Health Care: Take Action Now!

This week on Capitol Hill, there’s been a lot of talk about the Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill, the Republicans’ latest scheme to repeal Obamacare.

I know that it’s hard to keep track of all the proposals the Republicans in Washington have been floating around; however, according to every report I’ve read, this may be, by far, the most harmful plan yet.

According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, if Graham-Cassidy becomes law, those with low to moderate incomes, Medicaid recipients (read: seniors, people with disabilities and families with children), and people with pre-existing conditions will be the most negatively impacted. Based on Congressional Budget Office calculations of a previous measure, it’s estimated that a repeal-and-replace plan like Graham-Cassidy could mean 32 million people would lose healthcare coverage.

That’s clearly unacceptable – and that many people losing health coverage simply means that health care costs will skyrocket for everyone as health care providers provide more and more uncompensated care.  If that’s not concerning enough, the federal government will give states block grants and control of how the money is spent, the power to determine what will be covered and how much that coverage will cost. There are several problems with this. Among them, block grants would disappear after 2026, leaving states to fully cover the cost, unless Congress reauthorizes the funding. Even worse, block grants will give state leaders the power to decide whether or not insurance companies have to cover pre-existing conditions, mental health care, substance abuse and maternity care.

I am afraid of what Texas’ leaders would do with the money. Our current governor has been very vocal in his opposition to the Affordable Care Act and has refused to expand Medicaid, which would insure another 1 million Texans. That’s compounded by the fact that our state has a long history of failure when it comes to healthcare.

For example:

  • Two years ago, Texas Republicans directed the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to slash spending for acute therapy services for kids, resulting in thousands of children being denied access to speech, occupational and physical therapy.
  • In 2003, Republicans passed a bill that made it harder for lower-income working families to get CHIP health coverage for their kids. As a result, in the three years after the bill was signed into law, 215,729 children lost access to their health coverage.  To add insult to injury, the bill required the privatization of the implementation of the program, at a cost over nearly $1 billion that resulted in scandal and fiscal mismanagement.

It’s important to point out that it’s not just Democrats who oppose the Graham-Cassidy bill; many Republicans do too. Several Republican and Democratic governors have sent a letter calling on Senate leadership to shelve the Graham-Cassidy measure and instead work toward a bipartisan solution.

I hope more Republicans lend their voice in opposition and soon. This bill is on the fast track.

What can you do to help stop this assault on health care? Join me in contacting Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz to tell them to oppose Graham-Cassidy.

U.S. Senator John Cornyn
North Texas Office
(972) 239-1310
Washington, DC Office
(202) 224-2934

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz
North Texas Office
(214) 599-8749
Washington, DC Office
(202) 224-5922

This is a bad bill for Texas and for people across our nation. Let’s make our voices heard.

 

Paying for College Events

Please Join
State Representative Chris Turner
For a Paying for College Seminar

Tuesday, September 26
6:00 to 7:30 PM
Seguin High School (Cafeteria)
7001 Silo Rd, Arlington
OR
Wednesday, September 27
6:00 TO 7:30 pm
Timberview High School (Auditorium)
7700 S Watson Rd, Arlington

Representatives from UT-Arlington & TCC will share information on:
Federal College Financial Aid
State Financial Aid
Scholarships
Veterans Educational Benefits
and more!

Click here, call 817-459-2800
or email chris.turner@house.texas.gov to RSVP or for details

800,000

“Ultimately, this is about basic decency.  This is about whether we are a people who kick hopeful young strivers out of America, or whether we treat them the way we’d want our own kids to be treated.  It’s about who we are as a people – and who we want to be.”

– President Barack Obama, September 5, 2017

Yesterday, President Trump’s administration announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, commonly known as DACA. This decision is cruel, heartless and un-American.

What will this mean for those impacted and for our nation and the state of Texas? Here are some facts:

  •     The number of young men and women in jeopardy of being deported: 800,000

  •     The number of Texans in jeopardy of being deported: 124,000

  •     Texas annual GDP that could be lost: $6.3 billion

  •     Reduction in the nation’s workforce: 685,000 workers

  •     United States’ GDP lost during next 10 years: $460.3 billion

Another important fact: the average age of DACA recipients when brought to this country is 6.5 years old.

