TODAY'S FAIR SHOTS - Wednesday, April 5th 2017
1-Equal Pay Day Is Much Needed in Texas
2-Trumka: As the '100 Days' Mark Nears, Trump Has Decided Whether He Really Stands With Working People
3-DeLane Adams Starts Communications Job at Machinists Headquarters
4-Columnist: Huffman's Procedural Vote, Contrary to Her Final Vote, Was Reason School Voucher Bill Passed Senate
5-A Sampling of Pre-Filed Amendments for Texas House Budget Debate
6-Senate Gives Final Approval to Anti-PLA Bill
7-ULLCO Bill Endorsements
8-Fair Shot Texas to Hold Town Hall Meeting in Houston
1. Yesterday was Equal Pay Day.
Although equal pay bills have been moved through various stages of the legislative process repeatedly in Texas, women who are paid less than men for doing the same work all too often have to look to federal law for help. Gov. Rick Perry vetoed a bill that would have changed that, and Gov. Greg Abbott has indicated he would do the same.
The United Labor Legislative Committee has endorsed bills that would improve the situation. This year, one of those bills, HB 228 by Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, got a hearing in the House Business and Industry Committee and remains pending.
NBC News posted an explanation of the origins of Equal Pay Day:
Equal Pay Day was started by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) in 1996 to highlight the gap between men and women's wages. Equal Pay Day is held every April to symbolize how far into the year women need to work to make what men did in the previous year, according to the NCPE. It is always on Tuesday to "represent how far into the next work week women must work to earn what men earned the previous week." In other words, because women earn less on average, they must work longer for the same pay.
Read more: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/what-equal-pay-day-here-s-everything-you-need-know-n741391
2. From AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka's speech yesterday at the National Press Club:
We are closing in on the first 100 days of President Trump's administration, and two very different factions have emerged. There is a Wall Street wing that undermines Donald Trump's promises to workers...and a competing wing that could win the progress working people need.
President Trump needs to decide who he stands with. The coal miners, farmers, steelworkers and other regular Americans who he promised to help in the campaign...or the Wall Street tycoons who are rigging the economy at our expense. This decision will be the single greatest test of his presidency.
Read the entire speech: https://aflcio.org/speeches/trumka-everyone-deserves-be-able-negotiate-better-wages-and-benefits
3. We were thrilled to get official word that our friend DeLane Adams, previously the Field Communications Organizer for the Southern Region of the AFL-CIO, is now Headquarters Communications Representative at the International Association of Machinists.
Adams, who provided many assists to the Texas AFL-CIO from his previous headquarters in Atlanta, joins a couple of other leaders with very close Texas connections that we are proud of: IAM President Bob Martinez and Robert Wood, head of the IAM Communications Department.
From IAM's announcement:
"DeLane Adams brings with him a great deal of experience in the cause of communicating for working people," said Martinez. "He also brings a valuable legislative and political background. We are fortunate to add his talents to the IAM communications team."
Adams comes to the IAM from the National AFL-CIO, where he worked as the Field Communications Coordinator for its southern region, which includes 13 states. He previously worked with the Georgia AFL-CIO as its communications director, and as the Legislative Director for Citizen Action/Illinois in Chicago.
He has more than two decades of experience, working throughout the country in local and national political campaigns and in county government. Adams received his bachelor's degree from Florida A&M University and graduated from Bartlett High School in Anchorage, Alaska.
4. When the Senate last week approved SB 3, a private school voucher bill, 13 senators opposed the measure in the end.
Under Senate rules, sometimes procedure matters as much if not more than substance. If one of the final-vote opponents, Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, had also opposed SB 3 at the beginning, it could not have passed that chamber, Kristin Tassin, President of the Fort Bend School District Board of Trustees, writes in Quorum Report.
From Tassin's column:
Three Republicans voted against SB3 on the final vote - Senators Seliger, Nichols, and Huffman.
However, only one of those three Republican Senators, Joan Huffman, voted "yes" on the preceding vote to suspend the regular order of business and allow SB3 to proceed.
This was actually the critical vote that allowed SB3 to survive.
No bill may move forward for a final vote unless 19 senators agree to "suspend the order of business" and advance the bill. The same 18 senators who voted for SB3 in the final vote also voted to "suspend the order of business." Senator Huffman was the 19th necessary and, ultimately, deciding vote to save SB3 and allow it to move forward for a final vote.
What is most troubling about this is that Senator Huffman stated she was against SB3 and admitted it is not good for the school districts she represents. Didn't she know SB3 had the votes to pass if brought to a final vote? If so, why would she vote to advance the bill?
Senators Seliger and Nichols stood firmly on their positions, voting against suspending the order of business and against SB3. Why didn't Senator Huffman?
The impact on Senator Huffman's students and constituents in Fort Bend ISD and Houston ISD is this: More money will be taken away from students in an already underfunded system. School districts spend money whether the student is in the seat or not because they must plan and make assumptions based on demographic data, just like the state does.
