LPTX State Download ❄️ | Organizing to defend reproductive rights & local control, plus upcoming events! | February 2024

Our chapter has been hitting the ground running this year on several issues already! See what opportunities are coming up for you to take action on and engage with the chapter this winter and spring!

Our upcoming 2024 Texas Progressive Governance Academy (PGA) will take place on March 8-9 in San Antonio, TX. The PGA is a project with the State Innovation Exchange (SiX), re:power and Local Progress to build and develop the leadership and governance skills of progressive state and local elected officials across the country. 

Our Texas PGAs are a critical tool to recruit new members and deepen our cross-state strategies. Registration for our 2024 Texas PGA is ongoing and open! If you’d like more information or have any questions, you can email tbenavides@localprogress.org.

📍 Our Organizing Committee Meets in Houston

This past December, our Local Progress Texas Organizing Committee came together in the Bayou City to do strategic planning for 2024 and set the priority agenda for our chapter. We are excited to share it with you in the coming weeks!

Members and partners hosted local electeds for a meet & greet, where new connections were made to help grow our Local Progress network in Texas. 

Our Organizing Committee members got to attend a site visit at The Harris Center, where they learned about the county’s mental health and jail diversion program.

🌟 Welcoming New Organizing Committee Members

Welcome, City of San Marcos Councilmember Alyssa Garza and City of Laredo Councilmember Alyssa Cigarroa

We officially brought on these two new members to the Organizing Committee at our LPTX Houston OC retreat in December, and we cannot wait to see them maximize their leadership impact in this role. Our LPTX Organizing Committee is now up to 13 members! 

Our Organizing Committee meets once a month and works with LP staff and our community partners to advance our state chapter’s priorities and refine the mission and vision for our work. It’s also a great space to build community with other LPTX members. If you’re interested in learning more about this Committee, fill out this form.

🪧 The Fight Against HB 2127 Continues

In August, the City of Houston’s motion for summary judgment challenging the constitutionality of HB 2127, aka the “Death Star” law, was affirmed by the 459th District Court in Travis County. 

HB 2127 was thus declared unconstitutional, void, and unenforceable, signaling a big win for the protection of local democracy and power! The State of Texas then appealed the decision, triggering the law to go into effect on September 1, while the battle in the courts moves along.

LPTX, along with its partner organizations Texas AFL-CIO, Every Texan, ACLU of Texas, Workers Defense Project, and MOVE Texas organized 56 local elected officials across 26 jurisdictions to sign on to an amicus brief by Public Rights Project and Local Progress in support of the City of Houston’s challenge. Thank you to all the local elected officials who were able to support this amicus brief effort!  We will continue standing up to protect local democracy and will keep you posted as this case comes to a hearing in the Third Court of Appeals soon.

❤️  LPTX members organize to support reproductive rights

This past November, Public Rights Project organized an amicus brief to support the Center for Reproductive Rights in the Texas Supreme Court case, Zurwaski v. Texas, the first lawsuit brought on behalf of women denied abortions since Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Over a dozen Local Progress Texas members signed on to support the brief to demand clarity for patients and physicians on the scope of the state’s medical emergency exception under its extreme abortion ban. We are so grateful to our LPTX members who are again, leading in the effort to fight for Texans’ reproductive rights!

🚦 LPTX members join recall campaign against Hyundai and Kia

A coalition of 8 local electeds across the country joined forces to call for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to recall Hyundai and Kia vehicles with theft vulnerabilities. Shout out to our Organizing Committee Co-chair, Councilmember Vanessa Fuentes, for being a champion in this effort!

⚡️ ICYMI! 

#LP2024 is happening this summer in Oakland, CA on July 25-27! After doing it up big in St. Louis last year, we’re thrilled to be headed to the West Coast in 2024. Registration details were sent to your email on February 12 – save the date and get excited! 

✔️ New Staff & Openings

As our Local Progress network grows to 1400+ members in 48 states, so does our staff! This January we welcomed a new Housing Coordinator, fellow Texan, Mia Loseff. We are now expanding our capacity across different states including California, Colorado, and Pennsylvania. You can check out current openings here and share within your networks! 

🧰 Resources & Opportunities

In other news, here are some of our newest resources:

This year we’re planning an incredible series of Policy & Strategy Primers, which are virtual learning sessions designed especially for new members and newly elected folks. Up next are our sessions on Media Strategies and Police Accountability – you can register for these and other upcoming sessions here.

🤝 Recruit New Members

Our members are our best recruiters! Do you know a local elected official in Texas who would be a good fit for our network? You can use this sample email to introduce them to the Local Progress network and invite them to join. 

❤️ Join an LP Identity Caucus

In the past two years, Local Progress has launched two national, identity-based community spaces: the Black Caucus and the Women’s Caucus! These spaces were created by and for LP members to gather and share their lived experiences in governing and leadership positions. Are you interested in joining or building a Caucus? Fill out this form and we’ll be in touch! 

💖 Nuestro Caucus is in Formation 

Our Caucuses will have several opportunities for you to engage in the coming months and throughout the year. These opportunities will include the newest addition of Nuestro Caucus, our Latinx member-led space, which is officially in formation! If you’re interested in joining, email Tannya!

That’s a wrap for our first newsletter of the year!