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OUR LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES

Beyond Borders Icon
Criminal Injustice
Voting Rights
  1. Stop the Codification & Expansion of Operation Lone Star

  2. No New Anti-Immigrant Attacks

  3. Support Thriving Border Communities & Colonias

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Read more about our Legislative Priorities by Program:

TRAININGS AND RESOURCES

Texas Lege 101 Training

The 88th Texas Legislative Session is in full swing, but do you know what the Texas Legislature looks like? It can look confusing, intimidating, and overwhelming, but no sweat, we can explain it!

 

Watch our training to learn how you can get involved and make a difference this session.

State of the State Debrief

Abbott’s priorities for the Legislature this year show that he does not have all Texans’ best interests in mind. We were disappointed, angered, but not surprised. More importantly, we are more ready than ever to advocate for Texans at the Capitol.

 

Watch our debrief now to stay informed about what Abbott’s priorities mean for everyday Texans.

88th Texas Lege Debrief

Watch advocacy experts from the Texas Civil Rights Project discuss their major takeaways from the 88th #txlege.

 

This video will give you a debrief on our top highlights, including wins and losses, from this legislative session and how you can get involved beyond the session.

Glossary of Terms

Appropriations: Process of determining where money is allocated in Texas’ biennial budget  As "Enrolled": A status to indicate a bill that has been voted out of both chambers in identical versions and is heading to the Governor for his signature or veto As “Engrossed with amendments approved by the other chamber”: A status to indicate a bill that has been voted out of its respective chamber (House or Senate) and has been amended by the other chamber Chamber: Referring to either the House or Senate Chamber Committee: Subgroups by certain subject matter area where bills are referred to & heard for testimony   As “Engrossed”: A status to indicate a bill that has been voted out of its respective chamber (House or Senate) As "Filed": A status to indicate unamended legislation as it was originally filed. As “House - Committee substitute considered in committee”: A status to indicate a bill considered in a House committee with language different from the most recent prior version HB: House Bill HCR: House Concurrent Resolution. - Conveys the legislature’s sentiment around an issue HJR: House Joint Resolution - Proposes amendments to Texas Constitution House - One of two law-making bodies that comprise the Texas Legislature, with 150 Representatives Lege: Legislature - The lawmaking body of Texas’ legislative branch Point of Order (POO): An objection that the pending matter or proceeding is in violation of a House rule Representative: Elected to the Texas House of Representatives for a two-year term Senate - One of two law-making bodies that comprise the Texas Legislature, with 31 Senators Senator: Elected to the Texas Senate for a four-year term SB: Senate Bill SCR: Senate Concurrent Resolution  - Conveys the legislature’s sentiment around an issue SJR: Senate Joint Resolution - Proposes amendments to Texas Constitution Sine Die: The last day of the legislative session SOS: Secretary of State TDCJ: Texas Department of Criminal Justice

For a glossary on more Texas legislative terms, please click here.

88th Texas Lege

BILLS WE'RE WATCHING

SB 1
SB 2
SB 147
SJR 44
SB 1318
SB 221
HB 357
HB 636
HB 386
HB 20
HB 7
SB 477
Senate Bill 990
SB 1938
HB 1355, 1708, 2950
SB 1993
SB 1599
SB 1600
SB 823
HB 2020
SB 220
HB1243
HB1000
HB2328
HB3739
HB1428
HB5180
HB862
HB3749
HB2860
HB4701
HB12
H5166
HB1146
HB4782
SB1750
SB375

Senate & House Bill 1:

TCRP Position: Against as "Filed"

Beyond Borders, Criminal Injustice

 

SB & HB 1, the General Appropriations Bill, would govern how Texas’ current $188+ billion budget would be spent over the next two years. This year, with a historic $30+ billion in surplus, the bills would continue investing more than $4 billion in militarizing the border instead of humanitarian relief efforts. Moreover, Texas would continue investing nearly $200 million in kids' jails instead of investing in local community solutions to keep kids home.

Testimony:

Senate Bill 2:

TCRP Position: Against as "Filed"

Voting Rights

SB 2 would criminalize good faith mistakes in voting and increase the penalty for illegal voting or attempted illegal voting.

