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United Methodist Women Legislative Agenda 2016

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Texas United Methodist Women affirm the dedication of every member of the Texas Legislature. We thank you for your service to our state and we look forward to thanking you for your good work in the 85th legislative session. The following issues are key priorities for us, but they do not represent the sum of our concerns. We know that you will make decisions about vast and varied issues. We urge you to consider that everything is important because everyone is important: the decisions you make must be for the good of all people in Texas.

Healthy Texas

We urge the Legislature to advance policies to provide affordable healthcare, including mental health and preventive health services, through responsive and efficient structures, for the broadest possible number of people in Texas. This should include providing affordable insurance for working Texans, and expanding Medicaid and other existing low-income programs. We affirm our particular and historic concern for the health of women and children. We commend to lawmakers the role that social determinants, especially access to affordable, healthy food and family financial stability, play in health, and call on lawmakers to consider comprehensive health solutions.

Quality Education

The Legislature should affirm its constitutional obligation to provide high quality public education for the benefit of all children in our state. Critical legislative actions include restoring all cuts made in the last decade, providing state funding for enrollment growth, and increasing teacher compensation to competitive levels. We strongly reaffirm our historic opposition to any movement toward allowing the flow of public money to private schools, including the establishment of any voucher programs, education savings programs, or other diversion programs.

Living Water

We urge lawmakers to prioritize our state’s water infrastructure investments around the primary principle of fair access to clean water for all people in Texas, and to take strong action to protect Texans from potential threats to the air, land and water that we rely on to live. We affirm the inherent worth of all creation and call on lawmakers to protect all of Texas’ natural resources.

Religious Liberty

We encourage legislators to respect the religious diversity of our state. We insist that legislators uphold the constitutional right of every person in Texas to religious expression, including the right of faith communities to self-govern and make decisions within the context of their particular faiths and denominational structures. We urge lawmakers to reject attempts to legitimize discrimination of any kind on the basis of religion.

For more information about United Methodist Women in Texas or this legislative agenda, contact any of the following UMW Social Action Coordinators:

Ann Muir                     972-742-3167                                    North Texas Conference

Judy Wiggins                806-729-9893           Northwest Texas Conference

Elizabeth Jimenez          956-242-2185        Rio Texas Conference

Krystal Scott-West         409-365-7078          Texas Conference

Ellen Lipsey                  432-284-0584                   New Mexico Conference

Darlene Alfred              254-624-4685             Central Texas Conference