As we come to the close of the first quarter of the year, our Texas YMCAs continue striving to fulfill its mission of making our communities in Texas stronger. YMCAs across Texas continue to find ways to make our families healthier, our youth safer around water and to help our seniors maintain an active lifestyle.
This year brings the 86th Texas Legislature which runs January 8 until May 27th. We began our legislative season in January with very successful State Advocacy Days in Austin as we outlined our state priorities. This year, we were excited to jointly coordinate with the State Youth & Government Conference. Youth from throughout Texas learned first-hand the power of civic engagement and advocacy.
The Texas Legislators will consider in excess of 6000 bills. Of that pool, the Texas State Alliance of YMCAs has two Y sponsored bills that are vital to our movement.
Legislation relating to the Alliance’s top legislative priorities are centered around Healthy Living and Youth Development. They have taken significant strides toward progress. The House Public Health Committee voted favorably for HB 742. It was filled by Rep. Zerwas, relating to the distribution, possession, purchase of e-cigarettes and tobacco products by increasing the minimum age to 21.
Concerning the Alliance’s other top priority, Youth Development, HB 702 was filed by Rep. Lucio. It establishes a voluntary program to recognize licensed before school and after school programs that promote healthy eating and physical activity. It has been referred to the House Human Services Committee.
Our continued collective impact can only be achieved through our partners, stakeholders, volunteers and community leaders that the YMCA engages with throughout the year. We continue to monitor a number of measures at the Capitol that can impact the mission,not only of the YMCA, but also the Texas nonprofit sector at large that targets youth, families and strengthens communities.
Tony Shuman, Board Chair
Texas State Alliance of YMCAs