The regular session of the 88th Texas legislature has come to an end, and we are overwhelmed by the level of engagement and enthusiasm we saw from our fellow North Texas advocates this year.
At United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, our team worked closely with hundreds of dedicated change-seekers to speak up and speak out for meaningful change in our focus areas of education, income and health. And over the 140 days of the session, advocates like you stood up for our community, educated lawmakers and called attention to policies that will have a real impact in the lives of our fellow North Texans.
Thank you to everyone who was part of our advocacy efforts over the last several months. Here’s just a snapshot of our collective impact this session:
We identified several opportunities to connect lawmakers directly with our advocates, our United Way team and the people in the North Texas community:
Lawmakers introduced more than 11,800 bills this session. Our team closely tracked 166 pieces of legislation that would directly impact our Aspire United 2030 goals so we could quickly and efficiently rally our advocates when these key bills were being considered.
Throughout the legislative session, the Live United movement truly united around the issues that matter most in our community. Our group of dedicated advocates grew to 907 this year—and many of these change-seekers were advocating for the first time. We are so grateful to everyone who was a part of this inspiring effort.
Our team sent a total of 17 Action Alerts this session, notifying our subscribers of important updates on our legislative priorities to let advocates know exactly how and when to contact their representatives to make the biggest impact possible. This collective advocacy is the best way to call attention to specific bills that may otherwise get overlooked.
Meanwhile, we also developed Action Alerts for the various coalitions we help lead, especially the Texas Fair Lending Alliance to protect the payday and auto-title lending ordinances. And we highlighted and directed calls to important legislation that our partners were championing, including HB 12 (which extends Medicaid coverage to postpartum mothers to 12 months) and HB 77 (which decriminalized a child voluntarily running away from home).
Our advocacy work also involves providing North Texans with context about our legislative priorities that enables them to have a full picture of complex issues around education, income and health. Over the last year, that involved:
Through our community impact work, our team at United Way has extensive experience and expertise on the challenges and opportunities impacting education, income and health in North Texas. This year, we were able to leverage that expertise in several ways:
Thanks to dedicated advocates like you, this session we had key wins in education, income and health:
Gov. Greg Abbott has until June 18 to sign or veto legislation passed this session. Advocates are waiting to celebrate their wins until after this veto period, so let’s try to not call attention to our issues or wins just yet.
Gov. Abbott called a special legislative session last week, which is already underway and deals with property taxes and border security. The governor has indicated that he will likely call several special sessions, though the topics are unknown at this time.
At United Way, we’ll continue to monitor education, income and health issues that are raised during these special sessions. Please watch for additional Action Alerts from United Way in the coming months so we can continue to speak up and speak out together to improve access to education, income and health in North Texas.
Although the regular session has ended, there’s still work to be done. Join us as we speak up and speak out—together—on the issues that impact North Texas. Sign up for our Advocacy Alerts, and we’ll let you know when and how to contact your elected officials.