Sheets’ decision to focus on other legislation pleased Austin Interfaith, a coalition of congregations and social justice groups that has been pushing for the living-wage requirement. At the organization’s request, members of its Dallas-area counterpart and representatives of the Dallas affiliate of the Workers Defense Project met with Sheets, asking him to drop his legislation and citing, among other reasons, a desire for local control in such matters, said Kurt Cadena-Mitchell, an Austin Interfaith leader.
"I think we have a very balanced approach that is good for the city, the taxpayers, companies and contractors,” said Bob Batlan, a member of Temple Beth Shalom and Austin Interfaith involved in the living-wage discussions. “I’m pleased that (Sheets) recognizes the balanced approach.”
Legislator Backs Off Bill to Ban Living Wage Requirement, Austin American Statesman
“National Instruments Corp. won approval Thursday for $1.7 million in city of Austin incentives to support the company’s proposed expansion of 1,000 Austin jobs over the next 10 years….
The deal was praised by representatives of Austin Interfaith because the company agreed to a floor wage of $11 an hour for all jobs, including construction jobs tied to the project. The company also agreed to work with contractors to ensure that construction workers on the project will be covered by worker’s compensation insurance.”
City OK’s $1.7 Million in Incentives to National Instruments, Austin American Statesman
In the face of opposition from prominent Texas Republicans and Gov. Rick Perry, an increasing number of local government officials are urging legislators to expand Medicaid and obtain a federal funding windfall....Last week, the Travis County Commissioners Court tweaked a Feb. 19 resolution calling for a Medicaid expansion to satisfy its lone Republican member. That bipartisan support was “absolutely critical,” said Oralia Garza Cortes, a leader with Austin Interfaith, an advocacy group. Sister organizations in Dallas and Bexar counties helped pass similar resolutions.
On Tuesday, a group of Medicaid recipients and uninsured Texans is planning to rally at the Capitol in support of expanding the program."
Local Officials Lobby GOP Leaders to Rethink Medicaid Expansion, Austin American Statesman
“This is an opportunity to create good jobs for our families,” said Kurt Cadena-Mitchell, with Austin Interfaith, a coalition of churches, schools and local governments that is an advocate for jobs paying a living wage, among other issues....
The new jobs are believed to be part of the company’s plans to hire more technical workers and engineers to support its expanding business. The average annual wage for the new jobs is $65,000, and the lowest-paid 10 percent will make about $40,000, according to the county."
Travis Commissioners Discuss Incentives for National Instruments, Austin American Statesman
The court spent time Tuesday tweaking the resolution that it passed last week to satisfy its lone Republican member, Gerald Daugherty. It was approved unanimously, 5-0. Austin Interfaith leader Oralia Garza Cortes called the bipartisan support “absolutely critical” and said that sister organizations of the advocacy group in Dallas and Bexar counties helped pass similar resolutions this month."
Medicaid Expansion Would Bring More Than $200 Million to Travis County, Commissioners Say, Austin American Statesman
“Austin Interfaith, and the Network of Texas Organizations, convened 200 leaders from various faith traditions on the steps of the Capitol to call on Gov. Rick Perry and the Texas Legislature to expand Medicaid.
Religious leaders and clergy from throughout the state gathered at the north entrance the Capitol on Wednesday at noon to rally in support of Medicaid expansion…”
[Photo Credit: Tamir Kalifa, Texas Tribune]
Interfaith Groups Rally for Medicaid Expansion, Texas Tribune
Death, Taxes, God and Medicaid, San Antonio Express-News
County Judges, Clergy Rally in Favor of Expanding Medicaid, Dallas Morning News
Rally at Capitol Urges Texas to Spend More on Medicaid, Star Telegram
Interfaith Groups Rally for Medicaid Expansion, The Monitor
El Paso Group Joins Others to Urge Expansion of Medicaid, El Paso Times
“At the urging of Austin Interfaith, the Travis County Commissioners Court this week passed a resolution supporting expansion. Dallas County has approved a similar resolution, and Bexar County is expected to do the same next week….
County and legislative leaders joined members of religious organizations, including Austin Interfaith, in a rally outside the Capitol Wednesday afternoon to urge Texas lawmakers to expand the number of low-income people covered by Medicaid.”
Religious Leaders, Politicians, Rally for Medicaid Expansion, Austin American Statesman
After Austin Interfaith leaders took issue with a proposal that “would have allowed registered lobbyists to serve on the citizen committee that will guide the rewriting of the city’s land-development code…” the proposal was pulled.
Austin Interfaith leaders asserted that allowing lobbyists on the committee amounted to “blurring the lines between the duties and responsibilities of citizens in the democratic process and the role of … lobbyists who represent organized financial interests in the legislative process….”
Following Criticism, Austin to Keep Lobbyists Off Committee to Rewrite Land Use Rules, Austin American Statesman
“School board members have lauded the process that Travis Heights used to garner support for the transformation, which they approved last month. Unlike the district’s failed partnership with [another charter school]… the move to turn Travis Heights into a charter school had the enthusiastic backing of the school’s parents and teachers, joined byAustin Interfaith and Education Austin.
‘It’s a real democratic process that empowers the parents, empowers the teachers, empowers the students,’ said Britt Adams, a special education teacher at the school.”
[Photo Credit: Laura Skelding, Austin American Statesman]
Travis Heights Will Be Austin District’s First Home-Grown Charter School, Austin American Statesman
New Charter Gets School Board Blessing, KXAN (12/18)
Austin School Trustees Vote to End IDEA Charter Partnership, Austin American Statesman (12/18)
"Austin leaders think they can champion the push for affordable housing once again. Three members of Austin City Council are sponsoring a resolution that calls upon the city manager to explore ways of returning the issue to the ballot....'For our folks who are living on the street, there is not a pathway for them to get into any kind of home,' clergy John Elford said."