It takes just a few minutes to speak up for unhoused Texans
Many of our North Texas neighbors are struggling more than ever because of the COVID-19 pandemic and February’s winter storm. As a result, our state has seen an increase in its homeless population. Now, a bill that is moving through the Texas legislature would, in effect, criminalize homelessness by making camping in an unapproved public place a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500.
House Bill 1925 (Capriglione)—and its companion, Senate Bill 987 (Buckingham)—would cause unnecessary harm to unhoused Texans. Take a moment to think about how vital your home is to enabling your own ongoing financial security and health. If this bill passes, homeless people will receive tickets simply for sleeping outside. If they cannot pay the tickets, they’ll receive warrants, which will make it impossible for them to find a job or housing—locking them into the cycle of homelessness.
Join us in telling our state representatives that we won’t support any bill that criminalizes homeless individuals. Instead, let’s call for a humane approach to housing insecurity.
House Bill 1925 is currently in consideration with the House State Affairs Committee, whose members can be reached at the numbers below:
- Chris Paddie, Chair (Marshall): 512-463-0556
- Ana Hernandez, Vice Chair (Houston): 512-463-0614
- Matt Shaheen (Plano): 512-463-0594
- Shelby Slawson (Stephenville): 512-463-0628
- Phil King (Weatherford): 512-463-0738
- John Smithee (Amarillo): 512-463-0702
- Will Metcalf (Conroe): 512-463-0726
- Todd Hunter (Corpus Christi): 512-463-0672
- Sam Harless (Spring): 512-463-0496
- Richard Raymond (Laredo): 512-463-0558
- Eddie Lucio (Brownsville): 512-463-0606
- Joe Deshotel (Port Arthur): 512-463-0662
- Donna Howard (Austin): 512-463-0631
You can also contact your state representative to share your thoughts on the bill. Find his or her phone number here.
When you call, please share this message:
“Hi, my name is [insert name], and I am calling to ask [insert name] to vote against HB 1925. HB 1925 is inhumane and is not the answer to Texas’s problems with housing insecurity. Please vote no to criminalizing unhoused Texans who are simply surviving. Thank you for your time, and I appreciate recording my call into your records.”
Updates on Our Other Advocacy Priorities
Here are the other key legislative activities we’re monitoring:
- Last week, the Texas House voted on SB 1, which is around a $250 billion budget for the next two years. More info here.
- More than 180 organizations—including United Way Dallas—sent a letter to state leadership and the legislature asking them to support Medicaid coverage expansion. One of the budget amendments considered by the House was coverage expansion, but it did not have enough votes. More info here.
Want to help? Call your state senator and representative to ask them to support coverage expansion. If you are represented by Sen. Nathan Johnson or Rep. Julie Johnson, they are leading these efforts so if you want to call them, thank them for their efforts!
- An editorial in the Dallas Morning News highlighted the harm of HB 2432 and SB 1089, which would raise the cost of credit for Texans by making licensed loans look more like payday loans. These bills would more than double the cost of loans in the $1,500 to $2,100 range from an already high 35 percent APR to a whopping 79 percent APR minimum.
Want to help? Call members of the House Pensions, Investments & Financial Services Committee to ask them to vote NO on HB 2432.
- Speaker Phelan announced 16 criminal justice bills that have his support. Many of these bills passed the House last week. More info here.
This article was published on: Apr 28, 2021