Current Actions

4-6 minute read

Actions to take the week of March 1

1. House Appropriations Committees

The House Appropriations Committee will continue taking input on Health & Human Services (Article 2 in the budget) through Monday, March 1. Call or email each member of House Appropriations and ask them to address any or all of the items below. You can also submit your comments through the House Public Comment form.

Sample language

Use or modify the sample language below, or come up with your own words. Introduce yourself and tell them you are calling or emailing in regards to "Article 2" or "Health and Human Services." Identify if you are a constituent (look up your reps) or have a personal short statement.

Issue Explanation & CTD recommendation Sample language
Community attendant wages The base wage is $8.11 per hour for most community programs. We advocate increasing the wage to $15 per hour. “People with disabilities can’t find attendants when the corner taco stand pays so much more. The wage should go to $15 per hour.”
Community waiver interest list This is the “waitlist,” the nation’s largest and longest. Over 165,000 individuals with disabilities are on the list. The current proposal is to fund 1,756 new waiver “slots” per year, meaning a Texan joining the interest list now would be looking at a wait of 93 years. We advocate a reasonable 10% per year, or funding of 16,500 slots per year. “We now have an interest list for Medicaid waiver services that is longer than the life span of those waiting. People with significant disabilities should not be forced to submit to institutionalization to get need services.”
Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) Called ECI by most everyone, these services are proven successful for kids with disabilities from 0-3. Texas underfunds ECI and is out of compliance with federal regulations. We advocate funding of a least $450 per month per child. “ECI is a bargain. Kids receiving ECI have a high rate of avoiding the need for special education services and become better students, employees, and community members. My son really benefitted…or…my grandson has not been able to get ECI.”

House Appropriations contact information

Committee member Phone # Email
Chair Rep. Greg Bonnen 512-463-0729 greg.bonnen@house.texas.gov
Vice Chair: Rep. Mary E. González 512-463-0613 mary.gonzalez@house.texas.gov
Rep. Trent Ashby 512-463-0508 trent.ashby@house.texas.gov
Rep. Cecil Bell 512-463-0650 cecil.bell@house.texas.gov
Rep. Giovanni Capriglione 512-463-0690 giovanni.capriglione@house.texas.gov
Rep. Jay Dean 512-463-0750 jay.dean@house.texas.gov
Rep. Alex Dominguez 512-463-0640 alex.dominguez@house.texas.gov
Rep. Gary Gates 512-463-0657 gary.gates@house.texas.gov
Rep. Justin Holland 512-463-0484 justin.holland@house.texas.gov
Rep. Donna Howard 512-463-0631 donna.howard@house.texas.gov
Rep. Ann Johnson 512-463-0389 ann.johnson@house.texas.gov
Rep. Jarvis D. Johnson 512-463-0554 jarvis.johnson@house.texas.gov
Rep. Julie Johnson 512-463-0468 julie.johnson@house.texas.gov
Rep. Ina Minjarez 512-463-0634 ina.minjarez@house.texas.gov
Rep. Geanie W. Morrison 512-463-0456 geanie.morrison@house.texas.gov
Rep. John Raney 512-463-0698 john.raney@house.texas.gov
Rep. Toni Rose 512-463-0664 toni.rose@house.texas.gov
Rep. Matt Schaefer 512-463-0584 matt.schaefer@house.texas.gov
Rep. Carl O. Sherman, Sr. 512-463-0953 carl.sherman@house.texas.gov
Rep. Lynn Stucky 512-463-0582 lynn.stucky@house.texas.gov
Rep. Ed Thompson 512-463-0707 ed.thompson@house.texas.gov
Rep. Steve Toth 512-463-0797 steve.toth@house.texas.gov
Rep. Gary VanDeaver 512-463-0692 gary.vandeaver@house.texas.gov
Rep. Armando Walle 512-463-0924 armando.walle@house.texas.cov
Rep. Terry M. Wilson 512-463-0309 terry.wilson@house.texas.gov
Rep. Gene Wu 512-463-0492 gene.wu@house.texas.gov
Rep. Erin Zwiener 512-463-0647 erin.zwiener@house.texas.gov

Download House Appropriations contact info as an .xlsx spreadsheet

Tips for calling or emailing a legislator

  1. Be sure to say in your communication if you are a constituent of a particular committee member (look up your reps).
  2. Real life stories are great! If you have a personal story related to an issue, briefly tell it. Examples: “My daughter has been on the waiting list for ____ years.”  “My family member has a hard time getting an attendant to work on Medicaid wages.”
  3. If applicable, tell your legislator what IS working, not just want you want to change. Tell them what you appreciate and want to keep about a program or law.
  4. Network with other advocates to stay informed and motivated.
  5. If you have them, use attention-getting statistics.

What happens when you email or call a legislator?

When you write an email, you may not get an answer. If you call and talk to a legislative office, the staffer may take your name and why you call. As a result, you may feel your voice was not heard. This is not the case. Staff tracks communications like the number of emails, phone calls, and letters on an issue. This will be shared with the legislator and can often influence her or him. Every legislative session, there are bills passed that were unexpected—and in many cases that was the result of emails and phone calls. In 2021, as in-person office visits are expected to be dramatically decreased, calls and emails will be critical communication channels to your elected representatives!

2. Tell your winter storm story

There will be one more hearing on the winter storm: the Senate Committee on Jurisprudence will meet to discuss "the legal responsibilities that ERCOT and the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) owe to the people of Texas" (see full hearing notice). This hearing was scheduled for March 4, but it has been rescheduled. The new date will be posted here as soon as it's been set.

Use our form to contact the Chair & Vice Chair of the committee to make sure the voices of Texans with disabilities are a part of their discussions.

3. Support Inclusive Child Care bill

HB 168 (Mary González) would improve partnerships between child care providers and Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) programs to better serve children with developmental delays and disabilities. HB 168 has been referred to the House Human Services committee. Use our form to contact your Rep and ask them to support HB 168 for a hearing.

@TXDisabilities