85th Legislative Session Review

**The below is a recap of the 85th Legislative session, originally published on July 19, 2017. We will be posting updates from the 86th Legislative session regularly. Follow @AnniesListTX on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more.** 


The 85th Texas Legislative session has been a contentious one at best. Our state leaders took on many divisive issues, often with the resulting legislation being characterized by progressive Texans as regressive at best. Nevertheless, our 20 Annie’s List Champions persisted. They continued to fight for the Annie’s List progressive principles and worked to move Texas forward.

85th Lege Wrap Up

This recap offers an overview of of the 85th Legislative session through the work of your Champions.

Overview of the 85th - Summarizes the highlights of this past legislative session.

Championing Progress - Discusses how the Annie’s List Champions fought to uphold and advance Annie’s List’s five progressive principles. Beginning with an overview for insight, this section will walk you through each of Annie's List's Progressive Principles (Women's HealthAffordable & Accessible HealthcareEquitable Economic OpportunitiesProtecting Women, Children & Survivors; and Quality Public Education) and how our champions worked to advance them.

Defending by Amending - Highlights a few of the amendments Annie’s List Champions put forward in hopes of making some bills a bit better.

Nevertheless, We Persisted.   - The more progressive colleagues our Champions have in office, the greater chance we have of turning this regressive tide back to one of hope and humanistic advancement.


This session was tough, it’s true. But all was not lost. The Annie’s List Champions held 54% of the women-held seats, and comprised 10% of total membership.

They fought hard for the Annie’s List progressive principles and worked to move Texas forward-- both by writing and introducing progressive legislation, and by fighting to add amendments to bills in the hopes of making Texas’s future a little brighter.

  • Filed 200 amendments to improve bills like SB 4, SB 5, SB 8 and SB 11.
  • Passed 100 amendments to improve bills 
  • Filed 283 bills in support of advancing the Annie’s List progressive principles.

They went beyond the top Annie’s List principles to achieve a progressive Texas. They filed/passed bills that stand for progressive values relating to LGBQTIA, environmental, electoral, transportation, local control, criminal justice, immigration and more.


Against the incredible odds (an opposition controlled house, senate, and governor), the 20 Annie’s List Champions fought for the progressive principles you and Annie’s List believe in.  Annie's List Champions filed 283 bills in support of progressive principles:

Women's Health

The Annie’s List Champions knew they were faced with incredible opposition. But they insisted that your voice be heard. They put forth 23 bills which, if passed, would have improved women’s health across the state.


Affordable & Accessible Healthcare

Affordable healthcare for all Texas families has long been a top priority for progressive Texans. This legislative session, our Annie’s List Champions fought to advance that priority, filing 50 bills in support of increasing family healthcare affordability and accessibility. Only 5 became law. Our state leaders denied 45 different bills that would have increased access to affordable healthcare for Texas families.


Equitable Economic Opportunity

Every Texan deserves to be able to support themselves and their family, which is why Annie’s List supports lawmakers that advance legislation that creates equitable economic opportunities, wages and working conditions for women. Annie’s List Champions filed 56 bills in support of advancing this principle and 49 were not passed. Here are the four that we were most displeased with seeing denied, and the seven new laws that Annie’s List Champions were able to enact on behalf of all Texans.


Protecting Women, Children & Survivors

Austin was in the spotlight this session—and has been for a while—for its treatment of survivors of sexual assault. Annie’s List Champions strongly believe in doing right by survivors of gender-based and sexual violence. This session, they worked diligently to advance policies in Texas that would help end gender-based violence and sexual violence. Your Champions filed 70 bills in support of this value. The opposition controlled legislature did not pass 58.
These are three of our favorite bills that the Champions passed.


Quality Public Education

We are only as good of a society as we treat our most vulnerable: our children. Unfortunately, Texas has a history of treating its most vulnerable, disadvantaged children rather poorly when it comes to public education. Your 20 Annie’s List Champions sought to change that this legislative session. They put forth 132 bills specifically designed to bridge the education disparity in Texas. 123 of those bills aimed at bettering the lives of our children through education, did not become law.

Here are three of our favorite new laws that Annie’s List Champions enacted on behalf of all Texas children.



Our Legislative Champions fought to include nearly 200 amendments on bills that were slated to pass the Conservative Texas Legislature. Through their persistence, 100 amendments were added to bills in the House and Senate to make them more progressive.

Amendments include:

  1. Caregiver assistance through Family and Protective Services
  2. No border wall in Big Bend State Park
  3. Increase studies about young adult caregivers and whether it helps foster children
  4. Protects people at a place of worship
  5. Provide services to children who are victim of sex trafficking
  6. Allows license that has expired up to 4 years prior to be used as valid identification for voting
  7. Support for women with postpartum depression


This legislative session was tough; many issues were brought forth that threatened the progress Texas has made in years passed. Annie’s List Champions, although their progressive views represented a minority in both chambers, resisted the push for regressive policies. They insisted your voice be heard. They fought hard to protect the progressive values you and Annie’s List hold so dear. While not every battle was won, they persisted.

In a conservative majority legislature, they fought hard enough to win a special session to decide some of the most emotionally charged regressive policies. For that, we say “Thank You.” We will continue to support our Annie’s List Champions. We will continue working to elect progressive women and ensure there are more progressive Annie’s List Champions in the leadership. Enlist today, and help us change the face of power.

**The above is a recap of the 85th Legislative session, originally posted on July 19, 2017. We will be posting updates from the 86th Legislative session regularly. Follow @AnniesListTX on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more.