Texas Catholic Voice – August 2019

A Message from Jennifer Allmon, Executive Director
During legislative session advocates trek to Austin to express their wishes, call and write their legislators, and organize others to pass legislation, but too often that is the end of engagement on the issues. Most legislation requires the hard work of state agencies to implement effectively — but this is precisely when most advocates are silent. Legislation is generally effective on Sept. 1 after the legislature adjourns, which means that in the next week there will be hundreds of new laws in Texas.

Shortly after Sept. 1, state agencies will issue draft rules for public comment. Savvy advocates use this rules process to further advance, protect, or sometimes undermine the underlying legislation. Watch for action alerts on opportunities to comment on these rules processes as they move forward. It is critical advocates continue to express their views as state agencies seek comments on the rules and processes for implementation of hard fought legislative wins.

The staff of the TCCB has already taken action with state agencies on two of our highest legislative priorities. During session we successfully advocated for increased funding for Alternatives to Abortion providers who provide life-saving services to pregnant and parenting families. This summer, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission has asked for feedback on how to most efficiently and effectively spend this increased funding. Our staff consulted with existing providers and studied the data from the program services to formulate our recommendation to the commission, which are outlined in this letter.

We are also working with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and the Texas Private Schools Association on the implementation of the improvements to student protection. The TEA has produced a video that highlights how critical gaps in student protection were closed because of the legislation we proposed and supported throughout the session. It is critical for school teachers, principals, administrators, and parents to understand how these new tools can be used to increase transparency and accountability for teacher misconduct. Director of Education Lisette Allen has more information below.

For a summary on other legislation effective on Sept 1, check out this series from the Texas Tribune. A list of the bills TCCB supported that will become law soon is in our Sine Die Report.

As always, you can follow us on on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates. God bless!

A Message From Lisette Allen, Director of Education
Welcome back to school teachers, principals and superintendents! It is a wonderful time in Catholic education as we continue to develop the whole child spiritually and academically. I am delighted to announce the opening of a new high school in the Diocese of San Angelo. Holy Cross Catholic High School in Odessa serves grades 9-10 and plans to expand to grade 12 over the next two years.

As was mentioned by our executive director, during the legislative session TCCB and the Texas Private School Association worked on improving student protection for both public and private school students. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is sending a video to all Catholic school superintendents. Principals are encouraged to watch the video and collaborate with their superintendent to ensure they are in compliance with the new law.

If you should have any questions, please feel free to contact me atlisette@txcatholic.org or at 512-339-9882.

Texas Catholic Archives Reorganization Project
Due to a Records Reorganization Project, the Archives is temporarily unable to host researchers. Our hope is to reopen the archives to researchers some time in early 2020. Thank you for your patience and understanding. For any questions regarding research access to the Catholic Archives of Texas, please contact Morgan Daniels atmorgan@txcatholic.org or at 512-339-9882.
This video explains how our faith motivates us to make a difference in Texas — and why laws to protect our beliefs allow us to help make Texas a better place for all to live. You can view the video here. Please feel free to spread the word about the importance of religious liberty!

Prayer for the Legislature

During the interim session, please pray for all our public servants and elected officials, including our Governor, Lt. Governor, House Speaker, lawmakers, and their staff, that the Lord may grant them rest and refreshment from their work, bless their return home to their districts to be with their families and constituents, and give them grace and guidance in the interim.

In the News
Pope’s August Prayer Intention: For Families

President of United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Domestic Justice Chairman issued a Statement Following Shooting in El Paso

Chair of USCCB Committee on Migration Urges Rescission of New Rule that Undermines our Asylum System and Puts Vulnerable Individuals and Families at Risk

Chairs of USCCB’s Committees on Migration and Domestic Justice and Human Development Express Deep Concern Over New Rule on Individuals and Families that Access Public Benefits

USCCB Chairmen Applaud Proposed Regulations Preventing Government Discrimination Against Faith-Based Federal Contractors

Catholic Belief in Eucharist Helped by Fellowship, Beauty of Worship, says Ordinariate Bishop

The Treasures of Catholic Texas

Christ Truly Present

El Paso bishop meets with victims, family members of Texas mass shooting

Bringing in the new school year with the Holy Spirit

Catholics Mobilizing Network on Upcoming Texas Executions: Billy Crutsinger (9-4-2019), Mark Soliz (9-10-2019), & Robert Sparks (9-25-2019)

Support for victims of Natural Disasters
Catholic Charities USA is collecting donations to assist those affected by the Midwest Storms, Alabama Tornadoes, California Wildfires, Hurricane Michael, Hurricane Florence, and other natural disasters. CCUSA forwards 100 percent of funds raised directly to Catholic Charities agencies that serve the affected communities.  To learn more visit www.catholiccharitiesusa.org.
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