Federal and state legislators are focusing on target issues affecting Legacy’s patients and the greater community. Our public policy team is hard at work to protect the public health, privacy rights, and everyone’s ability to access high-quality health care.

HIV Advocacy Day

On February 28th, we’re partnering with the Texas HIV/AIDS coalition for HIV Advocacy Day. All are invited to join us to share their stories and meet with legislators in Austin. No prior advocacy experience is needed, simply a desire and passion to affect positive change! Senator Sylvia Garcia and Representative Donna Howard will join us for a morning of training before we head to the state capitol for meetings in the afternoon. This year, the coalition is focusing on the following bills filed to date:

  • HB 717 (Rep. Gene Wu) – Requires medical providers to perform an HIV test during routine medical screenings and give patients the opportunity to opt-out
  • HB 226 (Rep.Donna Howard) – Relating to education and education programs regarding AIDS and HIV infection
  • HB 227 (Howard) – Operationalizes the federal HIV Organ Policy Equity Act (HOPE), which allows people living with HIV to donate organs to other people living with HIV
  • HB 943 (Howard) – Establishes a Transgender Healthcare Advisory Committee

“Legislators don’t know our issues like we do,” says Legacy Public Policy Director Venita Ray. “It’s up to us, as people who live or work with HIV, people who are LGBT and allies, to inform and teach and teach our representatives about what’s important. I’ts important for positive advocates to know they have a voice and the ability to make a difference.”

If you’re unable to go to Austin, you can still participate by making phone calls, responding to action alerts on target issues, and sharing information on social media and through your networks.

For more information, contact James Lee at jlee@legacycommunityhealth.org or visit http://www.legacytakesaction.org/2017_advocacy_day to sign up.

The Texas “Bathroom Bill” (S.B. 6)

 A so-called “bathroom bill” became law last year in North Carolina, resulting in significant economic and political damage. Now, it’s Texas’ turn to fight against Senate Bill 6, which bans transgender Texans from using the restroom they identify with. Legacy will soon be launching a advocacy effort opposing the bill on behalf of our patients. Blatant discrimination has no place in Houston. As a preview, our senior director of communications and public affairs made the case in this Op-Ed recently published in the Houston Chronicle and Texas Tribune.

Affordable Care Act

The advocacy team heads to Washington D.C. February 6 to ensure safety-net providers have a seat at the policy-making table as Congress and the Trump Administration repeal and replace existing health care laws.