Police issue more info on Target assault

Dallas police released more information on the assault of Derrick Whitener at the Haskell Avenue Target Saturday night. The photos are from Target surveillance video. The circumstances of the attack — against a gay man using a wooden rod — are similar to the rash of attacks in Oak Lawn that began in the fall of 2015. This is what police released this morning:

On January 14, 2017 at approximately 11:05 p.m., the complainant, Derrick Whitener, was assaulted with a wooden rod by two suspects in the Target parking lot located at 2417 N. Haskell Avenue. The complainant arrived at Target and as he was walking towards the front entrance of the business, the suspects began walking towards him. The suspects are observed walking away from the complainant after he makes it to the front door. While inside, the complainant reported the individuals as suspicious to Target personnel.  Meanwhile, the suspects remained near the front entrance.

Target security alerted an off-duty Dallas Police officer. Both the security guard and the off-duty officer approached the suspects near the entrance. One suspect walked away, while the suspect with the wooden rod had a brief discussion with the off-duty officer and security guard. The two suspects were asked to leave the property.   At around 11:05 p.m., the complainant exited the business after shopping. As he walked to his vehicle, he was approached by the suspects. They made a threatening statement to the complainant and then beat him with the stick and fled on foot towards the street. A customer in the parking lot reported the incident to the off-duty officer, who then assisted the complainant. The Assault Unit was notified of the incident on January 15th and began the assault investigation.

Detectives were able to retrieve video surveillance of the offense. Detectives will need to interview the victim [who is currently hospitalized following brain surgery to repair damage done in the attack], but have canvased the area for additional video and witnesses. The victim received severe injuries, but is expected to recover. We are asking for the public’s assistance in the identification of the two suspects.

Suspect #1: B/M/18-20, 5’9”, 150 pounds. Last seen wearing a gray jacket, black pants, black backpack, black gloves, gorilla mask, and armed with a 3 foot wooden dowel rod.

Suspect #2: B/M/18-20, 5’9”, 150 pounds. Last seen wearing a black hoodie with white lettering, red/blue jeans, white Nike shoes, black backpack, and a gorilla mask.

—  David Taffet

Tapes of 2004 Obama interviews with Chicago LGBT press released

Barack Obama at 2004 LGBT fundraiser. (Courtesy Tracy Baim/Windy City Times)

Windy City Times has released the tapes of interviews publisher Tracy Baim did with Illinois U.S. Senate candidate Barack Obama in 2004.

The first interview was recorded during the primary and the second after he won the primary during an LGBT fundraiser for senate candidate Obama. A transcript of the first interview ran in Baim’s book Obama and the Gays: A Political Marriage.

The interviews are linked through the Windy City Times’ story with links to additional coverage the newspaper did of its hometown candidate.

—  David Taffet

LGBT elected officials send letter to Donald Trump

State Rep. Mary Gonzalez is among the 156 LGBT signers.

In a letter to Donald Trump, 156 LGBT elected officials congratulate him and ask him to be president for all Americans.

Three Texas officials signed the letter: Dallas Sheriff Lupe Valdez, El Paso state Rep. Mary Gonzalez and Denton County Fresh Water Supply Boardmember John Turner-McClelland.

Text of the letter:

Congratulations on being elected the 45th President of the United States. We are 156 proud lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) elected officials representing millions of constituents, and we urge you to join us in embodying the highest ideals of our great and diverse nation.

The long and divisive presidential campaign is over, and now more than 300 million Americans depend on you to bring our nation together. To do this, we ask you de-escalate the hostility and intolerance expressed by a small but vocal minority throughout the election season. We ask you appoint individuals with inclusive policy solutions that aim to better the lives of all Americans. And we ask you declare full support for LGBT equality, and remain true to earlier statements promising to be a president supportive of our rights.

We believe in an America that values and accepts everyone, and a country that strives to improve quality of life for all people, regardless of their background or beliefs. These principles are what distinguish America in an often-troubled world – they are what make America great. And it is the elected leadership of our nation that determines whether our government embodies or undermines those ideals. It is elected leaders like ourselves – from the U.S. president to city councilmembers – that either appeal to the better angels of our fellow Americans, or use fear and rancor to spur unproductive discord.

