Letter from the Mayor Mental Health Coalition to Congress

By Mayor Adler

Today, I and the mayors signed below sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer voicing our concerns about the new American Health Care Act. Specifically, the AHCA would:

eliminate health care coverage for 24 million Americans; eliminate Medicaid Expansion, which covers 1.2 million Americans with serious mental illness and
substance misuse issues; eliminate the Essential Health Benefits (EHBs) requirement in Medicaid, which means states could eliminate coverage for mental health and substance misuse treatment; cut federal funding to Medicaid through the use of a per capita cap or block grant, which would severely
limit mental health treatment given that the majority of behavioral health spending comes via Medicaid; create a 30% surcharge penalty for individuals who have a gap in coverage, which would directly affect those suffering from mental illness and addiction who are at greater risk for prolonged gaps coverage; eliminate the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF); allow states to exempt themselves from covering mental health and addiction treatment; and weaken parity by allowing large employers to choose minimum benefit requirements from any state

We hope that by joining together we can solve these issues and save Americans from losing their healthcare. To read the whole letter click here Continue reading

Oped: Why Austin is leading the charge to create a coal-free America

By Mayor Adler and Mike Bloomberg

Three years ago, Austin City Council made an ambitious pledge to have over 50 percent of its power come from renewable energy by 2025 — and to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. And last year, Austin Energy’s rate case settlement began to finance the shuttering of the coal-fired Fayette power plant. All the while, Austin has become one of the fastest-growing economies in the U.S.

Switching to clean energy has been an important part of this success, and many other cities and towns are following the same strategy. Of course, as with any major innovation, the proliferation of clean energy has led to job shifts. The coal industry, in particular, has faced growing challenges in the face of this progress.

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Oped: I can’t wait to see the state of Texas in court

By Mayor Adler

For decades, the Texas Legislature has been a backseat driver, second guesser and insufferable micromanager to Austin. Now, our Legislature and governor have crossed the line by imperiling our most basic freedoms. Not only did state lawmakers recently pass the governor’s sanctuary city bill that went way beyond federal immigration law, but the Texas attorney general just filed suit against me and others for speaking out against it.

We speak out because, if this law goes into effect, Austin and other Texas cities will be forced to make our communities less safe. And we’re speaking out even though this new law would, incredibly enough, allow our state attorney general to remove local elected officials from office if they endorse a different policy, even one that’s in accordance with federal immigration law.

Austin is one of the safest cities in the country, largely because our police focus on keeping all of us safe regardless of where we come from or how we got here. And it’s not just us; cities with similar policies toward immigrants have lower crime rates, higher household income rates and lower unemployment rates. What we do works!

The new Texas sanctuary city law undoes that. Police tell us that the fear that they might ask about immigration status has already made people less willing to report crimes, undoing years of work to establish trust with our immigrant communities. Continue reading

Statement by Mayor Adler on passage of HB 100

“I’m disappointed that the legislature chose to nullify the bedrock principles of self-governance and limited government by imposing regulations on our city over the objection of Austin voters. Our city should be proud of how we filled the gap created when Uber and Lyft left, and we now must hope that they return ready to compete in a way that reflects Austin’s values.”