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Ben's Blog


  • Legislative Trip 16x9 Featured

    The Legislative Session Marches On

    April 8, 2019, 11:24 AM by Dylan Lancaster
    With March now in the rear-view mirror, Dr. Ben Raimer reflects on both the UTMB School of Medicine and Galveston County chamber of commerce trips to Austin. Following this reflection he provides an update on priority legislation and related UTMB interests.
  • Close Gaps Ben Blog

    Closing the Gaps

    February 28, 2019, 13:31 PM by Dylan Lancaster
    With several more weeks of the Texas Legislature’s 86th session behind us, Dr. Ben Raimer examines the effects of past legislative sessions on UTMB and how those effects gave rise to our requests this session. He also touches on the warm welcome UTMB received in Austin.
  • Legislative Session 2019

    Texas 86th Legislative Session Begins!

    January 29, 2019, 15:09 PM by Dylan Lancaster
    With the first couple of weeks of the Texas Legislature’s 86th session in the rear-view mirror, Dr. Ben Raimer provides insight on legislative personnel changes, the budget outlook and UTMB's budget requests. Get ready for another fantastic series of Ben's Blog posts in 2019!
  • groundhog

    Groundhog Day in July

    July 21, 2017, 08:10 AM by Ben Raimer
    Austin is back at it. The Texas Legislature gaveled into the first called special session at midday on Tuesday, July 18, to take up business that fell victim to the Mothers’ Day Massacre near the end of the 85th regular session.
  • Sine Die Budget Results

    The Results are In!

    June 1, 2017, 15:57 PM by Dylan Lancaster
    Sine die—the last day of the regular session of the 85th Texas Legislature—arrived on Memorial Day, May 29. As we await word of a special session, I thought a review of where we’ve been and how our funding looks for the FY2018/2019 biennium would be helpful.
  • Bill Massacre 2017

    The Great House Bill Massacre of 2017

    May 19, 2017, 09:33 AM by Dylan Lancaster
    This week in Austin saw one of the most dramatic bill killings of all times. Pent up emotions found their way onto the House floor in what the media has termed the "Mother’s Day Massacre." The House Freedom Caucus, composed of very conservative members from north central Texas, used various parliamentary maneuvers Thursday evening and Friday to kill scores of bills.
  • Bills Live or Die

    Proposed Bills: Live or Die?

    May 12, 2017, 15:44 PM by Ben Raimer
    Today (Thursday, May 11) is a magic day for this legislative session: when the clock strikes midnight tonight, the hundreds and hundreds of House bill that have made it through the laborious legislative process either live or die. If a bill has not cleared the hurdles of approval in the House by that time, it is dead. The only hope for resuscitation is to find a suitable bill that has cleared the House, and attach all or parts of the failed bill to the active bill as a floor amendment.

Older Ben's Blog Posts

Juneteenth 2019

Jun 28, 2019, 15:45 PM by Dylan Lancaster

This year’s Juneteenth celebration lasted from June 2 – 19, 2019 and was full of parades and festivals, banquets, arts and crafts, family picnic, historical reenactments, gospel choirs, and the Miss Juneteenth Pageant. Festivities took place at several locations, including the Old Central Cultural Center, Ashton Villa, Menard Hall, and the Reedy Chapel A.M.E. Church.

JTgala001The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston was proud to support the 2019 Juneteenth celebration activities and to serve the African American community through health sciences education, research and patient care in keeping with its core value of diversity. UTMB has a legacy of changing history to improve health and improve lives:

  • UTMB has stood with Texas – training the health care workforce, serving as a major provider of health care for Texas and their families and innovating the future of how care is delivered.
  • UTMB opened in 1891 as the nation’s first public medical school and hospital under unified leadership.
  • UTMB School of Nursing, established in 1890 as the John Sealy Hospital Training School for Nurses, became part of the university in 1896 and was the first nursing school in Texas.
  • UTMB opened the first state-funded hospital for African Americans in Texas in 1902.
  • In 1949, five years before the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case called for desegregation of schools, UTMB admitted the first African American student into medical school in the state of Texas. That student, a Tuskegee Airman named Herman A. Barnett, would go on to break down other color barriers throughout his life and career. Despite his acceptance to prestigious medical schools at historically black universities (Howard and Meharry), the NAACP encouraged Barnett to attend UTMB to help desegregate medical education and the field of medicine in Texas. Barnett courageously agreed, earning his MD in 1953.
  • UTMB is the largest employer of African Americans in Galveston County.


The Galveston Juneteenth Coalition was organized in January 2002 by Douglas Matthews (UTMB) and Ennis Williams (Old Central) coming together to help promote all Galveston Juneteenth activities during this historic time when African Americans in the south learned of their freedom from slavery through the Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln and enforced by Army General Gordon Granger and 2,000 troops. Happy Juneteenth 2019!