Liberty Institute Statement on 82nd Legislative Session End: Life, Liberty Proctected With Some Exceptions

June 30, 2011

The Texas Legislature adjourned sine die the special session, and presumably concludes its official legislative work for the 82nd Texas Legislative Session.  Highlights of the session include passage of  (1) the Sonogram bill, (2) Voter I.D. bill,  (3) Choose Life license plate bill; (4) the defunding of millions of taxpayer dollars from Planned Parenthood; (5) the protection of the elected State Board of Education, (6) the protection of citizens whose constitutional rights have been violated, (7) the defeat of attacks on marriage and efforts to expand gambling, and (8) the balancing of the 2012-2013 budget without raising taxes or using the rainy day fund.

Liberty Institute released the following statement:

“While some religious liberty and conservative legislation did not pass, we are proud that Texas showed it stands for protecting women, protecting of innocent human life and taxpayer dollars and protecting the elected State Board of Education that has so valiantly defended teaching about our religious heritage, our U.S. Constitution and American exceptionalism.

“We are so thankful that Texas has distinguished itself from Washington, and Texas leaders have shown the rest of the country how to pass a balanced budget without raising taxes.

“Many elected officials responded to the will of the people, and that’s good government.”

Liberty Institute is a nonprofit legal and policy group dedicated to protecting freedoms and strengthening families. Liberty Institute maintains a full-time office in Austin, two blocks from the Texas Capitol and has a daily presence at the Capitol to advocate and assist in the legislative process.  Visit www.libertyinstitute.org for more information.

View the full statement in pdf form here.

Editor’s Note:  Jonathan Saenz, director of Legislative Affairs for Liberty Institute, can help round out your coverage of the Texas 82nd Legislative Session.  Call Jennifer Grisham to schedule an interview.

If you like the work Liberty Institute is involved in, please support us by making a donation today.  We are a nonprofit organization.


Voter I.D. Passes Texas House, 101-48

March 23, 2011

SB 14 has already passed the full Senate.  Could one of the first bills signed by Gov. Perry.


Texas Voter I.D. Bill Is Up For Debate & Vote in Texas House

March 21, 2011

Live blogging here.

1:54 p.m. Point of Order sustained.  Voter I.D. Bill stalled, for now.

Amendments begin.  Anchia withdraws his amendment.  Amendment by Rep. Giddings, dealing with identity theft.  Rep. Harless moves to table the amendment.  Rep. Martinez calls a point of order.

12:58 p.m.  Rep. Van Taylor comes to the microphone to question on Rep. Anchia on his amendment.  Rep. Van Taylor says he saw voter problem in Rep. Anchia’s district some years ago.

12:43 p.m.  Exchange between in Rep. Harless and Rep. Anchia; Rep. Harless says that states that have voter I.D. laws have seen increased voter turnout from minorities after laws have come into effect.


Will Texas Call For a Constitutional Convention? Attacks on SBOE Flood In At Last Minute

March 11, 2011

Legislative Update: This week at the Texas Capitol, a House Committee passed the Choose Life license plate, and a separate committee passed the voter I.D. bill.  The House also gave final approval to the sonogram bill in the House (HB 15).

Another issue of interest is the idea of calling for a constitutional convention to pass a balanced budget amendment, an idea and legislation which we do not support and which we testified against.  There is no guarantee that if such a constitutional convention were called that the convention could be limited to just one amendment.  There is also no proof that any safeguards that might be put in place would actually have the legal authority to control such a convention. We do support requesting that Congress pass a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution to balance the federal budget (HCR 18), but we do not support the call for a constitutional convention to achieve such a goal (HJR 100, SJR 1).  However, we are proud that Texas leaders are looking for solutions to the problems caused by the federal government, even though we may disagree on the method.

As the deadline to file bills comes today, numerous bills were filed today by liberal legislators wishing to undermine and reduce the role of our elected State Board of Education, likely because they don’t like our the Social Studies curriculum that wsa adopted and they only want left-wing professors with certain letters after their names to decided what students learn.  We’ll have more details on these bills later, if they actually start to move.


2009 Texas Legislative Session Summary

June 11, 2009

Click here for our summary. https://texaslegislativeupdate.wordpress.com/2009/06/04/texas-legislatve-session-summary-taxes-rejected-family-values-protected/


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


Key House Bills Referred to Committees

February 17, 2009

HB 36-Rep. Corte- Ultrasound & Heartbeat Bill
Relating to informed consent to an abortion.
2/12/2009 H Referred to State Affairs

HB 44-Rep. Corte- Sign Required regarding real function of Emergency Contraception
Relating to disclosing information to persons obtaining emergency contraception.
2/12/2009 H Referred to Public Health

HB 109-Rep. Phillips – Choose Life License Plate
Relating to the issuance of “Choose Life” license plates and the creation of the Choose Life account in the general revenue fund.
2/12/2009 H Referred to Transportation View all actions

HB 125 Rep. Betty Brown-Voter, proof of identification
Relating to requiring a voter to present proof of identification.
2/12/2009 H Referred to Elections View all actions


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