We have seen and heard a lot of advertising through the years in Texas, that the Texans for Lawsuit Reform Group is a conservative organization. There are certain new developments that raise questions among the most trusting of individuals in Texas.
A bill is pending in the Texas House (HB 912) that would prohibit the use of drones to take pictures of individuals’ property without their consent. HB912 is an important piece of legislation to protect the privacy rights of Texans and has over 100 co-authors. Unfortunately, the special interest group “Texans For Lawsuit Reform” is actively lobbying against this bill because it includes necessary civil penalties.
When laws are made, they serve two purposes. The laws provide boundaries for appropriate actions in society, and civil and criminal consequences if one disobeys those laws. For something as serious as a drone being used without consent to surveil innocent property owners, I would think the public would want as many deterrants to that activity as possible. A child will not hesitate to tempt his boundaries if there are no penalties or consequences. Do we simply trust everyone has good intentions and hope for the best?
TLR hired an Austin Law Firm to give testimony to the legislative committee arguing against the bill which will protect property owners. This is yet another item to add to the list of: Is this a Conservative action?
Below, there is a letter from the President of TLR “explaining” why they believe the property owners should not have protection under the law
Please reach out and speak with your legislator today. Don’t let this special interest group override the rights of Texans for remedies under the law.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )
Is there any doubt that America’s Constitution is under attack? For decades, the power and intent of the Constitution have been whittled away by liberals and others who do not value the foundation of this country. For that reason, we must send constitutional conservatives to Washington. This is not the time to send people who do not have the experience defending the constitution. It is not the time to send a person who needs to use this as a learning experience for the first couple of years.
Ted Cruz, does not just talk the talk. He has exhibited a willingness to defend the constitution and liberty for all Americans on multiple occasions. He is the freedom fighter we must send to Washington. I’ve listed my reasons below, why my vote will be cast for Ted Cruz.
1. Defended US Sovereignty
Successfully represented Texas before the U.S. Supreme Court in Medellin v. Texas, which upheld U.S. sovereignty and held that the World Court cannot bind the United States justice system and the President cannot order the state courts to obey the World Court.
2. He has defended our second amendment right to bear arms
Ted authored a brief on behalf of 31 states supporting the second amendment right to keep and bear arms. The ban on firearms was struck down in a 5-4 landmark decision before the U.S. Supreme Court?
3. Ted Cruz fought to defend our religious freedom.
Successfully defended the constitutionality of the Texas Ten Commandments monument, winning in a 5-4 landmark decision before the U.S. Supreme Court, setting an important national precedent for the right to display similar monuments.
4. The Tenth Amendment is one of the keys to preserving the balance and vision for our countr
y by the founding fathers. For years, Ted has defended this key amendment.
Tenth Amendment language: The Tenth Amendment states the Constitution’s principle of federalism by providing that powers not granted to the federal government nor prohibited to the states by the Constitution are reserved to the States or the people.
Ted Cruz has consistently championed the 10th amendment, speaking and writing nationally on the virtues of federalism and why excessive regulation and federal government intrusion threaten to destroy America’s free-market economy and the American Dream.
5. Ted opposed the TSA groping at airports
This is an invasion of privacy, that Mr. Cruz’s opponent was afraid to tackle. Cruz said that we should look to Israel and follow their example. “Instead of looking for terrorists, we’re looking for weapons. It’s an ill-advised approach that hurts citizens.”
6. He was unafraid and stood up to protect our efforts for energy independence in America, at a time when the administration was fiercely undermining America’s efforts.
Authored an amicus brief on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and a diverse coalition of 29 Gulf Coast chambers of commerce and industry groups in Hornbeck Offshore Services v. Salazar, in opposition to the Obama Interior Department’s moratorium on offshore exploration in the Gulf of Mexico. One week later, the Fifth Circuit agreed, and ruled against the moratorium.
7. Reinforced the words: “All men are created equal” as written in the Declaration of Independence. There is no place for hate or bigotry in America.
Ted authored a U.S. Supreme Court amicus brief on behalf of 10 states in Rahn v. Robb, urging the Supreme Court to grant certiorari and reverse a decision of the Eight Circuit allowing the Ku Klux Klan to participate in Kansas’s “Adopt-A-Highway” program.
8. Ted Cruz signed the Contract from America.
The Contract from America, clause 4. Enact Fundamental Tax Reform: Adopt a simple and fair single-rate tax system by scrapping the internal revenue code and replacing it with one that is no longer than 4,543 words–the length of the original Constitution.
9. Mr. Cruz took a definite stand on Border Security.
He has worked on efforts to increase penalties for felons who enter the country illegally. Ted authored a U.S. Supreme Court amicus brief on behalf of 10 states in Lopez v. Gonzales, urging the strictest enforcement of laws punishing those with prior felony convictions who entered the country illegally.
Having met and spoken with Mr. Cruz on multiple occasions, prior to his campaign, I can assure you of one thing. No one is more passionate or driven to defend America’s constitution. There are many more illustrations of his commitment and efforts on behalf of our constitution and liberty. In fact, there were too many for one article.
What can you do to help?
If you are in Texas: I urge each of you to vote. Early voting begins July 23. Election Day is on July 31.
If you are in other states: Fight to take back the Senate. Go to www.tedcruz.org and help to call and get out the vote!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
A man is defined by his actions and ability to move forward after setbacks. Greg Abbott is that man of strength, and courage. The Texas Attorney General did not go quietly after the Supreme Court Decision on Obamacare. It appears the court decision has inspired him to fight harder for America, liberty, and the constitution. This week was a whirlwind tour of speaking engagements with different groups of Americans to explain the latest decision by the Supreme Court regarding Obamacare.
In Plano Texas, there was a Rally for Freedom sponsored by the Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute. The crowd was anxious to hear what crumbs of hope the Texas Attorney General, Greg Abbott could give to them.
There were several states involved in the Supreme Court Case. Per usual, on high profile cases, they asked the Attorney General of Texas to be one of the key legal minds involved. We now have one option left to the American People. It is critical to vote in a new President, a conservative controlled Senate, and a conservative controlled House in November. This is the choice remaining, to protect America from this overreaching action by the Federal Government. It was clearly stated this was a disasterous Supreme Court decision that took everyone by surprise.
People in the courtroom were fairly comfortable when the decision began talking about commerce and how this argument was not a constitutional premise for the law. As the reading continued, a 180 was done, and the weaker reasoning on taxation privilege was introduced. The gallery was stunned and mouths were agape per others who were actually in the courtroom. The entire opinion document can be read here: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/06/29/us/29healthcare-scotus-docs.html
The decision cannot be overturned, as this was the last stop on the judicial ladder. Arguing about whether the additional outlay of cash is a penalty or a tax is a waste of time. One option is left, America must work fervently, tirelessly, and focus on domination of all branches of government.
On the Americans for Prosperity call, there was a stunning moment of clarity for the thousands who crowded onto the call. One of the audience asked a question, using examples. “Could the government charge a penalty if people choose not to buy a smart car?”, stated the caller. Attorney General Abbott, said “yes, that is our problem now.” The Supreme Court has ruled the Congress has unlimited power to levy taxes on activity and inactivity. A pin drop could have been heard after that dash of cold water on the audience.
Liberty suffered greatly because of this decision. To overturn Obamacare, and get real solutions for Americans, we must not let a moment go wasted between now and November.
In 1775, Americans said enough and made their voices heard around the world. In 2012, we must do the same.
God bless America on this fourth of July. Give Americans courage for the fight ahead.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 3 so far )
People across Texas and the United States know the Straus family enterprises are focused on gambling. There are as many people for gambling in Texas as there are against it. The pros and cons of gambling are for another time and place. There are far more important aspects to the role of this particular Speaker of the House in the Texas 82nd legislature. Some of you are familiar with this information, while others are not. Over the coming months, information will be shared that shine a light on the manipulations and machinations which occurred during this legislative session.
The Speaker of the House position is one of two key leadership positions in active legislative sessions of Texas. This year was particularly challenging due to unfunded Federal Mandates, Redistricting Maps and a budget to balance for the biennium. There was a shortfall in the revenue looming large. The question of the hour was whether there had been a miraculous move toward a more conservative leadership since the last session led by Speaker Straus in 2009. Sadly, this was not to be.
The battle to be “crowned” Speaker again, was contentious at best. There was a challenge to his leadership by two strong conservatives. They could not get enough votes challenge Mr. Straus. Why? Joe Straus had people sign “pledge cards” to indicate their vote of support for him in the elections. His group of confidantes assisted by cajoling and coercing people to the inevitable conclusions of a pledge of support. Why is this important now? The story of this session and this Speaker begins with a brave Representative named Bryan Hughes who came forward with information about the whole intimidation process. Did you hear the rest of the story, as the late Paul Harvey was so fond of saying in his broadcasts.
A June 2nd article by John Alaniz, revealed Speaker Straus and his crew made good on the redistricting threats to those who would not pledge their vote for the his re-election as Speaker. In November of 2010, several months before the 2011 Texas Legislative Session began; Texas State Rep. Bryan Hughes issued a press release stating that he had withdrawn his support from Rep. Joe Straus as Speaker (Bryan Hughes Press Release, 11/2010). Rep. Hughes explained a member of Straus’ leadership team had called and had “ brought up the subject of redistricting and explained to me how that process would be used to punish those members not on Speaker Straus’s list of supporters.” There was an ethics investigation, which raises more alarm bells than brings resolution to the matter. The chairman of the ethics committee gave Representative Hughes and Representative Phillips the option of whether to provide testimony under oath! Representative Hughes voluntarily took the oath and gave his testimony. Representative Phillips who allegedly made these veiled threats on behalf of Straus, did not testify under oath. This raises an important point. Perjury under oath could cause the loss of a license to practice law.
The Texas Tribune provided this golden nugget of testimony from Representative Phillips: “Representative Hughes statement is unequivocally false,” Phillips said in response. ”I did not tell Representative Hughes that maps were already being drawn to get rid of Representative-elect [Erwin] Cain or Representative Flynn. I also did not tell Representative Hughes that there was a plan to use redistricting to punish those who were not on Speaker Straus’ support list.”
The House map was finalized and signed into law. The new map was exactly what Representative Hughes had indicated was in “the warning”. The facts now vindicate the elected officials who earnestly tried to warn the people and the legislators of the power that was being wielded to re-elect Joe Straus.
The House Redistricting map was a carefully orchestrated event, utilizing powerful lobbyists, legal resources, and some expert negotiation with various legislators. The map that emerged as the winner, punished the strongest conservatives who had stood together to vote for an alternative leader of this session. Somehow, it was voted through by the House legislators, despite what had been done to their colleagues. Read what actually happened beginning with a point of order by Calendars Chairman Todd Hunter which was specific to this bill (this timetable forced work on Good Friday and the Easter Weekend): http://www.journals.house.state.tx.us/hjrnl/82r/pdf/82RDAY60FINAL.PDF#page=4
This map was expedited much like the notorious Obamacare, presenting many obstacles to people who would like to have a voice for their constituents. Speaker Joe Straus presided over final proceedings for the House Bill. Representative Hunter and Solomans indicated this was an “emergency” that must be finalized and moved to the Senate. Who uses the same strategy in Washington that everything is a crisis and must be rushed through prior to people having input? In the above link, please read through a few pages, when Representative Hunter (Calendars Chair), and Representative Solomons (Redistricting Chair) explain their rule which would cause Christians to be working on Good Friday and Easter Weekend to accommodate the point of order.
