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State of Texas: Migrant busing amongst hot-button points driving voters in new Texas ballot – KXAN.com


AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Governor Greg Abbott’s transfer to bus migrants from the border to cities east and northeast hit a brand new degree this previous week. The state-funded program despatched busloads of migrants to be dropped off outside the Washington, DC home of Vice President Kamala Harris.

The transfer comes after Harris claimed that the border is safe throughout an interview final Sunday on NBC’s Meet The Press.

“The Biden-Harris Administration continues ignoring and denying the historic disaster at our southern border, which has endangered and overwhelmed Texas communities for nearly two years,” Governor Abbott stated in a press launch.

“Our supposed Border Czar, Vice President Kamala Harris, has but to even go to the border to see firsthand the impression of the open border insurance policies she has helped implement,” Abbott added. He vowed to proceed sending migrants to Washington, DC.

Previously month, Abbott has ramped up efforts to bus migrants to cities led by Democrats. This, because the variety of migrants crossing the border has hit file numbers, straining sources in Texas cities close to the border.

Critics have referred to as Abbott’s transfer a political stunt. However new polling exhibits a majority of Texas voters approve of the Governor’s move.

“Republicans are wildly in favor of it. Independents largely prefer it, most Democrats actually don’t prefer it,” stated Jim Henson, director of the Texas Politics Challenge on the College of Texas. The challenge’s new statewide poll requested voters whether or not they supported or opposed Texas paying to bus overseas migrants awaiting asylum hearings to different components of the nation.

“General, 52% supported it, 35% opposed, 80% of Republicans supported it and about half of independents,” Henson stated. “In an election atmosphere. That’s fairly good for Greg Abbott,” he added.

The ballot confirmed Abbott holding a 5% lead over Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke within the race for governor. O’Rourke has campaigned throughout Texas, making an effort to win over impartial voters and disenchanted Republicans. The poll suggests that will be a tough task.

“Amongst independents, Greg Abbott is 37% favorable, 43% unfavorable,” Henson stated. “Doesn’t appear that nice till you have a look at Beto O’Rourke’s impartial rankings. He’s 23% favorable, 63% unfavorable,” he added.

The ballot requested voters what they noticed as the most important issue facing the state. Immigration and border safety topped the record, with 26% of voters rating them as an important. For Republicans, 40% ranked it as the highest challenge.

The economic system ranked second with 13% of Texans calling that an important challenge going through the state. Abortion and Gun Violence ranked third and fourth within the ballot.

The ballot requested voters to attain whether or not elected officers in Texas have done enough to prevent mass shootings. General, 57% stated officers have completed too little, however there’s a robust partisan divide.

“That changes across the parties,” Henson famous. “Solely 32% of Republicans stated too little, 86% of Democrats stated too little.”

Henson stated the response to a query about whether or not same-sex marriage should be legal in Texas shocked him. Simply over half of voters who responded, 53%, stated it must be authorized. Nearly a 3rd, 32% stated not authorized. Precisely 50% of Texas Republicans within the ballot stated that homosexual marriage must be unlawful.

“For lots of people this seems like a settled challenge,” Henson stated. However he stated the ballot outcomes counsel there might be battles forward.

“I feel that that form of tells us one thing about what’s occurring beneath the floor. Not a lot within the dialogue of same-sex marriage, however in a few of these different points which were effervescent up like you recognize, public schooling, the content material of faculty libraries,” Henson stated.

“I feel there’s nonetheless a form of resentment that’s on the market within the wake of the cultural modifications which have felt to many people like they have been set however might not be as set as we thought,” he concluded.

Medical debt lawsuits hit Texas hospital sufferers

An nameless tip led KXAN investigators to find tons of of medical debt lawsuits piling up in a single Central Texas court docket filed on behalf of 1 native hospital. Whereas its assortment strategies are authorized, what’s most necessary to convey is the impression they’ve on sufferers. Our ensuing investigation goals to indicate you what can happen financially when you face medical debthow you can avoid it and why Texas leaders may soon take a closer look on the state’s debt assortment system.

Those that really feel a debt assortment is improper underneath the Texas Debt Collection Act can file a grievance with the Office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Hundreds of Texans have completed so up to now a number of years for varied debt-related points.

The state’s debt assortment act protects shoppers from abusive assortment techniques like harassment or threats of arrest or seizing property with out correct court docket proceedings. Debt collectors cannot take a person’s wages or home in Texas if it is declared a homestead.

Paxton’s workplace can examine and punish violators of the act, but that rarely happens, in response to information KXAN obtained by the Texas Public Data Act.

