cheryl Dorsey, acclaimed social advocate and CNN commentator
  • Dr. Camille Gibson, Professor in the Department of Justice Studies at A&M who is currently conducting an in-depth study on how minority parents advise their children on how to react when approached by law enforcement officers
  • Dr. Terrence Allen, Associate Professor at University of Texas at Austin who shared the results of his study entitled, “An Exploration of African American and Hispanic Male Youth Perceptions of Police Officers who Patrol in Urban Communities
  • The facilitator was Judge Yvonne M. Williams, Justice of the Peace, Precinct 1 of Travis County.
Thank you to all the citizens, school personnel, social service and mental health providers, law enforcement officers, parents, and students for attending.


Rep. Coleman joins State Senator Royce West (D-Dallas), fellow panelists, and students at the 2018 Royce West Symposium.


From left to right: Dr. Camille Gibson, Dr. Terrence Allen, Retired LAPD Sgt. Cheryl Dorsey, Rep. Coleman, Judge Yvonne M. Williams, and Senator Royce West (D-Dallas).


Rep. Coleman Addresses Texas Association of Pretrial Services (TAPS)

Last Thursday, I was the featured speaker at the 5th Annual TAPS Conference and Training Institute in Galveston. The theme this year was “Navigating Pretrial Reform in Texas. I was honored to be the featured speaker at the conference discussing major issues in pretrial services.

I gave an overview of The Sandra Bland Act that I passed last session. The Act addresses pretrial service issues by increasing criminal justice diversion away from jail and into treatment and social services. The Act along with other bills that I sponsored last session to increase funding for places for people to be diverted to. If there is no place to go, diversion won’t work.

This interim, I will continue to work on pretrial issues such as prohibiting arrests for fine-only offenses and bail reform – both of which were part of the original Sandra Bland Act. Bail reform was also in bills filed by Senator Whitmire (D-Houston) and Rep. Andrew Murr (R-Kerrville) which I joint-authored. Regrettably, bail reform failed to pass last session. We need bail reform because Harris, Dallas, and Galveston Counties have all been sued for their unfair and discriminatory bail practices.


Rep. Coleman, and Dr. Tony Fabelo (right) at the conference in Galveston.


Recap: Mental and Behavioral Wellness Celebration in Houston

On Saturday, I attended the Mental and Behavioral Wellness Celebration in Houston, hosted by Houston City Council Member David W. Robinson and Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church. I joined Mayor Sylvester Turner, Judge Ed Emmett, and Council Member Robinson to raise awareness, dispel stigma, and educate citizens about community resources available to help them address mental and behavioral health issues.

 The fair featured service providers and vendors who shared information about programs, resources, and services to help community members navigate the system for optimal care in Houston and the surrounding area. The fair included several discussion workshops throughout the day to educate the community about different mental health needs and issues.


Councilman David Robinson and I were given green bracelets by Patrick McIlvain, signifying support for mental health awareness.


Recap: Rep. Coleman Meets with Democratic Candidates of Texas

On Sunday, Anne Dunkelberg of the Center of Public Policy Priorities and I presented to Democratic candidates about Texas’ healthcare system and how to effectively talk about the issues while campaigning. Thank you to the House Democratic Campaign Committee for inviting me. 


Rep. Coleman spoke with Democratic nominees from around the state about health care in Texas and what needs to be done.


Anne Dunkelberg, Associate Director, Program Director of Health and Wellness Team at the Center of Public Policy Priorities discusses health care with attendees alongside Rep. Coleman.


Save the Date: TxDOT Professional Services & Heavy Highway Construction DBE Contracting Event

The Texas Department of Transportation is continuing its series of events focused on expanding the participation of DBE/SBE and HUB certified firms in the upcoming Houston District contracting opportunities.  Details of the final event are below.

The final event will focus specifically on the heavy highway construction contracts anticipated to be let/awarded in the next 6-18 months. 

WHAT: The Heavy Highway Construction DBE Contracting Event
WHEN: Friday, May 4th , 8:30a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
WHERE: Texas Department of Transportation-Houston District Auditorium, 7600 Washington Avenue, Houston, Texas 77007

Click here to RSVP.


Last Weekend to View Sandra Bland exhibit at Houston Museum of African-American Culture

The Houston Museum of African-American Culture is celebrating the life of Ms. Sandra Bland with an interactive exhibit, running until this Saturday, April 28th. This is the last weekend to view the exhibit.

See below for hours and details. Click here for more information.

Photo courtesy of African American News.
ADDRESS
Houston Museum of African-American Culture
4807 Caroline Houston, Texas 77004

HOURS
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday: 11am-6pm
Thursday: 11am-8pm
Friday, Saturday: 11am-6pm

ADMISSION
General Admission to the museum is free, however donations are accepted.

CONTACT
(713) 526-1015
info@hmaac.org


Our song of the week is the Schoolhouse Rock song “I’m Just a Bill” by Bob Dorough.

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