Redistricting maps are always difficult, is the mantra of every person in the House and Senate. There is difficult, and there is contrived. I draw your attention to a speech given by Representative Cain in the House Journal when this map (which punished those who opposed Straus) was coming up for the final vote: http://www.journals.house.state.tx.us/hjrnl/82r/pdf/82RDAY64FINAL.PDF#page=37
The people of Texas got exactly what they feared with the re-election of Joe Straus. This session reflected a liberal leadership from day one. Speaker Straus had a far reach and was able to “convince” many people to overlook things that were glaring throughout the session. A conservative majority was elected, and great hopes were pinned on this session. There were a limited number of conservative bills that were passed which kept the public from noticing many of the appalling decisions/actions in this session. Think for a moment about what is being said by the politicians. Over 10,000 bills were filed. More than 1400 were passed, including resolutions. Yet, the representatives boast about the same 5-6 bills in speeches across the state. Odd. Not to worry, over the coming months, many of the passed bills will be discussed with the public. You may find it illuminating. Texas may have a spooky dude…Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 6 so far )
The past few days in Texas have been enlightening as far as patriot groups and news outlets are concerned. Granted, the frustration of Texans with this legislative session is at an all time high. The most disturbing part of all is the number of patriot leaders seeking moments of “limelight” in the press, without having the facts. Assuredly, most of these people mean well. However, there is a sacred honor that should be evident, when trusted sources report to the people.
Let’s begin by talking about the time between the election and the legislative session. There were no doubts about Speaker Joe Straus, due to his track record previously in the state as speaker and representative. The man is liberal, and makes decisions based upon his own needs. Yet, there was a primary teaparty leader of a group in Houston Texas who wrote an article that it didn’t matter if Joe was elected Speaker of the House. Per this leader, the people could “control” the legislature. After all, we were awake. This tea party leader has a fair amount of reach and knowledge. Today, I might say to her followers, you believe in her credibility – WHY?
Having spent hours and weeks in Austin, studying the legislature and bills, it is astounding to see the number of misinformed people in Texas. Well-known patriot groups, patriot members, bloggers, and media have been actively circulating incomplete and wrong information to suit their political preferences. How dare any of us exploit the everyday working Texans? What happened to accurate reporting for all the right reasons? It is egregious for people to use social media outlets to misguide the people. How is it the informed people speaking to the masses don’t know the Texas constitution or the procedures for a bill to pass the legislature? How is it they do not know who has the power in Texas during legislative sessions? How is it they don’t know exactly what happened to a bill, yet they continue to circulate inaccurate information to the masses?
In a legislative session, the Lt. Governor of Texas has the most power, closely followed by the Speaker of the House. The Governor may make suggestions on what is slated as an emergency item for the legislature. He has zero power to force the Speaker of the House or the Lt. Governor on the how and when they take actions. If a person studied the legislature this year, a pattern would emerge.
When Straus and Dewhurst named committee chairs and worked with them to determine the members, these actions determined ownership of the power. There were a handful of people controlling the personal agenda for Straus and Dewhurst. It had nothing to do with the people of Texas.
In May, Straus and Dewhurst openly defied the Governor with their choice on the formation of the committee to look at Higher Education. The Governor had focused on Higher Education reform for quite a while. He mentioned some of his ideas in speeches to the public and the legislature. Take a look at the press release and the names of people who have been appointed to the group. None of the conservative legislators heavily involved in reform ideas were included. The people on the list are the ones who will support the status quo in higher education. Why do you believe the Governor has the power to dictate actions to the Speaker and Lt. Governor? Where is the basis of those “facts”?
Yes, we got some good bills out. Those bills did not interfere with the agenda at hand (of Speaker Straus or Lt. Gov. Dewhurst), and distracted the public while other things were being discussed in the legislature. What was the agenda? If one looks at the overall number of bills and content, it appears to be a power play that will be completed in 2012 and 2013. Redistricting maps ensured the strongest conservatives in the state, who are against gambling will likely lose their seat. Deals were made to get a lot of people in a position to agree with these measures. Undue amounts of money were spent in the budget, regardless of the enormous bills facing Texas in 2013. Special interest groups ruled. This weakened Texas, but guaranteed the number of votes needed to pass legislation wanted by Straus and Dewhurst. Some might say this is politics. It is the selling out of Texas.
Specific actions by people in the press, placed the blame for this year’s debacle at the Governor’s door. Of course, the liberal press is counting on no one in Texas knowing how the legislature works! Liberals have wanted to topple Texas conservatives for a very long time. Has anyone stopped to ask who that would benefit and why?
The politic gameplaying this season, was a textbook study in deception, blocks, and innuendo to achieve goals of the people in charge. Over the next few months, I will publish specific examples proving the allegations made in this article. In fact, go look for the facts yourself. You will be surprised at the amount of public data that can be found on this session, fully supporting these points.
What will happen in 2013, when we do not have the money to pay the bills? Would it be a state income tax that is suggested as a solution, or will it be gambling? Formula One Racing was passed this session. It has already been approved by the City of Austin. This will be a large complex, that is surrounded by more open land for more vendors and projects. Think about this. Even if you are not against gambling, statistics show the crime rate will rise 3 to 1. Can we afford more of a crime issue, given the open border and immigration problems? People from dozens of terrorist countries come and use the Mexican border as the gateway to America. Currently there is a war on crime in our state, do we need more?
Seven people controlled the legislative agenda for the most part. Without these gatekeepers, good legislation would have gone to the floor in a timely manner, and been passed. There were choices on what went to the floor. On the House side, the most powerful gatekeepers appointed by Straus were Jim Pitts (Appropriations), Burt Solomans (Redistricting), and Todd Hunter (Calendars). None of the key legislation could get to the floor without touching one of these chairmen. On the Dewhurst side of the house, we had Ken Seliger (Redistricting), and Steve Ogden (Finance). By looking at the impact of those chairs, and the people on those committees, you will see the whole picture.
A closing comment to patriot groups. The majority of the groups are thoughtful people, trying to get to the truth, so it may be shared with others. What is the purpose of this article? It is time to warn people they need to be careful when getting information from so-called leaders. Whether it is me, or someone else in the patriot world, it is time to question everything. A multitude of people with conflicting agendas have infiltrated these groups. They want third parties. They want a bit of the spotlight.
Thank you to the groups who continue to strive for the truth, when educating the masses. It isn’t important who gets the recognition with the masses or the media. It is important we get it right, and remove the people from office that sold us out. As for the misguided people spreading vicious gossip without substance, more credibility would be gained by telling the truth. Think about it.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 20 so far )
Texas has moved into the special session now, primarily to focus on the budget completion. So many emails, blogs, articles have appeared with partial information and misinformation, an overview of the special session was in order. I’ve put together a few facts to help all of us as we monitor/engage with our state reps and state senators on specific bills.
The Governor of Texas issued a proclamation which announces the special session timeframe, and also defines the primary focus of this session. To add other bills outside of this focus, will require the agreement of the Governor. The legislature may ask for particular bills to be added that are outside the original scope of the proclamation. It is important to reach out to your state representatives and state senators to let them know if there is a specific bill of importance to you. The legislature (specifically Straus and Dewhurst as management) can make a request to the Governor for new agenda items for the special session. Further to this point, you can see the letter request from Dewhurst to the Governor here: http://americansforprosperity.org/053011-lt-gov-sends-letter-gov-perry-regarding-special-session-issues . The text of the proclamation can be found here: http://www.lrl.state.tx.us/scanned/govdocs/Rick%20Perry/2011/proc053011.pdf The Governor outlined the specifics he wanted dealt with in this session. The primary focus must be on the budget and budget related items. The schools, in particular, must see the approved budget as soon as possible, to prepare for the coming year.
The majority of the proposed bills fall within the purvue of the proclamation, or have been approved additions by the Governor. Other than fiscal related bills, the Healthcare Compact has been added to the tasklist, per the Governor’s request. Another one which is not yet approved for this session, but is filed, pertains to sanctuary cities. There are many great bills which could be added, but the time constraints and efficient use of taxpayer dollars is of utmost importance.
Several groups/individuals have urged Texans to barrage the governor and ask for specific bills to be filed. After reading some of these published lists, it was clear that many of the listed bills in the emails/articles were already filed for the special session. Because the bill offerings for consideration are growing, it is best to run the report yourself for the most accurate data. To view the filings to date, please go to the Texas State Legislative website http://www.legis.state.tx.us/Home.aspx . Select Bill Search. Be sure to select this session: 82 (1) -2011 from the drop down choices. On the right hand side of the page you will see a large box that says select action criteria. Click on this. Choose Filed (H001) . Click on the arrow pointing to the blank box directly opposite the list of actions. Repeat this process and choose Filed (S001). Now go to the bottom of the page and input a beginning date of 5/30/2011 (do this by clicking on the small calendar icon). Choose an end date of the current date. Go back to the top righthand side of the page and click search. This will give you a current list of proposed bills. It does not tell you which ones are approved by the Governor, but actions are posted immediately as they occur.
For further information about special sessions, go to this link: http://www.lrl.state.tx.us/whatsNew/client/index.cfm/2011/5/31/Special-Session-FAQs
What is clear about these massive efforts, is that many well meaning people are spinning cycles without complete information. If conservatives want to succeed, the time should be spent on solid research prior to “firing from the hip”. A plan with inadequate data will likely yield inadequate results. -Just an opinion.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )
We are in the time of final selection of redistricting maps! This year, the Texas legislature must determine new maps for the Schoolboard of Education, the Texas House, the Texas Senate, and the US Congress. We have the fate of the Congressional maps now in our hands. Texas will gain 4 Congressional seats.
During the past two years, we have witnessed two things in the Congress:
1) Democrats do not cross over and vote against the Democrat caucus
2) Democrats do not vote for fiscal responsibility
So, what does this mean to Texas and America? We must do everything possible to get more conservatives to Washington. How do we do this? Selection of a map that is fair and gives good representation of conservative values in Texas, will achieve our goal of taking the country back from a far left agenda.
Here are some reasons why the GRIT map (C116) is the better choice for Texas constitutional conservatives, instead of the offering from a legislator in the Dallas area:
In C116, the GOP would have a good chance to win 30 of the 36 seats. Only one of them is in a district with less than 55% GOP voting strength.
C116 DOES increase the number of likely Republican congressional seats: 30 of the 36 total seats have the likelihood of going Republican and yet meet the federal requirements of population, ethnicity, etc. The other map does not achieve this possibility.
C116 does NOT hand over half the state’s new seats to the Democrats.
C116 does NOT protect incumbent Democrats. C117 does. Under C116, potential Republican challengers would be at a distinct disadvantage.
C116 does NOT involve retrogression of any minority districts. C117 does. [This is the idea that a district cannot be redrawn in such a way that a protected minority is reduced in numbers (%, actually) from its numbers (%) in the current district. For instance, a minority district with 53 % cannot be lowered to the 49 % level of minority representation if other conditions are met.]
C116 DOES recognize the population changes in fast-growing areas of the state. The other map did not recognize the high growth areas.
C/116 DOES reflect conservative political philosophy which grassroots Texans expressed state-wide in the Nov. 2010 election.
C116 is NOT the work of just a few “incumbent protectionists”; rather, it had input from more than 100 people, including many grassroots activists and legislators.
There is no need to hand the Democrats the probability of winning half of the seats in our state. The liberals would not do this for the conservatives.
The Nov. 2010 vote in Texas clearly showed a rejection of Liberal principles by the voters.
Will the fair C116 map be challenged in court? Probably, as will any other map. Lawsuits are typically filed in every census year when new redistricting maps are chosen. However, to try and “appease” the Democrats by protecting their incumbents and giving them half the new seats is not a smart policy. Remember how “helpful” Mr. Lloyd Doggett has been to his home state.
Having conservatives in Congress, from whatever part of the state, helps all of Texas. Furthermore, having conservatives in Congress, from whatever state, will help save America!
