State Representative Chris Turner

King V. Burwell

Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of King v. Burwell. At issue is whether or not people who chose health insurance plans through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace, and not through a state-based health insurance exchange, are eligible for tax credits, which are used to defray the cost of premiums.

chouse3515Representative Turner with THA CEO/President Ted Shaw and Texans in danger of losing their tax creditsIf the Court decides in the Plaintiffs’ favor, it could be devastating for over a million Texans.

In order to provide a safety net and make sure Texans don’t lose their tax credits, I filed two pieces of legislation, HB 817 and HB 818, both of which would create a state-based health insurance exchange.

Yesterday, I hosted a press conference to discuss these measures. Texas Hospital Association President/CEO Ted Shaw joined me and helped remind those in attendance that the impact of this case spreads well beyond those who will lose coverage.

Shaw said, “Texas already leads the nation with 25 percent of our population lacking health insurance. Our hospitals are providing health care to these individuals, at a cost of more than $5.5 billion annually. An end to tax subsidies and private health insurance coverage for nearly one million Texans will further weaken the already strained health care safety net and increase the unreimbursed care costs shifted on to employers and property taxpayers.”

For the full press release from our press conference, click here.

In support of providing a safety net for Texans, The Dallas Morning News wrote an excellent editorial in support of the legislation I filed. I have included the full text below. I urge you to please pass it on.



Editorial: Plan needed to protect newly insured Texans if subsidies disappear

Regardless of your politics, the possibility that fellow Texans and millions more Americans nationwide who bought insurance under the Affordable Care Act could return to the ranks of the uninsured is a serious matter.

Yet this is what is at stake when the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments Wednesday in King vs. Burwell. More than 1 million Texans who now have health insurance through federally run exchanges may not be allowed to keep their coverage.

Imagine the devastating effect if the cost of your health care premiums tripled, which could happen if the federal subsidies many count on suddenly disappear. Most people eligible for subsidies have modest incomes; many would be unable to afford any coverage without financial help, adding to the ranks of the uninsured.
Texas already leads the nation in the number of uninsured residents; the state doesn’t need to toss more people into health care limbo.

However, if the Supreme Court hands down a problematic Burwell ruling, Texas lawmakers can ease the shock. State Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, recently introduced HB 817 as a safety net. If the court says Texans can’t receive subsidies through federally run exchanges, the bill would automatically trigger the creation of a state-run health care exchange that would allow Texans to continue to receive federal subsidies and keep their existing coverage.

The legal issue before the court is whether people who live in states like Texas that did not establish a state-run health care exchange are eligible to receive federal tax subsidies. Last spring, two federal appeals courts reached opposite conclusions. One court said the subsidies applied to Americans in all states; the other said they applied only to consumers in states that operated their own health care exchanges.

This newspaper understands some of the opposition to the Affordable Care Act — and, in fact, questioned the program’s cost as the bill originally moved through Congress. However, it is now law. Millions have based their insurance decisions on the program; a ruling would affect people of all political stripes in every House and Senate district. The well-being of those who enrolled should be protected.

Turner’s bill addresses only part of Texas’ broader health care challenge under the Affordable Care Act. Texas lawmakers also need to reform Medicaid eligibility so the state can draw extra federal dollars to cover the large percentage of uninsured low-income residents — as a number of Texas business groups have urged. Unfortunately, in a letter to President Barack Obama, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and state Senate Republicans on Monday reiterated their opposition to expanding Medicaid while demanding that the federal government allow Texas to make sweeping changes in the Medicaid program. This appears to be a nonstarter.

Texas must begin to solve its myriad health care challenges. Turner’s bill is a pragmatic way to keep a looming problem from becoming a nightmare. It deserves bipartisan support.

Widespread effect

Americans who could lose federal health care subsidies in 2016 if the U.S. Supreme Court sides with the plaintiffs in King vs. Burwell:

  • 13.4 million nationwide in 37 states
  • 2.5 million in Florida
  • 1.7 million in Texas

SOURCE: Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of Congressional Budget Office estimates of Marketplace enrollment

About Texans, not Obama

“Regardless of what you think about the Affordable Care Act, regardless of what you think about President Obama, hopefully we can agree that it would not be good for Texans to have a million-plus Texans see a tax increase or lose their health insurance as a result of this.”

State Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, on a bill to create a Texas health care exchange in the event the U.S. Supreme Court rules against the Affordable Care Act

Medically Accurate Sex Ed

On Thursday, I will join hundreds of Texans on the south steps of the Capitol to speak at a rally supporting access to women’s healthcare. As I prepare my remarks, I can’t help but think about the 2013 special sessions and standing on those same steps looking out at a sea of women, men and children donning orange shirts in support of healthcare access.

I’ll never forget seeing and hearing the thousands of people in their Capitol opposing a draconian measure that has now resulted in clinic closures across our state and reduced access to cancer screenings and birth control.

In a state with the highest rate of repeat teen births and the fourth-highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation, access to medical resources like contraception is essential. Equally essential is access to quality medically accurate, evidence-based sex education.

Studies have shown that evidence-based, medically accurate and age-appropriate sex education delays sexual activity, increases the likelihood of using protection and increases the likelihood that youth will start a conversation with parents about sexual health.

I have filed a bill that would require sex education focus not just on abstinence education, but also include information about sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy prevention and other issues related to sexual health.

Watch my Facebook and Twitter feeds on Thursday for updates from the rally and my speech and ways you can help support my bill.



Last week’s Texas 101 Day at the Capitol was a huge success. The group had a great time being recognized in the House of Representatives; hearing from legislative leaders, including Senator Rodney Ellis and Representatives Joe Moody, Nicole Collier and Ramon Romero; and taking tours of the Capitol and the State Library and Archives.

If you missed this year’s trip, don’t worry, we’ll do it all over again next legislative session in 2017! And, you and your family are welcome to visit my Capitol office any time — my staff and I will do everything we can to make your visit enjoyable and memorable!

State Representative Chris Turner

The State of the State

This morning, Governor Greg Abbott delivered his first “State of the State” address to a joint session of the House and Senate. If you’ve never witnessed this address, it’s very similar to the “State of the Union,” but focused on the issues impacting Texas, while giving direction to the Legislature.

After touting our state’s successes, Governor Abbott focused on five emergency items, issues he wants the Legislature to address sooner than later. The issues include, education, transportation, border security, and ethics.

He didn’t go into many details, but I agree that education is a top priority and hope that Governor Abbott and the legislature really are serious about making real investments in pre-k, public education and higher education.

There was quite a bit of discussion about spending more, with an equal amount about cutting taxes and shifting funds. I have questions about how both will be achieved — spending money to improve the future of our state, while at the same time reducing revenue.

I was also disappointed that healthcare only received a passing mention. Governor Abbott focused some attention on the critical need to increase funding for the Women’s Health Program and PTSD treatment, but ignored the millions of Texans who need affordable health insurance. If we don’t find a solution soon, one in four Texans will remain without coverage and we’ll continue to be the state with the highest rate of uninsured in the nation.

Over the next several weeks, I’ll keep you posted on these issues. Please send me your thoughts on today’s speech and the issues that matter to you. You may email or call 512-463-0574.



Last night, a federal judge out on hold the President’s executive action on immigration. This is an issue that impacts many in our community and I hope that the federal government is successful in fighting this decision. In the meantime, if you have any questions about this decision, please email


On Sunday, I joined The Dallas Morning News’ Gromer Jeffers and NBC 5’s Kristi Nelson on Lone Star Politics to talk about border security and proposed immigration legislation. You’ll see me 7 minutes 15 seconds into the video.


Tomorrow’s a big day. The bus will leave at 6:00am sharp to head to Austin for Texas 101 Day at the Capitol. If you aren’t able to make it, join us virtually via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We’ll be posting pictures throughout the day!

If you are attending, but still need details, please call Tammy at 817-459-2800 today

State Representative Chris Turner

Busy Week

Last week was pretty eventful.

