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To All Interested High School Students:

The Texas Legislative Black Caucus is pleased to provide scholarship opportunities that will help give a financial boost to qualified high school students who are graduating in May 2017, and plan to attend college in the Fall 2017.

Our Caucus is happy to announce the process and timeline for the selection of our inaugural TLBC scholarship recipients. We aim to ensure that we have a process with a high degree of integrity that will help select a special and qualified group of deserving students.

Each Caucus member will have 3 scholarship recipients from their respective Districts who each will receive a scholarship award of $1,500. In addition, each Caucus member’s highest ranked applicant will have an opportunity to receive one of the six – $4,000 TLBC Scholarships.

In the enclosed documents, please find a detailed timeline for the selection process, as well as the scholarship application form. As noted, all scholarship applicants please mail completed applications and the necessary additional documents

2017 TLBC Scholarship Application

Texas Legislative Black Caucus 

1108 Lavaca, Suite 110, PMB 171 

Austin, TX 78701-2172   


*All Scholarship Applications & Additional Required Documents must be received by the Texas Legislative Black Caucus no later than February 5, 2017.*

Formal presentation of the scholarships to successful award recipients will take place at the TLBC Scholarship Banquet on February 27, 2017 at 7pm in the Governors  Ballroom of the Hilton Hotel in Downtown Austin.





Saturday’s unveiling of the Texas African American History Memorial at the Capitol could have been a somber occasion – a reflection on centuries of slavery and legalized oppression. Instead, it was a moment of rejoicing for the hundreds of guests, who celebrated how so many had overcome deep struggles and how the event appealed to a better future.

State officials and other special guests, including benefactors, revealed the memorial on the south lawn of the Capitol, a feat that comes more than two decades after lawmakers first pushed for the bronze and granite monument to African-Americans in Texas.

“This has not been an easy journey,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, a former member of the Texas House who helped secure funding for the memorial. “And I’m not referring to the raising of money or to the construction of this monument. I am talking about the history of African-Americans of the state of Texas and where we are today.”

Turner said that while many often focus on current struggles, it’s important to look back and see how far the state and its residents have come.

The journey “began a long time ago in this state. And look at where we are today. I think that speaks volumes.”

The 27-foot high, 32-foot wide monument depicts Juneteenth – June 19, 1865 – when hundreds of Union troops arrived in Texas and announced the freedom of slaves in the U.S., along with major social, political and cultural icons in the state from years later. The structure also portrays the cattle, cotton and oil industries and black Texans’ role in advancing them. Ed Dwight, a Denver-based sculptor, proposed the monument to mark the history of black people in Texas, a history that pre-dates the United States.

Dwight had three jobs, said Bill Jones, chairman of the Texas African American History Memorial Foundation: create a memorial that is historically accurate, aesthetically pleasing and has emotional impact.

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Rep. Helen Giddings

A number of new officers were name to the Texas Legislative Black Caucus leadership on this week. Chief among them was the election of State Rep. Helen Giddings, D-DeSoto, as chairperson.

“I am honored to have the confidence of my fellow African American legislators to lead the Texas Legislative Black Caucus during this critical time for our state,” said Giddings. “The talents and skills of every member of the TLBC will be utilized to develop an agenda that builds on past successes and confronts the challenges of today.”

Now serving her 11th term, Representative Helen Giddings serves the cities of House District 109: Dallas, DeSoto, Cedar Hill, Glenn Heights, Hutchins, Lancaster, Wilmer, as well as part of Duncanville.

Rep. Helen Giddings has a longstanding reputation as being an ardent education and business advocate; and recently lent her concerns over the recently overturned Texas Voter ID law. The statute was struck down by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Wednesday.

“Today is a great day for Texas voters and Texas families. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed that Texas’ Voter ID law places an unfair and unconstitutional barrier to our democracy,” Rep. Giddings said. “I am thrilled the court declared the right to vote shall not be infringed.”

The stringent Voter ID law passed in 2011 has proven to be an enormous barrier to democracy for Texas’ most vulnerable communities, including college students, the working poor, and the elderly. Some estimates have indicated that up to 700,000 otherwise eligible Texans have lost their right to vote since the law was passed.

