Want to Make A Difference for Faith, Family & Freedoms? Give A Year-End Gift

December 28, 2009

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(President of Free Market Foundation shown above as legal counsel for Hannah Giles, who helping take down ACORN.)

As you know, we, at Free Market Foundation/Liberty Legal Institute, are a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization.  We are funded solely by private donations.  We could not do the work we do without the support of so many generous persons. 

But our battles (and victories) have been many this year, and we need a strong December and finish for 2009 to cover the expenses for defending freedoms and family values in the courts, legislature and media.

Click here to donate to our work today!

2009 HIGHLIGHTS/VICTORIES!!!

In the Courts

  • We won our third landmark case on religious freedom in the past three years at the Texas Supreme Court – this time protecting all churches in an opinion that national experts hailed as “groundbreaking”. 
  • We won the first written decision from the IRS for pastors and churches nationwide in over a decade, explicitly protecting pastors’ rights to speak to the political issues of the day and equip their congregants to vote their values.
  • We argued, along with the Texas Solicitor General, at the Federal Court of Appeals to defend the Texas Moment of Silence law, and we won! Now, we’re fighting again at federal appeals to defend the words “under God” in the Texas pledge in a lawsuit brought by an atheist plaintiff.
  • And there’s more- our brief was cited by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Summum case; we’ve won numerous victories for churches literally being banned from existing; we represent Hannah Giles, who has been sued by ACORN; we represent all the major veterans groups in the Mojave Desert Cross case at the U.S. Supreme Court; and, we represent Houston City Councilwoman, Ann Clutterbuck, in a lawsuit brought to try to ban prayers at city council meetings.

In the Legislature

  • We won the major battle at our State Board of Education, stopping the liberal attempt to strip our students of academic freedom and their right to test the strengths and weaknesses of all scientific theories, including evolution.
  • We led the charge, reversing the State Board of Education committee decision to remove Christmas from the coverage of religious holidays in our Social Studies books and standards.
  • We won a last-minute veto from the Governor on a frightening bill which would have changed the Texas law on parental rights to allow government officials to take away and interrogate anyone’s children with no notice or requirement of “just cause.”
  • Defeated Planned Parenthood’s attempt to takeover sex education in Texas.
  • Defeated dangerous so-called “Hate Crimes” legislation.
  • We helped lead the largest Pro-Life lobby day at the Capitol, with live ultrasounds performed for legislators.
  • We tracked over 150 bills, testified in 25 legislative hearings, and held 9 press conferences during the Texas Legislative Session.
  • Had nearly 50,000 hits on our Texas Legislative Update Blog

In the Media/Culture


SBOE Announcement!! Gov. Perry Appoints Conservative to SBOE Chair

July 10, 2009

Update: Opposition is in full panic mode:  I don’t like to say “I told you so”, but the usual small group of Austin critics are already unleashing their fury on Gail Lowe, loosely throwing around words like “personal beliefs” and “creationist” (unsubtle code words for their targeted attack on Lowe for her religious beliefs) in their unhinged verbal attack of Lowe.  Even though at least one political news source considers Lowe a “moderate” of conservatives, it doesn’t matter to the Austin extreme left. Our point exactly — it doesn’t matter if its McLeroy, Dunbar, or Lowe, or any other SBOE conservative member, these political and religious attacks will continue, pretending to be something else.

The reason for the appointment is because 11 (all Democrats) of the 31 Texas Senators blocked the confirmation of Don McLeroy, citing to the New York Times for reasons to oppose McLeroy.  So Gov. Perry was forced to appoint another sitting SBOE member, to be chairman.  19 (all Republican) of the 31 (a majority) Texas Senators voted for McLeroy.

Gov. Perry Appoints Gail Lowe to State Board Chair

Free Market Foundation Applauds Conservative Appointment

AUSTIN, Texas – Today, Gov. Perry selected Gail Lowe to be the next chair of the State Board of Education (SBOE).  Gail Lowe, of Lampasas, Texas, is one of the more conservative SBOE members, and was first elected to the SBOE in 2002.  She previously served on the Lampasas Independent School District Board of Trustees and has volunteered countless hours in the classroom.  Following the Governor’s announcement, Free Market Foundation released the following statement:

“We applaud Gov. Perry for making an excellent choice for our new State Board of Education chair,” said Kelly Shackelford, president of Free Market Foundation.  “Gail Lowe is a strong conservative, representing Texas values, and has long been a leader in the field of education, in her local community, and in various roles as a State Board of Education member.” 