Put yourself in the shoes of one of the 800,000 young men or women (66 percent of DACA recipients are women).

Imagine being a child brought to this country at two years old. You were taught English in neighborhood public schools and it may be the only language you know. You graduated high school and received a college degree after years of hard work, and because of DACA, you have been able to work and build a successful career. You pay taxes, you own a home, you volunteer and you help your neighbors.

Now imagine all of that gone.

Your hope for future citizenship in the only country you’ve ever known has been replaced with fear of deportation and being sent back to a country that is foreign to you. You have no family there, you have no friends there. Your career is gone. Your house is gone. You are separated from everyone and everything you know.

This is the new reality many men and women could face, all because the Trump Administration decided to bow down to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and others who threatened to sue the federal government if DACA was not repealed by September 5th. Paxton and his allies got their wish and now thousands of our neighbors will be punished.

Where do we go from here? Congress needs to act quickly and do the right thing. They have the opportunity to reverse this wrong and show these young people, brought here through no fault of their own, that America still remains a land of opportunity.

Chris

P.S. If you’d like to discuss DACA and other important issues impacting our community, please join me at a Town Hall on Saturday, September 16th from 1:00 to 2:30 PM at the Arlington Municipal Airport, 5000 S. Collins, ArlingtonClick here to RSVP.

How to Help

UPDATE: Currently, there is an immediate need for bleach, child diapers and adult diapers in communities served by County Commissioner, Precinct 1. Commissioner Rodney Ellis and Rep. Garnet Coleman have requested items to help their constituents in need. We have created and will maintain an Amazon list to ship items to the areas in need. The list will be updated as needs change. Items purchased will ship directly to the Precinct 1 office in Southeast Houston for distribution in the community. Thank you for your help!

LINK TO THE AMAZON LIST: http://a.co/1V9D4wC

Our friends and neighbors in the greater Houston area, south and central Texas need our help. Thousands of Texans are being evacuated to North Texas and there will be a tremendous need during the next days, weeks and months to help these women, men and children.

To help, my office will be accepting the following items for donation at our district office, located at 320 Westway Place, Suite 501, Arlington. Please call 817-459-2800 prior to visiting to ensure that staff is available. We will be accepting the following items:

  • Gift Cards
  • Toiletries
  • Diapers
  • Baby Wipes
  • New Socks
  • New Underwear
**Please do not bring clothing items not listed**


In addition, to help direct donations, my office has compiled the following list of organizations accepting monetary or other donations.

VOLUNTEER
Call 2-1-1 or volunteer with the Red CrossSalvation Army, or visit this website to help at the Dallas Convention Center shelter 

Voly.org
Website

MAKE DONATIONS
Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund (Greater Houston Community Foundation)
Website

Hurricane Harvey Community Relief Fund (Texas Organizing Project)
Website

Dallas Help for Harvey
Website

Mission Arlington (Designated drop-off location)
Website
210 W South St, Arlington, TX
Accepting food, toiletries, water, towels, gas money, diapers, wet wipes

Grand Prairie City Hall (Designated drop-off location)
Website
317 College St. Grand Prairie, Texas 75050

American Red Cross
Website
1-800-REDCROSS
Text “HARVEY” to 90999 to make a $10 donation

Trusted World (Designated drop-off location)
From 3:00 to 8:00 pm daily
15660 N Dallas Parkway, Dallas, TX 75248
Items needed: new underwear, new socks, new warmups, toiletries and hygiene products, baby formula and baby wipes, bottles, diapers

The Salvation Army
Website
1-800-SAL-ARMY
Text “STORM” to 51555

Save the Children
Website

North Texas Food Bank
Website

Catholic Charities USA
Website

National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster
Website

Global Giving
Website

Texas Diaper Bank
Website

Portlight
Website

Direct Relief USA
Website

City Grand Prairie
Donation Drop Off (August 31 until 5 pm and September 1 until noon)
Sealed Air
2401 Dillard St.
Grand Prairie, TX 75051

GoodWill Industries of Fort Worth
Website
Donated items can be dropped off at any Fort Worth location
Items requested: baby diapers and formula, newly packaged socks and underwear, blankets and towels, plus-sized clothing

Chef’s Produce
Website
Donation Drop Off (Leaving for Houston Sept 1 at noon)
1654 Terre Colony Ct.
Dallas, TX 75212
Items requested: diapers, baby wipes, formula, toothbrushes/toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, non-perishable food, water, Gatorade, gift cards and cash.

Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church
Website
Meal Packing (Saturday September 2 from 9am to 1pm)
9800 Preston Road
Dallas, TX 75230

United Way of Tarrant County
Website

Union Gospel Mission of Tarrant County
Website
1321 E. Lancaster
Fort Worth, TX 76102
Items requested: Soap, body wash, shampoo and conditioner, new toothbrushes and toothpaste, razors, deodorant

Texas Workers Relief Funds
Website
Make checks payable to Texas AFL-CIO
P.O. Box 12727
Austin, TX 78711
(512) 477-6195

St. Johns Church
Website
1701 West Jefferson
Grand Prairie, TX 75051
(972) 264-1483
Items requested: diapers, infant formula, baby wipes, hair care products, hygiene items, new socks, new bras and t-shirts, new boxers, briefs, panties, and snacks.

Orphan Care Solutions
Website

DONATE BLOOD
Carter Bloodcare
800-366-2834
Text “DONATE4LIFE” to 444999

HELP DISPLACED PETS/ANIMALS
Humane Society of North Texas
Website

SPCA of Texas
Website

We will be regularly updating the list of organizations seeking help on my website and on through social media via Facebook.

Finally, if you or your family are in need of help as a result of this devastating storm, please call 2-1-1 or our office at 817-459-2800 

 

#TXLEGE in Review, Part 1

It’s so good to be home. To be perfectly honest, I was happy to see Austin in my rearview mirror when I was driving up I-35 on Tuesday. There is a lot to say about what happened in this just-concluded legislative session, and I won’t try to say it all in one email. There was some good, but a lot more bad.

I have always said my most important job is to work for our district. So, I will start my recap there and let you know some of the things we worked on for the benefit of Arlington and Grand Prairie.

SH 360: The Rosa Parks Memorial Parkway

First and foremost, I am thrilled to announce that once construction is complete, the SH 360 extension from Sublett/Camp Wisdom Road to the northern Mansfield city limit will be named the Rosa Parks Memorial Parkway. Paying homage to this Civil Rights icon is an appropriate way to highlight and honor our community’s rich diversity. This effort would not have been successful without the support of so many in House District 101. The portion of the road south of District 101 will be named for former state Senator Chris Harris.

Arlington & Grand Prairie Transit Study

I successfully added language to the budget which will allow the University of Texas at Arlington to study the transit needs of the communities I serve. As you know, Arlington is the largest city in the nation without a mass transit system. Grand Prairie, and its growing population, also lacks transit. The study, which will focus on the transit needs in our community and how they may be addressed, will be completed by the end of 2018. A leading urban research university, UT Arlington is well-positioned to conduct this important study.

Mental Health

We have talked a lot over the last couple of years about the immense mental health needs in Texas.  One of the best displays of bipartisanship this session was significant mental health reforms, aimed at improving access and providing more funding for those organizations doing the important work on the front lines. I was proud to be a joint author of HB 13 by Rep. Four Price, which establishes a matching grant program for community mental health programs. I worked closely with Rep. Price to add provisions to the bill that will make the grant program more accessible for large county mental health authorities, such as MHMR of Tarrant County.

In my next email, I’ll highlight some of the work I did in the areas of ethics, education, voter rights and protecting children. I’m glad to be able to share news of these victories with you, knowing that none of them would be possible were it not for your continued support and involvement.

 

The last full measure of devotion

Today, we reflect on the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our nation and the freedoms we enjoy. We will never be able to repay the incredible debt we all owe to those who gave their lives, or to the loves ones they left behind.

Each year, on Memorial Day, I am reminded of President Lincoln’s words,“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion…”

Today is the final day of the 85th Legislative Session. It has been a long and often trying 140 days, but today, I am reminded how fortunate we are to live in a state and a nation where we can freely debate ideas.  We can’t ever take that for granted, for it is only because of the blood shed by those who have defended our nation that we are able to enjoy the liberties of the United States of America.

Discrimination

Last week, SB 4, the “show me your papers” bill was signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott. It’s surreal. It’s disgusting. 

