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News & Press: Announcement

ADVOCACY UPDATE ON HB 2898

Friday, May 12, 2017  
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May 12, 2017

 

In the turbulence of the 85th Session we have found ourselves with serious questions about the future of the Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners.  HB 2898 by Representative Larry Gonzales, the stand-alone bill that would have created the Texas Behavioral Executive Health Council, and moved the major mental health provider boards over to a new agency, did not move on the House floor and died.

 

The safety net bill, HB 3302, also died last night on the House floorThat bill moves us to HHSC, but largely keeps the status quo with our board.  Bills were required to be heard by midnight May 11, to still have time to move through the process.  Ours was scheduled to be heard next when the clock struck twelve.

 

We are now hearing reports that HB 3302 was targeted by the Freedom Caucus.  This is the extreme right wing of the Republican party, and their agenda is often to disrupt the process as much as they can in order to promote their opposition to Government.  They are frustrated with their own party at what they believe is the lack of attention to bills that would restrict women’s reproductive rights and promote greater access to firearms. (Texas Tribune article on the Freedom Caucus’ intentions last night here.) 

 

HB 3302 also contains the Texas Department of Transportation, Teacher Retirement System of Texas, Texas Real Estate Commission, Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners, as well as many other boards and agencies.  It’s a key bill, and by disrupting its passage, the Freedom Caucus may be hoping to have Governor Abbott call a Special Session in order to get their issues heard.

However, there is still a Senate Sunset safety net bill, SB 310 by Senator Van Taylor, that has time to move through the process.  It will take a lot of work, and still must get through any stalling tactics the Freedom Caucus plans for it on the House side, but NASW/TX and our partners will work hard for its passage.  This is our number one priority, and it is a task we believe we can achieve.

 

We know that you may have many questions about what this means, and we will continue to keep you updated.  We are in communications with the Governor’s office, the Lieutenant Governor’s office, and leadership in the legislature about this issue.  NASW/TX will extend all of our efforts to ensure passage of a Sunset bill this session and your phone calls, emails, advocacy efforts and support have been instrumental to our work.  Thank you for your membership, and for fighting to ensure that we keep the Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners as a vital part of government.

 

The NASW/TX Government Relations Team


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