Who’s Running For Governor?
Who’s running for Governor? We're entering the orbit of our next election cycle, still without a big-name Democrat declared. Considering the stakes, this is concerning for sure. We expect some word from Beto O'Rourke on whether he'll run - and notably, we still lack any women candidates in major races, which is surprising considering the terrific talent among Texas Democratic women. And at the start of Hispanic Heritage Month, we'd also love to see our Latinx powerhouse players jump in, especially considering recent Census data - people of color in general. Also, believe it or not, here comes ANOTHER special Lege session, with redistricting as the main event, presenting yet another opportunity for the Texas GOP to further cement its illegitimate advantage via gerrymandering and the negating of the power of our major cities and underserved communities. And, GOP antics around COVID continue - seemingly ANYTHING to avoid masks and vaccines - "freedom" at the expense of the safety and freedom of ALL Texans...almost NONE of whom are especially jazzed about the direction of the state.
September 16, 2021
Labor Day Takeover! Texas Blue Action Dems Discuss SB8
Proud to present, as a special edition of the Happy Hour, a panel of some of the most incredible women representing the progressive movement in Texas for a discussion of the draconian new abortion restriction enacted last week in Texas: SB8. Texas Blue Action Executive Director Lana Hansen moderates a truly amazing group: State Senator Wendy Davis, Rep. Jasmine Crockett of Dallas, Democratic nominee and Register@Vote founder Julie Oliver, Blue Action Founder and President Carrie Collier Brown, Blue Action Dems Board Member Michelle Moon-Reinhardt, The Honor Roll founder Kate Donaho, and Common Cause organizer and activist Katya Ehresman. What does SB8 really mean, is it likely to survive judicial review, how did it come to pass, and how can Texans fight back? Join the discussion AND the fight today.
September 6, 2021
666 New Laws - Here Are Three Of The Worst
What a week. Texas makes national news in perhaps the worst possible way - with the enacting of the most repressive restriction upon abortion since Roe v Wade, effectively suspending that almost 50-year precedent in Texas. The new law is confusing - because it is DESIGNED to confuse us, intimidate us, and further divide us. Meanwhile, get ready to see a lot more guns on a lot more hips across Texas as permitless carry also goes into effect this week. And, Texas teachers are now forbidden from discussing race and diversity in our public schools, putting our kids at an educational disadvantage and our state on a regressive developmental path. All of this seems crazy, until one considers it's all designed to please the GOP's far right, primary-voting base - at the rest of our expense. The Texas Crazy Meter is well into the red - join us as we try to sort it all out.
September 3, 2021
Planned Parenthood Texas Votes Discusses: Our Bodies, Our Votes, Our Rights
Joining the crew this week, our good friend and Planned Parenthood Texas Votes Executive Director Dyana Limon-Mercado, who's the perfect authority at a moment when Senate Bill 8 is set to essentially outlaw most abortions in the state as of September 1. What's in the new law, what's still legal, what's not, and what's next? Also - Texas House Democrats score at least a partial walkout victory as the U.S. House passes the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. How might it upend the plans of the Texas GOP to disenfranchise thousands of Texas voters, and what stands in the way of the Act becoming law? We discuss all this and more, including how YOU can join the fight, on this week's Progress Texas Happy Hour. https://progresstexas.org/blog/what-sets-texas%E2%80%99-abortion-ban-apart-rest-abortion-bounty-hunters https://needabortion.org/
August 26, 2021
Abbott Mask Madness, and Texas: Our Diverse Texas
Saatvik is back! And we welcome Progress Texas Development Associate Brett Isaacs to the Happy Hour for the first time as well. As the whole country watches, Governor Greg Abbott's ban on masking mandates - and the Texas Supreme Court's support of his orders - have met a wall of opposition by Texas families and urban school districts. Turns out, treating children as political pawns isn't especially appealing to most Texans - listen for a way to help Progress Texas fight back. Plus, new U.S. Census data shows an ever greater increase in diversity across America and Texas, which is important to note as redistricting approaches, and good reason for Democratic strategists to renew their efforts to connect with this growing range of Texas voters effectively. And finally, the fall of Afghanistan is bringing refugees to our shores, many of whom are seeking safety in our state - listen to find out how you can help make them welcome. Over 300 Afghans are coming to Texas and it's beautiful to see. Volunteer: https://www.rstx.org/make-an-impact/volunteer.html
August 19, 2021
The Abbott Virus: Who Will Save Texas From COVID?
