State Rep. John Bucy's initial legislation priorities include Medicaid expansion, voting rights

The 87th legislative session will begin Jan. 12, 2021.  (Courtesy Fotolia)
The 87th legislative session will begin Jan. 12, 2021. (Courtesy Fotolia)

The 87th legislative session will begin Jan. 12, 2021. (Courtesy Fotolia)

State Rep. John H. Bucy III, D-Austin filed three pieces of legislation Nov. 9: House Bill 398 and House Joint Resolution 24, to expand Medicaid in Texas, and House Bill 400, to allow any eligible voter to vote by mail.

Bucy is the stat rpresentative for Texas House District 136, serving Northwest Austin, Cedar Park, Leander and the Brushy Creek area. This is the first legislation he has filed for the upcoming 87th Legislative session.

"In the midst of a global pandemic, Medicaid expansion will help 2.2 million Texans get the care they need and bring billions of dollars back into our economy while shoring up our beleaguered healthcare infrastructure," Bucy said in a news release. "I'm encouraged by the recent, bi-partisan support we've seen for Medicaid expansion and [I'm] optimistic we will bring our tax dollars home to help the people of Texas this session."

HB 398 would expand the number of Texans eligible to participate in Medicaid by nearly 2.2 million and bring in $110 billion in funding over the first 10 years after implementation; it would also create 303,000 jobs annually and generate $525 million in new tax revenue, according to the release. Texas currently leads the nation in the number of uninsured persons, the number and rate of uninsured children—including being the only state with a double digit rate of uninsured children—and rural hospital closures, the release said.

HJR 24 would provide for the expansion of Medicaid by constitutional amendment, which, if passed by the Legislature, would be submitted to the voters for an election in November 2021. Since the last legislative session, voters in Oklahoma and in Missouri have voted to expand Medicaid by ballot proposition, the release said. Texas law does not allow for citizen-initiated ballot propositions, per the release; instead, the Texas Legislature must pass a constitutional amendment to allow a vote.

HB 400 would allow any eligible voter to cast their ballot by mail after filling out an application. Currently, 34 states and Washington, D.C. allow their citizens to vote by mail without restriction. Roughly a million Texans voted by mail in 2020, the release said.

"Texans have been voting by mail for over 100 years. There's no reason we can't make this option available to all eligible voters," Bucy said. "We need to make it easier for Texans to vote and have confidence in the integrity of our electoral system. Ballot by mail lowers barriers to participation and is the most secure way to cast your ballot available."


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