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Candid Review of 84th Texas Legislature Makes for Lively Forum Discussion

A treasure trove of information and occasional friendly sparring among state legislators made for a lively and candid Post-Legislative Forum September 23 hosted by United Way of Tarrant County and its Area Agency on Aging.

State Representatives Chris Turner (D), Nicole Collier (D), and Giovanni Capriglione (R), along with State Senator Konni Burton (R), took turns outlining accomplishments of the 84th Texas Legislature and where they felt the session fell short. They also encouraged the audience of non-profit professionals to be pro-active in informing elected officials about health and human service issues. “Now is the time to call and visit your representatives so we can prepare and be ready for the next session,” Sen. Burton told the audience.

Adrianna Cuellar Rojas, the President and CEO of United Ways of Texas, noted that the Austin-based organization tracked over 2,000 bills related to health and human services during the session. “Was it a great legislative session?” she said. “Probably not, but it wasn’t necessarily a bad session.” She noted that about 4,200 bills were introduced in the House during the 84th Legislature and about 2,000 bills were introduced in the Senate.

A panel of experts moderated by United Way Public Policy Committee Chair Dr. Don Jackson wrapped up the forum by discussing pressing education, income and health issues that still need to be addressed. The panelists were Dr. Melody Johnson, Scholar-in-Residence at Texas Christian University; Woody Widrow, Executive Director of RAISE Texas; and Ann-Salyer-Caldwell, Associate Director of Tarrant County Public Health.