New data on the Trump effect in Texas legislative districts

This morning the Texas Tribune’s Patrick Svitek published a fascinating look at how district-by-district data suggests that Texas State legislative districts that traditionally elect GOP representatives all went to Clinton in the 2016 election, based on some newly available statistics.

District-by-district data suggests Dems might be able to go on the offensive in 2018 legislative races

From the article:

The question in those districts, like so many surrounding Trump’s election across the country, is whether the dramatic swings in 2016 were meaningful shifts that could have implications in future elections. That question is particularly pressing for the 11 Texas Republicans now representing districts that voted for Clinton, all of whom are up for re-election in 2018.

What this ultimately means going forward is that it is up to us. Yes, Texas is traditionally thought of as a deep-Red state. In reality, Texas would be more accurately described as a non-voting state.

If Donald Trump’s historical unpopularity doesn’t drive us to raise awareness of how crucial a role the state legislature and Texas state government is going to play is going to play–in gerrymandering Congressional districts, passing racist voter suppression laws, deporting millions of people and herding them into modern day internment camps, and doing away with basic civil liberties–then this will all have been a moot point. We have got to step up at the state level and fight back.

So my challenge for each visitor to this page is: talk to 3 people a day, in person, about voting for in the Texas state elections in 2018. Talk about where your representative stands on the issues.

Now is the time for Texans to demand that our state government listens to us, not wealthy GOP campaign contributors, not lobbyists, and certainly not the Trump administration.

SB25: “Eliminating the Wrongful Birth Cause of Action”

Quick take: If this is an issue you care deeply about, by all means call your representatives or testify at the hearing. There will be bigger battles ahead.

On Monday, Feb. 27 there is a public hearing at 9 a.m. in the Senate Chamber on Senate Bill 25 “Relating to eliminating the wrongful birth cause of action.” (“Cause of action” is a legal term which basically just means grounds for filing a lawsuit.)

This is an anti-abortion bill, no question. But it’s going to affect a very small percentage of women. The vast majority of abortions take place before information about potential fetal abnormalities would even be available. And SB25 doesn’t prohibit a doctor from providing information, nor does it completely protect one for withholding information.

It does shield a health care provider from one possible cause of action, but there could still be a cause of action for medical malpractice for any consequence other than abortion—like failure to provide proper prenatal care if the woman were at higher risk as a result. (For example, some spinal defects can be treated in utero.)

In other words, this bill is bad but not as bad as lots of them. Also, a woman has a legal right to an abortion with a few limits. A creative lawyer could sue on some version of denial of civil rights.

There is an argument based on fiscal responsibility to made against any bill that is almost guaranteed to lead to litigation. Huge amounts of taxpayer money has been spent on lawsuits because of legislation that is unconstitutional on its face.

Further reading:

Texas Senators Consider Wrongful Birth Law

Should wrongful birth lawsuits be permitted in Texas?

 

Protections for Trans Students Rescinded – Call Your State Reps

On Wednesday the Trump administration announced that it would be rescinding federal rules that simply allowed transgender students to use the bathroom that they choose.

So what does this announcement mean? It means that the issue is pushed back to the states, squarely into the court of Dan Patrick and Texas leaders at the local level, which is where lawsuits will likely begin.

So what are we going to do? There’s an excellent discussion of the brass-tacks way forward at the local-level here, but to summarize, this is going to require a lot of pressure on local and state lawmakers. In Texas, we can start by calling our state reps and demanding that they oppose #SB6. Aside from being needlessly cruel, there’s just no reason for it.

The Texas Tribune has an excellent, plain-English walkthrough of the language of SB6 here.

Find your State rep with this tool, and call them now.

A group called ‘Freedom Rising’ will be handing out “bathroom passes” to members of the Texas Senate today, February 23rd, at 12:30 p.m. to protest SB6.

There are also pro-transgender, anti-Trump rallies today in….

San Antoniohttps://www.facebook.com/events/1812874299035139/

Houstonhttp://www.transformhouston.org/united_against_hate_protecttranskids_rally?utm_campaign=transkids_rally&utm_medium=email&utm_source=houequality

and Dallashttps://www.facebook.com/events/183948632093196/

Also, just in case anyone still needs this to be repeated, there is no evidence whatsoever–ZERO–for the so-called ‘bathroom predator’ myth that Dan Patrick is using to support his argument for this bill. Dan Patrick’s stated goal of “keeping men out of women’s restrooms“, in short, is based on a lie.

The ‘bathroom predator’ myth has been repeatedly debunked–there’s an in-depth discussion on that here.

In fact, the bill has already been widely derided across the state by business owners, state and local law enforcement, and even the the Speaker of the Texas House himself, as wrong-headed, cruel and, just-plain-unnecessary. But now, with the Trump administration’s announcement that the decision rests with the states, it is not going away.

With an unabashed racist as Attorney General and no federal power to check them, Texas lawmakers have embarked on their own campaign of  brutal ignorance, emptiness, and cruelty, in the hopes of disguising shallow moral crusades they’re hoping to exploit for political and financial gains. By stirring up a far-right base, Dan Patrick and Greg Abbott want to ensure that the GOP is in power for decades to come. It’s time to fight back.