It’s 2019 and women’s issues are still up for debate in state houses across the United States.
Since the rise of the #MeToo Movement in 2017, women have pushed forward and demanded change in communities all over the country on a number of issues.
But in Texas there is a group of legislators who do not find protecting women and empowering survivors a priority.
Numerous legislators voted ‘no’ on 15 bills that Reform Austin tracked during the 86th session of the Texas Legislature. However, there are 12 legislators whose name show up a number of times.
Those who have voted ‘no’ on 7 or more women’s bills are Kyle Biedermann (R – Fredericksburg), Briscoe Cain (R – Deer Park), Matt Krause (R – Fort Worth), Mike Lang (R – Granbury), Mayes Middleton (R – Wallisville), Matt Schaefer (R – Tyler), Jonathan Stickland (R – Bedford), Valoree Swanson (R – Spring), Tony Tinderholt (R – Arlington), Steve Toth (R – The Woodlands), Terry Wilson (R – Marble Falls), and Bill Zedler (R – Arlington).
Woman and underage children are the most vulnerable to human trafficking. A study in 2016 found that out of 300,000 victims in Texas, 79,000 were underage. As of 2018, Texas continues at second to California on cases reported by state. Preventing human trafficking from all angles should be a priority to Texas lawmakers, but some don’t agree and continue placing them in harms way.
HB 1113 – State contract limitations and programs for sex trafficking prevention and victim treatment.
No Votes: Biedermann; Cain; Middleton; Schaefer; Stickland; Swanson; Tinderholt; Toth; Wilson.
HB 2613 – Directing forfeiture proceeds from the prosecution of trafficking-related crimes to trafficking victim services.
No Votes: Cain; Lang; Schaefer; Stickland; Tinderholt; Toth.
SB 1257 – Allow the Attorney General’s Office to prosecute human trafficking cases that occur across county lines.
No Votes: Hancock; Nichols; Watson.
Texas ranks 43rd in maternal mortality among the nation. During the 85th Special Session in 2017, lawmakers avoided addressing this problem by passing SB 17 – creating a Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force, which only continued studying an already known problem. It’s not safe to give birth in Texas and until lawmakers take action in providing mothers the health coverage needed, the problem will only continue to get worse.
HB 25 – Medicaid coverage of transportation to prenatal and postpartum doctor’s visits with children.
No Votes: Bell, C.; Biedermann; Burns; Cain; Craddick; Cyrier; Dean; Harless; Harris; Hefner; Holland; Hunter; King, P.; Krause; Landgraf; Lang; Leman; Metcalf; Middleton; Murr; Olverson; Parker; Paul; Schaefer; Stickland; Swanson; Thompson, E.; Tinderholt; Toth; Wilson; Wray; Zedler.
HB 111 – Maternal and newborn health care: pregnancy medical home pilot program, high risk maternal care coordination services pilot program, program to deliver prenatal and postpartum care through telehealth and telemedicine in rural counties.
No Votes: Biedermann; Cain; Stickland.
HB 744 – Medicaid eligibility for women after a pregnancy.
No Votes: Ashby; Biedermann; Bonnen; Buckley; Burns; Burrows; Cain; Capriglione; Craddick; Cyrier; Dean; Flynn; Frank; Harris; Hefner; Holland; Hunter; King, P.; Krause; Landgraf; Lang; Leman; Metcalf; Middleton; Murr; Noble; Oliverson; Paddie; Parker; Patterson; Paul; Price; Schaefer; Shine; Smith; Springer; Stickland; Thompson, E.; Tinderholt; Toth; Wilson; Wray; Zedler
HB 1589 – Notifying pregnant women on their eligibility for coverage under Medicaid and the Healthy Texas Women program.
No Vote: Stickland.
SB 2132 – Ensure new mothers receive proper follow-up care.
