As the Texas Legislature prepares to head back to Austin for the 2017 Legislative Session, African Americans need a legislative agenda focused on:
• fixing our state's broken criminal justice system;
• fully funding our public school system, especially districts with large African American and Hispanic populations;
• property tax relief designed to help make homeownership more affordable for working class Texans;
• fixing Children Protective Services (CPS) to better protect the children of our state;
• eliminating childhood hunger across our state;
• significantly reducing the childhood mortality rate;
• improving access to healthcare, wellness and prevention services for poor and low income Texans; and
• passage of policies to improve retirement security for African American senior citizens and retirees.
The policy agenda should also include studying the impact of artificial intelligence on the Texas economy; amending affordable housing policies to allow those funds to be used to help fix and repair the homes of retired and low income senior citizens.
To support future economic growth-and help reduce crime and crowded city jails and state prisons-legislation that would provide community college scholarship vouchers for High School students who graduate on time with a GPA of 2.5 or better should be supported.
Finally, African Americans should support eliminating the Texas Voter ID law. Expanding access to state contracting opportunities for minority businesses and entrepreneurs. This should include incorporating a Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) requirement for state and local pension funds as it relates to the money managers and investment consultants hired by the funds.
* Robinson and Adams are professors at the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas.