Resources

Fact Sheet with data about Austin ISD (AISD) elementary school removals
Texas Appleseed joins six other organizations — the Fair Share Housing Center, the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law, the Mississippi Center for Justice, the National Fair Housing Alliance, and Texas Low Income Housing Information Service — in welcoming new federal guidance from the U.S. Department of Justice aimed at protecting civil rights during the response to and recovery from major disasters. Key words: disaster planning; disaster response; disaster recovery; Hurricane Katrina; Hurricane Ike; Superstorm Sandy.
In the consumer lending industry in Texas, almost all contracts for payday and auto title loans have an arbitration agreement that borrowers are required to sign to apply for a loan. Most contracts also include a ban on class actions; some include other provisions such as limits on available damages or waivers to jury trials. Given the flaws inherent to the arbitration system outlined in this comment and the ability of class action lawsuits to remedy harms and incentivize better practices, Texas Appleseed supports ensuring class action lawsuits are available to consumers by preventing companies from banning them through pre-dispute arbitration agreements. See comment for more >>
Featured in the Hastings Law Journal Vol. 67. By Mary Spector and Ann Baddour. Opening paragraph: As many as forty-four percent of Texans with credit files have nonmortgage debt in collection; this is more than ten percent above the national average. The Authors provide a snapshot of collection practices employed in Texas over a two-year period following the enactment of new court rules governing the litigation of most collection cases. Using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods, they consider data in three general categories: (1) consumer complaints to the state and federal agencies; (2) court outcomes over a two-year period along with related demographic data; and (3) court observations conducted in five counties with a review of the websites for each of the courts within those counties. The Authors find that for many Texans, consumer debt collection means threats and intimidation that disrupt their family and work lives. While they also found that the default judgment rate in consumer collection cases was slightly lower than reported in a previous study, they found that it appears to be growing, signaling that more work remains to be done. The Authors recommend a number of reform efforts that include steps to increase the quantity and quality of information provided to consumers at all stages of the collection process and to increase enforcement of existing protections. To the extent that court proceedings remain an integral part of that process, the Authors also recommend further standardization of court procedures to ensure only valid claims are raised. They also encourage courts to actively participate in efforts to ensure that the protection of consumer rights does not stop at the courthouse door.
Infographic: Texas elementary schoolchildren—some as young as four—are suspended, sent to alternative schools and expelled at alarming rates. Key words: out-of-school suspensions; evidence-based practices; classroom management; Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports; Social Emotional Learning; Restorative Justice.

Pages

Bail Reform
Civil Asset Forfeiture
Criminal Discovery
Debt Collection
Debtors' Prisons
Disaster Recovery & Fair Housing
Foster Care & Courts
Homeless Youth
Immigrant Children & Families
Juvenile Justice
Mental Health
Payday & Auto Title Lending Reform
Protecting Seniors from Financial Abuse
School-to-Prison Pipeline