On Wednesday, committee assignments were announced and I’m pretty happy about where I landed. This session, I will serve on three committees — Higher Education, Ways and Means, and General Investigating and Ethics.

meet2010aWith tens of thousands of students at the University of Texas at Arlington and Tarrant County College, and many at private and technical colleges, having a strong voice on the Higher Education Committee is essential for our county. As a member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, I hope to have the opportunity to play a role in fixing our school finance system and ensuring that we keep the critical funding needs of our state in mind, while addressing our tax system. I appreciate Speaker Straus naming me to these panels.

On Saturday I hosted town hall meetings in Arlington and Grand Prairie, where I had the chance to talk about some of the issues the Legislature will likely address this session. Most importantly, I had the opportunity to hear about what matters to our community. Based on what people said, it’s pretty evident that the focus should be on the issues that impact most Texas families — improving transportation, supporting public education and protecting taxpayers by cleaning up abuses in state contracting.

If you couldn’t make it on Saturday, but want to share your opinion or have a question about an issue, call us any time. My Capitol staff is available at 512-463-0574.



One more reminder that space is filling up fast for Texas 101 Day at the Capitol, just over a week away on Wednesday, February 18. There’s about 10 seats left on the bus and we don’t want you to miss out. If you plan to attend, please call Tammy at 817-459-2800 or email today.


If you are in need of coverage or want to switch your health insurance plan, open enrollment through ends this Sunday, February 15. If you need help navigating the system or just have question, call 2-1-1 or our office and we can help.

Keeping Kids Safe

Nothing is more important than keeping kids safe. So when I learned that young children are 75 percent less likely to die or sustain serious injury in a rear-facing car seat, I filed a bill that would require just that — keep kids rear-facing until two.

Last Friday, NBC 5 spoke to a couple of North Texas moms about the measure. Watch the video clip here:


This is a common-sense measure that will improve the safety of Texas kids, and I’ll be working in the months ahead to pass it into law.

You’ve probably also heard that last week, when Muslim Texans visited their Capitol, a member of the House of Representatives chose to greet them with hatred and bigotry. As a representative with a very diverse district, who regularly visits local mosques and has developed friendships with many Muslim leaders in our community, I am appalled by her actions.

The Capitol belongs to all the people of this state, not a select few. Texans from all walks of life should feel welcomed when they enter the doors, not shunned because of the color of their skin or their religious faith.

With that said, if you are ever in Austin, please come by and visit. Our door is always open.


To all who observe, I want to wish a joyous Lunar New Year. There are several events happening in our community to celebrate, including one this week at Asia Times Square in Grand Prairie. They are hosting the 8th annual Lunar New Year Festival, the largest celebration in North Texas!


Don’t forget — I am holding two Town Hall meetings this Saturday, February 7. The first will be at 10:00 am at the Arlington Municipal Airport and the other at 2:00 pm at the Grand Prairie Municipal Airport. Come by to discuss the issues important to you and your family, including public education, healthcare, transportation, criminal justice, and the economy. For more details, click here or call 817-459-2800.

There’s only a few seats left on the bus for Texas 101 Day at the Capitol. If you plan to join us on February 18th, please RSVP by calling 817-459-2800 or Link.


We Need a State Exchange

Last week, I filed two measures to create a state-based health insurance exchange, which would make it easier for Texans to sign up for coverage and ensure that the health insurance plans meet state requirements. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, it would protect Texans if the United States Supreme Court decides that federal tax credits are not available to people in states which do not have their own exchange. If these tax credits disappear, hundreds of thousands of Texans will see a significant tax increase and may no longer be able to afford coverage.

To read more about the bills click here.

On the topic of the health insurance exchange, there’s only a couple weeks left to find or switch coverage during the current open enrollment period. Visit by February 15 to enroll or switch. If you have any questions about how it works or need help navigating the system, call 2-1-1 or my office at 817-459-2800.

Of course, even with the success of the federal exchange, there will still be more than one million Texas adults without access to affordable coverage. It’s time for Texas to join the 28 states that have expanded coverage and for our state’s leaders to listen to the business community, counties, cities, hospitals, and close the coverage gap.


Town Halls:

On Saturday, February 7, I will host two town hall meetings, one at the Arlington Municipal Airport at 10:00am and the other at the Grand Prairie Municipal Airport at 2:00pm. Come by to discuss the issues important to you and your family, including public education, healthcare, transportation, criminal justice, and the economy. For more details, click here or call 817-459-2800.