While we hope you appeal to those better angels and support inclusive and fair-minded policies, we have grave concerns given the individuals appointed to your administration thus far. Nearly all hold anti-LGBT views aimed at denying our community acceptance and inclusion in American society. Many proudly tout legislative records opposing basic rights for LGBT Americans, and others express disdain for our lives and relationships. Intended or not, these appointments signal a Trump administration preparing to rollback recent advances for LGBT people, and an administration opposed to LGBT people living open and free.

Our concern is not unfounded, given our historic gains are recent and vulnerable. Openly LGBT men and women can now proudly serve in the Armed Forces; committed same-sex couples can legally marry nationwide; federal contractors can no longer discriminate against LGBT employees or job applicants; the U.S. State Department is leading the world in advancing global LGBT equality; and more than 300 openly LGBT individuals were appointed to positions in the federal government over the past eight years. These hard-fought advances transformed our place in American society, and we are disturbed that most of your appointees opposed these efforts. 

Mr. President-elect, our nation will be weaker if LGBT military personnel are prevented from serving openly and equally. America will be worse off if discrimination protections for LGBT government employees or students are revoked. The entire country will suffer if there is a national attempt to implement “religious exemptions” that allow businesses to turn away LGBT customers. And the world will be a darker place without America speaking against anti-LGBT violence and injustices abroad. We need you to vocally reject our country moving backward – to reject the anti-LGBT positions of your appointees and promise a pro-equality Trump administration.

We also must emphasize the LGBT community is as diverse as our nation. We are black, we are Latino, we are white, we are immigrants, we are Muslim, we are Jewish, we are women, and we are people with disabilities. LGBT elected officials know well the sting and consequences of discrimination, injustice and intolerance, and we carry that lived experience into our policy positions, legislation and decision-making. We hold central the American values of fairness, justice and liberty – and ensure these values are the foundation for our work as public servants. As the nation debates economic security, immigration, women’s rights, voting rights, policing, and mass incarceration, we ask you also apply the American values of fairness, justice and liberty, and ensure the best interests of all communities are incorporated into your policies and positions.

Americans of every political party, ideology, race, ethnicity and religion support LGBT equality – it does not need to be a partisan issue. As elected officials, we understand support for LGBT equality as both morally appropriate and politically shrewd. History looks fondly upon leaders who stand for social justice when those around them argue otherwise. History also views harshly those who fail to recognize and support morally righteous causes – and history will undoubtedly view LGBT equality as both moral and righteous.  

We sincerely hope you aim to be a president for all Americans – including LGBT Americans of every race, ethnicity, gender and religion. As representatives of the LGBT community, we will hold your administration accountable for actions that infringe upon our rights and opportunities, and will oppose presidential appointees who denigrate or harm our community. But we much prefer to work with you to continue the incredible progress toward LGBT equality – to have you stand with us on the right side of history. We hope you voice your support for existing rights and protections for LGBT Americans, and commit to furthering LGBT equality during your presidency. We promise to be a strong and persistent voice for equality either way.

To see full list of signers, click here.

 

—  David Taffet

Bathroom (not so) humor(ous)

As the 85th session of the Texas Legislature convenes some lawmakers seem consumed with where transgender people pee, but others intend to deal with actual issues

Swearing-in

House Speaker Joe Strauss, right, surrounded by his wife and family, would rather talk about serious issues. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

 

DAVID TAFFET  |  Senior Staff Writer

When the Texas House of Representatives was sworn in on Tuesday, Jan. 10, a very different Texas government convened than the one that had reared its ugly face the week before.

Days before the House and Senate sessions began, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, along with Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R–Brenham, unveiled Senate Bill 6 (referred to as SB6) that has quickly come to be known as the Texas Bathroom Bill. If passed, it would require transgender people to use bathrooms in public schools, government buildings and public universities based on their “biological sex” rather than the bathrooms appropriate for their gender identity.

The problematic bill doesn’t address whether someone’s birth certificate would be proof of “biological sex” or whether a corrected birth certificate issued by the state of Texas would be accepted as proof of someone’s sex. Nor does it say whether strip searches would be performed and addresses only trans women using ladies rooms, and it isn’t clear whether it intends for trans men to use the women’s restroom.

Patrick.Dan

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, left, is focusing on bathroom business this session.

