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June 2017 Newsletter

RAISE Texas News

Progress Made in 2017 Texas Legislative Session

The 85th Texas Legislative Session is over, and although it was a rather contentious and difficult session with surprise amendments and detrimental attempts to undo local ordinances and other regulations, we are thankful for all of the hard work of our network members and supporters in defending and protecting the financial security for ALL Texans. Although a number of strong bills did not pass this session, we are pleased that four pieces of legislation passed both the House and the Senate that could help expand financial opportunity for Texans and further our work.

  • HB 471 Representative E. Johnson
    Relating to authorizing a credit unions or other financial institution to conduct savings promotion raffles.
    05/22/2017 Sent to the Governor
  • House Joint Resolution (HJR) 37 Representative E. Johnson (companion bill to HB 471)
    Proposing a constitutional amendment relating to legislative authority to permit credit unions and other financial institutions to award prizes by lot to promote savings.
    05/24/2017 Filed with the Secretary of State.
  • SB 377 Senator Perry
    Related to the Texas Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Program.
    05/29/2017 Signed by the Governor and effective immediately
  • HB 2008 Representative Cosper
    Relating to deferred presentment transactions made to military borrowers.
    05/25/2017 Sent to the Governor
For a complete list of the bills that we tracked this session, visit our Texas Legislation Page. Remember that the Governor has 20 days (until June 18) to sign or veto bills after the regular session has ended.

National News and Resources

Take Action Against the Financial CHOICE Act

The Financial CHOICE Act is being framed as necessary for spurring economic growth, holding Wall Street accountable and fostering consumer financial independence, but this is not true. At the core of what it would do is dismantle common-sense Wall Street reforms and consumer protections put in place as a response to the Great Recession, including changing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Please sign-on to this letter urging Congressional leaders to oppose this legislation when it comes to a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives slated for next week. For more information, read CFED’s blog about the Financial CHOICE Act.

Report Shows the Negative Impact of Paying Medical Bills

New blog post discusses JP Morgan Chase’s recent analysis of checking and credit card account activity of bank customers to figure out the impact of paying medical bills. The report, “Coping with Costs: Big Data on Expense Volatility and Medical Payments” shows that one year after paying a large, one-time medical expense, families are still struggling to repair their household finances. Specifically, the data also shows that tax refunds are a source of income for paying these large medical bills, credit card balances increase for at least a year after the payment while spending on non-medical items and cash on hand decrease. Click here to read the blog post.

Next NDI Webinar for Texans on June 8

Mark your calendars or share the information with your network about the upcoming webinar, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and SSI Work Incentives: You Can Make an Informed Choice about Work. The National Disability Institute (NDI) will be hosting this informational webinar to share information on the work incentives that may allow Texans with disabilities to keep some or all of their benefits while working. The webinar is on June 8, 2017 from 3:00-4:00pm CDT. Register today!

Pell Grant Preservation and Expansion Act Introduced by U.S. House and Senate

CLASP released a great article explaining the new Pell legislation that was recently introduced by the U.S. House and Senate in an attempt to modernize the Pell Grant program. Pell is the largest source of federal funding for postsecondary education aimed at those students with the greatest need. New Pell Legislation Would Help Low-Income Students Meet Financial Needs discusses the legislation and how it will expand Pell eligibility, provide more funding to students and provide permanent stability to the funding for the Pell Grant program. Click here to read the entire article.

Your Money, Your Goals Webpages Updated

The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently updated the Your Money, Your Goals webpages to make it simpler to access important tools and information. Your Money, Your Goals is a financial empowerment toolkit of materials for frontline staff and volunteers to use when having conversations about money with the people they serve. The materials and information are available online and the recent updates include new resources and a simpler way to find tools and information needed in the moment. Visit the new webpage here.