Texas U.S. Senate Race Heating Up With Key Endorsements; Free Texas Voters Guide Here!

May 11, 2012

The race for Texas’ next U.S. Senator heated up this week as Sarah Palin announced an endorsement of Ted Cruz; while ads have feeled the airwaves with Mike Huckabee supporting Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, and Troy Aikman telling us he’s “voting for Tom (Leppert).”

See the article here. http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/05/10/palin-jumps-on-cruz-bandwagon-in-texas/ 

There’s a lot of talk about this U.S. Senate race outcome also being a measure of the strength of the Tea Party in Texas’ primary elections.

Get our free voters guide here.  www.freevotersguide.com

Another key endorsement coming?  Texas State Senator, Dan Patrick, founder of the Tea Party caucus in the Texas Legislature, said on Thursday during the Texas Tribune coffee discussion that he may be making an announcement about who he’s supporting in this U.S. Senate race.  Or he may not.  Senator Patrick did say he believes Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst will win the Republican primary, but that was not an endorsement, just his belief.

New Texas Legislative Update Design

April 24, 2012

We are excited to announce that a new design is coming soon to the Texas Legislative Update. And, the new domain will simply be TexasLegislativeUpdate.com (instead of texaslegislativeupdate.wordpress.com).  We apologize in advance for any technical issues that might happen over the next couple of days. We are confident that our loyal readers will enjoy the new site design and layout.

The new design will be more streamlined, allowing you to much easier navigate to important posts and stories.  It will also have better social media integration, allowing you to like and share easily on Facebook and Twitter.

The Texas Legislative Update is the the Texas-focused blog of Liberty Institute, and is run by Liberty Institute’s Austin Office.  Our mission will be to continue to stand for Faith, Family, and Freedom in the state of Texas.  Thanks again for helping in the success of the blog and please continue to share this site with your friends and to share our posts on Facebooks, Twitter, and other social media!


Remember San Jacinto

April 21, 2012

Today, Texans celebrate the anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto. 176 years ago, in a swift and decisive battle, independence was secured from Mexico. San Jacinto Day is a great day to reflect on past generations of Texans that have sacrificed for our freedoms.


Religious Liberty Platform Resolution

April 20, 2012

Attention all grassroots supporters of Religious Liberty.  Party Platforms are going to be written as the parties prepare for the State (and National) conventions this year.  Many Senate District/County conventions are going on this Saturday, April, 21st.  Look online or call your county headquarters for meeting details.  This means you have a great opportunity to take a stand for religious liberty (and other important issues) by submitting a resolution to your party’s platform at your local convention.

A resolution is a statement of principle that is voted on at a political convention.

To be eligible to participate, you must sign an affidavit stating your Party affiliation for the May 29 Primary. By claiming party affiliation at the Senate District/County convention you will not be able to vote in another party’s Primary or Run-off election.You may present as many resolutions as you like, but remember to make 12 copies to give to the Platform Committee members.

Below is a suggested resolution on Religious Liberty:

WHEREAS, religious liberty is our most fundamental constitutional freedom; and

WHEREAS, the First Amendment of the Constitution protects the free exercise of religion from government interference; and

WHEREAS, government at all levels is growing increasingly hostile to the free exercise of religion, and is trampling on our religious liberty in the courts, legislature, and through executive fiat; and

WHEREAS, a state religious liberty constitutional amendment provides the best guarantee of lasting protection for our citizens’ religious liberties from an activist court, overreaching legislature, or government bureaucracy; and

WHEREAS, thirty (30) states have state constitutional protection prohibiting a government agency from burdening a person’s free exercise of religion; now therefore

BE IT RESOLVED, that we call upon the Texas Legislature to safeguard our constitutional right of religious liberty by passing a state constitutional amendment that prohibits any government agency from burdening a person’s free exercise of religion.

Be it further resolved, that a copy of this resolution be sent to the ___________ Senatorial/County Convention Resolutions Committee from Precinct # ___ of the __________County  ______________ Party, with the recommendation that it be passed and sent to the State Convention Platform Committee of the ___________Party of Texas.

Download a PDF version of the proposed resolution.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

FreeVotersGuide.com Has Launched – Vote Informed!

April 16, 2012

Would you hire an employee without first looking at their resume? Of course not. So why would you vote for a candidate without first knowing where they stand on the issues?  Texas values faith, family, and freedom, and Texans deserve to know where candidates stand on these important issues.