Please call your state representatives today and say, “We want C116, for the Congressional Redistricting Map Choice! State legislative websiteRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( 3 so far )
How many times have we seen environmentalists and the affiliated entourage “spin facts” to reflect their personal views? The same liberal tactics are being used to unnecessarily create fear among Texans. Thus far, several versions of scare mongering prose has been used by the motley crew.
We have witnessed articles featuring quotes from the Sierra Club, Mother Jones, SEED, and others. When the first version of “facts” was discredited, different environmental groups were brought in for a “press conference of sorts.
The most recent statements attack the free market system that is resolving the costly chore of waste management for Texas and other states involved in an interstate compact. Disposal of low-level hazardous waste is a high cost proposition for states. Many states have tried to manage the whole process and failed. Thankfully, the states were able to partner with a high quality private enterprise company for solutions. This company is Waste Control Specialists (WCS).
Innuendo and rhetoric about private enterprise and associated profits indicate an aversion by the leftists to the way business is conducted in the United States. Mutually beneficial business agreements not only survive, but thrive in America’s free market system. To insinuate inequitable profit margins and fees is baseless and proof can be found in the state code as to the review of all fees on a regular basis. Perhaps a review of economics 101 or supply and demand would benefit the naysayers.
Quote directly from the Health and Safety Code Section 401.245
(b) The commission by rule shall adopt and periodically revise compact waste disposal fees according to a schedule that is based on the projected annual volume of low-level radioactive waste received, the relative hazard presented by each type of low-level radioactive waste that is generated by the users of radioactive materials, and the costs identified in Section 401.246.
Again, the rabble-rousers have elected to mislead the readers. At any point in the business relationship, there is legislation ensuring regular reviews of fees.
As stated in my earlier article, https://texasfor56.wordpress.com/2011/04/08/texas-propaganda-on-hazardous-waste-bill/ , liability bonds are posted by the company prior to each delivery to Texas. The environmentalists seemed to be shocked that Texas would take control of the facility after deliveries are completed. A review of other states and their practices indicated this is business as usual for a state to assume oversight of the facility. It is the choice of the state.
In a thinly veiled final attempt to discredit the company and the state for the transactions, moral hazard terminology was introduced to the hypotheses.
What Does Moral Hazard Mean?
The risk that a party to a transaction has not entered into the contract in good faith, has provided misleading information about its assets, liabilities or credit capacity, or has an incentive to take unusual risks in a desperate attempt to earn a profit before the contract settles.
The Moral Hazard definition simply does not apply to these circumstances.
There are interstate compacts involved, Federal oversight, State Agency oversight, and a multitude of additional checks and balances. The best practices have evolved over the years out of necessity by the states and the Federal Government. Moral Hazard would imply a situation that is not present in this transaction. Nothing is done prior to the contract being settled. There are no advantages to risk taking, and no incentives to alter schedules.
My hope is environmentalists and their minions will begin to focus on areas that could use their help. They clearly got this situation wrong, and need to give up the repeated desperate attempts to form scandalous pieces of fiction. The biggest question for Texas, is who is funding these lame publicity stunts by environmentalists and liberals, and why?Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
Some fantastic news was announced yesterday by the Texas Public Policy Foundation! Several conservative organizations have banded together to launch a broadcast campaign reaching out to Texans on important fiscal matters. We all appreciate our way of life here in Texas, and need to take a moment to listen to these messages. They are short and to the point. Fiscal responsibility matters in our state. Let’s keep our state strong, and independent. To continue, we must be willing to make the tough decisions now on the budget.
The founding members of Texans for a Conservative Budget include the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Americans for Prosperity-Texas, Americans for Tax Reform, Empower Texans, Heartland Institute, Liberty Institute, and the National Federation for Independent Business-Texas.
Tonight in the Austin area, the first television commercial will air during one of my favorite conservative shows – NCIS. I am including the links to the three commercials, which can be circulated to others. It is timely and critical that we bring pressure to bear on the Texas State Senate. The House budget was done with a great deal of thought as to how the tough decisions today, would ensure our security in future. As stated in my earlier article, the Texas Senate will add 12 Billion in spending.
Call/write/fax/visit your senators! Tell them we do not have the money to spend! Remind them of the coming Medicaid debt and other unfunded liabilities.
Here are the links for all of you to forward to friends and family:
Texans for a Conservative Budget – First spot
Texans for a Conservative Budget – Second spot
Texans for a Conservative Budget – third spot
A big thank you goes out to these conservative organizations that continue to bless Texas with their hardwork!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
Where does the budget process in Texas stand at this time? The Texas House passed a budget with various cuts, and identified a need for using 3.1B of the Rainy Day Fund. This proposal then went to the Senate. The Senate has their own budget proposal. It spends 12B more than the House Proposal. This budget process is going to end up in conference.
When the House and Senate offer two different solutions to the same bill, the legislation then moves to a committee made up of some members of the House and Senate. Their job is to negotiate a solution which satisfies the legislature as a final solution. In this instance, there will be debates about where to cut money and how much.
Mr. Talmadge Heflin, of the Texas Public Policy Foundation identified 3 priorities for the legislature with regard to the budget for the next biennium. Go to this site for more info on the House and Senate budgets: http://www.texaspolicy.com/legislativeupdates_single.php?report_id=3719
There are 3 things that lead to logical solutions on the budget.
- Make the necessary cuts
- Don’t raise taxes
- Don’t use the Rainy Day Fund
The Senate chose to disregard the advice of economists, experts, the Governor and the people of Texas. They have elected to spend more money when they are fully aware of the unfunded mandates the state is facing in 2013. New sources of money were used by the Senate to help pay for some of their programs, but it does not solve the future problem.
Before Texas gets into dire straits, there must be austerity measures taken in the state. In the past year, Americans have witnessed many states teetering on the verge of bankruptcy trying to make quick fixes. Several states have bond ratings now in jeopardy of a downgrade, due to excessive spending. Is this what we want for Texas?
Please call your legislators and state clearly the need for fiscal restraint prior to the emergency! Let’s show the rest of the country how it’s done.
As a final thought of what to say to the legislators: We pay you to be smart and do the very best for the citizens that elected you to office. Show you have the integrity and character to do what is best for Texans.
- Get rid of duplicity across departments
- Freeze all discretionary spending for two years
- Freeze hiring in all departments of the state for two years.
This week, Katy Texas was the scene of unprecedented power plays by the School Superintendent. Texas has a budget shortfall due to many contributing factors, but primarily from unfunded Federal mandates. Mr. Frailey, Katy ISD Superintendent, decided to leverage teachers against the legislature for his own purposes. For the past couple of days, he authorized the immediate firing of dozens of teachers due to the shortfall. Here is a few links to the local news media that had several stories on the events: http://instantnewskaty.com/ , http://katytimes.com/news/article_c3a35ab6-66c6-11e0-9b79-001cc4c002e0.html
The official story is an administrator would call the teacher out of the classroom to inform them. They would also inform them of all “their options” and then the teacher could either return to the classroom or go home. Several teachers were too devastated and tearful to continue working, and the school already had substitute teachers waiting to help.
Students were upset and staged protests at several schools. Tomorrow in Katy, there are a minimum of 7 staged school protests that have been planned. There is also a major protest rally at 11:30 in front of the school administration building. Parents are upset, students were disrupted and upset, teachers were traumatized, and for what?
Tonight at a town hall in Katy, the teachers, students, and community gathered to try and make sense out of this week’s dramatic actions by the administration. Tearful teachers spoke about the event, and wondered what can be done. Everyone was looking for answers. The community united and determined it will remedy this situation. People will gather tomorrow at 11:30 in front of the administration building in Katy. They are demanding answers and deserve them on so many levels.
Why is this so ridiculous? The Texas House passed a budget which cut education, and other departments across the board. It has not passed the Senate. The Senate is introducing their own bill with fewer budget cuts. It is likely to pass. At that point, the Senate and House bill will go to conference. In this process, 5 members of the House and 5 members from the Senate will compromise on a final bill. The budget battle is far from over, and the Superintendent begins firing teachers and blaming the legislature. This begs the question of why this Chief Administrator of Education for Katy ISD would arbitrarily elect to fire large numbers of teachers before the budget is settled.
What is the truth of the matter? Local ISD’s have built up mini empires of administration. In Texas, there is a one to one ratio of non teaching individuals to teachers. The Superintendents command enormous salaries and perks for themselves and an abundance of non-teaching personnel. Specific ISD information was published recently on a website sponsored by Americans for Prosperity, Texas Chapter. For the highlights of statistics onState Education Spending: http://www.americansforprosperity.org/021511-grassroots-resource-talking-points-education-spending-texas Americans for Prosperity took it one step further and have invested the time and resources to make ISD information readily accessible to the public. It is called the Red Apple Project. You can access all the financial details here: http://www.redappleproject.com/ Katy ISD, in particular only spends 49.7% of each dollar on the classroom. The Administration makes a lot more money than the teachers. Add this to the fact, that over 80M is sitting in a bank account in the district, and you see just how ludicrous the actions were of this administrator. There is zero requirement for 80M to be in the reserve funds of the ISD. Yet, he still wanted to make political points.
To add insult to injury, Mr. Frailey sent out a letter to the students with his spin on why he had to take the actions this week. You can read his letter here: http://instantnewskaty.com/2011/04/14/20699
I urge all parents and teachers to investigate the money being spent in this ISD and the decisions made by the Superintendent. Students deserve quality teachers that are paid appropriately. Bureaucratic overhead is destroying the budget. Good solutions to the budget dilemma can be had without firing teachers. Perhaps the Superintendent didn’t do his homework?Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 3 so far )
An article that implied there was an irresponsible bill specific to Hazardous Waste activity in Texas was circulated this week by a local Houston talk show host. While reading the piece, a lot of alarm bells started going off. I saw the same article on a website called wetexans. The latter site belongs to Debra Medina, former gubernatorial candidate. My concern was triggered by a mention of a compact with Vermont. Those of you who know me, realize much of the past two years, my focus has been on usage of interstate compacts in strengthening state powers and protection on the healthcare issue. The article did not reflect indepth knowledge of how interstate compacts work, particularly this one. I decided this was a strong accusation about the bill in question and I wanted to learn more. More troublesome is the fact the Sierra Club was quoted in the article as raising the initial doubts about the power of this bill. Fear mongering for any reason, is not appropriate as an action. The Sierra Club is an extremist leftist organization which puzzled me more, as the two sources for the article claim to be conservatives. In Dallas, an article was written by a liberal blogger who quoted Mother Jones (yet another leftist organization).
Here is the link to the first opinion piece that was circulated with false accusations and inaccurate information: http://community.icontact.com/p/thecivilright/newsletters/thecivilright/posts/the-patriots-digest
Here is the link to the second opinion piece on Hazardous Waste: http://www.wetexans.com/dumping-on-texas/ Originally this second article was identical to the first one. It was changed one day after news of my investigation n Austin was brought to the attention of the ladies. Although “facts” of this news article are cleaned up a little, the inaccuracies are still there.
The opinion piece was regarding Texas House Bill 2184. Click on the following link to go the Texas State Legislature site for the complete information on the bill: http://www.legis.state.tx.us/billlookup/Text.aspx?LegSess=78R&Bill=HB2184#
Sierra Club had issues with the vagueness of the article and were worried about the implications of “any kind of waste could be dumped in Texas” by taking away part of the necessary process. The two ladies perpetuated blogs that took this bit of information, coupled it with the fact a private company is involved and developed a story of political favors, taxpayers that would suffer, and the overall horrors of Hazardous Materials and Texas. A piece of journalism that capitalizes on fear, doubt, and uncertainty at the expense of Texans. Who were the two women attempting to “help”?
