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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.

 

As the current 82nd Session begins to heat up in earnest, Texas Legislative Black Caucus members hold key committee assignments with the ability to influence key decisions on legislative matters.

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WHO NEEDS THE PRESS FOR A PRESS CONFERENCE?

A Call to Action By:  Tammie Lang Campbell

February 28, 2011, the last day of Black History Month and the first day of the Texas State Black Caucus’ Summit will remain embedded in my mind.  This was the date that I ignored conventional wisdom that says a press conference can’t be held without the press and preceded with my press conference on the steps of the Texas State Capital.  I had planned to announce to the world that the n-word is not in dark skinned people’s DNA or Newsouth Books’ revised edition of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn; however, I was thrown a curve ball when the press didn’t show.  Apparently, a proactive black denouncing the n-word and promoting school literature sensitive to all children’s cultural needs didn’t interest the media.  The media’s no show would’ve devastated most, but I remembered that God: Called me to petition Merriam Webster and Random House dictionaries to remove or redefine the n-word in 1991(view petition. Chose me to hold a symbolic n-word burial that was featured nationally on CNN (view story), in Manhattan City Council News and all local/state media outlets including the Houston Chronicle’s front page Moved to get my anti-n-word campaign op. ed. featured in the Houston Chronicle on 10/31/10 called, “N-word Remains far too Pervasive”. Urged Dr. Gribben to take a stand for humanity and appeal to Newsouth Books to replace the n-word with slave appealed to Rep. Dr. Alma Allen and had her to enlist the support of Texas Black Caucus Chairman, Rep. Sylvester Turner, for Newsouth Books’ revised edition of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Inspired Friends of Humanity to help sponsor 100 of Newsouth Books’ revised edition of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn to be donated to  schools and youth organizations with these aforementioned blessings in mind, I proceeded with my anti-n-word declaration on the steps of the Texas State Capitol.  <Excerpts from Speech> (View Event Video) “Good afternoon, to God goes all the glory and praise in His precious Son’s name Jesus Christ.  I’m pleased to join you with Rep. Dr. Alma Allen; my husband, Dennis Campbell, Sr. and our children; Shar-day and Dennis Jr.  I thank all of you for being here today in support of Dr. Gribben and Newsouth Books’ revised edition of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, which replaces the n-word with slave.  To the curious who may be wondering why we are here, well an event like this one that has a profound effect upon the lives of people doesn’t just happen.  It is an accumulation of events.  For 20 years, I have been working to reclaim blacks’ good name.  During this journey, I have heard the cries of my foreparents urging me to let everyone know who we are and who we are not.  I have been encouraged by the words of Solomon in Proverb 21:1 that states, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches…”  Therefore, it is not by accident that God has led me to the steps of the Texas State Capitol.  It is in fact by God’s divine plan that we, the  people, are here to: Reclaim blacks’ good name Declare that when God created dark skinned people, He didn’t create the n-word Announce to the world that the n-word is not in any dark skinned person’s DNA or  Newsouth Books’ revised edition of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn And inform those who have erroneously defined dark skinned people as the n-word in reference books like: Webster, Random House and Oxford, that their erroneous definitions have caused great harm among humanity Furthermore, we, the people, want the nation and the world to know that we support Dr. Gribben and New South Books for being sensitive and respectful of others.  In addition, we commend him for: Replacing the n-word with slave while citing the story of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer to his students Recognizing and embracing his daughter’s best friend, a black girl, as a person worthy of giving and receiving friendship Promoting mutual respect among his students And being proactive in healing our nation” Now it was a four year old little Mexican American girl, Abby, who set this historic press conference without the press aside.  During Rep. Dr. Alma Allen’s presentation of HR 587 to honor and acknowledge my service to the community (View Resolution), Abby told her grandmother that she wanted to stay for the presentation.  As I proceeded to get on the elevator, her grandmother, Yvonne, stopped me so that Abby could take a picture with me and get a copy of the revised edition of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.   At that moment, God reminded me that this event was about sharing the anti-n-word message with the people.  In closing, history tells us that people of different ethnicities and backgrounds have been subjected to slavery, but it didn’t make them any less as a people.  In Galatians 3:28 Paul wrote,  “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus,” which means God created every person equally.  Having a black president of the United States is a reminder of America’s progress in race relations.  However, being defined by reference books in our educational system as the n-word demonstrates how blacks are still disrespected.  When I think of the great contributions blacks have made to our nation, I am personally saddened that our schoolchildren know more about the n-word than blacks’ contributions to America.  For example, only a few are familiar with Thomas Greene Wiggins, a blind 10 year old slave who was the first African American to perform at the White House in 1859.  The epidemic of offensive, sexist and racial language runs rapid in our society, which can’t be blamed on black rappers.  They didn’t create the n-word and are not selling their n-word CD’s to our schools.  If our educational system was using our tax dollars to purchase racially laced CD’s, I would denounce it.  President Thomas Jefferson said, “A nation can never be ignorant and free.”   This racial slur fosters a climate of ignorance and oppression in our nation, which we, the people, must move beyond to fully celebrate our diversity, freedom and independence.  We must never accept racism, sexism and terrorism as a cultural norm.  Although the media didn’t show, I will remain steadfast in my divine appointment to eradicate racism by promoting racial healing.  Will you please join me in this campaign?    ABOUT ACTIVIST TAMMIE LANG CAMPBELL: Believing that liberty is God’s gift to humanity and that everyone should be equally valued, Campbell petitioned Merriam Webster and Random House dictionaries to remove or redefine the n-word in 1991.  In 2007, Campbell held a symbolic n-word burial that was featured nationally on CNN (view story), in Manhattan City Council News and all local/state media outlets including the Houston Chronicle’s front page.  To advance this effort, she created an anti-n-word campaign and wrote an op. ed. in the Houston Chronicle on 10/ 31/10 called, “N-word Remains far too Pervasive.”  Her anti-n-word initiative has gained national support from New York City Councilman Leroy Cormier and Hawaii State Rep. John Mizuno.  For additional information about Tammie Lang Campbell’s work, please visit the Foundation’s website at:  www.honeybrownhope.org.   ABOUT NEWSOUTH PUBLISHER’S REVISION: Suzanne La Rosa, publisher of NewSouth Books, says the idea for this project originated with Dr. Alan Gribben.   “Gribben wanted to give readers an opportunity to experience the literature he so loved and had spent a lifetime championing.  He pitched the idea for an edition of Twain’s boy books with the hurtful epithets swapped out.  An educator and Twain scholar, Gribben perceived that teachers were increasingly avoiding the texts because it was difficult to hold discussions about the novels for reasons of the N-word.”