At the new FreeVotersGuide.com you can register to vote, look up your friends and family to see if they are registered to vote and then invite them to register, and sign up for the Texas Primary Voters Guide coming in early May.  Don’t forget the Texas Primary Election date is May 29th and the last day to register to vote is April 30th.

Some of the exciting updates coming to the 2012 Free Voters Guide include:

  • Interactive Voters Guide with information specific to your address
  • Our comprehensive candidate questionnaire
  • Access to voting record, campaign contribution, and other important candidate information
Check out the new video for FreeVotersGuide.com and please share the website and video with your friends!

Dads-You Are Important: Happy Father’s Day!

June 17, 2012

Dad, dada, daddy, papa, father: the name you’re called as a father may have many variations. You’re also called coach, buddy, pal, hero, cook, world’s strongest man and many other names to fit the setting. It all comes down to this: in the eyes of your children and in their lives, you are very important.  A child has only one father, and you’re the one, you’re special.

Fathers, we want you to also please never forget that in our Texas and American society you’re also very important.

Simply put, Texas values fathers.

Thank you dads for all that you do and will do in the future. Some things we as children may not even realize that we learned from you until we begin raising our own children.  Some valuable lessons and skills you passed on to us may not even come into our minds until after you’re gone. All that you do, fathers, is valuable.  As my father’s only son and a father myself, I learn and appreciate more about this fact every day.

So we encourage all dads out there to know the value of who you are and what you mean to your children.  Take advantage of every day you have here for your children, whether they are young or old.  It’s simply human nature that every child longs to be close to his or her father and you as the father of one child or many, are no different.

Thank you fathers and we hope you have a wonderful and blessed Father’s Day from Jonathan Saenz and the Texas Legislative Update blog!

House Committee Hearing on State Board of Education-More Members Needed?

April 17, 2012

The Texas House Committee on Redistricting. Chair Solomons says the hearing will be about the population numbers/size of the 15 SBOE districts, and not about content of decisions made bythe SBOE, etc.  Let’s see if Texas Freedom Network and others on the far left stick to these boundaries.

Only Republican SBOE members present. For some reason, no Democratic SBOE members are present.


2:20 p.m.  Committee is back from the break.  SBOE member Charlie Garza is testifying.

Yannis Banks, from NAACP testifying: I can see the need for growth, you will probably have to go “big” in order to do it.

Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF) testifying: Any addition of SBOE members should maintain or be a net gain for Latino voting opportunity.


SBOE Chair Barbara Cargill speaks first.  SBOE has a travel budget.

Chairman Branch-Former SBOE Chair Tincy Miller asked for helped with staff members to assist their work. 

SBOE Member Gail Lowe: “We’re a policy making body, not a regulatory body so we are not in charge of providing oversight over each individual school district.”

Considering increasing the number of SBOE members is not timely, constituents are asking for less government.

Rep. Diane Patrick: 27 member board became unwieldy, needed to streamline, more efficient government.

Democratic Rep.Carol  Alvardo says the SBOE needs more diversity in its membership.  SBOE Member Gail Lowe responds and points out the SBOE membership is actually more diverse, with 33% minority representation and more diverse than both the Texas House and Senate.

SBOE member George Clayton, no change in number of SBOE members needed.

Pat Hardy, no change in SBOE member numbers needed.  I have no problem communicating with my constituents.

SBOE member Ratliff: I don’t think an appointed board or more members on the SBOE is the answer, nor should the board members have a party affiliation on the ballot.

Rep. Alvarado: My constituents have no idea who their SBOE member is.  Who is the SBOE member for Rep. Alvarado in Houston?   Democratic SBOE Member Lawrence Allen is the SBOE member for Rep. Alvarado’s district.

Texas and National Teen Birth Rates Drop To Historic Lows, Shows Continued Effectiveness Of Abstinence Education

April 12, 2012

A new National Center for Health Statistics report about U.S. teen birth rates and those of Texas teens offers new evidence that Texas’ abstinence-based sex education policy works and does not require an overhaul.

The report shows that the national teen birth rate is at its lowest rate since 1946.  Similarly, in 2010, Texas teen births rates dropped to continue in a 20-year downward trend.  Under an abstinence-focused approach in Texas, the Texas teen birth rate (per 1000 aged 15-19) has decreased a significant 33.4 percent from a high in 1991 (78.4) to a low in 2010 (52.2). The teen birth rate in Texas has also declined 15 percent between 2007 (61.7) and 2010 (52.2).

