As CPPP observes Memorial Day and the 2019 Texas Legislative session wraps up, we offer three “Top 5” lists to provide some perspective on lawmakers’ track record over the last 140 days.
These lists are specific to CPPP’s priorities — ensuring health and wellness, expanding economic opportunity and investing in Texas.
Look for more analysis from CPPP experts this summer as we study and reflect on what passed, what didn’t and what the impacts will be for Texans.
Top 5 Good Bills that Passed
- Historic bipartisan legislation that significantly limited surprise medical billing and adopted other important protections for Texans who have health insurance. New laws will also make prescription drug pricing more transparent and provide stronger standards for freestanding emergency rooms.
- Passed significant school finance legislation that invests in public schools, teachers, and supports low-income students and early education.
- Provided a break for Texans struggling to pay back student loans and changed high school equivalency test rules to remove a significant barrier to postsecondary education for adult learners .
- Expanded transparency guidelines to help Texans find out where public funds are going.
- Invested part of the Economic Stabilization Fund to address critical needs in education and other areas.
Top 5 Worst Bills that (Fortunately) Died
- A much-touted and deeply unpopular proposal to raise sales taxes for all Texans in order to address property taxes.
- A xenophobic, last-minute budget maneuver to put $100 million more public funds toward militarization efforts along the U.S. / Mexico border.
- A zombie, arbitrary, unnecessary spending cap proposal that comes back every session.
- A slate of extreme bills that would have prohibited towns, cities and counties from passing basic worker protections like paid sick days.
- A shortsighted proposal that would have led to higher rates of hunger among Texans.
Top 5 Missed Opportunities
- State leaders failed to address the fact that Texas has the nation’s worst uninsured rate for kids, the nation’s worst uninsured rate for women of childbearing age — with often devastating consequences for moms and babies — and the nation’s worst uninsured rate for adults. Bills to extend the length of Medicaid maternity coverage to a year after birth, and to accept roughly $8 billion a year in federal funds to cover working poor adults were shut down. Children’s health coverage was delayed in the House and then denied in the Senate, so thousands of eligible kids will continue to be denied coverage. Returning children’s Medicaid policy to continuous coverage would have provided 6 months of continuous eligibility and would have eliminated inaccurate and excessive income checks.
- A number of strong reforms to Medicaid Managed Care, in response to a 2018 expose, will become law, but the Legislature stopped short of adopting some of the most important protections for patients and accountability measures for insurers.
- Census funding to a complete and accurate count of Texas residents would have helped Texas get the right amount of federal funds for public services, provide accurate data to business esand gain congressional representation. All Texans will lose out from an inaccurate count.
- Devoting over $5 billion of the big new school finance law to “buying down” school property taxes was the wrong priority, especially since the state commitment gets even bigger after 2021. The new law also lacks a sustainable source of funding for our schools in the future, which will put more pressure on other parts of the budget.
- There are plenty of ways to generate revenue to support public schools, health care, parks, libraries, highways and other services Texans need. From closing loopholes to updating formulas, lawmakers missed many chances to provide sustainable funding.
Stay tuned for more analysis and wrap-ups from CPPP, and thank you for your engagement during your Texas legislative session.