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Activists host rally at Texas Capitol against newly passed controversial laws

Civil rights and social justice organizations hosted a rally at the State Capitol against new Texas abortion and election reform laws.

AUSTIN, Texas — Activists from several civil rights and social justice organizations hosted a rally at the Texas Capitol on Saturday in response to some controversial laws passed in the special legislative sessions.

A number of bills were passed, but two more notable bills making headlines are Senate Bill 8 and Senate Bill 1. Senate Bill 8 is also known as the Texas Heartbeat Act, and Senate Bill 1 is known to Republicans as the "election integrity bill," but Democrats argue SB1 restricts voting access. 

“Texas lawmakers have shown this legislative cycle that they clearly don’t give a damn about a vast majority of Texans,” said Chas Moore, executive director of Austin Justice Coalition. “History has its eyes upon Texas as they continue to pass legislation that infringes upon the very basic human rights of all Texans, especially women, poor people and people of color. We will present several calls to action and demand that the State of Texas and our lawmakers are held accountable by any means necessary.”

Participating organizations included, but were not limited to: Austin Justice Coalition, Austin Area Urban League, Education Austin, Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity, Next Generation Action Network, Pure Justice, Push Democracy Forward, Texas Coalition of Black Democrats and Texas Fair Defense Project. 

The coalition of groups said its rally would focus on these call to actions: 

  • Restoration and expansion of Texans’ right to abortions
  • Restoration and permanent protection of voting rights for Texas
  • Comprehensive bail reform
  • Allowing teachers to teach
  • End the attack on LBGTQIA+ humanity
  • Raise the minimum wage to $15, invest in workers and cancel student debt
  • Protections for our unhoused neighbors
  • Accountability measures for when the bureaucracy fails the public (1. ERCOT 2. EOC during Winter Storm Uri).

The rally started Saturday at 3 p.m.

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