I went to two sources for fact checking. First, I read all the published materials on the Texas legislative website to discern what we are talking about. Most importantly, I went to Austin yesterday, to speak directly with the legislator who sponsored the bill. Texas State Representative, Tryon D. Lewis spoke with me at length about the initial state compact previously developed around the disposal of hazardous waste and the why of it. The states simply cannot afford to develop their own solutions, so the usage of private companies is not unusual. Representative Tryon does not know Mr. Simmons, the head of the private company used in Texas(note the accusation of political favors in the article) . The facts I found to refute the premise and the focus of the article are abundant. The “compact” mentioned previously is actually an interstate compact. Texas agreed several years ago, that low level hazardous materials could be disposed of in remote Texas locations. It was the most cost effective way to dispose of Texas Waste and provide help for disposal of waste from Vermont. As with any Interstate Compact (especially involving hazardous materials), there are a lot of reporting checkpoints and safeguards on this process.
Here are the facts for Texans: Texas taxpayers are not in jeopardy on these projects. There are bonds and securities put up by the private company prior to any project. Another fact is low level radiation waste becomes benign after a relatively short time. The amount of waste and type of waste is fully regulated and this bill does not change the substance of the interstate compact. Texas does receive some revenue on these projects.
The current bill does not change anything, but the mechanics of an existing state compact.
The blogs by the two ladies mentioned, indicated there was a lot of room for latitude and misuse of the law with regard to the type of hazardous waste, etc. This simply is not the case. A Sierra Club quote was used to support their theory. Other blogs that are all fired up about the possible misuse of this law, have appeared in other parts of the state use quotes from Mother Jones, another leftist article.
What is clear is these are not the works of conservatives, nor was the articles accurate. The biggest question in all of this: “what are writers hoping to achieve by circulating these articles”.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 7 so far )
Today was spent in Austin speaking with legislators. It was most discouraging to realize what is about to happen with the budget and rainy day (Economic Stabilization) fund. As many of you know, I originally thought we had a reasonable solution with deep cuts and a small portion of the rainy day fund to be used. This was based on the House making every available cut prior to using the rainy day fund. I am completely reversing my original view, based on the new data gained by speaking with numerous legislators and staff.
The House has passed the budget bill. Early next week they will vote on using 3.1B of the Rainy Day Fund (Economic Stabilization Fund) to facilitate a balanced budget. The House did not make enough cuts and want to use part of the Rainy Day Fund to achieve a balanced budget as required by Texas law. The next stop is the Senate.
Today we discovered the Senate will unveil a budget proposal of their own that makes fewer cuts to the budget. Why?
This is not a comfort to taxpayers who supply the revenue to the state . If legislators are unable to make difficult choices, perhaps they should not be on the finance committee. We have a 30B dollar price tag coming in the next session for Medicaid predicated on new federal rules increasing the number of eligible participants. The current bill for Medicaid is approximately 16B. It is imperative to cut discretionary spending and preserve the Rainy Day Fund. The next Biennium there will not be a safety net to help us, other than increasing state revenue possibly with additional taxation.
The hallways were crowded today with special interest groups including a lot of unions and community action groups. The throngs of people were inside the legislative offices and spilling out by the dozens into the hallways. Numerous buses were parked outside. It appeared there are many special interest groups who are definitely making their “votes” heard in the capitol, which will likely result in future burdens to Texans. Is this why the House and Senate are reluctant to make necessary budget cuts? WHY are we funding an arts commission when there is a large shortfall? Why do we still have dozens of other discretionary programs being funded? The Economic Stabilization Fund should not be used when there is so much waste remaining in the budget.
If the Senate passes their proposal, the bill will go to conference as a final step. This means Senate and House committee members will negotiate and arrive at a final budget. This changes everything. The current budget passed by the House, was not the strongest possible budget, but is better than what will be offered by the Senate.
What can we do, to ensure the Senate understands our expectations of making all the necessary budget cuts? The list of individuals below are the members of the finance committee. Call them and say you expect deeper budget cuts than the House bill and that we do not want them to touch the Rainy Day Fund. Ask them to remember Texans are on tight budgets due to rising prices of fuel and food. Texans are making necessary budget cuts in their finances, and we expect the legislature to reflect the same level of fiscal responsibility. There isn’t a good reason to risk the future of Texans by continuing to fund programs not critical to the running of the State. Let’s ensure we have a voice in the Senate plan.
Please call the following people from the Senate Finance Committee and say you want deeper cuts in the Senate Bill and not to touch the Economic Stabilization Fund:
Chairman: Steve Ogden 512-463-0105
Vice-Chair: Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa 512-463-0120
Bob Deuell 512-463-0102
Robert Duncan 512-463-0128
Kevin Eltife 512-463-0101
Craig Estes 512-463-0130
Eddie Lucio, Jr. 512-463-0127
Jane Nelson 512-463-0112
Dan Patrick 512-463-0107
Kel Seliger 512-463-0131
Florence Shapiro 512-463-0108
John Whitmire 512-463-0115
Tommy Williams 512-463-0104
Judith Zaffirini 512-463-0121Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Wrong information on the education situation in Texas and in America is being circulated by leftists who continue the exercise of attempting to divide conservatives. This week the focus is on clarification of misinformation circulating about education and teaching professionals. Americans for Prosperity sponsored a teleconference featuring Senator Florence Shapiro. Senator Shapiro was a former educator and small business woman who truly understands budget challenges facing Texans. Currently the Senator is chairman for the Education Committee in Texas. Her ability to paint the picture for listeners was useful, and showed a great depth of caring for children and the education system. The Education budget will necessarily need to make cuts, just as many other state government departments will need to do in this biennium. What does this mean to children, teachers, and everyone concerned about quality education in Texas?
- Many people have received fliers in their children’s weekly take home information, stating Texas wants to cut teachers and are going to hurt the children. This simply is not true.
Fact: The education budget is bloated and necessary cuts will need to be made, just as all the other departments in the Texas budget are facing cuts. The budget cuts for education will be left up to the local School Districts as to how it is handled.
- What is causing the “bloat” in the education budget? We know the teachers must supply schoolroom materials from their own money in a lot of cases.
Fact: The current ratio of non-teachers in the education systems in Texas is 1 to 1. This means for every teacher there is another person! Why? The non-teachers on the education payroll account for billions of dollars in salaries and benefits. In a recent call with Governor Rick Perry, it was pointed out that the non-teaching staff in Texas has grown 300%! This is the same kind of outrageous growth across the country.
- The teachers deserve more money. This isn’t fair.
Fact: The state will have to make significant decreases to the overall Texas general budget at all levels. No one is mandating teachers be taking pay cuts or be let go. The decisions are being left up to the local ISD as to where they cut the budget. Studies have shown there are many duplicate efforts that should be eliminated, “perks” that should never have happened, and services that can be shared among multiple ISD administrations. All Texas citizens will need to share in the sacrifices being made due to the strain of the unfunded mandates. Budgets can be cut, without cutting teachers.
- Why are the teacher unions protesting in other states, if teachers are not being hurt? It looks like the government is out to “get” the teachers!
Fact: When the union negotiates with the government for pensions and raises, it is the taxpayer that must pay for additional benefits and monies. A good example is the state of California. Example: There are currently over 9,800 people who retired from a public job and are receiving over 6 figures for the rest of their lives. These people did not contribute anything to the pensions and many are under the age of 50. Economic hard times prevail currently in the country, and the pensions and spending levels are unsustainable.
Closer to home in Texas, data is offered on the Local ISD. Please take the time to read the charts. There are dozens of bureaucratic positions that make no sense, look redundant in functionality, and also…….they are not teachers in the classroom!
Go to this website, to gather the data on your local ISD and hold them accountable: http://www.redappleproject.com/
Want to know what cuts are being made in education and other departments? Look at the following legislature passed this week in the Texas State Senate on budget: http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/Text.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=HB4
The quarrel is not with the teachers. In fact, the teachers should be up in arms over the money being wasted by the bureaucrats in the ISD. The money stops at local administration level, and does not reach the classroom. Less than half of each dollar intended for education, actually reaches the classrooms.
What is the answer? The state is leaving the power and decision on how to change the system at local level. This plan on budget cuts and how to achieve them is sponsored by the state legislature. These are bi-partisan members that came up with the plan. The children deserve benefits afforded by a system focused on education. Instead, the children and the teachers are currently getting the crumbs left over by the ISD bureaucracy. It is not the Governor, nor the legislature causing the problem for the local schools. It is time for the parents, grandparents, and taxpayers in general to stand up and say ENOUGH!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 3 so far )
There have been a lot of wakeup calls during the past few years in America. In Texas, we have learned there are major problems in our education. There are people in the ISD’s who are given a $61,000 King Ranch truck to drive for their purposes. In other ISD’s manicures were paid for by the taxpayer. What is wrong? What are we doing?
We have a bloated education budget for the state that has not improved our overall education system. What has occurred is a lot of administration has been added at local level with large salaries and amazing perks. This has done nothing for the actual education of the children. It has lined the pockets of many greedy, self-centered individuals. Looking at elimination of bloat, and innovative new ideas for our schools, there is no reason to cut any teacher’s jobs. This would result in an efficient school system that directly benefits the children.
This is a short, to the point blog. The intent is to share a few sources for everyone to get involved in the transformation of their ISD and in the state education system.
Actions to take and resources to utilize:
1. Find qualified new people to run for local school boards and the state school board.
2. Attend all school board meetings.
3. Look at the school budget to see what is going on in the district.
The following resources are for education/assistance/ideas in resolving the bloating education budget in Texas:
1. The Red Apple Project has gone live with a brandnew website that focuses on ideas/information for education reform. It is sponsored by the Texas Chapter of Americans for Prosperity. It is an amazing resource. I’ve spent the last hour on the site, and realize this is a first for our state. Kudos to Americans for Prosperity. Ck it out to learn more about your school ISD: http://www.americansforprosperity.org/021511-grassroots-resource-talking-points-education-spending-texas
2. The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a thinktank in Texas that focuses on research that helps to further best practices in Texas state policies. http://www.texaspolicy.com/publications.php?cat_level=1
3. Governor Rick Perry gave his state of the state speech in January. His speech gave many new ideas for efficient, high quality education without the current high costs. http://www.rickperry.org/issues/education
Citizens of Texas who care about the future of education and the future of Texas have a multitude of resources to get involved, and help with the transformation of education for Texans. Time to roll up our sleeves, and get to it!
It is an object of vast magnitude that systems of education should be adopted and pursued which may not only diffuse a knowledge of the sciences but may implant in the minds of the American youth the principles of virtue and of liberty and inspire them with just and liberal ideas of government and with an inviolable attachment to their own country.
Today was the annual State of the State speech given by Governor Rick Perry of Texas. Throughout the year people have seen the lists declaring Texas is rated great for business, jobs, and quality of life. The speech given earlier today in the State Legislature was indicative of the why. Texas, like so many of the states is facing challenges primarily due to unfunded Federal Mandates and a flagging national economy. Listeners heard dozens of ideas on how Texas will effectively manage the challenges in tough times. The core of Texas is strong, and the following ideas were offered as evidence that the state government is working hard to insulate Texans as much as possible from the deficit battles at national level.
Rather than bore my readers with rhetoric, I will attempt to list the ideas given today by the Governor that will ensure Texas remains high on the list of desirable places to live.
- Each group/division that receives monies, will need to justify their fiscal viability.
- Duplicity in different departments will be either eliminated or merged functionally.
- Non-Critical groups that receive monies will be suspended for two years (no monies given).
- Push Washington to have a balanced budget amendment added to the Constitution.
- Begin using “Outcomes-based funding” for undergraduate institutions. The funding would no longer be based on the number of students, but be based instead on the number of degrees awarded to students.
