The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.
Several state lawmakers want to see tax-free tampons in Texas – and there’s actually a bipartisan push to exempt feminine hygiene products from state sales tax.
Five Democrats and one Republican have filed bills with this goal – includingOne of those Democrats is Rep. Donna Howard of Austin. She explains why this effort is materializing now:
“Well, part of this comes from the fact that it’s been in the news a lot recently over the last year or so because several states have implemented this tax exemption,” Howard says. “So, certainly, I wanted to make sure we had some option available for Texas women to get some kind of exemption.”
Some states that have already passed similar laws include New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Maryland. If Texas does, it will be the first southern state to make these kinds of products tax-free.
Howard says one of the reasons she filed her bill is because many health supplies are already exempt from sales tax.
“It seemed that it was a reasonable revenue stream to diminish, for the greater good of allowing women to access a medical necessity without having to worry about taxes being imposed upon them,” she says.
Howard is optimistic that some legislation on this issue will pass. She’s also filed a bill to make diapers – including adult diapers – tax exempt too.
Last week Gov. Greg Abbott took a stand against “sanctuary campuses” on Twitter. He tweeted, “Texas will not tolerate sanctuary campuses or cities. I will cut funding for any state campus if it establishes sanctuary status.”
But that’s not stopping students at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley from demanding their university adopt policies that would protect undocumented immigrants at their school. In a press conference yesterday, student Abraham Diaz called on President Guy Baily to commit to sanctuary campus status. Diaz spoke with Rio Grande Valley Public Radio:
“Being undocumented in the Rio Grande Valley and in our education system has been tough. We’re not comfortable throughout the educational system,” he says. “We’re not comfortable navigating this system, which is a system that was not made for us.”
A petition was submitted to University President Bailey. It also calls on the school to “help prevent hateful comments and micro-aggressions in the post-election environment”.
Legalizing whole plant medical marijuana in Texas might be a long-shot in the upcoming legislative session. But State Sen. Jose Menendez thinks his bill has a better chance if people who say the plant could benefit them make their case to the public and lawmakers directly.
This week Menendez invited some of those people to address the media – one of them was Navy Corpsman Kate Cochran-Morgan of Dallas. She did a tour of duty in Iraq and says she suffers from extreme anxiety and anger.
“I was in a fog of pain and pills, swimming in my own worst nightmare,” Morgan says. “Cannabis has been the only medication that’s helped me with all my problems with no side effects or the feeling my life is over. Any patient suffering from a debilitating medical condition should be able to legally access medical cannabis.”
Gov. Greg Abbott has said he’s against legalizing what he calls “conventional” medical marijuana.