Inside Texas Politics: Replace on the struggle in opposition to the Texas Dems electoral legislation
On Inside Texas Politics, host Teresa Woodard spoke to two Texas Democrats this week about her efforts to crush the GOP electoral law.
On Inside Texas Politics this week, host Teresa Woodard, who represented Jason Whitely, spoke to two Texas Democrats about her efforts to crush the GOP electoral law and the upcoming second special session.
At the national level, Rep. Marc Veasey shared how Texas could benefit from the massive infrastructure deal. And on state news, Texas Tribune Editor-in-Chief Ross Ramsey discussed the recent surge in COVID-19 and their coverage of energy industry funds flowing to Governor Greg Abbott.
Collier: Texas Dems achieve a goal
When they first left town to begin the first special session, the Texas Democrats had two main goals: to crush the GOP electoral law, which they argued would amount to voter suppression, and to stimulate a movement for federal electoral law, which would replace any state legislation. While the electoral law is re-examined during the second special session, a North Texas Democrat says they have fully achieved their other goal.
“When we got the For the People Act and The John Lewis Voting Rights Act in Washington DC three and a half weeks ago, they weren’t on the front lines. But that’s what we’re all talking about now, ”said MP Nicole Collier on Inside Texas Politics. “So there has been movement and progress and it has been ensured that the protection of freedom of choice is on everyone’s lips.”
Regarding the GOP electoral law, Collier also points out that Republicans have made changes to it since the Democrats left town.
RELATED: Round 2: Governor Greg Abbott Convenes Second Special Session for the Texan Legislature
But one of the bills that died when the Democrats walked out in the final hours of the regular session is now gaining more attention. This legislation would have provided funding for districts that have decided to provide virtual learning options for students in the 2021-2022 school year. It was an abstract concept in the summer when families took a break after an exceptionally difficult school year and caught their breath. But now that school is starting again and many districts are not offering virtual learning due to cost reasons, it has become a very real problem for many parents.
Collier says the Republicans are in power in Austin, so blame them for not passing priority laws like this and instead focusing on laws to appease their grassroots.
“The Republican majority party, they hold the calendar committee. You have the hammer up front. So if that was a priority for the Republican-led legislature, it would have passed. So, as Democrats, we did our part to vote and promote these bills, ”she said.
Collier also says she isn’t worried about burned bridges between Democrats and Republicans in Austin. They could exist, she says. It’s just not their main concern.
“If they take it personally, it’s up to them. I don’t take this personally. When attacked, my name was often a drug in the mud. But I know what my constituents chose me to do and I will continue to do so, ”said Collier.
No clear plan for Dems in the 2nd special session yet
Rep. Dan Huberty joined Inside Texas Politics to discuss the Democrats’ plans for the second special session.
Nervous families, raging COVID, back to school – all of these will be pressing topics in the coming weeks.
Does he support Governor Abbott’s ban on masking in schools? Why not just let the local counties / boards of directors decide what is best for their individual communities?
“In comparison, the children who studied virtually performed 50% worse than the children who were in person last year. 50% worse. That is the discussion we should have. Not talking about whether they should wear a mask or not, ”Huberty said.
RELATED: “We Must Stay Vigilant” | Houston ISD votes on mask requirements for students, staff and visitors
On the critical race theory debate and whether or not philosophy classes should be banned in Texas schools, Huberty says he’s open-minded.
“In all honesty, I’m worried. I don’t want us to go too far in erasing history … that’s very important to me, ”he said. “We should learn from our history. That’s why there’s the story that we have to learn from it. We have to understand what it was and not repeat the same past mistakes. “
Veasey: Texas will benefit from infrastructure deals
The trillion-dollar infrastructure deal seems on the verge of reality, with a final vote in the U.S. Senate possibly as early as the week of August 9th. And Texas will benefit from the largest package of its kind in decades.
Congressman Marc Veasey, whose district includes parts of Dallas and Fort Worth, says DART is an example of an organization that could be upgraded by legislation. Even Fort Worth, which he says doesn’t have a lot of light rail capacity, would benefit because it could be expanded.
“In this country, for example, there has been a lot of talk about things like high-speed trains. And the fact that other parts of the world like China are overtaking us in this area. We want to make sure we have that technology, and a lot of it would obviously be happening here, ”Rep. Veasey said on Inside Texas Politics.
The Democrat also says companies should be able to request COVID-19 vaccinations for their employees. Rep. Veasey says he will request this in his own office unless there are religious or health objections.
“Everyone has to do their part. Everyone has to get vaccinated. And the people who don’t get vaccinated hurt the rest of us, ”he said.
COVID-19 continues to increase in Texas
Ross Ramsey, co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Texas Tribune, joined Inside Texas Politics to discuss the rise in COVID-19 cases across Texas.
The Dallas-Fort Worth area has passed its summer 2020 peak hospital stays. The latest figure from the DFW Hospital Council found 1,979 people with COVID-19 have been hospitalized in North Texas.
Last summer, that number never exceeded 1,965. Texas hospitals are overwhelmed again and the governor stands firm – no masks or restrictions. Is that a risky move for him?
Ramsey also discussed the Tribune’s report last week, which shows that a lot of energy industry money is flowing to Governor Abbott and others after the regular session ended. Does that mean that the energy industry was satisfied with the laws that were passed?