Capitol Recap

31 Aug, 23

Dear Friends,

At Precinct One, we work every day to build a more just, equitable, and thriving Harris County. But while our region is building a brighter future, Austin leadership is working to tear down what we’re achieving, along with the rights and freedoms that we have collectively fought for and earned over generations.

On Sept. 1, 774 laws go into effect covering a range of issues, including budget allocation, tenure, school safety, postpartum Medicaid, and broadband. A recurring pattern has emerged across these measures: the state’s willingness to subvert the will of the people to increase its own power, from personal medical decisions to whether a local leader can mobilize for a disaster. In the 88th regular session, almost 12,000 bills were introduced, with 4,550 passed. Among those that made it to the governor’s desk and were signed into law, these have major consequences for communities in Harris County.

Rest assured, we are fighting to make sure voters can cast their ballots in a free and fair election. Unfortunately, even small victories continue to suffer setbacks. As quickly as a state district judge put the brakes on Senate Bill 1750, the Texas Supreme Court ruled the law could take effect on Sept. 1, as planned. This bill would eliminate the office of elections administrator only in Harris County and revert election duties to a bifurcated system, where the Tax Assessor-Collector maintains voter registration and the County Clerk administers elections.

Just last week, a state district court ruled SB 14 infringes on the doctor-patient relationship and discriminatorily singles out a specific group. However, unless a higher court affirms the decision, SB 14 will go into effect as enacted, preventing doctors from providing gender-affirming care to transgender youth.

I encourage you to stay civically engaged and informed. Make a plan to vote. Encourage others to register and plan to vote as well. What happens during the legislative session is important, but it’s what happens outside of that session that preserves democracy.


Rodney Ellis