Senator Taylor and Lt. Gov. Patrick are ignoring the fact that schools have fixed costs but, more importantly, they are ignoring the fact that they already do not provide enough money to cover the millions of dollars in unfunded mandates they pass on to local taxpayers.
5. Thursday's Texas House debate on SB 1 may not be limited to how much to spend on state programs. The expected marathon session also has the potential to enter into substantive policy.
Many pre-filed amendment proposals appear to have positive policy aims from labor's viewpoint. A few examples: reducing caseloads for Child Protective Services abuse investigators (Reps. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, and Armando Walle, D-Houston), a refreshed cost-benefit study on undocumented immigrants (Rep. César Blanco, D-El Paso), prohibiting money for private school vouchers (Rep. Abel Herrero, D-Corpus Christi), no state money for the proposed border wall (Rep. Celia Israel, D-Austin), equal pay at state agencies (Rep. Ina Minjarez, D-San Antonio), prohibiting funds to privatize the foster care system (Rep. Sergio Munoz Jr., D-Palmview), barring state spending on businesses owned by a federal official (think Trump hotels; Rep. Poncho Nevárez, D-Eagle Pass), and funding to improve migrant farm housing (Rep. Ray Romero Jr., D-Fort Worth).
The Texas Tribune gets into a few of the problematical or unusual ones:
House leaders on education policy have said a controversial plan, endorsed by Senate Republicans, to subsidize private school tuition with public dollars is likely dead.
But several amendments would force House Republicans to take a vote on "school choice" issues. A proposal by state Rep. Ron Simmons, R-Carrollton, would take $20 million intended for the House's public school finance reform bill and put it toward education savings accounts for children with disabilities. Another proposal by Cain would create an education savings account program at the Texas Education Agency if private school choice legislation passes.
Still other amendments take a hardline stance against subsidizing private schools. One, by state Rep. Abel Herrero, D-Robstown, would bar public funds for "nonpublic education," including school vouchers, education savings accounts or tax credit scholarship programs. State Rep. Gary VanDeaver, R-New Boston, authored a similar amendment.
Still other proposals authored by state lawmakers seek to stir up controversy on topics too far-ranging to easily categorize. One, by state Rep. Dustin Burrows, R-Lubbock, would ban all state travel to California. Another by Cain would cut funding from the Center for Elimination of Disproportionality and Disparities, which seeks to improve health outcomes for Texans of color. And a proposal by state Rep. Celia Israel, D-Austin, would ban any state funding for the construction or maintenance of a border wall - such as the kind championed by President Donald Trump - in Big Bend National Park.
Read more: http://bit.ly/2nGDUn2
6. The Texas Senate yesterday gave final approval to the anti-Project Labor Agreement bill, SB 452 by Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills.
The measure bans PLAs that use state funds, something that has never happened before and is not contemplated.
Quorum Report's Scott Braddock quoted Texas AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Rick Levy on why SB 452 makes no sense:
...Rick Levy, Secretary-Treasurer of the Texas AFL-CIO, said this bill is just as unnecessary as the bill already passed by the Senate to ban union dues collection through automatic check deductions for certain groups.
"Preemptively banning Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) on state projects is a mistake by the Texas Legislature that will hurt taxpayers, construction workers, and contractors," Levy said.
"PLAs have been used across the country for generations to make sure projects are completed on time and on budget, while ensuring highly trained, local workers are on the job," he said. "Even blatantly anti-union companies like Walmart have utilized PLAs because they are effective. It is a shame that this senate continues to take its ideology out on Texas residents."
7. The United Labor Legislative Committee has taken positions on a couple more bills. ULLCO:
OPPOSED HB 2139 by Rep. Mike Schofield, R-Katy (companions are SB 2147 and SB 2149, each by Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston), which would create the criminal offense of organized election fraud. Though ostensibly aimed at "vote harvesting," the measure introduces an extraordinarily broad view of conspiracy theory into election law that might easily be abused by partisans; and
ENDORSED HB 2529 by Rep. Morgan Meyer, R-Dallas, which would aid in prosecution of human traffickers.
8. After a successful town hall meeting last weekend in Dallas, the Fair Shot Texas moves to Houston this weekend for a Houston Neighborhood Town Hall Meeting.
The event will take place 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, April 8, at Alief Community Center, 11903 Bellaire Blvd., in Houston.
Tired of politicians who don't care about working families? The Fair Shot Texas coalition believes every Texas family deserves a fair shot to get ahead. We are hosting a working families neighborhood town hall in Houston to get working families talking to each other on issues that make a difference...
Non Partisan, Kid friendly.
Fully Fund Neighborhood Public Schools
Raise the Minimum Wage
Protect Workers' Economic Freedom & Worker Safety
Make College More Affordable
Pass Equal Pay for Equal Work
Crack Down on Businesses That Ship Jobs Overseas
Protect Our Retirement Security