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YOLANDA ADAMS - Photo One ('Becoming') (2)

Ask  Yolanda Adams what she loves about her music and ministry.  The answer is as warm, embracing, and reflective as her songs.  “The music brings joy.  I truly believe that my songs bring the answers and the solutions, as opposed to just talking about the problems.  My music at its core is joyful.”


Joyful, uplifting, inspiring, affirmative, exuberant, playful, and universal in its appeal and intention – that is the music of Yolanda Adams.  The message and ministry of this Grammy-winning Gospel/Adult Contemporary superstar is abundant with love, faith, rhythm, and wisdom.  It is delivered by one of the most persuasive and popular voices in contemporary Gospel.  Working with some of the biggest names in pop, R&B, hip-hop, and gospel, Yolanda Adams’ career has been marked by a string of hugely successful albums, sold-out tours, standout TV appearances, and a desire to incorporate into her music a multitude of genres and influences.

“It’s vitally important to keep growing now that people know me and my music,” she says.  “We’ve been blessed enough to impact so many lives, both in and out of the typical gospel market, so on each album it’s important to keep reaching outward so that even more people can get inspiration from what we do.  Luckily, I don’t have to be anybody but Yolanda, because people don’t expect me to be anything other than who I am.  For an artist, it’s a great place to be.”


A lifelong resident of Houston, Texas, Yolanda grew up in a household filled with spirit, soul, and songs.  Her mother studied music, and Yolanda and her five younger siblings heard everything from jazz to classical to rhythm and blues.  She soaked up the sounds of gospel legends James Cleveland and the Edwin Hawkins Singers, jazz icon Nancy Wilson, and pop/R&B great Stevie Wonder.  That wide swath of sonic textures, combined with years in the church choir, would guide Yolanda – both as a performer and a person.

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Mayor Willie Brown- pic 1

The accomplished Willie Brown is the former Mayor of San Francisco and Speaker of the California State Assembly. Mr. Brown served over 30 years in the California State Assembly including 15 years as Speaker. Following his service in the Assembly, Brown became the 41st Mayor of San Francisco. He is the first African American Mayor of San Francisco and Speaker of the Assembly of California. He also holds the honor as the longest serving Speaker of the California State Assembly. He was referred to as “one of San Francisco’s most notable mayors” by the San Francisco Chronicle and received the title of “The Best Dressed Man in San Francisco” by Esquire Magazine.


Willie Brown’s rise to prominence began in the small East Texas town of Mineola. He was born as the fourth of five children. With a desire to have the skills to reach his full potential, Brown felt his high school education was substandard and opted to leave Mineola for California following his graduation. Upon moving to San Francisco in 1951, he attended and graduated from San Francisco State University in 1955, despite having to catch up his first year due to subpar secondary schooling.  After graduating from San Francisco State University, he then went on to graduate from the University of California, Hastings College of Law in 1958.

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Dr. Kneeland Youngblood- 2

Dr. Kneeland C. Youngblood , who currently resides in Dallas and was born in Galena Park, is co-founder and managing partner of Pharos Capital Group, a private equity fund with over $1.4 Billion in assets under management. Since Pharos Capital Group’s founding in 1998, the investment firm has focused on investing in undercapitalized businesses in underserved regions across America. Prior to a successful career in investment banking, Dr. Youngblood served as a physician with more than 15 years of experience in emergency medicine. While in the medical field, Dr. Youngblood served on the Task Force on National Health Care Reform in President Clinton’s administration.

As a young man attending Princeton University, Youngblood followed his convictions by participating in a sit-in calling for Princeton to divest from apartheid-South Africa. Later in life, he would go on to meet President Nelson Mandela in his capacity as a member of the Board of Directors of the United States Enrichment Corporation.

After embarking on his successful business career, Dr. Youngblood has been involved in many profitable ventures. In addition, his business acumen and knowledge have come to the recognition of many Fortune 500 companies, as indicated with his service on the Board of Directors of companies such as The Gap, Inc., Burger King Corporation, Starwood Hotel & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., and the American Beacon Funds.