Because it will only take a few Republican votes in the Senate to kill the bill, Republicans who may have been wavering, thinking Patrick would challenge Sen. Ted Cruz in two years and would be gone from the Legislature, were put on notice when he announced his intention to run for a second term.

When the Texas House opened, no one referenced who should pee where and Republicans, who lead the House with a 95-55 majority, even took some subtle jabs at the incoming president.

Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos, recently appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott, welcomed immigrants: “We welcomed more Californians to their new home than any other state.” And he referenced Mexico as Texas’ largest trading partner.

While acknowledging different House members had different ways of getting there, the major concern of all Representatives is “to stand on behalf of the powerless.”

In the nomination speech for Speaker Joe Straus and three seconding speeches — by a tea party member who voted against Straus in the previous session, moderate Dallas Republican Linda Koop and a Democrat — all the lawmakers talked about similar qualities.

They all said Straus welcomes differing views, respects all members and keeps the House focused on important issues.

Then Straus, who was re-elected unanimously, spoke about his plan for the upcoming session. He said he will focus on solutions to education finance, the gridlocked transportation system, water issues, Child Protective Services and mental health issues.

In what some Dan Patrick supporters might have thought was a reference to their beloved bathroom bill, Straus cleverly began that portion of his address by saying, “Protecting children is one of the state’s most basic functions.”  But he wasn’t referring to the supposed threat of where a transgender teen pees in school.

“Children should never live in fear of their own parents,” Straus said before calling for fixing the mess at CPS. “This is Texas, and Texas should be better than that.”

Speaker of the House is a powerful position. The Speaker sets the tone and the agenda of that chamber of the Legislature. And anti-LGBT legislation apparently is not on his agenda, while including Democrats in the process definitely is.

“Compromise is a good word in this House,” Straus said. “It’s how we find common ground.”

He called on lawmakers to show that they know how to solve problems. And if he wants, Straus can bury anti-LGBT legislation in committees that will let those bills die.

Bathroom politics did make an appearance in the House on Wednesday the second day of the session. But right-wing efforts to restrict restroom access failed.

Tyler Republican Matt Schaefer proposed a rule that basically would impost SB6’s restrictions on people in the Capitol during debate over a standard housekeeping resolution to set rules for people with access to the House chamber among other things. But Republican Charlie Green of Fort Worth raised a point of order noting Schaefer’s resolution wasn’t relevant because the State Preservation Board, not the House, decides on policies for the Capitol. Schaefer withdrew his proposal.

The conservative Texas Association of Business, which has condemned SB6, estimates Texas will lose as much as $8.5 billion — claim Patrick denied during a Wednesday press conference.

“Every report out of North Carolina shows they have the second-strongest economy in the country or the second-best place to do business, the second-best place where executives want to move their companies to. It’s having no effect,” Patrick said.

In fact, HB2 has had significant effect on the state financially, and in terms of reputation. In September, an article by Business

Insider estimated that North Carolina had at that time lost nearly $400 million in revenue because of the law, and that the NCAA and the ACA had both moved all of their championship games out of the state.

In late October, North Carolina’s then-Secretary of Commerce John Skvarla said at a press conference that HB2 fallout had not “moved the needle one iota” in terms of negatively affecting the state’s economy. But an analysis by Politifact North Carolina labeled that claim “mostly false,” and noted the state is likely to lose millions more in the years to come just as a result of actions already taken, such as the college sports organizations moving their championships.

Back in Texas, Rep. Rafael Anchia, D–Dallas, condemned SB6 as being vicious and said it would contribute to the already high suicide rate among transgender people.

Openly-lesbian Rep. Celia Israel, D-Austin, serves on the transportation committee and said she would rather spend her time working on the state’s actual problems. She said she sees some of the state’s worst traffic problems every day.

Likewise, Democratic Rep. Mary Gonzalez, who is pansexual and represents El Paso, is looking to Equality Texas to take the lead in killing the bad legislation that has been filed. She said she’d also like to work on the real issues affecting her constituents, like bringing running water to portions of her district where residents live without.

Other anti-LGBT legislation

Several anti-LGBT bills have already been filed in the Texas Senate, but only one that Equality Texas is tracking has been filed in the House. That House bill, filed by Weatherford Republican Phil King, would exempt religious student organizations from school nondiscrimination policies. Of course, the bill stipulates that discrimination has to be one of the organization’s “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

Looking ahead to this new session, Equality Texas Communications Coordinator DeAnne Cuellar said, “I believe we have more allies than ever.”