From January 2019 by March 2022, Paxton’s workplace acquired over 4,300 debt assortment complaints. At the very least 410 – roughly 10% – have been associated to medical debt, in response to grievance information.

As all these complaints got here in, Paxton’s workplace took enforcement motion solely as soon as for a violation associated to the act since 2019, and it wasn’t associated to medical debt.

A spokesperson for Paxton’s workplace stated the debt assortment act is considered one of “dozens and dozens” of shopper safety statutes the company enforces, and it has tons of of energetic investigations for shopper statutory violations. Paxton’s workplace additionally touted its successes in shopper safety circumstances towards opioid producers and different corporations which have netted thousands and thousands of {dollars} for the state.

In Texas, there are practically 2,400 corporations registered with the state that may purchase and gather debt, according to Secretary of State records. Any a type of might be suing people for medical debt, however it could be tough to differentiate as a result of a hospital that initially owned the debt wouldn’t be a celebration within the case.

Enforcement is usually sparked by a grievance. Both the federal and state governments obtain complaints and might implement the state’s debt assortment regulation. Violators can face prison and civil penalties, together with fines and injunctions.

On the federal degree, the Client Monetary Safety Bureau retains a grievance database. The CFPB acquired greater than 3,200 medical debt assortment complaints from Texas since 2019. These complaints establish over 300 completely different corporations.

Practically each a type of is a third-party debt collector, which means they sometimes purchase debt for a fraction of its preliminary worth after which attempt to recoup as a lot of the unique quantity as attainable.

Texas lawmaker to evaluation state’s debt assortment act

State legislators have been working to enhance Texas’ Debt Assortment Act. The final replace got here in 2019 through the “Fair Consumer Debt Collection Act” authored by Rep. Nicole Collier, D-Fort Worth.

Collier’s invoice tightened shopper protections by barring third-party debt collectors from attempting to gather on money owed which are past the statute of limitations. The bill also required debt collectors to explicitly disclose if a debt is beyond the statute of limitations.

Collier was spurred to file the invoice after studying collections lawsuits have been rising, she stated.

The time period “zombie debt” was coined as a result of debt collectors have been capable of revive debt that was past the statute of limitations by contacting debtors, having them acknowledge the debt and conform to pay it.

However Collier’s invoice applies to entities which have purchased debt, or symbolize a debt purchaser, not the unique creditor, resembling a hospital that has an unpaid medical invoice.

Collier stated she is open to bettering the act sooner or later, and she or he would have a look at KXAN’s findings.

“I would like folks to get medical assist. If they’re going through a healthcare problem, in the event that they’re having a healthcare disaster or challenge, I would like them to go to the physician. I would like them to go to the hospital,” Collier stated. “I don’t need them to suppose, ‘Oh, I’m going to have a excessive invoice. I’d get sued.’ That’s the very last thing we wish to see occur.”

Discover the total investigation:

“It’s unacceptable,” Texas maternal mortality report delayed

The Texas Division of State Well being Companies introduced this month the State’s Maternal Mortality report gained’t be launched this 12 months. Actually, they revealed it gained’t be launched till after the subsequent legislative session.

DSHS Commissioner John Hellerstedt stated the company wished to raised align the methodology within the report with different states. Staffing and price range points at DSHS have been additionally blamed for delaying the report.

Members of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus referred to as the info “integral” for legislators searching for to grasp the scope of maternal mortality in Texas.

“It’s unacceptable for this knowledge to be delayed till subsequent summer season,” State Rep. Nicole Collier was quoted as saying in a press release launched Thursday. Collier chairs the caucus. She famous that Texas has one of many highest maternal mortality charges within the nation.

State Rep. Shawn Thierry (R-Houston), additionally a member of the caucus, identified that the problem is of specific significance to Black girls.

“Black girls are dying in childbirth at thrice the charges of all different girls,” Thierry stated in a press release. “The delay by DSHS to publicly launch the report from the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee is past troubling,” she added, mentioning the info was required by regulation to be launched on September 1.

In keeping with knowledge from the Facilities For Illness Management and Prevention, from 2018 to 2020, Texas had a maternal mortality charge of twenty-two.9 per 100,000 births. The nationwide common for that point interval was 20.4. No state had extra deaths, however 14 states had the next charge than Texas.

Our Mothers Erased investigation appeared nearer at earlier issues with maternal mortality data. The stories checked out how the precise variety of girls who had lately given start and died in Texas will not be clear, on account of errors with knowledge assortment.

State Rep. Collier emphasised the significance of getting the info now, earlier than the beginning of the legislative session.

“We’d like a greater understanding of the underlying points going through girls throughout being pregnant in Texas to sort out this downside with urgency,” Collier stated.


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