“It’s encouraging that the abstinence-focused sex education policy in Texas continues to improve in the areas of teen pregnancy and teen births,” said Jonathan Saenz, Director of Legislative Affairs for Liberty Institute.  “Pressure by pro-abortion groups and others to ban abstinence teaching in public schools, and instead to focus on drug-based sex education, would be a disaster and jeopardize the positive trend over the past 20 years.”

Since the mid 1990s, Texas law has required that abstinence education be taught in its public schools, more than any other sex education method for preventing pregnancy and STDs—if sex education is taught at all.  However, during recent legislative sessions, pro-abortion groups have pressured the Texas legislature to essentially ban abstinence education in public schools and to primarily focus on drug-based sex education. Fortunately, these efforts have been flatly rejected.

“In short, I’m glad Texas continues to stay with what works.  Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, which pushes drug-based sex education, has no business teaching our children about sex education,” Saenz added.

Image: aopsan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Trial Begins Today on Austin Pregnancy Resource Center Ordinance

April 9, 2012

We’re representing three pregnancy centers against the City of Austin in court today, combatting their targeted effort against charitable centers that are pro-life.

“Under God” License Plate Now Available

April 2, 2012

One State Under God Texas license plateThe “One State Under God” license plate, which features a picture of Calvary Hill, is now available for order online from the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. A portion of the proceeds will go to a nonprofit ministry in East Texas that supports outreach to at-risk children.  You can order the license plate here.

While some extreme liberal activist groups, like Texas Freedom Network, were in favor of banning the plates and allowing the government to exclude a person’s private choice to express their strongly held religious beliefs, these groups are simply out of the mainstream of Texas values. The phrase “One State Under God” was almost unanimously passed by the Texas Legislature and added to the Texas Pledge in 2007.  The purchase and design of a specialty license plate is a private decision and a private endeavor that merely passes through the DMV as one of many private or public arrangements that Texas participates in with the public. In this debate on the “Under God” license plate, the left simply continues to show part of its true agenda is to attack private choices of free expression and speech, especially when they are expressions of a strongly held religious belief, particularly Christianity.

Liberty Institute testified in favor of the “One State Under God” license plate, which passed the Texas DMV board in December of last year. See our press release from last December here.

Texas Rally for Religious Freedom -Tomorrow – Texas Capitol-South Entrance!

March 22, 2012

Please stand with us and make your voice heard for Religous Liberty!  Tomorrow, noon, Texas Capitol South Entrance, just along 11th street, we’ll be speaking at one of the many Religious Freedom rallies being held across the country to push back against the Obama Administration’s effort to force religious entities to violate their conscience through Obamacare provisions by having the government force private religious entities to pay for health measure that violate their conscience.  Let me say that again, the government is forcing private religions to violate their religious beliefs and pay for acts that violate their religious beliefs.  I thought these people wanted the government and religion to be separate.  The double standard could not be more obvious.

Let’s also be clear, women have access to abortifacients and birth control at nearly every corner drug store often at a low cost. Access is not the issue.  The issue is that some people have such an entitlement mentality that they think that the government should force you to violate your own religious beliefs with your own private money and pay for their choices.  If Planned Parenthood is so vital to women like they claim, than why aren’t the Hollywood liberals and Lance Armstrong giving more of their private money directly to Planned Parenthood?  If PP is so important than they should be able to survive off private donations.  If not, than their value has been oversold, as we’ve known for many years.

If the government can force religions to pay for free devices on a life and death issue that forces the religious entities to violate their own beliefs, than the religious freedom protection we have in the U.S. Constitution is meaningless and we will all be defenseless against the federal government.

Is personal responsibilty being taught in government schools anymore?  Apparently not enough, if at all.

Stand with Us tomorrow for Religious Liberty!  http://www.facebook.com/#!/events/377925832232013/

Voters Guide Update – Candidate Questionnaires Going out Today!

March 15, 2012

Now that the Texas Primary Election date has finally been set for May 29, 2012 and the filling deadline has passed, our questionnaires are now ready to be sent to the candidates.  This year we are joining forces with Heritage Alliance, American Family Association, and Texas Eagle Forum in sending out one joint questionnaire to candidates.  These invitations will be going out via email to the campaigns and will ask that the candidates log in and fill out the questionnaire electronically.  The email invitations will start going out today.