Producer Chris Mosser sits in for Saatvik again with Ed, Diana and Wesley as we dedicate most of this week's Happy Hour to an unhappy subject: the return of high COVID-19 numbers in Texas, compounded by Governor Abbott's apparent plan to make it as deadly as possible - not only for his own voters, but for the children of Texas, many of whom still cannot be vaccinated. What should Texas parents do? What should the mayors of Texas cities do? We're in the midst of a crisis of our own making, it seems - join the Progress Texas crew as we try to make sense of it all.
August 6, 2021
Texas Rep. Ana-Maria Ramos, Progress Texas Happy Hour, July 22 2021
State Rep. Ana-Maria Ramos joins us this week live from Washington, D.C. as Texas House Dems advocate for voting rights legislation at the federal level. Ed, Wesley and pinch host Chris Mosser ask for an update on how the D.C. Dems are holding up, her take on the national press, the attention from the U.S. Congress they've gained, what's at stake - and what's coming next.
July 22, 2021
The Texas Democratic Fly-Out! Progress Texas Happy Hour, July 15 2021
We're joined from D.C. by Texas State Reps Erin Zwiener and Gene Wu, who are among the Democrats who have once again broken quorum in the House to hold the line against GOP voting rights suppression - a brave move that is not without personal sacrifice and peril, and is also part of the defense of much more than just Texas voters - voting rights across our country are at stake. This is all a very big deal - we get down to what the real battle is all about.
July 16, 2021
"We're basically governed by a child": Progress Texas Happy Hour, July 8 2021
As Governor Abbott's special session kicks off, the Happy Hour crew assembles to discuss the agenda - to start, what's NOT on the list: energy reform, COVID vaccinations, and expansion of Medicaid are nowhere to be found. And, what IS on it: Abbott's hostage-taking via his defunding of the Legislature's employees, new restrictions on abortion rights, and reacting to the Democratic walkout with another push for wholesale voter suppression. Once again, Texas progressives are called to action and encouraged to take inspiration from this challenge - listen for details on how to join us!
July 8, 2021
Pretty Petty: Progress Texas Happy Hour, June 10 2021
Our last Happy Hour for awhile - Saatvik is back! - as we continue our celebration of Pride Month through June, with a brief history of the celebration, and a recap of how LGBTQ issues shook out in the recently-concluded Lege session. We also go over what Texas lawmakers did (and didn't do) to prepare for our state's next energy emergency, possibly as early as this summer. And, even in one of the worst sessions ever, there were positive moments too - including the Democratic walkout to undermine SB7. And what's next? Glenn gives us the skinny on special sessions and how they work - they're almost certainly coming this year. Plus, what happens with Governor Abbott's petty threat to defund the legislature, including members of his own party? Pride Across Texas: https://progresstexas.org/blog/pride-celebrations-across-texas-2021 Best and Worst of the TX Lege: https://progresstexas.org/blog/10-best-worst-moments-2021-texas-legislative-session Republican State Legislatures are winning the war on American Democracy: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/republican-voting-rights-democracy_n_60ba544ee4b04b216be68ce6 The Texas Legislature hits the dimmer switch on real electric grid reform: https://progresstexas.org/blog/texas-legislature-hits-dimmer-switch-real-electric-grid-reform
June 10, 2021
The Walkout! Progress Texas Happy Hour, June 4 2021
Texas Democrats staged a walkout at the Texas Legislature on Sunday, killing voter suppression bill SB7 on what was effectively the last day of session. They showed some real fight! And along the way sent a message to the nation: we will not back down. We revisit this story and more as Diana Gomez moderates a special edition of the Progress Texas Happy Hour with two of our favorite Texas lawmakers: Representative Rafael Anchia of House District 103 (Dallas), and Senator Jose Menendez of District 26 (San Antonio). We'll hear their impressions of the just-completed regular Lege session, as well as important issues like abortion rights, marijuana policy reform, why they think it was the most contentious ever, and what to expect in future special sessions.