Feb 27: Voting Rights Testimony at Senate State Affairs Committee:

Senate Bill 147:

TCRP Position: Against as "Filed"

Beyond Borders

SB 147 would prohibit citizens and entities with ties to China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia to purchase property in Texas.

Testimony:

Senate Joint Resolution 44:

TCRP Position: Against as "House - Committee substitute considered in committee”
Criminal Injustice

SJR 44 will increase the opportunity for judges to detain people without the possibility of bail for certain offenses

Testimony:

Senate Bill 1318:

TCRP Position: Against as "House - Committee substitute considered in committee”

Criminal Injustice

SB 1318 would give judges the option to detain people without the possibility of release before their trial for certain offenses. It also includes a presumption of release on personal bond for nonviolent offenses.

Testimony:

Senate Bill 221:

TCRP Position: Against as "Engrossed"

Voting Rights

SB 221 would give the Secretary of State (SOS)—an unelected political appointee— the unilateral authority to determine whether, in their judgment, a city’s proposed ballot proposition language is “misleading, inaccurate, or prejudicial.” If the SOS makes that determination, then the city must redraft the proposition. If the city redrafts it three times without fixing the supposed problem, then SOS must redraft the proposition on its own. This would limit the amount of time that local governments have to actually prepare ballots for upcoming elections, while doing nothing to prevent local governments or SOS from ending up in a court dispute over ballot proposition language.

Testimony:

House Bill 357:

TCRP Position: For as "Engrossed"

Voting Rights

HB 357 would make the mail-in ballot tracker more user-friendly by changing the way voters look up their ballot. Instead of entering their registration address and the last four digits of their SSN, voters would be able to use their date of birth and their driver’s license number, personal identification card number, or the last four digits of their SSN.

Testimony:

House Bill 636:

TCRP Position: Against as "Filed"

Voting Rights

HB 636 would allow election judges to bring handguns in the polling place if they have a license to carry. Voters should be able to cast a ballot free from fear that there are weapons in a polling place.

Testimony:

House Bill 386:

TCRP Position: For as "Filed"

Voting Rights

HB 386 would require all counties post signs telling voters how to access curbside voting. This signage must inform voters of a phone number to call or text for an election worker to bring a ballot to their car, or a button or intercom that can be used to request assistance. This bill would also reserve a parking place for voters who cannot physically enter the polling place. Many voters in Texas do not know that curbside voting must be offered at every polling place, and have trouble accessing it even when they do. Mandating signage and designated parking for curbside is vital to ensuring that all voters can cast a ballot regardless of disability.

Testimony:

Materials:

House Bill 20:

TCRP Position: Against as "Filed"

Beyond Borders

 

HB 20 would create a new “Border Protection Unit” (BPU) to police people “crossing the border.” As filed, the BPU would have the power to deputize any “law abiding” citizen “without a felony conviction” (i.e., vigilantes) to take part in enforcement. Moreover, HB 20 would create a Texas-equivalent of Title 42, cruelly heighten trespass penalties, and oversee the construction of a state funded border wall.

Materials:

What We Know (so far)/Lo Que Sabemos (se actualizará pronto)

Apr 12: Beyond Borders at House State Affairs Committee (opposing testimony):

Alexis Bay:

Erin Thorn:

Roberto Lopez:

Kassandra Gonzalez:

House Bill 7:

TCRP Position: Against as "Engrossed with amendments approved by the other chamber"

Beyond Borders

 

HB 7 would use the State’s budget to institutionalize Operation Lone Star (OLS) as a permanent fixture in Texas public policy, including the creation of a “Border Force” as a subdivision of the Texas Rangers, which is housed in the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). After significant changes made in the Senate Border Security Committee, the bill intensifies border militarization policies by creating an entirely new State law enforcement department, new criminal penalties for undocumented crossings, and enhancements to existing penalties for smuggling.