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State Representative Sylvester Turner (Houston) today urged qualified low-income Texans to enroll in LITE-UP Texas, a program authorized by the Texas Legislature through which participants can reduce the monthly cost of their electric service by 82%.


“I want to ensure that everyone who is eligible for this discount, particularly senior citizens, is aware of it and can receive it,” said Turner. “For example, a customer who receives a bill for $100.00 in May, June, July or August will only have to pay $18.00 based on the 82% discount. This is significant and could literally mean the difference between whether these families can put food on the tables during the hottest months of the year.


“Please call the PUC today to enroll so you can get your discount as soon as possible.”


The LITE-UP Texas program is designed to help qualified low-income individuals who live in areas where they can choose their own electricity provider to reduce their monthly cost of electric service.  Customers qualify if they currently receive Texas Medicaid or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).  Customers can also self-enroll if their household income is at or below 125% of the federal poverty guideline, which equates to a family of four having an income of $29,000.


During the last legislative session, Rep. Turner led the effort to win approval from the 83rd Texas Legislature to make profound changes to the LITE-UP Texas program, increasing the discount from 10% to 82%.  For example, a provider of last resort rate of 14 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) would be discounted by 11.48 cents per kWh.  The discount will be effective May through August 2014 and will appear on customers’ bills for the month following their meter readings for those months.  The program will permanently end on September 1, 2016.


Turner said that 85% of Texans who qualify for the program are enrolled automatically, but many qualified families are missed.


“It is important to get all eligible people enrolled into the program so that they can receive the benefits,” Turner said.  “The legislature approved this increased discount because we understand how desperately our most vulnerable Texans need this help.  I don’t want to see anyone who qualifies overlooked.”


Individuals not currently participating in the LITE-UP Texas program can obtain a self-enrollment application by contacting the PUC toll-free at 1-800-454-8387 or visiting the PUC’s website,


Texas Legislative Black Caucus Commends NAACP, Mexican American Legislative Caucus and Civil Rights Groups Actions to Challenge Voter ID Law


(Austin, TX)  –  The Texas Legislative Black Caucus applauds today’s move by the NAACP State Branches of Texas and the Mexican American Legislative Caucus (MALC) to join the Department of Justice, LULAC, Dallas County, the League of Women Voters, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and a concerned group of affected citizens across Texas in filing suit in the Southern District Court of Texas in Corpus Christi to block the State of Texas’ Voter ID law because of its discriminatory effects in violation of the Voting Rights Act and the 14th and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.


The move by the State Branches of the NAACP and MALC to join the assembled collection of high-profile stalwarts for civil rights, signifies that the battle is not over – but rather, the fight to ensure the ability for all in Texas to vote has intensified.


In the suit filed today in the Southern District of Texas’ Federal Court, the Texas NAACP and MALC joined the other plaintiffs including the Department of Justice and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, in arguing the Voter ID law violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, because the law makes it harder for hundreds of thousands of minority citizens to vote, thus denying minority voters an equal opportunity to participate in the political process.


The Texas Legislative Black Caucus fought alongside MALC & the NAACP victoriously in the Washington, D.C. Federal Court in 2012, when the Voter ID law was struck down by the D.C. Court (under Section 5 preclearance) due to its discriminatory effect. The Court concluded the Voter ID law would lead to “retrogression in the position of racial minorities with respect to their effective exercise of the electoral franchise.” We look forward to our partners continuing the fight for justice and once again prevailing victoriously to guarantee the rights of all as cemented in the 14th & 15th Amendments as well as the Voting Rights Act.


The Texas Legislative Black Caucus truly appreciates all of the great people in attendance at the 2013 African American Legislative Summit. As native Texans and new friends from South Africa gathered for an amazing time, over 3,000 attendees were present during the 2013 African American Legislative Summit. From highly acclaimed international guests, rising young leaders from across the United States, and world-class comedians and performers; the Summit was a sight no one wanted to miss! Most importantly, none of this was possible without all of the wonderful people in attendance and for that the Texas Legislative Black Caucus thanks you dearly! Thanks again for all your kind support and we look forward to seeing you all again in 2015!!