- Tie high school diplomas and GED’s to the Driver license. A person would need to be enrolled in a high school or obtain a GED to get their license.
- Encourage a sharing of services between school districts to lessen the overhead costs.
- All school districts need to lessen their expenditures.
- Challenge the institutions of higher education to develop bachelor degrees that cost no more than $10,000, including textbooks.
- Leverage web-based instruction for high schools and others across the state.
- Congressman Doggett’s legislation is taking $830M from Texas School Children and we should encourage our Congressman to repeal this legislation.
- Continue to lobby for businesses to come to Texas and increase the number of jobs in the state.
- Veterans are an untapped source of expertise that will be a great addition to the workforce – don’t forget them!
- Other state governors are now actively adopting the Texas model of making regulations that are good for business.
- Sanctuary cities must be abolished so the law enforcement can do their work
- Law enforcement should be able to ask for documentation for anyone who has been detained on criminal charges
- It is critical we work closely with Mexico to fight the violence of the drug cartels
- Human Trafficking is a big problem in Texas and we have two legislators who are continuing to lead the charge in this area. They are Representatives Senfronia Thompson and Randy Weber. Stronger sentencing needs to be available for these offenses. Proposed is 25 years minimum for first offenders and life without parole for repeat offenders.
- Washington continues to neglect their responsibility for the border. Numerous efforts have been made to communicate the urgent need of help on the border to get the drug cartels under control. Texas continues to need 1,000 National Guard Troops on the border as well as drone planes to aide our efforts.
The Obamacare legislation will cripple Texan’s healthcare, and the end result will devastate the state budget. Attorney General Greg Abbott is using every tool at his disposal to fight this example of government overreach. We have several pieces of legislation proposed which will help to protect the citizens of Texas in this area. One bill that is proposed by Texas representative Creighton states it is unconstitutional to mandate a citizen purchase health insurance. There are several other bills filed which propose innovative healthcare solutions for Texans.
Texas is being punished for doing a good job. The proactive efforts to improve air quality yielded good results and still created more jobs in the process. The EPA has continued to try and penalize Texas for doing a good job. This is a political ploy to usurp state rights. Note from author: Attorney General Greg Abbott has filed legislation against the EPA.
There were positive ideas in this speech, and credit was given to several legislators in the state for their progressive ideas and strong bill proposals. It was clear that Texas has an A team fighting on all fronts to maintain quality of life, increase jobs, and protect citizens as much as humanly possible.
God bless Texas.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Recently, I attended two days of conferences in Austin, Texas. This was the annual conference for the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF). The non-partisan organization examines each issue facing Texas with a keen eye for the pros and cons. Thousands of hours are invested in research each year, yielding an overview of suggested optimum solutions. The Heritage Foundation and Cato Institute have long been a part of their efforts and participated this year. This conference, like the other events sponsored by the TPPF throughout the year was very well-attended by legislators and writers from across Texas.
What I found in this conference, was a multitude of ideas that could be used by many states in efforts to combat fiscal problems and Federal Overreach. The topics covered, represented a wide range of known challenges confronting the Texas Legislature and people of Texas this year. This author chose to attend healthcare, state budget, and energy sessions as a focus.
The first session of note revolved around Healthcare Exchanges: Good Deal or Raw Deal? Distinguished panelists for this discussion included several persons of note, including Senior Research Fellow Edmund Haislmaier. For those of you who are unaware, Mr. Haislmaier has been leading the way in his research for the Heritage Foundation in the area of Healthcare. I might add this session was moderated by the Honorable Arlene Wohlgemuth, Executive Director and Director of the Center for Health Care Policy at the TPPF. Ms. Wohlgemuth, has long been recognized as an expert on Healthcare policy.
What we learned is Healthcare exchanges are a necessary component of a complete healthcare policy. My conclusion after hearing the various opinions, is that a Healthcare exchange is a must. All panelists agreed Healthcare exchanges are needed, and Texas and other states should proactively create what is in the best interest of it’s citizens. Texas State Representative, Dr. John Zerwas had already filed legislation in January 2011 to establish a state Healthcare Exchange. In theory, an exchange will enable individuals and small businesses to access the competitive rates enjoyed by large corporations simply by banding together. The interesting point in this discussion is what is created for Rhode Island may not be suitable for Texas or any other state. One size/type does not fit all with Healthcare exchanges, or general Healthcare. This is the importance of each state creating the most applicable solution for their circumstance. Demographic components of the respective state plays a large part in the definition of unique qualities of a state. Whether a state’s population are primarily in urban or rural locations is also a primary consideration as the requirements are defined by a state.
Continuing with the healthcare theme, there was an excellent panel discussion on whether Texas should opt out of Medicaid. It isn’t possible to “opt out” for many reasons. However, there needs to be new definitions considered for Medicaid. The choice is clear. Something must be done this year to address the exploding Medicaid costs. In Texas, Medicaid costs have increased dramatically since 2000. This is without the consideration of Obamacare. In 2000, Medicaid costs for the state of Texas were $11 Billion dollars. In 2011, the costs for Medicaid will exceed $30 Billion dollars. Clearly hard decisions and a new approach needs to be adopted to get the spending under control in Texas. At this time, the state contributes 30% on Medicaid costs and the Federal Government contributes 70%. Everyone voiced concern that the massive Federal deficit is likely to reduce the amount of support from the Federal Government. The state must develop some sort of “safety-net” for the people. The conversation on Medicaid and overall healthcare needs to be redefined. In Texas, State Representative Charlie Howard filed legislation to prevent Obamacare from coming to Texas. The majority of the conservative states are actively fighting to block this travesty of Federal overreach. This is a key component of the state solutions.
I strongly encourage everyone to read available research papers on healthcare policy by the experts. For your convenience, links are included below to the available research. Medicaid is but one troubling aspect of America’s healthcare dilemma. With the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (Obamacare), the Medicaid recipient base will be enlarged dramatically. This will likely collapse the Medicaid system, and bankrupt the majority of the states, if action isn’t taken immediaetly. The time to address healthcare and Medicaid is now, prior to the enactment of the Obamacare law in 2014. Bear in mind much of the challenge for satisfactory solutions is due to constraints placed upon Texas (and the other states) by specific Federal Regulations. The conclusion is the entitlement program of Medicaid is in trouble, and the enactment of the Obamacare law could topple budgets and Medicaid programs across the country.
Honorable Arlene Wohlegemuth at the Texas Public Policy Foundation:
Senior Research Fellow Edmund Haislmaier at the Heritage Foundation:
Senior Fellow, Jagadeesh Gokhale, Cato Institute
Texas State Legislative Information:
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 3 so far )
The 2010 elections saw many changes in the political landscape of Texas. Liberals moved en masse to Texas. This was a dedicated effort to make inroads for the Democrat party in a large conservative state. Liberal blogs sprang up by the dozens. Social groups were formed in an effort to influence people to be angry toward their state government. There was a lot of deception used to change conservatives to a rabble rousing crowd. Speakers appeared all over the state working to convince the public, the liberal choices were the best for them. Disgruntled losers in the primaries became useful tools for the left. People in Texas had become both scared and angry by the disregard for fiscal responsibility in Washington and these people and groups played upon those emotions for their own gain.
So, what were some of the most egregious symptoms, and how do we combat these groups?
The tactics first became apparent during the 2010 elections. Washington was in disarray, there was economic uncertainty, high unemployment, and what did the liberals in Texas say was the priority? Property taxes! The Titanic is going down and the liberals managed to get tens of thousands in Texas to believe this was the priority. Yes, let’s argue about the price of the stateroom as the ship is sinking. This was far from a joke. Dozens of articles sprang up all over the state, gatherings were held to ratchet up the people’s passion and to distract them from the work at hand. Don’t I believe property taxes are horrible? Yes. Do I believe they are out of control? Yes. However, none of this will matter if the Federal Government takes away all of my rights and I am taxed at a Federal Level which causes an inability to pay for the basics such as food.
After the elections, the subterfuge continued by the liberal left. There were some interesting additions to the propaganda around the state in the late fall. The next addition of innuendo indicated Texas was not truthful about their unemployment numbers. The latest diatribe makes allegations that the debt of Texas is much greater than has been reported to the public.
In an effort to put the latest smear campaign to rest, I have spent time investigating the rumor about the debt. The time had come to discredit these unworthy assaults on our Texas government. I found an article that perfectly describes how the numbers were obtained for the correct number and gives more information on our budget. You can access this information at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. This is a non-partisan foundation that focuses on research created by some of the best minds in the country. The link is here: http://www.texaspolicy.com/legislativeupdates_single.php?report_id=3460
The leftist bloggers and organizations have tried to tar the reputations of our State Comptroller and others who are instrumental in the operations of our state government. We must boldly question all efforts by the few to destroy the integrity of our state. What are they after? The answer is clearly the Texas voter!
“Truth lives on in the midst of deception” Friedrich Von Schiller
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Recently Governor Rick Perry was in Houston, Texas for a round of book signing. He had written a book called “Fed UP!” and it was released the week of the election. Some may say it sounds somewhat self-centered to have a book tour on the heels of a successful election campaign. This could not be further from the truth.
Prior to his book signing event in Houston, I was fortunate to have time privately speaking/listening with Governor Perry and another area blogger, Mark Robinson. What we encountered was a man who wants to get state rights back in line with what was written by the Founding Fathers. The intent of the book was clear. Governor Perry hopes to “wake up” more of the people about how we can resolve our current difficulties with the powers in Washington. This book gives him a “ticket” so to speak, to share his vision for state solutions with the media, conservatives, and others of influence. Indeed, this is a very clever idea
Having been released from the shackles of campaign fervor, he appeared renewed and refreshed. His demeanor could best be described as inspired. Clearly Governor Perry is on a mission to protect Texas and ensure it thrives in the midst of the Federal Government power grab. What I witnessed was an amazing thinker, who is striving to share a vision that could literally help to save our republic and save Texas.
The Governor began travel the day after the election. There was no rest for the weary. He has been busy articulating the importance of state rights and the tenth amendment at all the stops. Amidst the many interviews, the Governor was also a part of an important meeting with the new Majority Leader in the House. A group of Governors were contacted by Majority Leader, John Boehner for a meeting. The Governor indicated Mr. Boehner was pragmatic and aware innovative ideas would be the answer for a stronger future in America.
Governor Perry is known for being a solutions oriented individual. He articulated a strong belief in the power of allowing ideas to incubate in the states. Competition between the states benefits all Americans. Another key idea is a strong state healthcare solution in Texas which could save both Texas and the Federal Government billions of dollars. It was evident from the tone of conversation many months have been spent on surveying the landscape, and deriving potential hypotheses/solutions from the data. It is important to note here that the Texas Public Policy Foundation has engaged in research with the Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute, and the state of Utah Healthcare Solution among other sources to assist the Governor and Texas on the subject of healthcare. The Governor has been on a mission to find viable alternatives resulting in a better quality of the life for Texans and also assist the Federal Government in resolution of some of the debt.
Several observations were made during our time with the Governor. The burden of state debt on each Texas citizen is $520. In contrast, the burden of Federal debt on each Texas citizen is approximately $42,000! The difference is staggering. For many years the Federal Government has continued to expand it’s power. One of the worst examples of overreach is Social Security. Per the Governor, this is a Ponzi Scheme. This author finds it refreshing to hear a political leader acknowledge what many of us have known for decades. The Federal Government has tricked and swindled millions of Americans in an effort to grow their power. It is time to stop the madness.
The President’s debt commission is releasing a report this week suggesting the answer is to make the American taxpayer pay higher taxes with less benefits. Therein lies the problem. We have a delusional group in power in the Federal Government who assume they have the right to all the monies earned by the citizens. Governor Perry recognizes this is but a symptom of the real problem. The real problem is the Federal Government has overstepped it’s authority into the lives of Americans. Less Government is the solution which results in more liberty for every patriot.