June 4, 2021
Human Hamster Wheels: Progress Texas Happy Hour, May 28 2021
In the closing days before Sine Die - but not before a busy working holiday weekend - Senior Strategist Glenn Smith joins the regular Happy Hour crew as we reflect on what's been the most contentious and divisive Legislative session that any of us can remember. Also, one of the least productive sessions ever on important business for Texans, in particular putting Texas taxpayers on the hook for making energy companies whole, while doing nothing to prevent future energy disasters - the next of which may arrive as soon as this summer. We cover details on Progress Texas' efforts against dark money having a hand in writing Texas law, and the (very) thinly-veiled racism at the heart of both voter suppression and education censorship attempts by the GOP - the meanest, cruelest session in memory appears to be directly tied to The Big Lie. Where is the Legislature on fixing our energy grid? https://progresstexas.org/blog/keep-lights-texas-we-need-change-power Conservative org with ties to Trump & the Big Lie: https://progresstexas.org/blog/progress-texas-files-ethics-complaint-against-heritage-action-involvement-voter-suppression Dark money group admits it had a hand in Texas voter suppression bills: https://progresstexas.org/blog/dark-money-group-admits-it-had-hand-texas-voter-suppression-bills
May 28, 2021
Texas v Roe v Wade: Progress Texas Happy Hour, May 21 2021
Texas made national news this week with Governor Abbott's unconstitutional six-week abortion ban. The Progress Texas team made our own national news with our statements fighting back, reminding people that Roe v. Wade is still the law of the land and that this law will lose in court. What happens next? Organizers are planning a Don't Mess With Texans' Abortions rally for Saturday May 29 - listen to hear how you can participate in person or online. Speaking of the Governor, he has a challenger in Don Huffines - who doesn't think Abbott is conservative enough - plus new conflicts between House and Senate Republicans potentially give the more unified Democrats a competitive edge. Texas Legislature’s proposed six-week abortion ban is unconstitutional: https://progresstexas.org/blog/texas-legislature%E2%80%99s-proposed-six-week-abortion-ban-unconstitutional House bill to punish lobbyists accused of harassment gutted in Senate committee: https://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/2021/05/20/house-bill-to-punish-lobbyists-accused-of-harassment-gutted-in-senate-committee/ Don't Mess With Texans' Abortion Rights Rally: https://fb.me/e/2pKYEPot9
May 21, 2021
Rub-A-Dub Chub: Progress Texas Happy Hour, May 14 2021
Welcome back to the Happy Hour! It was yet another insane week at the Capitol, as important deadlines arrived on Thursday night. Some bad bills were "chubbed" to death, while others bills - good and bad - squeaked across the deadline. We run it all down for ya. We've also got an update on some of this session's most extreme proposals such as court-appointed lawyers for fetuses, permitless carry, and voter suppression. And we finish it off with some good news: marijuana decriminalization. DO IT FOR WILLIE! Rep. Harold Dutton uses trans kids as political pawn: https://progresstexas.org/blog/rep-harold-dutton-uses-trans-kids-political-pawn Voter Suppression Bill SB 7: Where it’s been, where it’s at, and where it’s going: https://progresstexas.org/blog/voter-suppression-bill-sb-7-where-it%E2%80%99s-been-where-it%E2%80%99s-and-where-it%E2%80%99s-going Broken promises: Texas Republicans abandon gun safety, pander to far-right: https://progresstexas.org/blog/broken-promises-texas-republicans-abandon-gun-safety-pander-far-right Texas Marijuana Bills: Have they passed or gone up in smoke? https://progresstexas.org/blog/texas-marijuana-bills-have-they-passed-or-gone-smoke
May 14, 2021
Twisted Spirit Week: Progress Texas Happy Hour, May 7 2021
Happy Hour time, and after last night and the last few weeks, do we ever need some happy! We ARE happy about the huge turnout and passion of all of our partners for progress here in Texas, including all the folks sporting beautiful shades of orange, and our hard-working Democratic lawmakers who are fighting the good fight. We find that the response to our common cause gives us renewed motivation to keep working hard for Texans. Still, the fight is grueling, and we've got Lege war stories from this week that we'll never forget, including the constant distortion of the rules and use of veiled racist "purity" language in voter suppression and abortion restriction bills by GOP leadership. The bad acting and misplaced priorities are astounding - and ever greater motivation to keep fighting against them.