 
Time for the kickoff of the 2011 African American Legislative Summit hosted by the Texas Legislative Black Caucus. The kickoff event featuring the one and only, the legendary Biz Markie on the turntables will start on Sunday evening, Feb. 27th at the Sheraton Hotel at the Capitol in Austin. After the Sunday night performance make sure to enjoy the rest of the African American Legislative Summit which will take place at the State Capitol and our host site, The Sheraton Hotel at the Capitol. Admission is guaranteed only with free online registration at:  
Only Registered Summit Attendees will be allowed to enjoy this free event!

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You are invited to attend the 12th Annual African American Community Heritage Festival in Austin, TX on Feb. 26th!

 Representative Dukes invites you to the 12th Annual African American Heritage Festival
 
Event Name: 12th Annual African American Community Heritage Festival
Date: Saturday, February 26, 2011
Time: 1 pm to 5 pm
Location: Huston-Tillotson University Campus at 900 East Chicon – Austin, Texas

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The Texas Legislative Black Caucus is pleased to announce a special guest for the African American Legislative Summit, acclaimed and reknowned actress Loretta Devine. Ms. Devine, a Houston-native, has appeared in over 93 films and television shows in a superb career that has spanned almost 30 years. She currently appears in the hit-TV show, Grey’s Anatomy and the all-time favorite Waiting to Exhale. Her roles have touched the lives of many and inspired countless others to pursue a craft that through her hard work she has made look very easy. At the Summit, the TLBC will name a scholarship in her honor to a worthy high school student who will attend college in the fall.