Check out some of the pictures below from the 2013 African American Legislative Summit!

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Dear Friends:

The 2013 African American Legislative Summit is almost here! You won’t want to miss next year’s event. The African American Legislative Summit, which is sponsored by HEB, will take place from Sunday evening, Feb. 24th through Tuesday afternoon, February 26th. The theme of the upcoming Conference is “the building of our Community starts with me”. With an expected 4,000 attendees, the 2013 Summit is slated to be better than ever.

Check Out the 2013 Summit Agenda Here!

We are proud to announce that the keynote speaker at the Scholarship Awards Banquet on Monday, February 25th will be none other than the young, bright, innovative and accomplished Mayor of Atlanta, Kasim Reed.

2013 African American Legislative Summit Details

The Conference will kick off on Sunday evening, February 24th with the Black-tie invitation only, Chairman’s Dinner at the Hilton Hotel Downtown in Austin. On Monday morning, the Conference will begin in earnest in the House Chamber at the State Capitol. Following the opening plenary session, we will have a series of riveting panel discussions in the Capitol, then a luncheon on the Capitol Grounds. After the lunch, the Conference will shift to our host site, the beautiful Hilton Hotel in Downtown Austin where we will have dignitaries and noted celebrities to bring you even more stimulating panels and discussions. Later that evening, the TLBC Scholarship Awards Banquet will commence in the Hilton Hotel Ballroom, where we will honor the 2013 TLBC Scholarship Recipients. On Tuesday morning, the well-received Community Awards Banquet takes place at the Hilton Hotel and then the Conference wraps up with our final series of panels at the Hotel. With the roster of noted personalities and events planned, this Summit will be one to remember!

Chairman’s Award Dinner honoring Milton Carroll

The Chairman’s Award Dinner honoring Milton Carroll, underwritten by Blue Cross Blue Shield & CenterPoint Energy, will take place at 7p on Sunday, February 24th at the picturesque Bob Bullock State History Museum a mere 3 blocks away from the State Capitol. This invitation-only black-tie affair, will honor the multitude of achievements of Mr. Milton Carroll. An innovator in the Oil & Gas industry, Mr. Carroll also serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors at CenterPoint Energy, Inc. & Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas. A native Texan, the accomplishments of Mr. Carroll’s stellar business career are second to none. He is well deserving of this token of appreciation by the Texas Legislative Black Caucus for his inspirational achievements as an African American business man, who has excelled in a variety of endeavors in the business world. The Texas Legislative Black Caucus proudly salutes a fellow trailblazer at the inaugural Chairman’s Award Dinner.

Host Site- Hilton Hotel Info & Reservations

For your convenience, a very special room rate of $199/night is available for Sunday, February 24th and Monday, February 25th for a limited time only at the Hilton Hotel (a savings of $130), so please take advantage now. Room reservations at the Hilton Hotel Downtown for Sunday, February 24th and/or Monday, Feb. 25th are available now online at: If you are interested in a multi-night stay at the Hilton Hotel, please call 800.445.8667 (make sure to mention Group Code: TLB) and they can handle your reservation.


Stay tuned for more updates and we look forward to seeing you there!

For questions, please email:


The Texas Legislative Black Caucus is pleased to thank all those in attendance at the recently held African American Legislative Summit, helping the event to become a wonderful success. This year’s Summit held in Austin from Feb. 27th through March 1st, under the direction of Chairman Sylvester Turner had a record 3,000 plus attendees from all over Texas. A great time was had by all in attendance as numerous elected officials, scores of grassroots activists, business professionals, college students, reknowned academics and citizens alike came together for an eventful time of collaboration, networking and an opportunity to exchange ideas. The Summit was highlighted by Ms. Debra Lee, CEO of B.E.T. as the keynote speaker at the Scholarship Banquet where over $120,000 in scholarships were awarded.  An overwhelming attendance of successful recipients, all of whom were high school seniors, made the night a special occasion as Debra Lee punctuated the night with her remarks which thrilled all those in attendance.