May 7, 2021
Crisco Brain's Calzone Of Terror: Progress Texas Happy Hour, April 30 2021
Hey! It's Happy Hour time, and we're joined by our friend Emily Eby of the Texas Civil Rights Project! As we continue through the grueling process of the Lege, Diana and Wesley share the story of the nutso parliamentary gymnastics of Briscoe Cain on voter suppression bills on Thursday. Emily describes the danger of empowering poll watchers - clearly a GOP intimidation ploy, especially if combined with the permitless carrying of handguns. We also share our tips for overcoming the fear of public speaking, at a moment when it's so important for ALL Texans to courageously speak up on the dirty deeds being done at the Capitol on voting rights, abortion rights, redistricting and more. Why is Briscoe Cain the worst? https://progresstexas.org/blog/republican-briscoe-cain-over-his-head DOJ being asked to step in to monitor TX Elections Cmte: https://www.kxan.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2021/04/SB7_DOJ.pdf
April 30, 2021
Police Reform, State Budget Priorities: Progress Texas Happy Hour, April 23 2021
Happy Hour time! With news of Matthew McConaughey polling ahead of Greg Abbott, and the candidacy of Caitlyn Jenner in California, we mull the question: Is a celebrity Governor something we could live with? Is that a better move than the rock stars the Democrats already have in the bullpen? Also, the guilty verdict for Derek Chauvin in the George Floyd case: what does the moment mean, and what's next for police reform in Texas? We also talk about the state budget, how the miss on Medicaid expansion by GOP lawmakers is disappointing but not surprising, and legislative threats against corporations that take a stand against Republican policies. Puzzling as the opposition can be, Progress Texas continues the fight - thanks for listening and joining us! On Medicaid fail: https://progresstexas.org/blog/biden-republicans-stop-kicking-can-down-road-medicaid On Texas police reform: https://progresstexas.org/blog/3-police-reform-bills-watch-texas-legislature
April 23, 2021
Discrimination Is Expensive: Progress Texas Happy Hour, April 16 2021
After an exhausting week, it's time for Happy Hour! The crew is proud to welcome Ash Hall of the Transgender Education Network of Texas, as we discuss the wide range of dirty deeds that GOP lawmakers have been up to at the Capitol. In particular two anti-trans bills, SB-29 and HB-4042, designed to force our trans student athletes to conform to teams that don't align with their gender identities, and inviting conflict for Texas with the NCAA and other business interests. Also HB-1399, which bans trans children in Texas from receiving gender affirming medical care. Meanwhile, women's reproductive rights are also under attack via multiple bills in both chambers - it seems the assault is coming from all directions. Wondering what you can do to help Progress Texas fight back? Give us a listen. Discriminatory bills in Texas would deny rights to trans kids: https://progresstexas.org/blog/discriminatory-bills-texas-would-deny-rights-trans-kids Diana testifies on HB 3760: https://progresstexas.org/video/diana-g%C3%B3mez-testifies-protect-abortion-care Major brands send message: Voter suppression is bad for business: https://progresstexas.org/blog/major-brands-send-message-voter-suppression-bad-business Demand Repbulicans stop attacking Abortion: https://progresstexas.actionkit.com/sign/petition-demand-legislators-stop-attacking-abortion-care?source=actionpage Demand Republicans stop attacking our Democracy: https://progresstexas.actionkit.com/sign/petition-demand-republicans-end-their-attack-on-our-voting-rights?source=actionpage
April 16, 2021
Bad Bills Are Bad For Business: Progress Texas Happy Hour, April 9 2021
Happy Hour time! We welcome guest anchor Amanda Gnaedinger this week as we discuss the role of corporate America in our political discourse, as various companies begin to weigh in against voter suppression legislation in Texas. We also cover the economic peril our state is subjected to by reckless GOP lawmaking (see: Georgia). Wesley and Diana share "war stories" of the week at the Capitol, as the fight to preserve reproductive rights and healthcare in Texas continues - and, shout-outs for several of our valued partner orgs on the ground, joining forces in the ongoing battle for progress. PETITION: DEMAND REPUBLICANS END THEIR ATTACK ON OUR VOTING RIGHTS https://progresstexas.actionkit.com/sign/petition-demand-republicans-end-their-attack-on-our-voting-rights?source=actionpage&fbclid=IwAR0ZfLWsDbeXdxfMDEB2ks67eadLip3G-kbL81syOB8Urm8_DSqTNv7fyTs 7 anti-abortion bills the Texas Senate is wasting time on instead of bills to help Texans https://progresstexas.org/blog/7-anti-abortion-bills-texas-senate-wasting-time-instead-bills-help-texans?fbclid=IwAR0gRQptbrwBMfuPjlFKc36wGefg7pMPdcHSjkDk4L25IFTFeTRKRkZH3T0
April 9, 2021
All-Night Fight with the Right: Progress Texas Happy Hour - April 2 2021
