Wednesday, January 28, 2015

2015 UMW Legislative Event Agenda

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2015 United Methodist Women
Legislative Agenda

Almost 200 United Methodist Women from all over Texas gathered in Austin January 25-27. We studied, discussed and formulated positions on five of our most pressing issues. None of the issues are new, but all remain challenging. We prepared the following statement and hand-delivered a copy to every legislator at the Capitol.

Healthy Texas
We urge the Legislature to advance policies for affordable healthcare, including mental health and preventive health services, for the broadest possible number of Texans. This should include providing affordable insurance for working Texans, and expanding Medicaid and other existing low-income programs. We affirm our particular and historic concern for the health of women and children. We commend to lawmakers the role that social determinants, especially access to affordable, healthy food and family financial stability, play in health, and call on lawmakers to consider comprehensive health solutions.

Quality Education
The Legislature should affirm its constitutional obligation to provide high quality public education for the benefit of all children in our state. Critical legislative actions include restoring all cuts made in the last decade, providing state funding for enrollment growth, increasing teacher compensation to competitive levels, and providing full-day pre-kindergarten in all school districts. We strongly reaffirm our historic opposition to any movement toward allowing the flow of public money to private schools, including the establishment of any voucher programs.

Living Water
We urge lawmakers to prioritize our state’s water infrastructure investments around the primary principle of fair access to clean water for all Texans, and to take strong action to protect Texans from potential threats to the air, land and water that we rely on to live. We affirm the inherent worth of all creation and call on lawmakers to protect all of Texas’ natural resources.

Humane Immigration
We advocate for fair, humane policies toward immigrants in Texas, including access to necessary state permits (including drivers permits) and regulatory structures to live and work and be educated in our state. We insist that state officials respect the appropriate boundaries of federal and state responsibility concerning our national border security.

Criminal Justice
We call on legislators to guarantee fair treatment for all Texans caught up in the state’s criminal justice system, from arrest to re-entry. We have particular concerns about the grand jury process, and we urge lawmakers to lift restrictions on SNAP and other important benefits for former drug felons.

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