Those who arrived early on Sunday evening were treated to a musical performance by none other than DJ Biz Markie. The Summit started in earnest early Monday morning at 9am in the House Chamber, as the Summit provided a unique opportunity for attendees to sit at House members desks and hear from TLBC members.  Following the opening session, a series of riveting panel discussions in the Capitol on Monday morning rounded out the early morning events. Those there for the panels were treated to a packed house as people listened with picqued interest as a host of topics were covered. Next we followed with a barbeque luncheon on the Capitol Grounds as all those in attendance were treated to a great meal under tents as they all enjoyed the beautiful weather. As the afternoon began, the Summit shifted to the host site, the Sheraton Hotel at the Capitol as we enjoyed more powerful panel discussions. As evening fell, people excitedly awaited the Scholarship Banquet as many gathered for a cocktail reception before the formal events ensued.

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AUSTIN, Texas — In connection with the African and African Diaspora Studies Department, The University of Texas at Austin has appointed King Davis founding director of the Institute for Urban Policy Research and Analysis.

Davis, professor and Robert Lee Sutherland Chair in Mental Health and Social Policy in the School of Social Work and former executive director of the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, served as interim director of the institute in 2010 and 2011, and will begin his new role effective immediately. Davis joined The University of Texas at Austin in 2000 after serving as commissioner of the Virginia Department of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse and as a faculty member at Virginia Commonwealth University.

“The investment by The University of Texas in this new institute reflects the personal commitment of President Powers and his administration,” Davis said. “I am delighted to have the opportunity to help shape the mission and vision of the institute and its initial research projects.” The institute’s initial focus will be on the state of Texas.

“Despite our iconic rural image, more than 80 percent of Texans live in cities. Texas needs better urban policy, and we can’t improve that without good data on the populations that make up our cities, especially populations of color,” said President Bill Powers. “King Davis is the perfect leader for this important new effort. His academic and professional background — and the enormous respect he commands from his colleagues — bodes well for the institute’s future.”

Developed in 2010 through collaborative efforts of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus, the African and African Diaspora Studies Department and the College of Liberal Arts, the institute’s mission is to conduct and promote the production of policy-relevant research with the aim of enhancing the lives of African-Americans and other communities of color.

“I applaud the selection of Dr. Davis to lead this vitally important institute,” said Rep. Sylvester Turner, chair of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus. “His expertise and dedication will bring the institute to the forefront of positive change in the African American community in Texas.”

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Texas Legislative Black Caucus

REGISTER NOW (click here)



Chairman Sylvester Turner

& Members of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus invite you to participate…


2011 TLBC Golf Classic



November 7, 2011 Grey Rock Golf Club in Austin
11:30 a.m. Registration
1 p.m. Shotgun Start
6:00 p.m. Awards Dinner


 Sponsorship Levels:  Diamond $20,000 Sapphire $15,000 Platinum $10,000 Gold $5,000 Silver $3,000 Bronze $1,500 Single $500*   *Not a corporate sponsorship level.  

  Additional sponsorship opportunities: Bars, beverages, hole signs and title banner; shirts, hats, goody bags, boxed lunches, bev carts, contests and prizes.  

Call Christine Garrison at (512) 292-3000 or email .     TLBC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Corporate contributions are permitted by State law.    

Not distributed at State expense.


Check out Rep. Sylvester Turner’s Report Card on Public Education Here!

As the 82nd Legislature and Special Session draws to a close, Chairman Turner, Chairwoman Senfronia Thompson, and Rep. Helen Giddings were joined by concerned parents, teachers, and fellow Texas Legislators as they issued a Report Card for the 82nd Session. The special emphasis of the Report Card was on an issue near and dear to everyone’s heart and conscience, an issue whose importance is both long lasting and the true barometer of how we has a society view our future generations – Public Education.  This Legislative Session has seen historic cuts and changes to the Public Education system in Texas which will harm our school children for years to come, and the time is here for those who made such shortsighted decisions face accountability.