In addition to SB6, which she called “unnecessary, unenforceable and damaging,” her biggest concern is SB242 introduced by Konnie Burton, R–Fort Worth. Burton’s bill would require school employees to “disclose any personal, direct, or incidental knowledge regarding a child.” Opponents fear the legislation, if passed, could allow teachers and other school personal to out students to family and others.

Cueller called the bill tricky, because it gets into the parent-child relationship. “But,” she added, “we’re opposed. We’re always against outing.”

She explained that the only time the bill allows a counselor or other professional to opt out of divulging even something said in confidence is if the parent is being investigated for abuse. If a child speaks to a counselor or teacher, that school employee would have to let the parent know, even if the child fears being thrown out of the house if the information was revealed.

While the Texas Association of Business and the state’s many local visitor and convention bureaus have come out strongly against the bathroom bill, cities will be lobbying against bills that prevent local governments from enacting local ordinances that protect LGBT people. Cities worry about local control being taken by the state.

“Historically, that party has advocated for local control,” Cuellar said, referring to Republican attempts to take away local control in ensuring equal rights.

Pre-empting local nondiscrimination ordinances is lumped in with bathroom restrictions in North Carolina’s HB2, but Texas politicians have separated the two issues into two different bills, possibly in hopes people would find the discrimination easier to swallow if it’s fed to them in smaller bites.

While the expected deluge of anti-LGBT bills has not yet hit, a number of representatives have filed pro-LGBT legislation.

Four senators — Rodriguez, Garcia, Hinojosa and Whitmire — filed SB 165  to prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations and state contracting in Texas.

In the House, bills have been filed to remove unconstitutional anti-LGBT wording from the penal code, to extend the “Romeo & Juliet defense” defense against statutory rape charges to gay and lesbian youth, to prohibit discrimination in each of the categories listed in the Senate bill, to prohibit travel to states that repeal nondiscrimination ordinances or proscribe discrimination, and more.

What about Abbott?

While the House Speaker intends to steer his chamber toward important issues of mental health, water, transportation, education funding and CPS, the lieutenant governor intends the Senate’s session to revolve around bathrooms. But where does the governor stand?

At the swearing-in session, Gov. Greg Abbott addressed the House. During his 10-minute speech, he didn’t mention a single issue facing the state. He didn’t refer to his lieutenant governor’s grandstanding attempt to save the state by regulating where kids pee in school. And he made no mention of the issues addressed by the House speaker.

Instead, he spoke in platitudes: “This is Texas and Texas is exceptional,” he said in various versions over and over again.

But should anti-LGBT legislation pass both houses, he’d be expected to sign that bill into law.

Equality Texas sponsors LGBT Advocacy Day at the Capitol on March 20 and encourages anyone who can come to Austin to participate in teams, visiting legislators’ offices to tell personal stories and let them meet LGBT people in their districts.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 13, 2017

—  David Taffet

Opening day at the legislature

These photos were taken on the opening day of the 85th Texas Legislature, Jan. 10, 2017. House Chamber photos were taken from the gallery because, apparently a White House press pass isn’t good enough for Austin.

—  David Taffet

Mattis won’t change LGBT military policy

James Mattis

WASHINGTON — During confirmation hearings this morning, Secretary of Defense nominee retired General James Mattis said he will not work to reverse the current policies that allow any qualified person to serve, including LGBT people.

“We open the door to all patriots who are eligible and meet the standards, provide them with the training, equipment, and leadership that’s central to their success, and ensure all service members are treated with dignity and respect,” Mattis said during his testimony.

“We are heartened by General Mattis’ stated commitment during his testimony not to reverse the profound progress we have made in ensuring LGBT service members and their families are able to serve our nation with pride,” said AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack and OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Matt Thorn. “Because questions had been raised about his commitment on this front, uncertainty in the future had given our military families great cause for concern. His comments today give us hope for a working relationship between our organizations and the new Defense Department leadership.  If confirmed, we look forward to working with General Mattis in supporting our nation’s brave heroes and their families. We are committed to holding the incoming administration accountable and ensuring all who serve, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, have the support and respect they need and deserve.”

