The fate of many bills at the Texas Legislature will be sealed over the next few days. State leaders will decide which proposals to pass — and they'll decide which ones to kill with their votes or with the clock. The last day for the House Calendars Committee, for example, to release a schedule of votes on most Senate bills is this Sunday, and bills scheduled at the last minute rarely pass before the next deadline hits.
A few major bills have already passed both the House and the Senate, meaning they have a little more time, if necessary, as the two chambers conduct their final negotiations. As these conference committees meet this week to finalize those bills, let's make sure they keep the historic funding for full-day pre-k in the school finance bill and fully fund Early Childhood Intervention and other priorities in the state budget bill.
And a few other bills deemed priorities by state leaders are expected to pass with little difficulty. One bill on that fast track is Sen. Larry Taylor's SB 11, which improves campus safety and supports student mental health, in part by implementing provisions from Rep. Four Price's HB 19.
But we will all need to keep pressing legislators over the next couple days to make sure they pass the following good bills for kids. We encourage you to call your legislators about the bills coming up for a vote and call the appropriate House and Senate Committees about the bills they are considering.
The full Senate may vote on these good bills for kids any day now:
HB 18 by Rep. Four Price, a bill to require local mental health authorities (LMHAs) to employ a mental health professional to serve as a resource for school districts in their region. (UPDATE: The bill passed the Senate on May 15th.)
HB 25 by Rep. Mary Gonzalez, a bill to ensure more mothers have transportation to prenatal care and postpartum appointments.
Senate Committees must vote for these good bills for kids in the next couple days to give them a chance of passing:
Senate Health and Human Services Committee:
HB 53 by Rep. Ina Minjarez, a bill to support youth aging out of foster care by requiring Preparation for Adult Living to cover new topics including civic engagement, taxes, insurance, and identity theft. (Hearing today, May 14th.)
HB 475 by Rep. Donna Howard, a bill to ensure pregnant and parenting youth in foster care receive basic parenting education and services that will help preserve their young families. (Hearing May 17th.)
HB 744 by Rep. Toni Rose, a bill to provide 12 months — rather than the current 2 months — of health coverage to mothers after giving birth. (No hearing scheduled.)
HB 1111 by Rep. Sarah Davis, a bill to implement several maternal health improvements. (Hearing on May 15th.)
HB 3980 by Rep. Todd Hunter, a bill to bill to ensure state agencies are taking steps to reduce suicides among youth and adults. (Hearing on May 15th.)
Senate Business and Commerce Committee:
HB 1635 by Rep. Rick Miller, a bill to require most private insurance companies to cover certain Early Childhood Intervention services. (No hearing scheduled.)
The House Calendars Committee must schedule a House vote in the next few days on these good bills for kids:
SB 708 by Sen. Judith Zaffirini, a bill to collect child care data on caregiver-child ratios and group size standards as well as serious violations and injuries. (UPDATE: The bill is now on the House calendar for a vote on May 17th.)
SB 750 by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, a bill to improve the quality of maternal and newborn health care through a variety of efforts.
SB 952 by Sen. Kirk Watson, a bill to update and clarify minimum standards for nutrition and active play in child care — areas already regulated through state licensing standards — to ensure more children have a healthy start. (UPDATE: The bill is now on the House calendar for a vote on May 17th.)
House Committees must vote for these good bills in the next couple days — and then the House Calendars Committee must quickly schedule them for a House vote — to give them a chance of passing:
House Education Committee:
SB 1390 by Sen. Jose Menendez, a bill to support school-based suicide prevention efforts. (Hearing today, May 14th.)
House Human Services Committee:
SB 1177 by Sen. Jose Menendez would allow managed care organizations to offer intensive community-based mental health or substance use disorder services in lieu of hospitalization or other restrictive treatment services. (Hearing today, May 14th.)
Legislators killed this bill by delaying it, meaning it must be amended to other bills to have a chance of passing:
HB 342 by Rep. Philip Cortez, a bill to ensure children don't lose their Medicaid health coverage due to redundant red tape.
Thank you for joining with us and working to pass these bills over the next few days!