It’s time to board the bus and head to Austin for Texas 101 Day at the Capitol. Those who attend will enjoy a day in Austin, be recognized from the House floor, take a tour of the Capitol and meet other legislators and special guests. There is no cost to attend and food and beverages will be provided. However, it’s first-come, first-serve, so don’t lose your spot on the bus — click here or email to sign up today!!

Turner Files Bills To Create Texas Health Insurance Exchange

Will help ensure health insurance coverage remains affordable for hundreds of thousands of Texans; Prevent possible tax increase.

AUSTIN — On Wednesday, State Representative Chris Turner (HD 101- Grand Prairie) filed two bills, HB 818 and HB 817, both creating a state health benefit exchange.

HB 818 would require the Health and Human Services Commission and the Texas Department of Insurance to create a state-based health benefit exchange, commonly known as a health insurance marketplace. The exchange would offer health insurance plans to Texans seeking coverage and would give the state the ability to determine which plans are eligible to participate, review rates and determine whether plans include coverage of essential health benefits.

HB 817 would require the creation of a state health insurance exchange in the event the United States Supreme Court determines that tax subsidies may no longer be offered to those who purchase plans through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace. During the first year of implementation, 84 percent of the 733,757 Texans who purchased plans through the Health Insurance Marketplace received tax credits to offset the cost of their health plan premiums.

“Although the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace has been successful in our state, with over 730,000 enrolled in health insurance plans during the first year alone, providing a state-based program would help ensure that Texans receive plans tailored to their healthcare needs,” said Turner.

“Both measures would protect hundreds of thousands of Texans from a tax increase if the Supreme Court decides that those buying coverage through the federal exchange would be ineligible for subsidies.”

Upon implementation, Texas would join 13 states and Washington, D.C. with a fully state-run marketplace. In addition to the states with their own marketplace, three states have a state-run exchange using the federal website and another seven have partnered with the federal government to conduct plan management and consumer assistance. Texas is one of only 19 states where those seeking insurance coverage outside of the private market must fully rely on the federally-facilitated marketplace.

In July 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that federal subsidies should only be made available to those who purchase insurance through a state-run exchange. In November 2014, the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear the case addressing this issue. A Supreme Court decision is expected this summer.

Time to Get to Work

It’s time to get to work!

At noon today, the 84th Legislative Session convenes and I will be sworn in for my third term in the Texas House of Representatives. It’s an incredible honor to be the voice for House District 101 and to represent Arlington and Grand Prairie in Austin.

The beginning of each session brings with it the promise that elected officials will work together in good faith to address our state’s priorities for the next 140 days. The 150 members of the House come from all over the state, and our viewpoints can be as varied as the Texas weather — but we all love our state and want to do what’s best for its people.

If the Legislature and state leaders put partisan politics aside and do what is best for Texas, I know we can work together and get results. Of course, there’s no escaping the reality — there will be a lot of tough issues to confront this session and many strong and passionate voices on all sides of any given issue.

As the representative for District 101, I have heard loud and clear what people in our community want the Legislature to address:

  • fully funding our public schools, improving access to affordable health care,
  • providing more local transportation options,
  • curbing the outrageous interest rates and fees charged by payday and auto-title lenders, and
  • bringing new businesses and good paying jobs to our neighborhoods.

Those are some of the key priorities I hear about in our district often — priorities my staff and I work on year-round, and that I will continue to work on during the legislative session and beyond. I look forward to doing so side-by-side with you and hearing feedback from members of our community as the session gets underway.

I’ve already filed a number of bills and there will be more to come. If you would like to learn more about the measures I have filed, or if there’s a law you think should be changed, please let me know. You can email me at any time at

Thanks for your support and continued friendship. I look forward to continuing to work together to fight for the issues that matter to our community.