When asked by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) about his support for LGBT service members currently serving our nation, General Mattis said, “Senator, my belief is that we have to stay focused on a military that’s so lethal that on the battlefield it will be the enemies’ longest day and their worst day when they run into that force. I believe that military service is a touchstone for patriots of whatever stripe. It’s simply the way that they demonstrate their commitment. And I believe right now that the policies that are in effect, unless a service chief brings something to me where there’s a problem that’s been proven, then I’m not going in with the idea that I’m going to review these and right away start rolling something back.”

He also said, “Frankly, I’ve never cared much about two consenting adults and who they go to bed with.”

Later, Senator Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, asked him, “Is there something innate in being a woman or LGBT that would cause you to believe that they could not be part of a lethal force?”

“No,” he replied.

—  David Taffet

More pro-LGBT bills have been filed so far than anti

So far, more pro-LGBT bills have been filed in the Texas Legislature than anti-LGBT bills. Here’s a list of the bills Equality Texas is following so far with links to more information about them.

HB refers to a House Bill and SB refers to a Senate Bill.

SUPPORTED LEGISLATION

HB 96 by Joe Moody, D-El Paso – Repealing the unconstitutional provision on “homosexual conduct” & other statutory references to it.

HB 192 by Diego Bernal, D-San Antonio – Prohibiting discrimination in housing.

HB 225 by Eric Johnson, D-Dallas – Prohibiting discrimination in employment.

HB 226 by Donna Howard, D-Austin – Improving HIV/AIDS prevention programs.

HB 258 by Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas – Prohibiting state agency contracting with vendors in states that repealed nondiscrimination protections or proscribe discrimination

HB 290 by Eric Johnson, D-Dallas – Prohibiting sex discrimination in compensation.

HB 331 by Mary Gonzalez, D-ElPaso – Equalizing access to the “Romeo & Juliet” defense.

HB 494 by Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas – Prohibiting state travel to states that repealed nondiscrimination protections or proscribe discrimination

HB 569 by Celia Israel, D-Austin – Relating to unprofessional conduct by mental health providers who attempt to change the sexual orientation of a child; providing penalties.

HB 573 by Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston – Repealing the unconstitutional provision on “homosexual conduct” & other statutory references to it, plus post-Obergefell statutory modifications to reflect marriages of same-sex couples and their family relationships.

HB 943 by Donna Howard, D-Austin – Relating to the establishment of the Transgender Healthcare Advisory Committee.

SB 157 by Juan Hinojosa, D-McAllen; Jose Rodriguez, D-El Paso – Making changes to statute reflecting legalization of the freedom to marry.

SB 165 by Jose Rodriguez, D-El Paso; Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston; Juan Hinojosa, D-McAllen; John Whitmire, D-Houston – Prohibiting discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and state contracting.

SB 166 by Jose Rodriguez, D-El Paso; Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston; John Whitmire, D-Houston – Repealing the unconstitutional provision on “homosexual conduct” & other statutory references to it.

SB 236 by Jose Menendez, D-San Antonio – Repealing the unconstitutional provision on “homosexual conduct” & other statutory references to it.

SB 251 by Jose Rodriguez, D-El Paso – Repealing the unconstitutional provision on “homosexual conduct” & other statutory references to it, plus post-Obergefell statutory modifications to reflect marriages of same-sex couples and their family relationships.

SJR 16 by Jose Rodriguez, D-El Paso; Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston; Juan Hinojosa, D-McAllen; John Whitmire, D-Houston – Constitutional amendment to repeal the unconstitutional restrictions on the freedom to marry.

—  David Taffet

What Sessions said conflicts with his record

Ala. Sen. Jeff Sessions

The U.S. Senate held confirmation hearings on anti-LGBT Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions to be attorney general. The Justice Department is responsible for carrying out court decisions, such as the Obergefell marriage equality ruling.

Today, the Dallas Morning News printed an editorial saying Sessions should not be confirmed.

The Human Rights Campaign compared Sessions’ statements at his confirmation hearing with his track record:

What Sessions said yesterday: Sessions’ actual record:
“I understand the demands for justice and fairness made by the LGBT community.” — Sen. Sessions Sessions understands the demands, because he’s made a career working against them. Sen. Sessions has earned a score of “zero” on HRC’s Congressional scorecard for every term he has served in the U.S. Congress.

