Our 2015 Legislative Agenda

Today we are excited to share with you our agenda for the 2015 legislative session.

We’re glad to see some of our 2015 legislative priorities have a full head of steam as we approach the session. More sheriffs, judges, and other law and order officials believe it’s time to stop sending all 17-year-old offenders to the adult criminal justice system and time to start holding them accountable in the juvenile system. The Governor-elect is calling for an investment in high-quality pre-K, although we are waiting to see more details. And legislative leaders formed a special committee on Child Protective Services and held numerous hearings exploring the need for lower caseloads for CPS caseworkers as well as other reforms to protect kids.

Other priorities haven’t been in the headlines but are moving forward, including full funding for Early Childhood Intervention, stronger mental health training for school personnel, and support for local efforts to educate parents about sugary drinks.

The next legislature will tackle a number of other cross-cutting issues, and we’ll continue speaking out on many of them. Rather than combining all state health and human services offices into a single mega-agency, we want the legislature to first focus on improving efficiency and services. While the House and Senate debate various education proposals, we’ll seize opportunities to highlight proven programs such as high-quality pre-K. As legislators call for tax cuts, we agree with the Texas Association of Business that leaders should make strategic investments instead of cutting the revenue available to critical programs today and in the future. Of course, while business leaders are focused on transportation infrastructure funding, we believe investments in the “infrastructure” of children’s services and opportunities are no less important to our state’s economy.

As the legislative session kicks into gear in January, we’ll provide more details on all these areas and how we can work together to make sure legislators put Texas kids first.