This article is not a rah-rah about the Governor of Texas. I had just finished reading his new book, “Fed UP!”, and was looking forward to hearing more about his vision to return to a more prosperous, quality way of life. It is important we take note of strong leadership when it is found, in this day and age of challenges for our country. Leaving the meeting, I must admit to being energized and looking forward to the next chapter of history for our country. With leaders emerging in the midst of chaos, there is hope for a better tomorrow.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
What a victory in Texas!
There is zero doubt about the inclinations of the good people of Texas. A very memorable beginning was the introduction of Jerry Patterson, The Commissioner of the General Land Office. The campaign commercial that advertised him was playing the song by Tom Petty “I won’t back down”. This appeared to reflect the sentiment of the crowd as everyone was singing along!
Jerry Patterson set the tone at the beginning of this Texas sized gathering. “People here are fiscally responsible, God-loving, small government, low tax, gun-toting, pro-life people.” Forgive the author if this is not exact, nor in perfect order, but this is what was said. The crowd went wild.
On the Congressional Front, it appears Texas will be replacing a few democrats in Congress. Here are the new Republican Congressional Representatives: Bill Flores, Francisco Canseco, and Blake Farennthold. People who will not be returning to Congress are Chet Edwards, Ciro Rodriguez, and Soloman Ortiz.
Attorney Greg Abbott scored an easy victory for another term in the state. He has done so much to fight the overreach of the Federal Government and Texans definitely appreciated the effort and the vote reflected their support. Attorney General Greg Abbott is a key component of the winning team in the Texas Government.
The Texas Comptroller, Susan Combs garnered an impressive 84.05% of the vote. Likewise Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst commanded a trimphant decisive lead.
The Republicans in the state house retained all their seats and picked up 21 more. This was far more than anticipated by the state conservatives.
What can be gleaned from this overwhelming endorsement for the leadership of Texas Texas? Governor Rick Perry is a leader. He loves Texas and has been driven to continue to find solutions which benefit Texans. We have all been blessed to be from a state which has excelled when others are struggling. After his acceptance, the Governor invited the team on the stage and the mutual respect was palpable. It is a strong conservative team.
What does this mean for the country? Texas has found what works. This state can definitely show the way to the other states. Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. It is the spirit of patriotism and giving that lives in the hearts of Americans. Tonight those Americans took the first step in taking back the country.
In God we Trust and United we Stand!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
Our Nation is uniting as never seen in many decades. People are making a clear choice of what America stands for, and what the people will do to protect her. Over the past two years, a concerted effort has been made by the liberals to dismantle the republic and it’s foundation. The liberals have shown the people of America, they will strive to achieve the socialist agenda regardless of what Americans may think.
I ask you to consider the choice of socialism versus liberty as we go to the polls today. The liberal left is who needs to be replaced this election. We must do this to stop the quickstep to become a fully socialistic society. In the next season of elections, we will be able to replace any elected officials who choose not to listen to the people. It is imperative we all vote a straight conservative ticket in this particular election. We are so near the “edge of the cliff”, that without a conservative majority……they will be able to complete their agenda.
Many of you have already voted. If you have voted, please continue calling people to get out the vote. We have all endured indignities at the hands of these people. They have called us liars, cheaters, 4 letter words, and even accused us of wanting to hurt minorities! They have no shame. It is not possible to for these liberal politicians to stand on their issues, as those principles are not what America embraces as a nation.
Finally, I would like to reiterate two critical things that need to happen on this historical day. Be vigilant. Pay attention at the polls and in the surrounds outside. If you witness evidence of voter intimidation, report it. And most importantly, I’d like to reach out to all the Christians in this great nation. We all need to pray for this country and for those people that would choose to tear it apart.
In God we Trust!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
Governor Rick Perry – Why?
Texas is number one ranking for business favorable environments. The state is fiscally responsible. In spite of all the liberal efforts to hurt the conservative nature of Texas, the state is still better off than most of the other states. Governor Perry is a man who listens to the people and is unashamed to drop or change policies when the people object. He has never wavered in standing up for the people of Texas. He listens and adheres to the wishes of Texans. Over the past decade, his stewardship has improved the quality of life in Texas. www.rickperry.org
What is the alternative? Bill White supports amnesty, sanctuary cities, Government controlled Healthcare, and expanded role of the government in the United States. He left Houston with a lot of debt and higher taxes. More importantly, he is an ardent supporter of the Obama Administration and their policies. Do we want someone who supports bigger government, less liberty, and higher taxes?
John Faulk – Why?
He is a constitutional conservative, that truly believes in less government and more liberty for the people. Mr. Faulk follows the principle of fiscal responsibility. John Faulk listens to the people, and believes the government is employed by the people, not the other way around. His platform is based on a foundation rooted in the founding fathers faith and in the constitution. www.faulkforcongress.org
What is the alternative? Sheila Jackson Lee sits on the judiciary committee as a ranking member. Due to the redistricting, it is likely she will be in office for 10 more years. She will be in line to become the chair of this committee if elected this time. Do you believe this woman should be making judicial recommendations for the country? This is a woman who supported an appointment of a high court judge who had a serious lapse in judgement. This judge thought a serial murderer did not deserve the death penalty, because he suffered from being a sadist. Sheila Jackson Lee lacks principles and morals. Consistently she has voted her wishes over the will of the people. Representing a less fortunate district, she has supported higher taxes by stating the Bush tax cuts need to expire. What was she thinking? Or was she?
Dr. Donna Campbell – Why?
She is an emergency room Doctor who is upset about the healthcare reform bill and wants to ensure it is repealed. She understands the importance of the relationship between the patient and the Doctor. Making medical decisions, is no place for the government. Dr. Campbell believes the constitution is our foundation and guiding us every step of the way. This lady truly understands the ramifications of the Healthcare Reform Bill and how it will conflict with the hippocratic oath Doctors take in the beginning of their career. www.drdonnaforcongress.com
What is the alternative? Lloyd Doggett ignored the people of his district and voted for the Healthcare bill. Our country is deeply in debt and he continues to support outrageous levels of spending in Washington. Over the past many years of his career in Washington, he has become a big spender of the taxpayer dollars.
Bill Flores – Why?
Texas needs a Congressional representative who is unafraid to say no to the outrageous levels of government spending. The people deserve a representative who truly believes in fiscal responsibility and abiding by the Constitutional law. Mr. Flores is a successful businessman who fully appreciates the free market system and how it will enable the American Dream for our children and grandchildren. www.billfloresforcongress.com
What is the alternative? Chet Edwards has been instrumental in shifting millions of dollars to big corporations in the Houston area. These large corporations and lobby groups send millions to him for re-election each year. He fully supported the Healthcare Reform (2.5 Trillion) and has indicated he believes politicians know best.
Francisco Canseco – Why?
The infrastructure of Texas is suffering with the influx of drugs and crime across the unsecured borders. Francisco Canseco will fight to secure the border and support legislation that protects the citizens of Texas. He is a man of principle who is a community leader that the people respect. www.cansecoforcongress.com
What is the alternative? Ciro Rodriguez just finished this session of Congress by hurting his home state. He offered an amendment that ensures many of the Texas ISD’s have much less money for the education of the children. Mr. Rodriguez has had numerous opportunities to be involved in support of strong legislation for National Security. There have been many bills and amendments proposed that would help protect the people of Texas. He votes against them. It is the right of Americans to have safety and security in their country.
These are very important races to Texans. Losing any one of these efforts by conservatives will have a devastating result upon Texas. I urge you to do whatever is possible to help the above candidates. For a look at other strong conservatives in the National elections, please have a look at the research results on www.peopleschoice.ning.com .
United we stand!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 4 so far )
We come now to the third segment in our series on the Tenth Amendment Town Hall in Plano Texas. This segment focuses on the states’ rights panel, and the panel on nullification.
The States’ Rights Panel was comprised of the following distinguished individuals:
- Texas State Representative: Bryan Hughes
- Rachel Brand: Attorney with WilmerHale; Former Assistant Attorney General
- Ken Emmanuelson: Attorney and Co-founder of the Dallas Tea Party
- Matt Miller – Attorney, Institute for Justice, Texas Chapter
There are several options that should be considered as the states reaffirm their rights. There was a lot of discussion in this segment on how the Federal Government has chipped away at state rights for decades. Interstate Commerce became an umbrella clause used to permit almost any action the Federal Government wanted to mandate. Several cases such as Lopez as come up that are bringing the rights back into the states.
States can refuse to cooperate with federal mandates. The entire panel agreed the states need to take their power seriously and step up and control the situation. The Texas Constitution defines everything perfectly and complements the powers given to the people in the US Constitution.
This segment began with questions from the audience on specific topics. One of the most lively discussions was about immigration. Given that the 10th amendment exists, is there a way for TX to enforce the immigration laws? As a practical matter, in Texas we are allowed to enforce laws. Representative Bryan Hughes stated “We have put more people and technology in the border area, even if we cannot do specific enforcement at the border.” Ken Emmanuelson thought we need to enforce at the local level. Everyone should do their homework and hold local officials accountable. The speakers agreed the concept of sanctuary cities needs to go. The panel thought it would be useful to institute e-verify.
Ms. Brand spoke extensively about the 287 G law (cooperative immigration law that uses Federal and State authorities working together) that is in place. Immigration law is very complex between the federal and state government. There are some instances where we need to accept fed money. She acknowledged there are some unique issues such as immigration that are paid by the fed government. We can’t arrest them for entering illegal, but we can arrest them for breaking other specific laws.
Can we impound the fed tax money and use it for our purposes? Per Bryan Hughes: Unfortunately, how can we do this without fear of consequence from them? Texas is one of the few states that can say no to a lot of the stimulus and other funds. It would not be possible to refuse all of it. There are many things that should be covered by the Federal Government.
The Nullification Panel was comprised of the following distinguished individuals:
- Robert L. Flournoy: Attorney
- Greg Holloway: Attorney and co-founder of Common Sense Texans
- Hiram Sasser: Director of litigation, Liberty Legal Institute
- Dan Mornoff, Atty. K & L Gates
The opinion of this panel was unanimous with regard to the topic of nullification. Nullification is a possibility, although it is practically very limited in scope. This is clearly not the best course of action for the state or the citizens at this time.
Enforcement of State Rights is not the only means, but is the most immediate and effective resource we have to combat the Federal expansion of power. We do our job with honor and decorum, but we as Texans will do whatever is possible to ensure this government does not succeed in expanding their power. Texas is full of great men and women who are stepping up to ensure this government is not successful in limiting our liberty.
Nullification is like using a water pistol to put out a forest fire. You will be laughed out of court if you file stating federal mandates do not apply to us. In fact, sanctions may be levied against the respective state and the citizens who file this action.
The panel of constitutional experts agreed for a successful result, we need to pursue aggressively and collectively (as many states as possible) to maintain our 10th amendment rights. Legally this is the most effective way to ensure the desired result.
From the audience, there was some discussion on the topic of immigration and what we can do to limit Texas money from being sent out of the state by the illegal immigrants. The following suggestion was made: Is it constitutional to put a transactional tax on financial transactions going from here to Mexico? The panel’s response was: This is a good example of how to affect a behavior using a legal transaction, however yet again, this would involve a cooperative effort with the Federal Government because it involves a transaction that crosses the state border and involves an international transaction.
The panel was clear in their overview on nullification. This will not work, given how far we have come from state rights due to the decisions over the past decades by the US Supreme Court. The states must use the most powerful tool at their disposal for such an obvious attempt of the expansion of Federal Power. The choice is to use the state rights to protect the citizens.
