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.

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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.

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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


Action Alert-Sex Ed Vote!! Attack on Abstinence Showdown Moved to Wednesday!

May 17, 2009

Vote on SB 283 is postponed until Wednesday, May 20th, 10 a.m.-MORE TIME TO MAKE YOUR CALLS TO YOUR TEXAS STATE HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE, ASK HE/SHE TO VOTE “NO” ON CASTRO & VILLAREAL AMENDMENTS (detailed below), AND ASK YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY TO DO THE SAME!! 

We have now reviewed the proposed amendments.  the Villareal Amendment is worst than we thought:

1. Strips out the following phrase from current law-”abstinence…is the only method that is 100% effective in preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.”  (instead, they have substituted the phrase “abstinence…as only certain way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases”). (Villarreal Amendment)

2. Diminishes emotional trauma by changing current law to suggest that there may be no emotional trauma associated with adolescent sexual activity. (Villarreal Amendment)

3. Censors any information about the risks, side effects, and limitations of contraceptive methods. (Villarreal Amendment)

4.  Eliminates the current law requirement that children be directed toward “a standard of behavior” where abstinence before marriage is the most effective way to prevent pregnancy and STDs…  (Villarreal Amendment)

5. Uses the term “age appropriate”, which opens the door to sexually explicit materials and demonstrations. (Vague and unclear definition that allows groups like Planned Parenthood to define “age appropriate.”) (Castro Amendment).

6. Use the term “medically accurate” or “scientifically accurate” as false weapon against abstinence-based teaching.  Organizations that are hostile and biased against abstinence teaching have used their own interpretation of “medically accurate” to disqualify abstinence teaching, even when such teaching was approved by the United States federal government. (Castro or Villarreal Amendment).

7. Bans abstinence promotion and teaching to students who are sexually active. (with no method of identifying such students). (Villarreal Amendments).

Since Texas began promoting abstinence-based sex ed:

  • The rate of teen pregnancies has dropped 24%
  • The rate of teen abortions has dropped 41%
  • The rate of teen births has dropped 22%

There were NO similar gains in the 1980’s, when Planned Parenthood type programs were the rule.


Ultrasound Bill Update-Senate Vote This Week!

April 7, 2009

Last week, we reported that the life-saving ultrasound bill, which requires that an ultrasound be performed on a woman considering abortion and that the woman is offered an opportunity to view the ultrasound image and hear her baby’s heartbeat, could pass through the Senate.  However, the vote was postponed to this week.  We are at a crucial stage with the ultrasound bill, which supports a woman’s right to view an ultrasound and ensures women are given vital information about a life and death decision.  The possible deciding vote is considered to be that of Sen. Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo), who voted “present, not voting” on the ultrasound bill the last time it was in the Senate!  That would probably kill the bill.

You can help!  Click here to call your Senator today!


SAVE TEXAS SCIENCE!!

March 23, 2009

This Wednesday is the last chance for Texas Citizens to SAVE TEXAS SCIENCE! 

Click here for TALKING POINTS https://www.freemarket.org/Legislature_Issues_SBOEtalkingpoints.aspx

The State Board of Education (SBOE) has their last hearing on that day and the final vote on the “strengths and weaknesses” language for all science theories will be taken the following day.  Click here for more information and how to TAKE ACTION!! http://www.freemarket.org/News_CurrentIssuesAlert_RecentSpecialAlert.aspx

Some groups want to CENSOR discussion in science classrooms.  For 20 years, Texas has had an open and balanced approach to teaching science theories, including evolution.  Don’t let Texas science teaching get taken over and changed by close minded educrats and thought police.  They don’t think our Texas high school students are smart enough to discuss Science.  Click here to read insulting comment by Steve Schafersman. http://www.statesman.com/news/content/news/stories/local/01/19/0119science.html 

Don’t let them get away with this.

ACT NOW!! http://www.freemarket.org/News_CurrentIssuesAlert_RecentSpecialAlert.aspx

On the merits, there is no reason why the board should remove the “strengths and weaknesses” language.  So who’s causing them to make this illogical decision?

Who’s leading the charge to take out the Strengths & Weaknesses Language?

Eugenie Scott– NCSE of Oakland, California (We know what a mess California is in – is that what she wants to import to Texas?) http://ncseweb.org/about/speakers#scott

Steve Schafersman-TCSE -(who has joined California Atheist Michael Nedow in calling for the removal of ‘UNDER GOD” from the Pledge of Alligience) runs the “Free Inquiry” blog – where’s the Free Inquiry” for Science?  http://www.freeinquiry.com/pledge.html

Texas Freedom Network (founded by Cecil Richards, former Chief of Staff for Nancy Pelosi, current head of Planned Parenthood-need I say more?)-constantly advocates against religious liberty and freedom in the classroom. 

Is this who we want to lead education in Texas?  No seriously, they want you to believe they are “mainstream.”  They must not think you are very smart either.


Science & Censorship Update: State Representative Wayne Christian Files Bill To Keep 20 Year Strengths and Weaknesses Standard in Science

March 17, 2009

Rep. Wayne Christian has filed HB 4224. Click Here for Press Release.
representative-wayne-christian-supports-strong-science

This bill bascially confirms that the 20 year standard of teaching the “strengths and weaknesses” of all scientific theories, including evolution, in public school will continue.  In January, by one vote, the SBOE voted to remove the words “critique” and “weakneses” from the science standards.  Voting against the strengths and weaknesses language were Pat Hardy (R), Bob Craig (R), Tincy Miller (R), Rick Agosto (D), Mavis Knight (D), Lawrence Allen (D), and Mary Helen Berlanga (D).

Also last week, the State Republican Executive Committee passed a resolution, almost unanimously, to support the “strengths and weaknesses language.
srec-2009-sboe-resolution1

The final hearing on the science curriculum issue is next Wednesday, March 25th, with the final vote expected on the following day.

Here are excellent TALKING POINTS ON SCIENCE & CENSORSHIP to use when you call your State Board member. 
https://www.freemarket.org/Legislature_Issues_SBOEtalkingpoints.aspx 

Don’t let Tincy Miller or others try to convince you that we and others are trying to put Creationism and Intelligent Design in Science class.  We’re not, and neither are other board members. We just want a balanced approach to teaching Evolution, as we’ve had for 20 years of teaching the “strengths and weaknesses” of all scientific theories.”

If you talk to Tincy Miller, remind her that she told me directly that she didn’t have a problem with the “strengths and weaknesses” language, she just had a problem with the people on the SBOE that would vote for such language.  That’s means here decision is based on personal grudges and not on what’s best for students.

Please contact our office if you would like to testify or help in any way, to support the “strengths and weaknesses” langauge, at 512-478-2220, or legislative@freemarket.org.  We will also be presenting testimony to the SBOE.


Live! Pro-Life Lobby Day Update

February 24, 2009

Watch the video of the Press Conference.  Visit http://www.senate.state.tx.us/avarchive/ and click Feb. 24 — Press Conference – Senator Dan Patrick.

Over 300 Pro-Life advocates descended on the Capitol.  Gov. Perry, Lt. Gov. Dewhurst, Sen. Patrick, and Rep. Corte and many others gave comments to support pro-life lobby day.

Poor John Kelso of the AAS gets heartburn from live ultrasounds, a similar feeling for many who have to read his liberal ranting.  I guess his readership was down so he had to stir the pot with more outlandish statements.  http://tinyurl.com/a9z2lw

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