Information on July 2 Texas House Committee Hearing for #HB2: PLEASE SHOW UP IF YOU CAN


UPDATE (Tues, 7/2, at 6:15pm):

WE NEED PIZZA, COOKIES, AND DRINKS.  And because of space issues we ONLY want pizza, cookies, drinks at this time. We can stack those things.

Send to: TX capitol, Legislative Conference Center, level E2, room E2.002

You can put my name (Jessica Luther) on the delivery. The places *probably* already have my phone number.

Possible places to order from:

Second special session is on. Come when you can, wear orange, and stay ’til the end! 

UPDATE: Please go down to the capitol when you can. Please be kind, be peaceful, please don’t engage anyone in blue. Be nice to DPS. Please don’t get us kicked out. That will not help our cause now or our movement as we go forward.

Please remember that this is actually about all the people who are going to lose access to critical reproductive health care.

SB5 from the first special session (the one we shouted down this past Tuesday night) is back in both the Texas House (now as House Bill 2 – introduced by Representative Laubenberg) and the Senate (now as Senate Bill 1 – introduced by Senator Hegar).

So, now it’s all about #HB2 and #SB1.

Some Questions and Answers:

1. When and where are the committee hearings for these bills?

HB2: TOMORROW starting at 3:30pm in the capitol extension, room E2.030.  (Stand With Texas Women coalition is asking people to begin showing up as early as you possibly can to register to testify – here is the Facebook event page)

SB1: We don’t know yet. And we’ll let you know when we hear. It’s possible that they’ll have a hearing this Wednesday. They have to announce the committee meeting at least 24 hours before it happens. If they do decide to hold a Senate hearing before leaving for July 4th, we’ll know sometime tomorrow.

2. But isn’t the House adjourned and the Senate at recess until next Tuesday (July 9)? How can there be hearings?

Yes. Today both the House and Senate gaveled in, did a little bit of business, and then almost immediately went on break until next week.

But just because the full House and full Senate are not meeting, that does not mean that individual committees cannot meet. And so tomorrow, we have the hearing in front of the House committee on State Affairs.

3. Where do I go when I get to the capitol tomorrow?

Go in any entrance to the capitol and find the elevators (in north wing, next to the bathrooms). Take elevator DOWN to level E2. Once you leave elevator, you’ll see that there is really only one way to go and that’s down a long hallway. Take that as far as it goes and E2.030 will be at the end on your left.

Screen Shot 2013-07-01 at 9.44.41 PM

4. What do I do once I get there?

Register to testify. And then prepare to wait and wait and wait. 

Registration must be performed the day of the hearing and within the Capitol Complex (literally ANYWHERE that you can get on the capitol’s wi-fi network) — however, you may create a profile in advance from any internet connection.

From the House website:

House Witness Registration is the quick and simple new way to register for an upcoming House Committee hearing. House Administration has made the witness registration paperless. Now, you can complete the new 5-step registration process when you arrive the Texas Capitol by using one of the touch screen kiosk stations located in the Capitol Extension. You can choose to save your profile information to use for future hearings.

Here is what a kiosk looks like:


UPDATE: It’s been explained to me that registering via your own device is optimized for iPad and may NOT work with any other mobile device. I tried register via my iPhone and it did NOT work.

You can also register on your laptop, iPad, iPhone, etc:

  1. When within network range, connect to wifi network titled “Public-Capitol.”
  2. Tap Public-Capitol to join the network.
  3. Once connected to the Wi-Fi Public-Capitol, open a web browser and click this link:

NOTE: Access to House Witness Registration through a mobile device is optimized for iPADs that run the most recent version of iOS. Earlier iOS versions or other mobile device platforms are not supported.

If this is at all confusing, just find someone in an orange shirt and ask. It sounds much more intimidating than it really is. Once you find the touch screen, you just follow the instructions on the screen and you’re golden.

If you’d like, you can register an account beforehand but that is NOT necessary. And registering an account is NOT signing up to testify.

5. Do I have to testify?

No but we’d still like you to come down and officially register your opposition to the bill, which you do at the same time as when you register to testify. So, when you get to a kiosk, say you are opposing the bill and then say you aren’t testifying. And then you don’t even have to wait around.

We are asking that if people feel comfortable testifying, you do sign up to do it. This is about showing that we want our voices heard even if they are going to refuse to listen to us (see next question for more on that).

