1-Lara: There Are So Many Higher Priorities Than 'Bathroom Bill'
2-Union Retirees: Republican 'Repeal and Replace' Proposal Would Be 'Disaster'
3-Today Is International Women's Day
4-Labor Mourns Roosevelt Henderson, a Key Labor and Civil Rights Activist in Galveston
1. Late last night, Senate Bill 6 passed out of the Senate State Affairs Committee with a 7-1 vote. The committee heard from hundreds of witnesses who were signed up to testify.
The United Labor Legislative Committee opposes the measure. Texas AFL-CIO Legislative Director René Lara was to delivered this prepared testimony:
Senate Bill 6, the so-called "Bathroom Bill," prohibits local governments from adopting an ordinance relating to who may use a bathroom.
The Texas AFL-CIO opposes discrimination against working people in any form. We support the members of our recently formed Texas Pride at Work chapter who are members of the LGBTQ community. They too are concerned about improving wages, benefits and working conditions for all Texans. In short, we all want a fair shot at making a good living in this economy.
This bill has been given a low-number designation commonly associated with legislation of major importance. We disagree with the priority given to this bill. We would rank a host of other issues above SB 6 in order of higher importance to working Texans. For example:
- Raising Wages, Starting with the Minimum Wage
- Pensions and Retirement Security
- Health Care Expansion
Texas bathrooms are not a policy problem. Why are we even discussing this? Plenty of real challenges face our state. We find ourselves sharing the business community's concern that this bill threatens jobs.
Today, the members of this committee are hearing plenty of excellent testimony on the flaws of Senate Bill 6. So, I only add this: Why can't we get a Senate hearing on a bill to increase the minimum wage but this bathroom bill gets a hearing PLUS a high-priority designation?
2. It should come as no surprise that even the folks who promised to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act are having trouble finding a path that has the votes to pass.
Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, offers some reasons why the newly unveiled House GOP proposal is getting slammed from both the left and the right:
"After seven years Republicans have finally shown us what their repeal of Obamacare looks like. It would be a disaster for older and working Americans and for our health care system.
"The bill repeals the increase in the Medicare payroll tax for high earners. That will reduce the solvency of the Medicare Trust Fund by 4 years, from 2029 to 2025. This is an insult to the fifty-seven million Medicare beneficiaries who have earned their guaranteed Medicare benefits, and many millions more who contribute to Medicare expecting it to be there when they retire.
"The bill also cuts federal funding for Medicaid by $560 billion over 10 years. Cuts of this magnitude will force states to make deep cuts in the number of people who receive benefits, or the amount of health care provided. Over 70 million beneficiaries rely on Medicaid, including almost 6 million seniors who depend on it for their nursing home and home care services. The GOP's message is, 'Sorry, you're out of luck.'
"Republicans have topped this off by changing the age rating for older Americans from 3:1 to 5:1, or even greater in some states. Enabling insurers to charge older Americans that much more will greatly increase costs for people over the age of 50."
3. Today is International Women's Day, the AFL-CIO reports:
On Wednesday, March 8, International Women's Day, women across the world are taking action to call attention to the contributions we make every day in our workplaces, homes and communities.
This year, the organizers of the Women's March on Washington have called for a day of action called, "A Day Without a Woman." https://www.womensmarch.com/womensday/...
The goal of this day is to "highlight the economic power and significance that women have in the U.S. and global economies, while calling attention to the economic injustices women and gender nonconforming people continue to face."
Do something! See the actions the AFL-CIO suggests:
4. The Texas AFL-CIO was saddened to learn of the death of Roosevelt Henderson, a former leader of the A. Philip Randolph Institute in Galveston and a pillar of the civil rights and political communities for many years.
Henderson, 81, was the brother of the late Johnnie Henderson, who some of you may remember as a former Director of Human Relations at the Texas AFL-CIO.
Texas AFL-CIO President John Patrick said Roosevelt Henderson's influence on Democratic politics in Galveston was important in advancing civil rights and labor rights. Lee Medley, a long-time labor activist in Galveston, said Henderson's wisdom and demeanor guaranteed he would have the ear of people in power who might not necessarily agree with his politics. Medley added that Henderson was one of his mentors as he learned the ropes in the labor movement.
"He was one of the people that every politician would want to see when running for office," Medley said.
The Texas AFL-CIO offers our condolences to the Henderson family.
From the funeral program:
In the 1960s he joined his brother, Johnnie Henderson, and others in the civil rights movements that were taking place. He participated in marches, non-violent protests, boycotts and sit-ins with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Julian Bond, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Founder of PUSH, Benjamin Hooks, Congressman John Lewis and many others. He was a Golden Heritage member of the NAACP and was affiliated with the Mainland Branch NAACP #6201 where he served as President for several terms; President of A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI), member of Texas AFL-CIO, and he also served as Executive Board member to the above named organizations and received many awards and recognitions. In 2017 he was designated as Elder of the Greater Barbour's Chapel Church.