“Our state and our schoolchildren will benefit greatly from Mrs. Lowe’s service, care, and commitment as the new State Board of Education Chair,” said Jonathan Saenz, legislative director at Free Market Foundation.  “We hope that the usual critics will rise above their religious discrimination of the past and allow Mrs. Lowe to focus on the important education issues of our state,” said Jonathan Saenz, legislative director at Free Market Foundation.  

Free Market Foundation has worked on numerous issues before the State Board of Education, including recent testimony and key analysis on the science curriculum standards and Bible curriculum standards for Texas public schools.

For more information or for interviews, please call or email Jennifer Grisham, director of media, at (972) 423-8889 extension 102, media@freemarket.org, or (512) 879-7995.

_____________________________________________________________

You recall, that Don McLeroy’s confirmation as SBOE chairman was rejected earlier this year by 11 (all Democrats) of 31 Texas Senators.  Even though 19 of 31 Texas Senators voted “FOR” McLeroy, he needed a 2/3rds majority to be confirmed.  So 11 Texas Senators were able to block the will of the majority. 

The New York Times was cited as a source for basis of criticism on McLeroy, which lead some Senators to vote against him.  Some Texas Senators care more about what the N.Y. Times thinks, and less about Texans.


Texas Legislative Session Summary: Taxes Rejected, Family Values Protected

June 4, 2009

         ultrasound   

From the front lines of the Texas Legislature:  Despite a change in D.C. and a more liberal coup in the Texas House (which helped many dangerous bill have progress that would have previously never moved an inch), there is good news to report, but also some unfinished business.  It must be noted that even though there was a more liberal coup in the Texas House, extreme legislation was still soundly defeated because they are massively out of step with mainstream Texas values. 

Taxes:  The business/franchise tax now exempts from the tax, businesses with a revenue of less than $1 million (HB 4765- House Record Vote http://www.journals.house.state.tx.us/hjrnl/81r/pdf/81RDAY64FINAL.PDF#page=9 ; Senate Record Vote http://www.journals.senate.state.tx.us/sjrnl/81r/pdf/81RSJ05-27-F.PDF#page=388) and property tax appraisers now must include foreclosure sales when computing the market value of a homestead (HB 1038: House Record Vote-http://www.journals.house.state.tx.us/hjrnl/81r/pdf/81RDAY41FINAL.PDF#page=7 ; Senate Record Vote-http://www.journals.senate.state.tx.us/sjrnl/81r/pdf/81RSJ05-26-F.PDF#page=162).  

Also, TEA Party groups, FMF and others, helped end the local-option transportation tax on the last day (HB 300/SB 855-Senate Record Vote-http://www.journals.senate.state.tx.us/sjrnl/81r/pdf/81RSJ04-14-F.PDF#page=11). This was HUGE! 

Science Prevails, Censorship Rejected: We answered the call and defeated efforts to censor and ban discussion and criticism of evolution in the classroom, before the SBOE.   This issue was intertwined with the Legislature as House members signed a letter supporting our position and filed a bill to protect these freedoms, if necessary. Over 10,000 emails and many phone calls made a difference!  This affects 4 million students and was covered internationally! Final record vote: 
For- Allen, Agosto, Bradley, Cargill, Craig, Dunbar, Hardy, Knight, McLeroy, Mercer, Miller, Leo, Lowe.  AGAINST-Nunez, Berlanga. 

CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS! 

 State Board of Education (SBOE) Attacked, Liberal “Victory” Short Lived: FMF fought successfully against liberal bills that stripped textbook and curriculum authority away from the elected SBOE (SB 2275: Bill never received vote-click here for Supporter of Bill http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=81R&Bill=SB2275) and another, HB 710 (http://www.journals.house.state.tx.us/hjrnl/81r/pdf/81RDAY65FINAL.PDF#page=25), would have taken power away from the voters to decide the future and existence of SBOE members and the entity itself.  We were the key to the demise of these and many other SBOE attack bills, with your help. We are outraged that SBOE Chairman, Don McLeroy, was blocked from confirmation by 11 Democrat Senators (the only other Democrat Senator, Sen. Eddie Lucio, chose not to vote on McLeroy, but he was on the Senate Floor). Despite our best efforts to the contrary, the Senate discussion focused on his Christian beliefs and the opinion of the N.Y. Times.  This far-left “victory” will no doubt be short lived, as we believe Gov. Perry will be appointing a new SBOE chairman who is is just as conservative as Dr. McLeroy.  An announcement could come soon. 

CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE DETAILS! 

Planned Parenthood Failed Takeover of Texas Sex Ed:  Planned Parenthood and other groups put all their efforts toward forcing Texas students to learn more about condoms, contraception, and various sexual lifestyles, and less about abstinence (HB 741 -House members who supported this  http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=81R&Bill=HB741, HB 1567- see who suppported this bill http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=81R&Bill=HB1567).  Almost every day at the Capitol, you could see small groups of women and children carrying Planned Parenthood bags, working on this issue.  But, we provided key testimony and documentation and pulled together a strong and united coalition of groups across the state in opposition to these bills, which we defeated. 

CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS!!  

New Hate Crimes  Law for Children? Not On Our Watch: Can you image your ten year-old child being charged with a “hate crime”?  That’s the bill that almost became law this session, HB 824 (see who vote for this bill  http://www.journals.house.state.tx.us/hjrnl/81r/pdf/81RDAY43FINAL.PDF#page=18).  This bill passed the full House, and passed the Senate State Affairs Committee.  Just last week, it was one step away from heading to Gov. Perry’s desk before we were finally able to stop it.  We also stopped a hate crimes bill (HB 2966-see who supported this bill http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=81R&Bill=HB2966) and a “bullying” bill (HB 1323-see who supported this bill http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=81R&Bill=HB1323) that would have given special class protection to “transgender’ persons. 

Pro-Life, Pro-Family Legislation: Some Gains, Some Setbacks:  The Pro-Life Lobby Day was a huge success with hundreds of you in attendance and live ultrasound performed at the Capitol.  Numerous legislators were able to come face to face with the amazing ultrasound technology, some for the first time.  We also worked on the Ultrasound bill (supporters in the House http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=81R&Bill=HB36 and Senate Record Vote http://www.journals.senate.state.tx.us/sjrnl/81r/pdf/81RSJ05-01-F.PDF#page=21). Both the Choose Life license plate bill and Ultrasound had a majority of support by the House and Senate, but the Ultrasound bill was blocked by liberal delays related to Voter I.D. and the Choose Life plate fell victim to political posturing on the last day. Rep. Joe Pickett (D-El Paso), the Chairman of the House Transportation Committee, bascially blocked the Choose Life license plate from getting out of committee, otherwise it would have passed the House in a stand alone bill, which would have allowed it to become law, as it had already passed the Senate, Instead, we had to amend the plate onto another bill, which had its own problems and eventually died. (See the House members that supported the Choose Life Plate http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=81R&Bill=HB109 and the Senate Record Vote: http://www.journals.senate.state.tx.us/sjrnl/81r/pdf/81RSJ05-01-F.PDF#page=47)  Adult Stem cell treatment and research funding of $5 million will continue and the Alternatives to Abortion fund was increased from $5 to $8 million. Adult Stem Cell and Divorce Reform bills ran out of time before a House vote.  We also stifled efforts to undermine parental and informed consent and embryonic stem cell/cloning bills. 

Attack on Voters Guides & Others Dangerous Legislation Averted:  HB 2511- see the record vote in the House-http://www.journals.house.state.tx.us/hjrnl/81r/pdf/81RDAY72FINAL.PDF#page=30 which we were able to stop after it passed out of the House, would have had a dramatic negative impact on our voters guide.  I even heard one legislator tell me that he was working on a way to ban our Voters’ Guides from being passed out in churches, something federal law clearly protects!  

Infanticide Bill-We also knocked down efforts to create a new Infanticide law (HB 3318- supporters-http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=81R&Bill=HB3318) mother who murders her infant could have received only 6 months jail time if she claimed postpartum stress, currently this is a Capitol Murder crime). 

Gambling Bills Crushed-numerous bills were filed to expand gambling in Texas, particularly to allow full blown casino gambling in Texas.  We helped defeat them all.   The word around the Capitol was that there were over 200 paid lobbyist working to expand gambling in Texas. 