This is what the screen looks like where you say whether you are for or against the bill and if you’d like to testify:

Screen Shot 2013-07-02 at 12.23.00 PM

6. What if I can’t arrive before or at 3:30pm when the House committee starts?

Come when you can. You can always register your opposition and desire to testify as long as the committee meeting is going on.

The Chair of the committee, Byron Cook, has already said that he will only hear testimony until midnight. Because he cares about the people’s voices. KIDDING – he actually doesn’t at all and isn’t afraid to say so:

So he’s preemptively stated that he doesn’t want to hear too much from the citizens of Texas if it goes past a certain time. DEMOCRACY AT WORK, PEOPLE.

And based on his reaction to the LAST committee meeting, he hates listening to us talk. So, use this opportunity to take pleasure in knowing that you are annoying the hell of Byron Cook for the full three minutes that you are up there speaking against this bill.

7. What should I say when I testify? What is testifying like?

You have 3 minutes to speak.

Start your testimony off like this: “Thank you, chair and committee for allowing me to testify. My name is ___ and I am a constituent of Rep. ___ and I’m here to testify against House Bill 2 because…” (if you are unsure of who your representative is, you can look them up here)

When asked to wrap it up, please finish your sentence and stop, even if you’re not done. You can also submit written testimony, so bring copies if you choose, but this is entirely optional.

Be respectful, speak from the heart.

You will be standing at a podium with your back to the room, so you won’t be looking over a crowd. You’ll be facing the lawmakers and the clerk. Lawmakers go in and out, so there could be times where you’re testifying to one or two people or just some empty chairs. It doesn’t matter. Keep talking, get your words on the record. The important thing is to have our voices heard !

8. What if I can’t make it to the capitol tomorrow? Can I officially register my opposition to the bill?

No. It’s unfair, especially in a state this size and with how awesome technology is now, but nope.

That doesn’t mean you can’t call up your elected legislators and let them know how you feel about these bills, though. For tomorrow, you can also call the Speaker of the House and the committee chair.

  • Look up your legislators here.
  • Speaker of the House Rep. Joe Straus (R – San Antonio) (512) 463-1000
  • Chair of House State Affairs: Rep. Byron Cook (R – Corsicana) (512) 463-0730

Example script:

To your lawmaker: Hello, my name is _____________ and I am a constituent of Sen/Rep __________. I am calling today to let the senator/representative know that I oppose House Bill 2/Senate Bill 1. Having the constitutional right of legal abortion, I do not wish any changes, restrictions or amendments to those rights particularly in regard to access to professional medical help. I believe that these proposed restrictions would be harmful to Texas women who might then make harmful choices made during desperate times. I urge the senator/representative to oppose these bills. Thank you.

To Speaker Straus or Rep. Cook: Hello, my name is _____________ and I am a calling today to let Speaker Straus/Rep. Cook know that I oppose House Bill 2. As a registered voter in the state of Texas, I am very disappointed that the Legislature is spending time on this issue instead of the issues that really matter to Texans. I do not want to see any further changes, restrictions or amendments to reproductive rights in Texas and urge the Speaker/Representative to do everything in his power to focus on other matter and leave abortion rights alone. Thank you.

9. How long should we be expected to say tomorrow night?

Midnight. See question #6 for more on this.

10. Parking?

You can find the public parking on this map: (it’s at corner of San Jacinto and 12th). The first two hours are free. Each half hour is $1. All day parking is $8.

There is also a lot of metered parking the area, much of it takes credit cards, though you may want to have some quarters just in case.

Come when you can, wear orange, and stay ’til the end! 

14 Responses

  1. Caroline Homer says:

    Thank you for this. Texans outside Austin could also call the offices of State Affairs committee members and urge them not to vote HB2 out of committee.

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  7. Nick says:

    Those in favor of the bill can register their support by praying fervently at any local church. God will surely do the right thing.

  8. Sarah Rivlin says:

    I just ordered you 2 large cheese pizzas and 5 bottles of water from Austin’s Pizza. They said they’d be there in 45-75 minutes.

    Thanks for what you’re doing!

  9. Sol Houston says:

    Greatly appreciate this! Makes it a lot easier on us, novices, who want to participate but are unsure how. 🙂

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