No Votes: Clardy, Dean, Lang, and Zedler
Empowering survivors of sexual assault is what began the #MeToo Movement. Survivors from all over began telling their stories to inform and empower others to speak out against it. According to the Crisis Center website, nearly 13 percent of Texans (almost 2 million people) have been sexually assaulted – 1 in 5 women and 1 in 20 men. 20 percent of college women reported experiencing an attempted or completed rape. These statistics are too high for Texas standards, but these Texas lawmakers continue giving passes and creating loopholes for the sexual predators harming individuals.
HB 449 – Requiring all Texas colleges and universities to include if a student is ineligible for re-enrollment as a result of serious code of conduct violation on their transcript.
No Votes: Bell, C.; Biedermann; Cain; Canales; Craddick, Davis, Y., Dean; Flynn; Guerra; Guillen; Harris, Hefner; Hunter, Johnson, J.D.; Klick; Krause; Lang; Metcalf, Middleton; Oliverson; Parker; Patterson; Paul; Schaefer; Sherman; Smith; Smithee; Springer; Stephenson; Stickland; Swanson; Tinderholt, Toth; White; Wilson; Zedler; Zerwas.
HB 467 – Existing continuing education programs for licensed cosmetologists to include information to spot sexual assault and domestic violence awareness holders to be able to spot signs of sexual assault and domestic violence.
No Votes: Bell, C.; Bell, K.; Biedermann; Bonnen; Burns; Cain; Capriglione; Craddick; Dean; Frank; Harris; Hefner; Holland; King, P.; Klick; Krause; Kuempel; Lambert; Landgraf; Lang; Leman; Metcalf; Middleton; Miller; Murr; Noble; Parker; Patterson; Paul; Price; Sanford; Schaefer; Smith; Springer; Stephenson; Stickland; Stucky; Swanson; Tinderholt; Toth; VanDeaver; Wilson; Zedler.
HB 1735 – Defining the policies and the consequences to students of what happens if one were to violate the guidelines of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking at school.
No Votes: Bell, C.; Bell, K.; Biedermann; Burns; Buckley; Cain; Capriglione; Craddick; Dean; Frank; Harris; Hefner; Holland; King, P.; Klick; Krause; Lang; Leman; Metcalf; Middleton; Oliverson; Patterson; Parker; Sanford; Schaefer; Smith; Springer; Stickland; Swanson; Tinderholt; Toth; Wilson; Zedler.
SB 325 – Creates a public, online registry of orders of protection arising out of domestic violence incidents.
No Votes: Schaefer; Tinderholt; Wilson; Zedler.
SB 923 – Add restrictions on the age someone is employed by or allowed on the premises of a sexually oriented business to the state’s civil nuisance abatement statute
No Votes: Buckingham; Whitmire.
Breast cancer is the second-deadliest cancer among women with the survival rate being 99 percent if it has not spread outside the breast. Early detection and regular mammograms help, yet Texas ranks 3rd in the nation for estimated new cases and expected deaths due to breast cancer as a result from lawmakers voting against common sense legislation.
HB 170 – Extending health care coverage to include breast cancer screening.
No Votes: Anderson; Buckley; Cain; Craddick; Darby; Frullo; Harless; Krause; Lang; Middleton; Patterson; Price; Schaefer; Shine; Springer; Stickland; Toth; Wilson; Wray; and Zedler.
HB 1584 – Coverage for drugs treating stage-four breast cancer.
No Votes: Biedermann; Cain; Cyrier; Flynn; Harless; Harris; Hefner; Holland; King, P.; Krause; Lang; Middleton; Schaefer; Shaheen; Springer; Stickland; Tinderholt; Wilson.
SB 325 has been signed by Governor Greg Abbott, while SB 2132 has been sent to Gov. Abbott and is awaiting his signature or to pass without his signature after 10 days.
Unfortunately, SB 1257 and SB 923, died in the House as they did not receive a record vote by the May 9th deadline.
Currently, the rest of the above House bills have been sent to the Senate without the hindrance of the ‘no’ votes from these legislators. The Senate has until May 22nd to consider these bills for their second and third reading before being able to get them to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law and go into effect.