For further information on the topic, I’ve included the link to the positioning paper offered by the Texas Conservative Coalition: http://www.txcc.org/files/TenthAmendmentIssueBrief.pdf
Thank you to Brent Connett of the Texas Conservative Coalition for assisting us with this document.
Driftwood Texas is definitely the place to be tonight! There is a pavillion at Salt Lick BBQ down a beautiful country road in Texas. People are still coming in the door in droves. Music is great, and everyone is watching the election returns come in on the big screens. Satellite trucks crowd the parking lot and the network anchors are here in force.
It has been an eventful campaign trail for the Governor. He has successfully guided Texas through the turbulent economic chaos being sorely felt by the other states. His style has been that of a very conservative, thoughtful person who is not averse to taking risks. The risks don’t always work out, and he quickly charts a different course. Consistently he has made decisions that benefit Texans overall.
The time has come for Texas to let Governor Perry know they appreciate his hard work that has kept the state in relatively good shape. Texans still have problems, but he is systematically chipping away at our issues.
Game over. Kay Bailey Hutchinson just called the Governor a few moments ago to concede in the race. She has pledged she and her supporters will work to ensure the Governor is re-elected in November. His wife introduced him tonight for the update on the campaign. It was clear his wife and family are a major part of his team, and that drives him to succeed for everyone.
Her comment was that he lives and breathes Texas each day. He wakes up each day wondering how he can improve things for Texans. This is what it is all about. A staunch conservative that knows what the priorities should be in life. The crowd responded enthusiastically to his remarks. He has proven time and again that his leadership has protected Texas in a sea of uncertain times in America.
As the governor stated, “May God continue to bless Texas”. And on we go toward the November election with the Governor and Kay Bailey Hutchinson working together to ensure Texas remains a conservative state.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
10. The Governor and his team have worked tirelessly to create jobs and improve the working situation for countless Texans.
- Texas created more private sector jobs than any other state in the nation over the last 10 years and has the lowest unemployment rate among the 10 largest states in the nation.
- Texas created more jobs last year than all other 49 states combined.
- This is per the US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics Report.
9. Texas is very prosperous in comparison with other states.
- The Brookings Institute, which is known for being leftist, is admitting the top three economically strongest metro areas and six of the top twenty are in Texas
- Texas will be “last in, first out” among states battling the recession, although a recovery that has already started will require patience, states Ray Perryman, of The Perryman Group
- “He has consistently held the line on spending and worked hard to create a low-tax climate that has allowed people in the state of Texas to succeed and thrive. Other states and our nation’s federal government would do well to follow the example Governor Perry has set which has offered a promising and proven alternative to the one-size-fits-all spending mentality embraced by too many leaders in this country.” Said, Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform
8. The Governor promotes traditional and alternative forms of energy. He is open to all viable solutions in the state.
- Texas has installed more wind power than any other state and all but four countries and is developing new transmission lines that will move more than 18,000 megawatts across the state – nearly as much as all other states’ current capacity combined.
- The Governor is against Cap and Trade, which would cripple Texas’ energy sector, irreparably damaging both the state and national economies and severely impacting national oil and gas supplies.
7. Governor Perry is a fiscal conservative.
- Investigation and scrutiny resulting in an endorsement by the Citizens Against Government Waste, one of the leading watchdogs of fiscal conservatism
- Texas is near the top of all the lists on prosperity
- He has consistently favored a balanced budget, which can be a challenge in times like these.
6. Perry was a strong advocate in the implementation of Torte Reform laws in Texas.
- Texas reforms limited non-economic damages in medical malpractice litigation, which alone lead to gains of $55.3 billion in spending per year and more than 223,000 jobs.
- These impacts are responsible for approximately 430,000 individuals having health insurance than would otherwise, and there has been an increase in the number of doctors, particularly in regions which have been facing severe shortages.
- Peggy Venable, a taxpayer watchdog wrote an important article on torte reform and noted the positive results of the Governor’s stand on torte reform
5. The Governor is committed to protecting the rights of landowners in Texas.
- Helped pass the strongest property rights protection in the state’s history through House Joint Resolution (HJR) 14
4. This is the third year in a row that Texas has topped the list for relocation in the US.
- Allied Van Lines’ 41st Annual Magnet States Report
3. There is a plan for Texas on how to fight Washington’s attempt to expand the Federal Government.
- Governor Perry spoke at the Texas Conservative Coalition’s Tenth Amendment Town Hall. The Governor discussed solutions to restore Texas’ constitutional rights and hold Washington accountable for its increasingly intrusive and fiscally irresponsible policies.
- Attorney General Greg Abbott spoke at the aforementioned event as well, and confirmed there are many efforts underway, that have been in motion since early 2009. These efforts are specific to state rights and were supported by the other constitutional experts who spoke at this event.
- The Tenth Amendment Townhall in Plano was a 5 hour educational event to familiarize Texans with the best way to fight the big government.
- All of the constitutional scholars at the event agreed nullification is not the appropriate tool to use at this time against the attempt to expand the Federal Government, the use of the 10th amendment is the best tool we have given the entire situation.
2. Governor Perry has focused on the border and put more people and technology to work on the problems at the border. This is a large problem the Federal Government is ignoring. People along the border and the experts have acknowledged he is working tirelessly to find ways to protect the people and property of Texas.
- Surge Operations. Since 2006, state-funded operations have committed resources to strategic areas. The result is an average of 65 percent reduction of all crime, including rape, murder, human trafficking and narcotics smuggling in our border communities.
- In 2009, the 81st Legislature reapproved funding for border operations. Over $110 million was allocated for the second consecutive session.
- Transnational Gang Initiative. In response to a rising tide of gang violence in Texas communities, Governor Perry secured funding for enhanced anti-gang efforts all across the state. February, 2009, Gov. Rick Perry sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. He requested the deployment of an additional 1,000 National Guard soldiers to the Texas-Mexico border. Gov. Perry reiterated his request and concerns in a letter to President Barack Obama on Aug. 21, 2009.
- Ranger Recon. Governor Perry launched the Ranger Recon security initiative, utilizing Ranger Reconnaissance Teams to tap the specialized criminal intelligence, and apprehension capabilities of the Texas Rangers Their task is to protect Texans who live in remote areas of the border and whose lives and property are threatened by criminals coming across the border.
- Requested the federal government reimburse the state of Texas for costs associated with detaining criminals in Texas jails who are undocumented immigrants (This is a huge cost for Texas).
1. Texas is at the top of many lists due to the leadership of Governor Perry.
Americans for Prosperity Reports: This is what is good in Texas
- Lawsuit Reform
- Balanced State Budget
- No State Income Tax
- Top Exporting State
- Top State for Business
- Most Fortune 500 Companies
- Most Job Creation
- Fastest-Growing State in the Country
The human being is not living that could satisfy every person’s wishes 100% of the time. I do not agree 100% with every decision made or action taken by the Governor. I do think based on the facts, his leadership and results are undeniable. None of these results happen by accident. My conclusion after looking at all of the facts is this: his leadership has resulted in Texas being in a far better position today than the majority of the other states. This is why a vote for Rick Perry is a vote for strong, experienced leadership.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 8 so far )
This past weekend I attended an event at the Taylor Center in Texas. The Katy Tea Party Patriots organized an event to help educate the public prior to the primary races in March. The lineup was quite impressive.
This candidate forum included the candidates for Congressional District 10, Congressional District 14, Harris County Republican Chair, and videos from the 3 GOP candidates for Texas governor.
Katy Tea has an effective audio that is “kicking off” the event as the people take their seats in the auditorium. It speaks to the importance of voting and being involved in the election to ensure the best candidates are elected for the people. The audio acknowledged the activities of the people, calling, faxing and rallying to make a difference. The call to action was unmistakable: Now is the time to educate ourselves on the candidates and vote!
The attention to detail for the event is very much apparent. The event is being streamed live on the internet by the Katy Tea Party Patriots. Cameras are set up everywhere due to the number of dignitaries participating in the event today. It is a large crowd of supporters packed into the auditorium for a full slate of candidate education on a Saturday afternoon. Christopher Telschow, was the moderator questioning the candidates. He did an excellent job and should be commended. Sam Malone made some introductions and comments as well. Sam is always a crowd pleaser with the patriot groups.
From this point, I will highlight a few key points on the candidates. These are simply my opinions. Please investigate the candidates further for additional information.
Harris Co. GOP Chair
This is a very visible, highly competitive race. The contenders are Ed Hubbard, Don Large, Jared Woodfill, and Paul Simpson. Don Large was not present for the event. After listening to all the responses, obvious differences emerged.
Ed Hubbard had actively worked within the GOP party for several years. He is knowledgeable about campaign finances and what he thinks needs to be done. His focus was on closing the credibility gap for the elected officials. He also believes it is important to reach out to the minorities. His downside was being a “Namedropper” to gain votes from the audience. He mentioned his “close work” with the tea parties several times and dropped names of local tea party leadership to emphasize that relationship.
Jared Woodfill is the incumbent. He stated an accomplishment of 3 out of 4 goals. Mr. Woodfill acknowledged the 2008 reality is GOP has been struggling to come out of the wilderness. The downside is he focused primarily on the current national issues to capitalize on the anger at grassroots level.
Paul Simpson spoke of the atrophy in the GOP and how it was losing ground.It is critical to grow the grassroots level organization. He began as an activist when he was 16. Mr. Simpson has years of experience outside the formal political arena and will hit the ground running. He brought forward a fresh, new approach in his answers.
In my opinion, Paul Simpson proved his case on several of the questions and in his remarks. He sealed the deal for many in the room, that he would be a great candidate for the Harris County GOP Chair.
Congressional District 14
John Gay: Mr. Gay is a veteran of US coast guard, 2 grown children, one of whom is in the war zone. Currently he serves as a school administrator. He is asking for the opportunity to represent the people and actively defend us from the “Gates of Hell” in Washington. John Gay was very clear that he is against the use of earmarks. He was able to articulate his positions, on the constitution, limited government, healthcare, and his foundational beliefs in right and wrong.
Ron Paul: Dr. Paul speaks a lot about financial crisis. He spent years in Congress, left, and came back thinking there was hope now that the tea Party movement has awakened the people. He is clearly the expert on the Federal Reserve. Dr. Paul based all of his answers and opening and closing statements around his focus on the Federal Reserve and getting rid of all of our military presence outside our borders. His comment was we needed to stop being aggressive. Dr. Paul gave an academic answer that the principle on earmarks was correct, but how they use it is incorrect.
Tim Graney: Tim Graney is a businessman in the Katy area. He has been active in the Tea Party Movement for quite some time prior to the announcement of his candidacy. His point on healthcare is the people can take a more proactive role in their own healthcare to assist in providing solutions. He believes it is time for a change in Washington to focus on all the issues. Tim Graney has several examples during his answers of a good knowledge of free markets and how to leverage that for the good of the country.
Gerald Wall: I must admit Gerald Wall had an impressive opening statement when he introduced a plan with specific points on what he will do if elected. He covered the border, and other key issues. Gerald Wall was a strong defender of the men and women in uniform. He provided the best rebuttal of the day with regard to whether we should have earmarks. His rebuttal was in response to Dr. Pauls’ comment (please see under Dr. Paul’s name). Gerald Wall stated that is how we got into this mess.
I found strength in all the competitors for this seat. In my opinion, Dr. Paul showed us nothing new after all these years. He is focused narrowly on a very few topics, some very extreme, and has succeeded in alienating most of the Congress with his agressive behavior. This is ironic since he accuses the US of exhibiting aggression via the establishment of military presence in other parts of the world.