Turner Pre-files Double Dipping ban and other measures

Turner Pre-Files Five Bills: Measures Focus On Double Dipping, Dram Shop Laws, Consumer Protection, Non-Discrimination & Veterans

AUSTIN – On Monday, State Representative Chris Turner (HD 101- Grand Prairie) pre-filed five pieces of legislation in advance of the 84th Legislative Session. The measures target a wide range of issues, including instituting a ban on “double dipping,” ensuring bars carry liability insurance, providing additional aid to veterans in need, cracking down on unsolicited calls by high-interest lenders, and protecting Texans from discrimination based on sexual orientation.

“The first bills I filed address issues impacting the people of my district and our state,” said Turner. “The ban on double dipping and the requirement for bar owners to have liability insurance gained traction last session and I look forward to continuing to work with concerned citizens and stakeholders to get these and other measures passed and signed into law.”

“Legislation helping veterans and their families has been a top priority during my terms in office. It’s an honor to file HB 410, a measure that could positively impact thousands of veterans and their families who are in acute need of services, like counseling for PTSD or transportation to VA hospitals across the state,” said Turner.

“Many of my constituents are solicited by credit access businesses offering loans that seem too good to be true. In reality, these loans come with a high price tag and people often get locked into a cycle of debt that’s hard to break,” said Turner. “HB 411 would help make sure these companies aren’t targeting as many vulnerable individuals.”

“I filed HB 412, because it’s time that we end discrimination based on sexual orientation. This measure will prohibit state contractors from using sexual orientation as a reason to deny employment or to fire someone and will send a strong message that this type of discrimination will not be tolerated in our state or by our state government,” said Turner.

The Five Bills Turner Filed Include:

Ban on Double Dipping: HB 408
The first bill Turner filed, HB 408, would ban the practice of “double dipping” by state elected officials. If passed, it would bar certain officials from collecting a salary and state pension at the same time, if their retirement payments are triggered as a result of their service as an elected official. This issue received a great deal of attention during the 2012 Presidential election, when it came to light that due to a loophole in state statute, elected officials are able to use time served in office to collect both a state pension and a state salary at the same time.

Require Bars to Have Liability Insurance: HB 409
In Texas, businesses that hold alcoholic beverage permits are not required to purchase liability insurance to cover damages that might arise as a result of drunk driving or other alcohol-related incidents. As has occurred throughout the state, if a bar owner is found responsible for over-serving a customer, but is unable to pay for the resulting damages, the case oftentimes goes unresolved. Requiring bar owners to purchase liability insurance would ensure that damages will be covered and that businesses are not in danger of closure or bankruptcy.

Help to Our Veterans and their Families: HB 410
This bill would guarantee $5 million in funding for veterans services by transferring unclaimed prize money from the Texas Lottery Commission to the Permanent Fund for Veterans Assistance, which aids Texas veterans and their families by providing grants to non-profits who help with services including, counseling for PTSD and traumatic brain injury, transportation to VA medical facilities, housing assistance, and family and child counseling.

Prevent Credit Access Businesses from Soliciting by Phone: HB 411
To curb the use of short-term, high interest loans, this measure would prohibit credit access businesses from contacting new customers unsolicited via phone to offer their products. Many consumers who are solicited are lured into taking these types of loans, which ultimately lead to a long and expensive cycle they are unable to break.

Prohibit Discrimination by State Contractors: HB 412
This bill would prohibit contractors hired by state agencies from denying employment or firing an individual based on his or her sexual orientation. It would also require contractors to adopt a policy prohibiting this sort of discrimination. The measure also creates a penalty for those in non-compliance.

State Representative Chris Turner

Veterans’ Day

“This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.” -Elmer Davis

In an ultimate display of unwavering patriotism, our nation’s veterans have made unbelievable sacrifices in order to protect the rights and liberties we cherish as Americans. It is because of their courage, their strength, their commitment, and their dedication to freedom and democracy that we have become the great country we are today.

In recognition of their service, today we thank the many brave men and women who have worn our country’s uniform. We remember our sacred obligation to all veterans and their families, and celebrate our nation’s true heroes. Their admirable contributions at home and abroad merit far more honor than we can ever bestow, nor we can ever fully repay them for their sacrifice and selflessness.

Please join me today in paying tribute those who have served our nation and fought to protect our freedom. They have truly earned our lasting respect and gratitude.


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