Materials:

What We Know (so far)

Apr 12: Beyond Borders at House State Affairs Committee (opposing testimony):

Alexis Bay:

Erin Thorn:

May 18: Beyond Borders at Senate Border Security Committee:

Alexis Bay:

Roberto Lopez:

Roberto Lopez:

Emily Eby French:

Senate Bill 477:

TCRP Position: For as "House - Committee substitute considered in committee”

Voting Rights

 

SB 477 would make a number of improvements for voters with disabilities, including: bumping voters with mobility disabilities to the front of the line, reserving two parking places at each polling place for curbside voting and adding clear signage, and requiring county websites to post mail ballot applications so that voters can fill them out online before printing.

Testimony:

Senate Bill 990:

TCRP Position: Against as "Filed"

Voting Rights

 

SB 990 would eliminate the countywide polling place program, requiring every person who votes on Election Day to vote in their precinct or have their vote thrown out.

Testimony:

Senate Bill 1938:

TCRP Position: Against as "Filed"

Voting Rights

 

SB 1938 would allow the SOS to withhold funds from a voter registrar who doesn't “timely” act on mass voter challenges.

Testimony:

House Bills 1355, 1708, 2950:

TCRP Position: For as "Filed"

Criminal Injustice

 

HBs 1355, 1708, & 2950 would address human rights concerns in prisons by requiring Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) facilities to have air conditioning between 65 and 85 degrees. HB 1355 specifies an air conditioning unit in each cellblock, dormitory, and common area in a TDCJ facility. HB 1708 establishes the temperature range for TDCJ facilities. Finally, HB 2950 includes a reporting requirement regarding air conditioning in these facilities.

Testimony:

Senate Bill 1993:

TCRP Position: Against as "Filed"

Voting Rights

 

SB 1993 would require the SOS to cancel an election and order a new one in a county of over one million residents if the SOS has "good cause to believe" that at least 2% of the county's polling places did not receive supplemental ballots after waiting an hour or more.

Testimony:

Senate Bill 1599

Voting Rights

 

SB 1599 requires counties to return a mail ballot with defects within two days of discovering that defect so voters can correct it and send it back quickly (if the clerk determines it's possible for the voter to return the ballot in time for it to count). It also requires the SOS to expand the mail ballot tracker to include an online tool to correct defects in a mail ballot or a mail ballot application. At one stage, this bill reduced the time to correct a mail ballot by four days (from six to two days post-election). We testified against that portion of the bill, and the current version of SB 1599 has been changed to maintain the current six-day deadline.

Testimony:

Senate Bill 1600:

TCRP Position: Against as "Filed"

Voting Rights

 

SB 1600 would create a "show me your papers" law for voter registration, requiring proof of citizenship in order to register someone to vote. This bill would add yet another hurdle to Texans' right to vote, and invoke animus against communities of color in our state.

Testimony:

Senate Bill 220

TCRP Position: Against as "Filed"

Voting Rights

 

SB 220 would create a force of election marshals in Texas, under the command of the Secretary of State. These marshals would be charged with investigating any Election Code violation submitted to them and supported by an affidavit or unsworn declaration. Marshals would serve a 90-day appointment unless they receive an extension for an ongoing investigation.

Testimony:

Senate Bill 823

TCRP Position: Against as "Filed"

Voting Rights

 

SB 823 would authorize the Secretary of State to fire a county Election Administrator at any time if SOS receives an administrative election complaint and SOS has "good cause to believe" that there is a "recurring pattern of problems with election administration" in the EA's county. SOS would then get to appoint a new EA, who would serve until the "problems with election administration are rectified."

Testimony:

Materials:

House Bill 2020

TCRP Position: Against as "Filed"

Voting Rights

 

HB 2020 would authorize the Secretary of State to fire a county Election Administrator at any time if SOS receives an administrative election complaint and SOS has "good cause to believe" that there is a "recurring pattern of problems with election administration" in the EA's county. SOS would then get to appoint a new EA, who would serve until the "problems with election administration are rectified."

Testimony:

Materials:

House Bill 1000

TCRP Position: Against as "Engrossed”

Voting Rights

 

HB 1000 would ratify the state house district map passed during the 3rd special session of 2021. This is despite the map being actively litigated for intentionally diluting the voting power of people of color.

