The bathroom bill has a little-dog-with-a-big-bark quality in common with legislation that purports to end payroll deductions for union and non-union public employees. Proponents make it sound like lawmakers are going to stop all of the unions from weaseling into government payrolls to collect dues. Whether or not you agree with the concept, that would be an understandable policy position. But that's not what this bill does. The legislation would still allow police, fire and other first responders to pay their union dues with automatic payroll deductions; it would just cut out the other government employees - the ones the sponsors don't like.

   The bathroom bill has a big bark, too. The pitch is that restrooms - women's restrooms in particular - would be made more dangerous if transgender persons who identify as female were allowed to pee there.

   Here's a bombshell: Many of them pee there now.

   So as policy, this might not make sense. The politics are easier to understand.

  --  Ross Ramsey of the Texas Tribune, discussing similarities between SB 13, the bill that would take away the freedom of public employees to voluntarily support labor organizations through payroll deduction, and SB 6, the so-called "bathroom bill."

Read more: https://www.texastribune.org/2017/02/27/analysis-bathroom-bill-politics-disguised-policy/

TODAY'S FAIR SHOTS 

1. Senator Lambastes Students for Criticizing Private School Voucher Proposal

2. ULLCO Opposes Child Protection Privatization Bill

3. CWA Local 6132 Fights for a Fair Contract

4. Workers Defense Project to Hold 'Day of the Fallen' on Wednesday


1. Patty Quinzi of Texas AFT sends word of a video posted on Facebook of Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas, who raised his voice to berate a group of students. Those students had the temerity to question the senator's support of vouchers that would steer your tax dollars away from under-funded neighborhood public schools toward private schools that are not accountable to taxpayers.

  "That is the most selfish thing I've ever heard," Huffines told one student who described vouchers as being for "upper class" students, according to a video of the event. "What are y'all scared of?"

  I have the answer to what these students are scared of: Absolutely nothing. Standing up to a state senator on an issue of great importance and capturing his reaction for posterity are the essence of bravery.

Senator Don Huffines - Photo from Dallas Observer

Senator Don Huffines - Photo from Dallas Observer

  Rather than describe Huffines's tone, I'll rely on the belief that the video is worth 1,000 interpretations. See it at this link: http://bit.ly/2m4Dqtk

  Then do something: Texas AFT has posted a link that enables you to tell your lawmakers to oppose private school vouchers. Sign on here:

  https://actionnetwork.org/letters/stop-taxpayer-money-going-to-private-schools

2.  The United Labor Legislative Committee today OPPOSED HB 6, which would privatize major elements of the state's foster care system.

   ULLCO generally opposes privatization proposals, but HB 6 appears more than most not to have been carefully vetted, especially given the chronic starvation of Child Protective Services in the state budget.

   There is every reason to believe a private company that would carve out profit in its business model would fall well below Texas's dismal standard of oversight. What the state needs to do is upgrade its program, including higher pay for dedicated CPS workers facing overwhelming caseloads.

3. CWA Local 6132 Pickets for a Fair Contract - WATCH THE VIDEO! 

4. Our friends at the Workers Defense Project will hold their biennial "Day of the Fallen" to commemorate construction deaths in Texas this Wednesday, March 1.

  The organization will rally, march and lobby for better laws aimed at preventing deaths on the job.

   From our social media materials, courtesy of Digital Strategist Mark Maldonado:

  This Wednesday, March 1st, please join Workers Defense Project to show your support for working families. Day of the Fallen is a March and Lobby day in support of the men and women who build our state. A worker dies in the Texas construction industry every 3 days.

  Texas is one of the most deadly and dangerous states for construction workers to work in the country, but Workers Defense Project is working to change this.

  Workers Defense Project conducts a statewide lobby day each legislative session where WDP members and allies visit the offices of all 150 legislators, the Governor and the Lieutenant governor in favor of the organization's legislative agenda. The Lobby Day is on Wednesday, March 1st from 10am-3pm and includes training.

  Please register at this link for Lobby Day: http://bit.ly/2lhS3oq

Protect Safe Workers.jpg

  In conjunction with our 2017 lobby day, Workers Defense Project will also hold a march at to remember the workers who have been injured and killed building our state and to engage a broad base of supporters. This year will mark the fourth Day of the Fallen and it is as critically important as ever to highlight the dangerous conditions that Texas workers face and to call for Texas to do more to protect them.

When/Where:

 Lobby Day Location: Wednesday, March 1st- 10am @ Texas AFLCIO, 1106 Lavaca Street. 

 Rally/March Location: Wednesday, March 1st - 4pm @ 903 San Jacinto, JJ Pickle Building, Austin