 

“I will ensure that the statutes protecting their civil rights and their safety are fully enforced.” Sessions has consistently opposed statutes to protect the civil rights of the LGBTQ community — and LGBTQ people are not protected from discrimination under federal law.

 

Sessions said he would uphold federal hate crimes legislation In at least six different instances, Sen. Sessions has voted against, attempted to sabotage and warned against hate crimes legislation that protect the LGBTQ community.

 

After qualifying the 5-4 vote of the Supreme Court of the United States in Obergefell v. Hodges and the vigorous opposition of the dissenting justices, Sessions said, “I would follow this decision.” Sen. Sessions called the Obergefell decision “beyond the realm of reality” and was a co-sponsor of the 2004 Federal Marriage Amendment, which would have created a federal definition of marriage excluding same-sex couples and prohibiting state-level recognition of same-sex marriage.

 

—  David Taffet

UPDATE: Similar graffiti found blocks from Cathedral of Hope

Graffiti similar the that found last week at the Interfaith Peace Chapel at Cathedral of Hope was found today on an abandoned shopping center on Denton Drive Cutoff across the street from Inwood Station. The building formerly housed the Resource Center Food Pantry but has been vacant for more than a year.

Instead of “kitty porn,” this graffiti says “child porn.” An address that is in the neighborhood is painted on the wall. That address wasn’t on the Cathedral of Hope graffiti. The phone number is the same, this time without the Shreveport area code and the name is written the same — Johntion (presumably for Jonathan) and Kimbrou (possibly for Kimbrough).

Because the graffiti is scrawled on an abandoned building, this may not have been a hate crime. The tagger might have simply been looking for a white wall to send a message about someone who he accuses of dealing in child and feline pornography. The phone number does belong to a Jonathan Kimbrough and there is a Jonathan Kimbrough in Acadia Parish jail in southern Louisiana. An elderly couple lives at the address written on the wall.

UPDATE: Chris Chism sent a picture taken a few days ago of similar graffiti taken on the wall of a storage unit building on Lemmon Avenue. Same phone number. Same reference to kitty porn. Tagging around the neighborhood makes this look less and less like a hate crime and more like someone who just doesn’t want his cats appearing in X-rated videos or has a vendetta against someone he thinks is distributing child porn.

—  David Taffet

Texas would lose 174,000 jobs if ACA is repealed

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson

A new study by the Commonwealth Fund and Milken Institute of Public Health at George Washington University found that repeal of the Affordable Care Act would cost Texas 174,700 jobs and 2.6 million jobs nationwide in 2019.

The report debunks the idea that the ACA has been a job killer.

“These losses would not be limited to hospitals, clinics, and patients; they would have widespread repercussions for businesses and workers as well, affecting multiple sectors of each state’s economy,” the report says.

A third of the jobs lost would be in the healthcare sector, but other losses would be in construction and real estate, retail, finance and insurance and public employment.

In addition, the number of people without health insurance would double.

“We in Congress must be mindful of not only the thousands in our districts, but the millions across the country, who are at risk of losing health coverage,” Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson said after reviewing the report. “A repeal of the healthcare law would put millions of jobs under attack. Repealing the ACA is dangerous and a threat to our community and our nation’s economic growth. After the years it took to dig this country out of recession that followed the 2008 housing collapse, why would we do something to put our citizens, our economy, and our country’s future at risk again.”

Gross State Product in Texas would also decline. Repeal of the ACA would result in the loss of $107.4 million in gross state product in Texas from 2019 to 2023 and the loss of $2.7 million in state and local taxes in Texas from 2019 to 2023.

In addition, a heavy burden would be placed on counties like Dallas that have public hospitals as the number of uninsured patients increased. Parkland Hospital’s costs not covered by insurance are paid by Dallas County residents through property taxes that must balance the Dallas County Hospital District’s budget. Although a number of patients from surrounding counties also access Parkland services, Dallas can’t recover those costs from those counties, so Dallas County residents are stuck with those expenses as well.

“I am committed and will continue to work to ensure that the ACA stays in place, despite the uproar and support Republicans have put forth to dismantle it,” Johnson said.

—  David Taffet