Testimony:

House Bill 2328

TCRP Position: For as "Filed"

Criminal Injustice

 

HB 2328 would expand the definition of “terminally ill” for people who are being considered for compassionate release under the Medically Recommended Intensive Supervision (MRIS). Currently, the eligibility under MRIS requires an expectation of death within six months of release. HB 2328 would expand this by defining "terminally ill" as having an incurable illness or condition that is expected to result in death within one year, regardless of life-sustaining treatment.

Testimony:

House Bill 3739

TCRP Position: For as "Filed"

Criminal Injustice

 

HB 3739 would improve women's medical transportation quality in TDCJ custody. HB 3739 would ensure that the basic needs of women, including access to healthy food, feminine hygiene products, toilets, and spaces to sleep, are afforded to women seeking medical care.

Testimony:

House Bill 1243

TCRP Position: Against as "Enrolled"

Voting Rights

 

HB 1243 would increase the penalty for illegal voting or attempted illegal voting.

Testimony:

House Bill 5180

TCRP Position: Against as "Filed"

Voting Rights

 

HB 5180 would allow any member of the public to examine voted ballots 61 days after an election, as opposed to the current 22 months.

Testimony:

House Bill 1428

TCRP Position: For as "Filed"

Criminal Injustice

 

HB 1428 would ensure that people who are released from custody have identification including a drivers license or Texas ID card.

Testimony:

House Bill 862

TCRP Position: Against as "Filed"

Voting Rights

 

HB 862 would change the way that voter registrars receive information about citizenship status, removing existing safeguards around identifying possible non-citizens on the voter rolls.

Testimony:

House Bill 3749

TCRP Position: For as"Filed"

Voting Rights

 

HB 3749 would require a voter registrar who is rejecting a voter registration application to tell the rejected applicant what was wrong with their application.

Testimony:

House Bill 2860

TCRP Position: Against as"Filed"

Voting Rights

 

HB 2860 would add five new criminal penalties for election officials and volunteer election workers.

Testimony:

House Bill 4701

TCRP Position: Against as"Filed"

Voting Rights

 

HB 4701 would grant the Attorney General the power to approve or block every ballot proposition from every political subdivision in the state of Texas.

Testimony:

House Bill 812

TCRP Position: For as"Filed"

Criminal Injustice

 

HB 812 would limit the time people can be held in restrictive housing and places much needed limitations on the use of administrative segregation in TDCJ.

Testimony:

House Bill 5166

TCRP Position: For as"Filed"

Beyond Borders

 

HB 5166 would improve access to state health services by providing information in multiple languages, increasing Non-English speakers’ access to critical resources.

Testimony:

Senate Bill 1146

TCRP Position: For as"Filed"

Criminal Injustice

 

SB 1146, the Senate companion to HB 3739, would greatly expand the protections for women seeking medical care while in TDCJ custody. SB 1146 would ensure that the basic needs of women, including access to healthy food, feminine hygiene products, toilets, and spaces to sleep, are afforded to women seeking medical care

Testimony:

House Bill 4782

TCRP Position: Against as"Filed"

Voting Rights

 

HB 4782 would create a class C misdemeanor for "any person or persons seeking to communicate with voters exiting the voting site" within 100 feet. This broad language would criminalize a lot of innocent behaviors that voters and poll workers engage in at every polling place.

Testimony:

Senate Bill 1750

TCRP Position: Against as"Enrolled"

Voting Rights

 

SB 1750 would abolish the position of Elections Administrator in counties over 3.5 million, putting elections back under the purview of the County Clerk and the Tax Assessor Collector. The only county in Texas with a population over 3.5 million is Harris County.

Testimony:

Materials:

Senate Bill 375

TCRP Position: Against as"Filed"

Voting Rights

 

SB 375 would ratify the state Senate district map passed during the 3rd special session of 2021. This is despite the map protecting the incumbency of current senators at the expense of communities of color while simultaneously dismantling districts where coalitions of diverse communities have the opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice.

Testimony:

House Joint Resolution 99

TCRP Position: Against as"Filed"

Criminal Injustice

 

HJR 99 would significantly increase the number of people held in pretrial detention in Texas, violating their fundamental right to liberty.

Testimony:

Senate Bill 1039

TCRP Position: Against as "House — Committee substitute considered in committee