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2017 Texas Impact Legislative Priorities

Resource Type: 
Policy Resources
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Texas Impact Board of Directors

Texas Impact's legislative agenda reflects the consensus convictions of representatives from Texas Impact member organizations, and reaffirms our commitment to advance state public policies that are consistent with universally held social principles of the Abrahamic traditions. Member organizations represent more than two-dozen Christian, Jewish, and Muslim denominational bodies, as well as hundreds of local congregations, ministerial alliances, and interfaith networks, and thousands of people of faith throughout Texas.


Texas Impact Legislative Priorities for 2017

Civic Participation

  • Direct the Secretary of State to implement a campaign to increase Texas’ voter participation to at least the national average by 2018. 
  • Extend the length of the state’s early voting period.
  • Implement online voter registration.
  • Mandate “any location” voting for all counties.

Criminal Justice

  • End the use of the death penalty in Texas.
  • End the use of private prisons in Texas.
  • Maintain the state’s commitment to criminal justice reform, including evidence-based programs that reduce recidivism and promote successful reentry.

Disaster and Displacement

  • Strengthen communication and collaboration between government agencies and faith and community-based organizations to improve effective responses to all hazards.
  • Direct state agencies to estimate and plan for costs attributable to climate change, such as those associated with natural disasters.

Energy

  • Require Texas’ electric reliability plans to include strong consumer-directed energy conservation measures, structured to provide accountability in their savings to the grid and to consumers. 
  • Increase funding for environmental enforcement. 

Family Violence

  • Foster local and regional partnership approaches to assure that services and supports for family violence victims are accessible in all parts of the state.
  • Direct funding to victim and offender interventions that have proven records of success.

Financial Services

  • Adopt uniform, statewide regulation of alternative lenders. 
  • Encourage traditional lenders to expand banking services in low-income communities. 

Fiscal Policy

  • Propose a constitutional amendment authorizing a state personal income tax. 
  • Reduce budget distortions attributable to arbitrary spending caps. 

Food Security

  • Strengthen access to affordable healthy food in disadvantaged communities.
  • Strengthen application and enrollment systems for nutrition assistance programs. 

Foster Care

  • Adopt and fund reforms to implement federal court requirements for the state’s foster care system.

Health Care

  • Take all necessary steps to make federally subsidized health coverage options available to every Texan who meets federal eligibility standards.

Immigration and Border Security

  • Reject proposals to co-opt health, education, or human service providers or faith communities into immigration enforcement. 
  • Protect Texans’ health and safety by establishing limited drivers’ licenses or permits for undocumented residents. 

Mental Health

  • Provide incentives for local governments to provide crisis intervention training to first responders and community-based organizations.

Open Government

  • Give voters clear and complete information about policy influencers such as campaign contributors and lobbyists. 
  • Increase transparency regarding all forms of campaign funding and spending.
  • Prohibit former legislators from lobbying for two years after their departure from office. 

Public Education

  • Reestablish the state’s historic commitment to fund a set share of the cost of public education including the cost of enrollment growth. 
  • Reject policy proposals that would divert funds assessed under provisions of the public school finance system to non-public education providers or services, unless those providers are held to the exact same requirements and restrictions as public schools. 

Religious Freedom

  • Prevent state policies and programs from giving preference to one faith relative to other faiths or no faith at all.
  • Prevent state policies and programs from forcing any individual to act against their conscience unless there is a compelling state interest.
  • Prevent adherents of any faith from harming non-adherents as an expression of faith.

Water

  • Affirm and strengthen the state’s locally driven water planning process.
  • Prioritize water conservation planning and support water conservation initiatives in the regional water planning process. 
  • Fund the Texas Water Development Board sufficiently to meet its water planning responsibilities. 
  • Ensure that affordable water is available to all Texans and prevent water from becoming a speculative commodity. 
  • Account for both human and non-human considerations in the regional planning process and water ratemaking processes.