If you are a candidate in the Texas Republican Primary for State House, State Senate, U.S. House, U.S. Senate, State Board of Education, Supreme Court, Court of Criminal Appeals, or any other statewide office and do not receive an email invitation by the end of today, that likely means we do not have contact information for your campaign. If you do not receive an invitation today please contact, as soon as possible, Joni Boggs at jboggs@heritagealliance.com and provide her with an email address for the campaign so that we can send an invitation. The questionnaires must be filled out online.

Our 2012 Voters Guide will be distributed exclusively though our updated freevotersguide.com website. On freevotersguide.com, you will be able to access a personalized guide based on your address, and in addition to our comprehensive candidate questionnaire, you will find important information on candidates’ voting records, and have access to important voter registration and get-out-the-vote tools.   Be sure to visit freevotersguide.com and provide us your email address today to join our voters guide team to be kept up to date on when the voters guide will be released.

Texans deserve to know where candidates stand on important issues – so don’t miss out on the opportunity to be a part of the most widely distributed Voters Guide in the state!

Celebrate Texas Independence Day! God Bless Texas

March 2, 2012

Today, March 2nd, marks the day in 1836 when Texas declared its independence from Mexico, that led later in the year to the successful Battle of San Jacinto where Sam Houston led a diverse group of Texians, Tejanos, and many from other states to victory for Texas Independence over Santa Anna and Mexico.  As a native Texan (at least 5th generation!), I am proud of the history of our state and the legacy of liberty and family values that surrounds us here in Texas and will always be part of the spirit of the Lone Star State.

Here are some local celebrations taking place this week around the Austin area.

As we see numerous conflicts taking place today between Texas’ ability to govern itself without the overreaching efforts of Washington, D.C., we see that the independent nature of Texans and the value of fighting for liberty is still important.

But I am also proud that our state has a rich history of reverence and devotion to God, as evidenced by the many missions, historical churches and cultural traditions of Texas that are faith-based.

So on Texas Independence Day I am thankful that we still have the freedom to display the message “One State Under God”  (see details here )if we want, and I continue to pray that our Lord will answer are often plea: GOD BLESS TEXAS!

Texas Stands Up To Washington, Planned Parenthood

March 1, 2012

Last week, the Texas Health & Human Services Commissioner Tom Suehs, Gov. Rick Perry, and Attorney General Greg Abbott all stood tall against Planned Parenthood and the Obama administration on the issue of use of taxpayer funds for the Woman’s Health Program (WHP) in Texas by abortion providers.

As a result of legislation passed in Texas in 2011, which Liberty Institute was instrumental in supporting, Planned Parenthood will effectively be defunded of taxpayer dollars from the WHP in March of 2012, as there are numerous other healthcare providers in Texas that can meet the needs of Texas women without having an abortion connection dragging them down.  At least 11 Planned Parenthood clinics in Texas have already closed as a result. The feds have threatened to shut down the WHP completely if Planned Parenthood is not included in the program.  Sounds like the feds care more about playing politics than meeting the needs of women.  As Texas has done time and time again, our leaders stood tall against another attempted Washington, D.C. takeover.

Take Action! Please send Gov. Perry an email thanking him for his support on this issue! The abortion supporters are flooding the Governor’s office so our side needs to show up!  You can thank the Governor here.

Texas Joins Lawsuit Against Obamacare’s Abortifacient and Contraception Mandate

February 28, 2012

The State of Texas has joined in the lawsuit against Obamacare’s mandate for contraception and abortifacient drug coverage.  Texas now joins Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma and South Carolina in the fight for religious liberty.

Liberty Institute’s supports the state’s stand on this important issue:

“We are in full agreement with the actions taken by the State of Texas in its efforts to dismantle Obamacare,” said Jonathan Saenz, Director of Legislative Affairs with the Liberty Institute. “On behalf of all religious organizations, we want to add our voice to the outcry taking place throughout Texas and the nation by sending a message to the President that we are well aware and not naive to his ever-growing and deceptive ploys that continue to violate religious beliefs protected by the First Amendment.”

Contact other state Attorney Generals and ask that your state get involved

Check out Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott discussing the lawsuit here.

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