Another wild week at the Texas Capitol brings us stories of waiting 20 hours to testify against anti-abortion legislation, a Republican bill to appoint lawyers for fetuses (?!), and special guest Ashley Cheng of the podcast The Rabble shares a story about the first time she took her mom to vote. We've also got updates on how Texas companies such as American Airlines, Dell, and Southwest Airlines are taking public positions against voter suppression bills. Reference links: Demand Dan Patrick stop attacking our reproductive rights: https://progresstexas.actionkit.com/sign/petition-demand-legislators-stop-attacking-abortion-care?source=actionpage Abortion is healthcare Act would remove decades of Texas restrictions: https://progresstexas.org/blog/abortion-healthcare-act-would-remove-decades-texas-restrictions 7 anti-abortion bills the Texas Senate is wasting time on instead of bills to help Texans: https://progresstexas.org/blog/7-anti-abortion-bills-texas-senate-wasting-time-instead-bills-help-texans Texas Republicans have launched an all out attack on our voting rights: https://progresstexas.org/blog/texas-republicans-have-launched-all-out-attack-our-voting-rights Stop the Texas GOP from outlawing 2020 voting innovations: https://progresstexas.actionkit.com/sign/petition-demand-republicans-end-their-attack-on-our-voting-rights?source=actionpage
April 2, 2021
Shrimp Tails From The Lege: Progress Texas Happy Hour, March 26 2021
The Progress Texas Happy Hour crew convenes - central to the discussion of the Lege are misplaced priorities by Republicans and a slate of voter suppression bills, we talk about what's in them and why they're bad. Wesley and Diana weigh in on the experience of diving in at the Capitol - including a close encounter with Beto O'Rourke, and procedural shenanigans from State Rep. Briscoe Cain who shut down a hearing before hundreds of people could testify. We offer a preview on anti-abortion legislation, and then we wrap up by sharing our vaccine experiences - get your shots y'all! Thanks for listening, and be sure to sign our very important petitions! Texas Republicans have launched an all out attack on our voting rights: https://progresstexas.org/blog/texas-republicans-have-launched-all-out-attack-our-voting-rights Demand Dan Patrick stop attacking our reproductive rights: https://progresstexas.actionkit.com/sign/petition-demand-legislators-stop-attacking-abortion-care?source=actionpage Stop the Texas GOP from outlawing 2020 voting innovations: https://progresstexas.actionkit.com/sign/petition-demand-republicans-end-their-attack-on-our-voting-rights?source=actionpage Abortion is healthcare Act would remove decades of Texas restrictions: https://progresstexas.org/blog/abortion-healthcare-act-would-remove-decades-texas-restrictions 7 anti-abortion bills the Texas Senate is wasting time on instead of bills to help Texans: https://progresstexas.org/blog/7-anti-abortion-bills-texas-senate-wasting-time-instead-bills-help-texans Not all emergencies are priorities at the Texas Capitol: https://www.texastribune.org/2021/03/24/texas-mass-shootings-guns
March 26, 2021
New Day, Same Old GOP Playbook: Progress Texas Happy Hour, March 19
Senior Strategist Glenn Smith joins the weekly Happy Hour crew for this week’s rundown of the crazy world of Texas politics. GOP efforts in the Lege to undermine voting rights are troubling and reminiscent of the Jim Crow era. Republicans also continue their typical attacks on reproductive rights – all of this even as the people of Texas demand action from lawmakers on COVID. We’re also now seeing the effects of racist Republican language about the pandemic, exemplified by Chip Roy’s tirade this week in D.C., in a rise of anti-Asian violence, which must be countered by all of us - “if one person is in chains, we’re all in chains”. On a hopeful note, we celebrate the huge progress under President Biden in the national vaccination effort, as well as the months-long sacrifice of most Texans to protect their communities - in spite of Governor Abbott’s attempts to undermine safety precautions. And the conversation on Matthew McConaughey continues – politically, where is he exactly?
March 19, 2021
Polling And The Pandemic: Progress Texas Happy Hour, March 12 2021
This week, the Progress Texas team reflects on the lessons of the pandemic, one full year in. We also talk Polling: what do Texans think about Greg Abbott, Ted Cruz, the recent energy crisis, priorities at the Lege, the assault on reproductive rights, and the Texas response to COVID? We find, once again, that Progressive values are mainstream values. President Biden's American Rescue Plan is now a reality - what's it mean for Texas families? And, will Matthew McConaughey run for Governor - and if he does, what's that mean for Texas Democrats?
March 12, 2021
Mask Madness: Progress Texas Happy Hour - March 5, 2021
Welcome to the Progress Texas podcast! This week we talk about what Gov. Greg Abbott must have been thinking in revoking mask mandates and reopening the state - while vaccination rates are only at 7%. We also explore ways that progressives in the Texas legislature are battling climate change and how you can get signed up to testify for the upcoming redistricting sessions. Enjoy and share with friends!
March 6, 2021