The Austin Chronicle

Rep. John Bucy III, HD 136

“Any progress to get back to where we treat all humans as equal ... I’ll of course support”

By Benton Graham, January 6, 2023, News

In the summer of 2021, immediately as Gov. Greg Abbott called the first of the 87th Lege's three special sessions, Democrats fled to Washington, D.C., to deny Republicans the quorum they needed to pass legislation that would have restricted drive-through voting and vote-by-mail efforts. A few months later, Republicans passed those restrictions during another special session. As a member of the Texas House's Elections Committee, Representative John Bucy III had a front-row seat.

He's likely to return to Elections in the upcoming session and is looking for opportunities to broaden access to the polls, advocating for no-excuse absentee ballot-by-mail voting and online voter registration. While those efforts might seem like an uphill battle, he noted that his vote-by-mail ballot tracker bill, co-sponsored with severely conservative Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, was the only bipartisan voting legislation that passed last session.

In addition to voting rights, Bucy said he will focus on education and health care. For education, he said he wants to reform how public schools receive funding based on average daily attendance, pointing out that Texas is one of only a few states that uses that metric to fund schools. "But I think most importantly around public education, I want to see us increase the basic allotments and get more funds out to each student and each district, so they can use it at the local level how they need to," he added.

Bucy said the first bill he filed as a member of the Texas House, and others he's filed for the two sessions since, would enable Medicaid expansion, which he sees as the "single most important thing we can do in this state to help Texans." Could that health care reform also mean improvements to the state's lagging maternal health care? "Any progress to get back to where we treat all humans as equal, and we respect bodily autonomy, I'll of course support," he said. "But it's one of the things where I'll believe it when I see it, because we've never seen that from the Republican Party, in my time, working in and around politics."

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