   

Legislative Black Caucus welcomes 2 Republicans

By R.G. RATCLIFFE
AUSTIN BUREAU

Dec. 25, 2010, 9:24AM

AUSTIN — When Lubbock’s Ron Givens entered the Texas House in 1985 as the first black Republican to serve there since R.J. Moore, of Houston, almost 100 years earlier, the reception he received was less than enthusiastic.

The Legislative Black Caucus, founded by liberal Democrats, did not want him as a member. Nor did the Republican caucus, which at the time had only about 40 members, all white.

“No one wanted me to succeed because they didn’t want what I represented,” Givens recalled recently. “Everyone was trying to exterminate me.”

Givens served two terms before returning to Lubbock and his real estate business. In the next 22 years, no other black Republican was elected to the Legislature.

That changed in November. Come January, newly elected black Republicans Stefani Carter, of Dallas, and James White, of Hillister near Lufkin, will be among 101 party members in the Texas House. Hispanic Republicans also gained five seats where they had had none.

This time around, Legislative Black Caucus Chairman Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, was quick to ask the new members to join.

“We are not the Democratic caucus. We are not the Republican caucus. We are the Legislative Black Caucus,” Turner said.

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Houston UYA brings baseball to urban teens

By Moisekapenda Bower / Special to MLB.com | 11/13/10 11:49 PM EST

For more information on Major League Baseball and the current activities of their Urban Youth Academies, please check out the MLB’s new UYA website at: http://mlb.mlb.com/community/uya.jsp

Check out the story below on MLB’s Urban Youth Academy in Houston at Sylvester Turner Park.
 
HOUSTON — Mornings like the one on Saturday return Daryl Wade to the days of his youth, and opportunities that slipped away while reared in Acres Homes.

Middle schools in this urban neighborhood did not offer baseball to students, so those accustomed to playing Little League were forced into a temporary hiatus lifted only when they came of age in high school. For Wade, those three years lost were critical to his development, and likely spelled the difference between his flourishing as a teenager instead of as a sophomore first baseman at Paul Quinn College.

If there was a facility where Wade could have honed his skills as an adolescent, perhaps he might have burnished his abilities at a younger age and blazed an altogether different career path, one completely entrenched in baseball.

The Houston UYA hosted more than 130 local teens during a showcase. (Daryl Wade/Houston Urban Youth Academy)Wade could not help but contemplate what might have been as he gushed over what was. As the manager of the Houston Astros Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy, Wade beamed with pride as the seven-month-old facility hosted more than 130 local teenagers in a showcase orchestrated by two dozen scouts representing 26 franchises. When Wade accepted the position as manager of the Houston UYA, he had intimate knowledge of the influence it could have in Acres Homes.

“It’s a major impact,” Wade said. “There are kids out here who can play. A lot of the volunteers who are involved are former Little Leaguers from this community that I played with back in the day. It’s a great impact.”

The Houston UYA is the second of its kind developed by MLB, joining an academy built in Compton, Calif., more than four years ago. The Compton UYA has been wildly successful at connecting urban youth with baseball through multiple avenues from the 50 Academy alums playing professional baseball, the 150 who have earned college scholarships, and the 25 umpires and 10 groundskeepers in the Minor Leagues.

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Texas lawmakers challenged by budget shortfalls
Jewish Herald Voice
 