The result of this misguided law: local law enforcement and college campus police will now serve as de facto immigration officers, driving many members of our community deeper into the shadows. This law, which was billed as a pro-public safety measure, will make our neighborhoods less safe. Don’t just take my word for it, here is what Arlington Chief of Police Will Johnson wrote about the measure in a recent editorial:

“This will lead to distrust of police, less cooperation from members of the community and the belief that they cannot seek assistance from police for fear of being subjected to an immigration status investigation.

“Distrust and fear of contacting or assisting police has already become evident among immigrants here legally as well.”

This was the concern shared by many in law enforcement before the addition of a Tea Party Republican amendment, which turned an already-bad bill into something much, much worse. As a result, Texas has now become a “show me your papers” state, the consequences of which will be felt in our neighborhoods, in our schools and colleges and reflected in our state’s economy.

Since day one, this bill has had one goal — to discriminate against a specific group of people for purely political gains.

We shouldn’t be surprised by this, as our state’s Republican leaders have a long history of passing measures found to have discriminatory intent. In just the past two months, three federal court rulings have highlighted how the Texas Legislature has systematically discriminated against minorities: 

  • March 10th ruling: Texas Congressional districts drawn in 2011 were drawn with discriminatory intent
  • April 10th ruling: Photo voter ID law was passed with a discriminatory purpose
  • April 20th ruling: 2011 Texas House district map — “map drawers were motivated in part by an intent to dilute minority voting strength”

So what’s the Republican response to these rulings?  It’s to pass measures like SB 4, further harming minorities and dividing our communities.

Chris

Photo credit: Texas AFL-CIO

New Maps Must be Drawn Immediately

Today’s ruling on the state House map proved what we’ve known all along — Republicans in the Legislature cynically and intentionally divided minority voters so Republicans could enhance their power. By doing so, Latinos and African-Americans saw their ability to elect the candidate of their choice diminished.
As the ruling clearly states, “The impact of the plan was certainly to reduce minority voting opportunity statewide, resulting in even less proportional representation for minority voters.” This is shameful and unacceptable – new maps must be drawn immediately.

Halt Investments in Russia

Today, I filed HCR 128, urging Congress to halt investments in Russia until federal investigations into election tampering and related interference have been completed.

Regardless of political party, we should all be outraged that the Russian government meddled in our presidential election. It’s time for Congress to send a strong message to Vladimir Putin and his allies that playing games with our elections comes with a price.

Since last summer, evidence has been mounting regarding Russia’s involvement in the 2016 United States presidential election.  Instances of interference include hacking the Democratic National Committee’s computer network, attacks on state voter registration systems in Arizona and Illinois, and sharing data with the controversial website, WikiLeaks.

In his March 20, 2017 testimony in front of the House Intelligence Committee, FBI Director James Comey confirmed that his agency is investigating Russia’s actions. At the hearing, Comey stated that the Russians were successful in injecting “chaos and discord” into the 2016 presidential election and that our country should expect future attempts by the Kremlin to meddle in our elections. During his testimony, Comey also indicated that his agency is investigating coordination between the Russians and the Trump Campaign.

Click here to read the full text of HCR 128. 

Lake Arlington Injection Well Hearing Request

This week, I requested the Texas Railroad Commission hold a hearing in Arlington regarding an application for a proposed fluid injection well adjacent to Lake Arlington. In response to the request, I released the following statement:

“I have heard from many members of the community who oppose the proposed injection well – for fear that its proximity to Lake Arlington could harm Arlington’s municipal and industrial water supply. Injection wells have been linked to seismic activity, which is also a concern. The people I represent deserve a chance to air their concerns at a public hearing – and not have to travel to Austin to do so. If the Railroad Commission wants to make decisions about what happens in our backyard, they should travel to our backyard and listen to the people who will be most impacted.”

If permitted, the well would inject oil and gas waste into a porous formation less than 100 feet from the edge of Lake Arlington and near the Arlington dam. Concern has been expressed that if seismic activity were to occur, and the dam breaches, flooding could have devastating effects on parts of North Texas.

To read the letter, click here: http://votechristurner.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/CTurner_RRC_HearingRequest_3.13.17.pdf

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