Monday, April 20, 2015

Pension reform slowly moving forward


"A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children,
But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous."
Proverbs 13:22

With a pension reform bill scheduled for a hearing later today, supporters held a press conference this morning:



Highlights:

  • Restore local control of pensions.
    • Author's Note: This is real local control, not the phony type of 'local control' the taxpayer funded lobbyist crowd likes to throw around.
  • Pension review process not changed.
  • Houston has $5 billion in unfunded liabilities.
  • Houston liabilities would require 50% tax hikes to cover.
  • TPPF supports the bill.
  • You need reform at the state level before cities can even start their own reform process.
  • Texas currently has second largest local govt. debt in the country.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Texas House Gun Debate: Censorship and Lawlessness


"But You, O Lord, are a shield for me,
My glory and the One who lifts up my head."
Psalm 3:3

Texas House Chamber -- Today the Texas House, backed by Governor Abbott, refused to consider a pre-filed amendment to the watered down gun bill they debated on the floor.

HB 910, by Representative Larry Phillips, would legalize the open carry of handguns in Texas conditioned upon paying certain taxes.  This is the oversold "open carry" legislation we've heard so much about.  During today's floor debate, Representative Jonathan Stickland intended to offer a pre-filed amendment that would have removed taxation from the equation (ie. Constitutional Carry).

While Stickland's pre-filed amendment was expected to fall short, it was also expected that there would be a recorded vote.  That didn't happen.  If you are willing to follow the inside baseball of one chamber of one state legislature, today's events in the Texas House of Representatives illustrates governmental lawlessness.

Typically, amendments in the Texas legislature are subject to a standard of "germaneness."  This is a high-falutin' way of saying that amendments to bills in the Texas Legislature have to be on the same topic as the underlying bill.  As Tony McDonald has explained, most of the time this is a good thing.  It prevents the type of "Christmas Tree" bills we frequently see at the federal level.  But it's also subject to abuse when leadership wants something done.

Today, they wanted something done:



Representative Stickland's pre-filed Constitutional Carry amendment was "ruled" non-germane behind the scenes.  Outside of the discussion Representative Stickland forced on the floor after the fact, there was no debate on the topic.  Leadership's logic was that removing taxation requirements from a bill discussing the open carry of a handgun is irrelevant to the discussion of a bill about the open carry of a handgun.  During the amendment process, leadership never protested amendments about insurance mandates, police procedures, or the open carry of knives.  But, yah, discussion of taxation under the bill was "non-germane".



No one expected Constitutional Carry to pass this afternoon.  That being said, everyone expected a debate.  For Governor Abbott and Texas House leadership to abuse the "germaneness" provisions of House rules to prevent said debate speaks volumes.



------

Author's Note: For obvious reasons, we're not going to reveal identities, but SEVERAL sources throughout the afternoon contacted this author over various mediums to inform us that Abbott was lobbying House members HARD behind the scenes to get the amendment dropped.

(And, yes, we're willing to go to jail over this.)

------

This is Representative Stickland's 8-page explanation of Germaneness that Texas House Leadership ignored.



-----

Update: Matt Rinaldi has more:


Yesterday the House passed HB 40, preempting oil & gas exploration bans (122-18), and HB 910, allowing licensed open...
Posted by Matt Rinaldi on Saturday, April 18, 2015

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The extent of Sex Trafficking in Texas


"Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
And He saved them out of their distresses.
He sent His word and healed them,
And delivered them from their destructions.
Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
Psalm 107:19-21

Texas State Capitol -- This morning, Texas Federation of Republican Women held a rally to pomote anti-human trafficking legislation currently in front of the legislature.  McClennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara and Toni McKinley of Crowns of Hope Texas spoke.  This is tough stuff, but you need to hear it.

Sheriff McNamara:



Highlights:
  • October sting: 20 arrests in 2 weeks.
  • "The creeps really came out of the woodwork."
  • "Every one of 'em" picked the minor.
  • 9 Johns in 5+ hours.
  • "It's unbelievable how sickos come out of the woodwork on social media."
  • People kept calling event after media attention.



