Texas State Representative Senfronia Thompson Gives Her "Little Dog" Report From The State Capitol

Thursday, April 05, 2007

CHIPping away for the Little Dog...

In 1999 the state created the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). In 2003 severe restrictions on eligibility for CHIP were passed, making it harder for our children to qualify for care. The state cut back on the funding for this program, leaving our children with sub-standard care and sticking local taxpayers with a large indigent healthcare bill. The number of children in need of care has continued to rise. This Session House Bill 109, authored by Representative Sylvester Turner, aimed to change some of the problems that currently exist with CHIP. Although it is taking a step in the right direction, it still does not do enough for the children of our great state. House Bill 109, if it passes through the Senate, would extend the period of eligibility from six to twelve months. It also eliminates the 90-day waiting period for children wishing to enter into this program and relaxes the asset test rules. In 2003, before major changes to the program, CHIP enrollment was approximately 527,000. Currently the number of enrollees is about 325,000. As the number of uninsured children grows in this state, so will the amount of local taxes that we have to pay to take care of them.

Everybody have a safe and Happy Easter!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Human Trafficking Legislation

The State of Texas has among the most incidents of human trafficking in the United States. Estimates of trafficking victims in the US range between 15,000 and 50,000 every year and it is known by experts that Texas accounts for many of these victims. Sadly, many of these trafficking victims are women and girls who are often brutally forced into prostitution. Countless others are also forced into manual labor, often through threats and violence.

Human trafficking is a widespread and horrible problem. The public must become aware of the grievous human rights violations that happen in our state. Law enforcement needs the proper tools to find and prosecute human traffickers. Victims of human trafficking need to be rescued and afforded the proper care that they so desperately need.

I find this issue to be of great importance and have proposed legislation that will address the problem in many ways. I have filed House Bills 3370, 3371, 3372, 3373, 3374, and 3377 which will implement a broad approach to the problem. These bills propose laws that will help law enforcement combat human trafficking and will also help in finding and helping trafficking victims. I know that with responsible policy and the right amount of focus, human trafficking can be effectively fought in Texas.