With our Austin office firmly established, we were at the Capitol every day and we were involved in every part of the legislative process.  We were also able to meet and interact with so many of you when you came to Austin or you called into our office.  We debuted our Texas Legislative Update Blog in January and it received almost 20,000 hits during the session! Thank you for your commitment to stand with us on these important issues.  We could not have had the outcomes on the above legislation without your help.  Please look for more detailed analysis, pictures, and videos of legislative session summaries in the days to come here at our Texas Legislative Update Blog! 

FMF meets with San Antonio pro-life activists at the Capitol

FMF meets with San Antonio pro-life activists at the Capitol


Urgent Action Needed! McLeroy, Choose Life Plate, Ultrasound Votes!!

May 24, 2009

Call YOUR STATE SENATOR NOW AND  ASK HE/SHE TO :

SUPPORT DON MCLEROY FOR SBOE CHAIRMAN-he’s been under attack by one Austin fringe group for his personal religious beliefs and statements he made at church at Sunday school.

SUPPORT THE CHOOSE LIFE LICENSE PLATE as an amendment to HB 300.  Sen. Carona will proposed the Choose Life Plate as an amendment on Monday, on the Senator Floor.

MAKE YOUR CALL NOW-CLICK HERE TO FIND YOUR STATE SENATOR !!http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/

THEN CALL YOUR STATE HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE AND ASK HE/SHE TO:

SUPPORT THE “ULTRASOUND BILL” (SB 182)

-EVEN THOUGH IT IS A HOLIDAY, THE STATE HOUSE  AND SENATE MEMBERS ARE MEETING AND WORKING ALL DAY AT THE CAPITOL!!

MAKE YOUR CALL NOW-CLICK HERE TO FIND YOUR REP!!http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/


Action Alert!! We Need Calls/Emails: Religion, Babies, & Taxes!!

May 21, 2009

1.  Don McLeroy, State Board of Education member, needs your help to be CONFIRMED as chairman of the SBOE, which requires a 2/3rds of the 31 Texas State Senators to vote in favor of him.  His nomination as chairman was approved yesterday bythe Senate Nominations committee. Don McLeroy has been unfairly attacked by some because of his PERSONAL religious beliefs as a Christian.  He’s even been attacked for religious statements he’s made while at church!  CALL YOUR STATE SENATOR today and tell he or she to REJECT a Religious Test and please Support Don McLeroy!

Click here to find your State Senator http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/

The Ultrasound Bill, the Texas House State Affairs Committee passed SB 182 passed it, the Ultrasound bill, yesterday!  The bill will now go to the Calendars Committee and then to full House for a vote.  Please call the Calendars Committee.  

TAXES: We still need action to oppose SB 855, as it will be voted on by the full House tomorrow!  This is the transportation tax bill that will have the effect of raising gas taxes by 125%.  Call (512) 463-4630 now and ask for your House member and tell him or her you oppose SB 855.

SB 1569 is also before the House for a vote today, regarding acceptance of federal stimulus money, if Texas expands unemployment insurance to part-time employees.


Breaking: SBOE Attack Bill Fails on Third Reading!!

May 6, 2009

HB 710, on final House Reading, failed to pass by a vote of 71-73.  This is the final House vote for this bill, so this should be it for this issue.  Their is an identical bill in the Senate, SB 513, by Rodney Ellis.  It has not moved at all so it is probably too late for anything happening on this in the Senate.  You can count on us to keep our eye on this issue until the Legislative session ends!

While you were calling and emailing people, we were outside the House Chamber here at the Capitol in Austin talking to House Members about this issue.  Thanks to all the organizations and grassroots supporters for helping to contact your elected officials to get this done!!

Click Here to see how YOUR Representative voted.  http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/RecordVote.aspx?LegSess=81R&Bill=HB710&RcdVtNo=588&Ch=H&Dt=05/06/2009

If your State Representative voted against HB 710, don’t call them.  Instead send him or her a personal, handwritten letter saying “Thank You!”  They will greatly appreciate it.


Science & Censorship (Evolution) Video & Victory Report

March 30, 2009

Click here for more details on this huge VICTORY regarding Science, censorship, and evolution.

https://texaslegislativeupdate.wordpress.com/2009/03/30/setting-the-record-straight-on-science-correcting-some-misleading-media-reports/

Click here for more analysis.  https://texaslegislativeupdate.wordpress.com/2009/03/27/surprise-science-censorship-not-over-yet/


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