Rep. Sylvester Turner Issues Report Card on 82nd Session


State Representative Joe Deshotel of Port Arthur, who currently serves as Chair of the House Business and Industry Committee and is also a TLBC member, has sent a request to President Obama seeking a federal disaster declaration in response to the persistent wildfires in Texas.

Since the fire season began in Texas, local and state responders, including many volunteers, have battled more than 10,500 fires, which have burned more than 2.7 million acres and destroyed more than 400 homes. Over the past three years, farmers, ranchers and residents across Texas have been heavily impacted by wildfires.  The most recent bout of fires, which have been occurring since December 21, 2010, are consideredby many to be the worst in Texas history.

Please find the formal request to President Obama here.

For more information, please contact the office of State Representative Joe Deshotel at 512.463.0662.


Black Texas Lawmakers Say New Redistricting Maps Don’t Fairly Reflect Population Shifts

Black and Latino groups will challenge the maps in court.

By Joyce Jones
Posted: 06/07/2011 11:15 PM EDT
Filed Under redistricting

(Dallas Rep. Helen Giddings)

Redistricting maps are a topic of bitter partisan debate in states across the nation, and Texas is no different. A second map drawn by the Republican-led state legislature has local African-American and Latino lawmakers crying foul. It’s only natural that the state’s GOP would create a map that works to their advantage, but the population growth reported in the most recent census, minority lawmakers argue, warrants a different approach.

Dallas Rep. Helen Giddings represents a district that has one of the highest Black voter participation rates in the nation. Although her district would retain most of its original configuration, she believes that the proposed House and Senate maps do not accurately reflect the population shift that has occurred in the past 10 years. She told that it would preserve the current number of local representatives and senators but limits what she calls “opportunity seats.” She is referring to districts that have a large enough proportion of African-American and Latino voters to make a significant impact on who is elected to serve them, regardless of the official’s race or ethnicity.


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AUSTIN– On March 15th, the House Appropriations Committee approved HB 275, legislation to use the Economic Stabilization Fund (Rainy Day Fund) to cover the shortfall in the 2011 budget, and HB 4, a “supplemental” budget bill to make cuts and new appropriations for the current budget.  Democratic members unanimously voted for HB 275 and against HB 4. The vote was delayed until the Governor released a statement accepting use of the Rainy Day Fund for the current budget but vowing to veto the 2012-2013 budget if it uses the Rainy Day Fund.
In the next biennium, state aid to public schools is reduced by $9 billion or more than $800 per student, forcing districts to increase class sizes, eliminate pre-kindergarten, terminate up to 100,000 teachers and school personnel, and consolidate and close schools.  There will be 800 fewer caseworkers within child protective services to keep children safe from abuse and neglect and already inadequate provider rates within the Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Programs will be further reduced leaving children no access to primary, specialty or preventative health care.  Seventy-thousand senior citizens will be left with no home or essential medical and attendant care with the proposed $1.6 billion cuts to nursing facilities, skilled nursing facilities and hospices. 
“Although I support paying the state’s bills in the current fiscal year, I cannot encourage false illusions that Texans will be protected in the future by the use of a small portion of the $9.4 billion rainy day fund,” said Vice- Chairman Sylvester Turner (D-Houston).  “There has not been any genuine effort to find solutions to the $27 billion deficit we face in 2012 and 2013.” 
“In many cases, the cuts in Health and Human Services are making life and death decisions.  Texas children, senior citizens and disabled Texans deserve better,” said Representative Dawnna Dukes (D-Austin).  ” The legislature should look at all options, from the Economic Stabilization Fund to new revenue sources, in order to do what our constituencies have sent us to do: to protect our citizens, to care for those who no longer can care for themselves, to provide services to those who have nowhere else to turn.”
“At a time when families in Texas are struggling and using up their savings, this budget cuts funding for community colleges they depend on,” said Representative Scott Hochberg (D-Houston).  

The Texas House, as a whole, will vote on HB 4 and HB 275 on Thursday, March 31st.