Highlights:

  • Up to 300,000 American children are trafficked each year.
  • The most important thing to help recovery is mentors.
    • "We don't need pity, we don't need handouts, we need a mentor."
  • Minimum $10,000 a month to run these homes.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Texas Tax Day Tea Party Rally


"And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s."
Matthew 22:21

Texas State Capitol -- Today's tea party rally at the Capitol drew a crowd of several hundred; selected videos are posted below.

Rep. Pat Fallon:



Highlights:
  • Move election day to tax day.
  • Don't believe a word any elected official says.
  • "If we don't stay active, we're doomed."



Highlights:
  • We have to be engaged or you get the government you ignore.
  • We're winning but we haven't won yet.
  • No one wanted to show up at our events six years ago.
  • Now they're fighting over which taxes to cut.



Highlights:
  • Tea Party has succeeded where far left failed.
  • Breitbart would be proud.
  • Everyday people are the only ones who are going to fix the border.
  • A lot of Mexico corruption is also in South Texas.



Highlights:
  • They know we're watching.
  • Today, technology allows like minded folks to network.
  • We've changed the look of the Republican party.
  • Senate has passed 14 priority bills.
  • Texas is now the 12th largest economy in the world.



Highlights:

  • Texas House has not delivered.
  • The process is getting micromanaged.
  • The House is moving slower than ever.
  • In less than 7 weeks, these idiots go home.
  • Pre-K = Cradle to grave daycare.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

#RefusetoClick: How Pornography tends to beget Trafficking


"I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness."
Romans 6:19

Whether you like it or not, when you generate traffic for an online pornographic video, this is what you are helping to financially support:



Highlightx:

  • 85% of young men watch porn.
  • "Your fantasy is Anna's nightmare."
  • "Chances are she faces STD's and HIV."
  • "Fighting Human Trafficking then watching porn is like protesting a corrupt politician then donating to his campaign."
  • Anna's still stuck in your fantasy after you click away.
  • You can take away the demand.
  • You can simple refuse to click.

Pro-Life Update: More State Affairs shenanigans


“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I sanctified you;
I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”
Jeremiah 1:5

Heading into what will surely be another contentious state affairs hearing tomorrow night, Texas Right to Life's vlog this week recounts what happened last week:



Highlights:
  • State affairs launched attacks last week
    • It would be funny if it weren't so serious.
  • No committee member discussed actual substance.
  • TxRTL has been meeting with stakeholders since 2002.
  • HB2315 doesn't define the term "discrimination."
  • HB 3130 currently being strengthened.

First Amendment Tuesday: Whatever week this is


"and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel,"
Ephesians 6:19

Eventful First Amendment Tuesday this morning:

Tony McDonald (Empower Texans):



Highlights:
  • Craddick previously fired a parliamentarian.
  • Stickland's amendment is germane.
  • 10 members can appeal the ruling of the chair.
  • If they kill constitutional carry, hold them accountable.



Highlights:
  • HB 3704 by Drew Springer -- Bad Bill (at least in its current form)
    • Death Panels redux
    • Bill has 5 GLARING "exceptions.
  • "We're up against big medicine."
  • Tan Parker attempting to pass pro-life consensus bills.
  • Beware "caption-only" messaging bills.
  • 1 solid bill that makes it's way through the process can save 10,000 to 20,000 lives annually.



Highlights:
  • You can meet with members outside the House chamber.
  • "We don't know what the Supreme court is going to do on the marriage issue."
  • Bill filed yesterday on religious freedom issue.
  • HB 2801 up tomorrow in state affairs: Keep bathrooms to your birth gender.
    • Author's note: SIGH...how is this even an issue?!?



Highlights:

  • American laws for American courts pending in committee.
  • HB 1835 -- Good toll road bill.
    • Tolling existing roads is double taxation.
  • EMP protection bill hearing tomorrow.