- Best constituional speaker: John Gay
- Best speaker on free markets: Tim Graney
- Best speaker with a plan: Gerald Wall
- Speaker who best understands the Federal Reserve: Dr.Paul
- Speaker who made his case to be elected: John Gay
Next up, was a video of the 3 Gubernatorial Race answering one question. Greg Holloway, of Common Sense Texans, introduced this video and several others of these candidates on Youtube in near future. The candidates were asked to identify a mistake of action they might have done differently. The candidates were not informed ahead of the taping as to nature of the question.
1. Debra Medina can’t point to any one thing that may have been a mistake, really. There was a great deal of hesitation and awkward silence prior to speaking. She talks about her lawsuit against the GOP. She never thought it would go to court, that GOP would cave. There is no regret to go to court. She defends her reason for suing. Her argument is she and her lawyers were right, and it is not resolved. Constitutional convention was not handled per the guidelines. Again, on spontaneous off-script questions she doesn’t do as well (as exhibited in the Belo debate and Glenn Beck).
2. Rick Perry had very little hesitation and the governor answered it was not to marry his wife sooner. He said they had dated for 16 years and that was too long. There was laughter on that answer by the audience. He then moved on toward addressing this question in his professional life. His point was any big mistake is in the past: Rick Perry stated it is critical in this job to look forward to the future. Governor Perry stated there is a need to address the challenges in Texas, with 1,000 people moving to Texas daily. This impacts many parts of the infrastructure.
3. Kay Bailey Hutchinson could not point to anything that immediately came to mind as a big mistake. She did acknowledge there may have been some votes that she might have done differently. Mrs. Hutchinson appeared to be cool, calm, and collected when in these types of positions.
In the realm of spontaneous questions and thinking on their feet, consistently in this election season it has been Kay Bailey Hutchinson and Rick Perry who have this skillset.
Congressional District 10
Joe Petronis: Mr. Petronis, the challenger, is focused on state rights. His initial statement involved McCaul and all that he felt was wrong about the Congressman and his record. Joe does not believe McCaul has been fiscally responible. One of his points was the belief our borders should be secured in a very specific way. Military should be brought back from foreign countries and mandated to protect the border. I wonder why he is unaware that there are laws mandating how the military are used, and this is not one of the acceptable usages? Clearly Joe is emerging as a “Ron Paul lite” in his ideas and aggressive manner of focusing on attacking his opponents.
McCaul begins his opening statement regarding he is upset when people misrepresent the record he has earned. He then turned his attention to the very difficult problems in Washington and had a mention of Pelosi being a huge part of their problem. McCaul supports a balanced budget amendment. The public knows where he stands, there are no surprises as he has been vocal and consistent all year. In fact, Congressman McCaul has been visible and involved in the key issues as seen on C-Span, unlike Dr. Paul.
Michael McCaul clearly won this round based on overall knowledge of the issues and what he supports as “winning ideas”.
This event was a great service to the public. Kudos to Katy Tea Party!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
Texas Supreme Court Justice Don R. Willett, was given a daunting task at the recent Tenth Amendment Townhall in Plano. He would deliver “The Tenth Amendment: A Brief Legal and Historical Primer”. This overview would serve the audience well as a basis of understanding for presentations to be given for the remainder of the day.
His opening observation was that the Texas Constitution is very large compared to the United States Constitution. The US Constitution is relatively brief and has had few amendments. The Constitution was written with a sparing number of words, which would wield a great deal of power and thought behind each component of the document. These men were creating the foundation for a new nation.
The 10th amendment is short and to the point. Of all the states ratifying amendments, the 10th was the only one proposed by each of the states. Liberty and localism work together. The constitution takes the notion of we the people very seriously and defines it distinctly.
Madison designed the elegant 10th amendment with a very clear, brief definition. It reads as follows: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Justice Willett proceeded to give us examples of how court decisions have not always upheld the state rights identified in the Tenth Amendment. In fact, there have been multiple court decisions through the years which permitted the Federal Government to trump state’s rights. Following are a few of those examples given by Justice Willett.
New York vs US
This Supreme court case set a precedent that the federal government cannot “order States into the service of federal regulatory purpose” via funding. It is a key decision that has been mentioned with regard to Tenth Amendment Rights.
The Brady Act
The Brady Act violated the 10th amendment as it required an action to be done. This act was a Congressional order for the states to take an action because of an order from the Federal Government. The majority of five justices on the US Supreme Court ruled that the interim provisions of the Brady Bill are unconstitutional. In his opinion, Justice Scalia refers to the “dual sovereignty” established by the U.S. Constitution that federalism is built upon. His opinion states that the Framers designed the Constitution to allow Federal regulation of international and interstate matters, not internal matters reserved to the State Legislatures.
Nationalism trumps federalism….
Roe v Wade
In this case, a woman in Texas wanted to have an abortion. Texas had a law that an abortion could only be done in cases where the mother’s life is in jeopardy. The woman sued the Texas State Attorney General, Henry Wade on behalf of herself and all other Texas women who wanted to have abortions in the state of Texas.
Blackmun traced the history of abortion laws back to the Hippocratic Oath and concluded that laws proscribing the ending of a pregnancy in its early stages were enacted relatively recently. He cited the precedent of previous cases upholding the legality of contraceptives and used the right to privacy found in the Due Process Clause of the 14th amendment to strike down both the Texas law and a Georgia law involved in a companion case.
US vs Lopez
This was the first United States Supreme Court case since the Great Depression to set limits upon the power used by Congress under the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution. Lopez raised serious questions as to how far the Court might be willing to go in implementing judicial safeguards against federal encroachments on state sovereignty
Five days later the court struck it down that the states would have the ability to mandate term limits on the Congress. The court has been supportive of the Tenth Amendment at times and items such as this one arise and they restrict the interpretation of the Tenth Amendment.
Justice Thomas warns the court has come close to turning the 10th amendment on it’s head.
The progressives state the use of the 10th amendment is simply preventing progress. They view people who talk about it the same as if they are “truthers” or “birthers”. The time is now for the states to assert their rights under the Tenth Amendment. This is the way to stop the tsunami of Federal mandates that are headed for the states and it’s citizens.
“But as the plan of the [Constitutional] convention aims only at a partial union or consolidation, the State governments would clearly retain all the rights of sovereignty which they before had, and which were not, by that act, EXCLUSIVELY delegated to the United States.” Alexander Hamilton
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Everyone was anxiously looking forward to hearing Debra Medina on the Glenn Beck radio show today. I was hoping to hear fewer rehearsed statements and more original spontaneous discussion. Alas, this was not to happen. Well, we witnessed more of the same “style” that we have come to expect from Debra Medina today. She consistently spoke a lot and “over the top” of Glenn Beck’s voice. Time and again we have seen her try to control the conversation by drowning out the other person’s voice. Is this indicative of her inability to have an honest dialogue with people on important issues?
Mr. Beck asked a few opening questions and consistently received diluted canned answers which really did not address his question. In fact, I’ve recognized many of the statements made by Debra Medina as nearly exact from many other rallies, speeches, and debates. Was this to be yet another repeat of the same tired rhetoric? When asked about who Debra Medina is, thus began her traditional anti competitor speech we have seen so many times before. Standard virulent statements have been made against Kay Bailey Hutchinson, and Governor Perry speech in the majority of Mrs. Medina’s public appearances. Glenn Beck tried to refocus her on the actual question he asked. Somewhat unprepared for this, Mrs. Medina rambled a bit and lost the rehearsed eloquence . This was one of a small number of instances, when someone asks something not in her memorized and typed dialogue. This completely throws the candidate off track.
The discussion about property taxes was interesting. We’ve all heard the statement from Mrs. Medina that she wants to do away with property tax and replace it with taxes on consumable items. Glenn Beck asked if we weren’t one of the few states without an income tax. She responded yes, and continued on the same speech justifying why it was a god given right. No one is arguing that, only how she would accomplish this, only to look at the whole picture when determining issues.
Per Beck, there is nothing more important than 9/11 in your lifetime. I agree. This was an event in my life that shall never be forgotten. Thus began the awkward segment of the interview. Glenn Beck pointedly asked if she was a 9/11 “truther”. For those who are unaware, this is a group of people who believe our own government may have been behind the attacks on the World Trade Center. It is a conspiracy theory of sorts. Mrs. Medina struggled with this answer. In fact, she did not say a yes or no. Her answer was that there is a lot of good evidence around this topic – but this is a Federal issue and she is focused on Texas. Beck followed up with a question to ask if any of her advisors are 9/11 truthers, would she disavow them? Again, there was not a straightforward answer, but a lot of talk and sidestepping.
I had an involuntary shudder at that point. How close had we come to getting a person through the primary who believed odd things, and clearly had not resolved an issue from several years ago in her own mind? She wasn’t even clear about the importance of surrounding yourself with people who are above reproach and will give you sound advice. We have all witnessed what happens when a person in a powerful position has advisors who are extreme in their thinking and belief systems. Look at the current President and the number of people counseling him who have Marxist, Communist, or other somewhat radical beliefs.
Mr. Beck, we agree with your assessment after the dialogue on many levels. The patriot movement is strong and producing many fine candidates. Many will be drawn to this surge of support as a moth to a flame for their own purpose. They may or may not be a true conservative candidate with straightforward common sense values. There is a requirement at this point for all patriot groups particularly, to be diligent and research each candidate choice fully before expending tremendous energy and making choices to support them.
One can easily get caught up with the feel good candidates who are eloquent. We did that in the last Presidential election. Let’s truly be careful. There are pros and cons to every single candidate we see on the horizon (incumbents and new people). It is important to not repeat mistakes, and to learn from them. Looking past good speakers and feel good statements to the character and beliefs of all the candidates is crucial as we participate actively in the 2010 election.
For those of you who did not hear this interview of Mrs. Medina by Glenn Beck, I include the link below. It is a text of the entire interview:
Educate and inform the whole mass of the people… They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.
Over the past 4 weeks, I’ve become aware of a phenomenon sweeping the nation. One by one, state by state, there is news of grassroots activists becoming candidates for office. The notion of serving our country was “catching fire”. Announcements have been made for brand new candidates running for City Offices, State offices, and Federal offices.
Recently I attended the local campaign kick-off for a candidate named Mary Huls. Mary is one of the grassroots activists who has decided to be a part of the process for improvement. She will be running for State Representative for Texas. Mary is a constitutional conservative. I came with an open mind, wanting to see for myself – what makes a person step up to such a daunting task? This would be the ultimate test of the grassroots movement.
What I found was a passionate, articulate woman who had a vision of what could be. She spoke to the issues, where she stood, and handled some tough questions. What I appreciated the most is she wasn’t sure on a very few issues, as to how to best affect the change required for improvement. Mary was unashamed to admit she will need to look at all the information before making a recommendation. It was refreshing to witness such a straightforward dialogue without the usual sidestepping of issues we have witnessed the last few decades.
The crowd was intently listening to her every word. You could hear a pin drop in the room it was so quiet. This is the moment many people in the grassroots movements have been waiting for. Much like our founding fathers, people of good moral character and conviction are stepping up to the ultimate challenge. They want to serve the country.
People such as Mary will face ridicule from local politicians and political parties. There are far too many people who automatically vote for incumbents without looking at their records. This is a big part of the problem we have in the government today. Our founding fathers faced a lot of obstruction as well. Can it be that we are experiencing the beginning of a tide to refound our country? The new candidates from grassroot organizations will need to be tough, and face down many negative detractors.
What can we do in the grassroots movement to help these people of courage and honor who are stepping up to the ultimate challenge? They need our support and encouragement as much as possible. This is what America needs – not more of the same, but people who care enough to stand up and be counted for the future of America. I am thankful for Mary Huls and all the people like her, that stand ready to take the country back to an adherence of the framework of our government and our nation.
One man with courage is a majority.
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