  
By MICHAEL C. DUKE
Thu, Dec 09, 2010
Budget issues will dominate the upcoming legislative session in Austin, according to a veteran lawmaker.
Texas state Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, at a sit-down meeting with local American Jewish Committee board members on Nov. 30, outlined a list of challenges facing the Texas House when it returns for the 82nd Legislative Session Jan. 11.
“We will have some tough issues. The budget being number one,” Tur-ner said. “When I say budgeting, I include education and all of those issues under budgeting.”
Other chal-lenges addressed at the meeting included redistricting, immigration and calendaring. The race for the next speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, and Turner’s own political future, also were discussed.
Texas will start the upcoming legislative session with an $18 billion to $25 billion budget shortfall. The state’s Republican governor, lieutenant governor and House speaker – bolstered by a new 99-51 GOP super majority in the House – have pledged to balance the budget without any new appreciable revenue enhancers, such as taxes.
“Not only will you have to cut to the bone, you’ll remove one or two bones in the process,” said Turner, whose 21 years in the Texas Legislature include a decade-long stint on the Appropriations Committee and a current seat on the Budget Board.
Turner compared the current budget challenges with those from 2003. At the time, he sat on the state’s Conference Committee, when Texas faced a $10 billion budget shortfall. The District 139 rep from Northwest Houston said the approach then was “zero-based budgeting.”
“We cut all the agencies down to zero, and we rebuilt them again, and the cuts were significant. Over 200,000 kids came off the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Thousands of state employees were laid off. We consolidated a number of agencies. And, it turned out in many ways to be a big mess. Over the last seven years, we’ve worked to reestablish the infrastructure,” Turner said.
“This time around, the challenge will be even greater,” he added.
“The decisions we make in this session, when you try to balance this budget without looking at any appreciable revenue enhancers, you are talking about handicapping this state for the next 10-plus years. Because where do you get the money?” he said.
Three options

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The Texas Legislative Black Caucus is pleased to announce that Debra Lee, the CEO and Chairman of Black Entertainment Television (B.E.T.) is the keynote speaker for the TLBC Scholarship Banquet on February 28, 2011 at the 2011 African American Legislative Summit at the Sheraton Hotel at the Capitol in Austin, Texas.

At the TLBC Scholarship Banquet, there will be more than 50 scholarships awarded with maximum awards up to $4,000, for deserving graduating high school seniors. More information will be provided soon.

To register or for more information, please visit:  Click here now to register! You don’t want to miss this event!/

Please find below a brief biography about our distinguished keynote speaker, Debra Lee:

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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 2011, and plan to attend college in the Fall 2011.

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.

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Paul Quinn College was gazing into a future of uncertainty in June 2009 when the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools withheld Paul Quinn College’s accreditation. Many of us could not bear to watch Dallas’s only historically black college fade into the dusty pages of our region’s history. Small colleges attract many first-generation and lower-income students in Texas and are a valuable asset to the community. It would be a great loss for Dallas and our state to see the doors close on a college which has opened a window of opportunity to so many. Moreover, when healthy, colleges and universities are economic engines. Paul Quinn can be an anchor for economic development in an area of blight. Recognizing the dire situation that the college was in, Representative Helen Giddings, in whose district the college is located, appealed to members of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus. With the leadership of Caucus Chairman Sylvester Turner, the group quickly mobilized and developed a strateegy. On July 13, 2009, the Texas Legislative Black Caucus visited the campus and began implementing a plan to get the college back on its feet.

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The TLBC 2010 Golf Classic, held on Monday, November 8th, marked the Caucus’s high-water mark for fundraising, and was a very successful event. We raised over $300,000 including cash and in-kind donations. The tournament sold out early, giving us a packed course of 144 players and dozens of other guests.

We set opened registration by 10:30 with about 15 volunteers from legislative staffs and lobby offices, which was a great team. The weather was a perfect 75 degrees and the course was dry.

The event was emceed by Chairman Sylvester Turner, who was joined by 10 other members of TLBC. Golfing were Marc Veasey, Barbara Mallory Caraway and Borris Miles, and they were joined by their House colleague Eddie Rodriguez. Other TLBC members greeted players and sponsors throughout the day — Joe Deshotel, Harold Dutton, Helen Giddings, Alma Allen, Eric Johnson, Ron Reynolds and Dawnna Dukes. Speaker Joe Straus also joined us for the cocktail reception before dinner.

Volunteers raised another $4,440 through raffle ticket sales. The prizes included airline tickets, an iPad computer, sports collectibles and spirits.

The dinner was a fun-filled event that included 180 members, sponsors and other guests.

Please save the date of November 7, 2011 for our next TLBC Golf Classic!