Summary of Several Major Concerns with Mental Health Legislation Push in Texas

We started the 86th Texas Legislative Session to work on our usual issues – religious liberty, free speech, parental rights, education, life, national security, human trafficking, and foster care reform.

By February we knew our entire legislative session would be side-tracked by an issue that impacts most of the above mental health.

Here’s why you should be concerned:

Bills like SB10 and SB11 started coming to the forefront, promising school safety, yet threatening family security. By March, dozens and dozens of mental health bills had been filed. We began finding familiar words from our work on foster care, education and the sex-Ed issue. Words like “social-emotional learning”, “adverse childhood experiences”, “healthy relationships”, “trauma-informed care” – all controversial and without consensus even among professionals.
(https://thenationalpulse.com/commentary/new-study-shows-dangers-ineffectiveness-socialemotional-learning/, http://sbtexas.com/am-site/media/sel-presentation.pdf, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/stress-relief/201709/trauma-informed-approaches-the-goodand-the-bad)

Why are these words in mental health bills and now programs being mandated for K-12?

We understand some people have serious mental health problems. While improvements in mental health must always be considered, we believe existing laws and programs are sufficient to support those.

What are we doing creating an expansive government bureaucracy?


THE TOP 5 – MAY 20, 2019

1.   Campus Free Speech bill still alive and being tweaked

It is so important that we protect free speech on campus. Please call today on SB18.

“Leaders of several groups — including the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Environment Texas, the Texas Eagle Forum and the Texas Press Association — signed a joint letter to members of the House urging that various provisions be incorporated into SB18, including the prohibition on withdrawing invitations to speakers who have already been invited and a requirement to suspend second offenders or explain why they weren’t suspended.”

Read more here and call your legislators to support this important bill. 

2. Let’s support Rep. Mayes Middleton is keeping cities and counties from hiring lobbyists with taxpayer money. 

Call your House reps. and tell them to support SB29 in the Texas House to bar cities and counties from hiring lobbyists and this bill would also increase reporting requirements. This is so important for our state. 

3. Keep calling on the Chick-fil-A bill. The fight is not over yet. 

Call your State Representative and tell them to vote YES on the SB 1978 Chick-Fil-A bill to protect the religious liberties of all business owners to be able to give to ministries, churches, and non-profits without fear of retaliation from local governments on their businesses. 
 
4. Be Educated: Austin Sex Education

Austin is getting a new sex education curriculum that is concerning for TX families.  Austin ISD plans to use with all middle schoolers a Planned Parenthood program from Massachusetts entitled “Get Real: Comprehensive Sex Education That Works.” 
“Parents soon will get their first glimpses at drafts of the Austin school district’s revised sex education lessons, which for the first time will introduce topics such as sexual orientation, gender identity and sexually transmitted diseases in elementary school.”

Read the full article here.

5. 10 Day Rule Legislation Died in the House this morning, but please keep this family in your prayers. 

We have all watched the agonizing journey of Carolyn Jones as we have fought for the 10-day rule to protect human life after a hospital decides they will no longer treat a patient. Senator Bryan Hughes’ legislation passed the Senate but just died in the House today. 

Texas Right to Life helped transfer Carolyn Jones out of Memorial Hermann to a new facility after the hospital refused to issue dialysis. Read about it here. Please continue to pray for this precious family and we will start creating a movement to battle this again. We will not forget. 

Trayce Bradford, President of Texas Eagle Forum

Mental Health Faith & Family Day Handout

We as Texans and parents are deeply concerned about mental health legislation such as HB10, SB10, SB11, SB1893, HB822, HB1536, HB 1069, HB198, HB204. The addition of 150 mental health bills in the 86th Texas Legislature is very concerning, both from a cost and liberty perspective. We know there are people who need help, but this answer must not come at making it prescriptive for everyone, expanding government control and mandates via adding school mental health clinics and services, mental health curriculum, student assessments, a state-wide mental health consortium that establishes a new government bureaucracy, grants and programs to research nebulous behavioral health, expanded authority for CPS and added new burdens for foster parents. These are only some of the many measures seeking to be legislated.

There are many mental health resources currently available in Texas. Existing laws and programs can provide support to those in need. To name a few there is Trauma Informed Care (TIC) training already mandated at DFPS; the Statewide Collaborative on Trauma Informed Care was launched by the Texas Supreme Court to elevate trauma-informed policy in the child welfare system; Trauma-Informed Care Consortium of Central Texas functions to bring together organizations as a networking hub for sharing information as well as trainings for health/mental health professionals, school personnel, law enforcement and juvenile justice professionals; Houston has a similar networking hub called the The Center for School Behavioral Health at Mental Health America of Greater Houston. State law already requires child welfare, juvenile justice, and state hospital systems to train professionals, staff, and caregivers in understanding the effects of trauma. Texas Legislature passed laws in 2017 authorizing trauma-informed care training as part of continuing education for teachers and principals.

1. Here are some fluid terms used on a regular basis throughout these bills and we have hoped to define some of the most prevalent. This is a soft science. There is no professional or medical consensus on the definitions that the Texas Legislature is seeking to define and mandate:

a) Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) –There are differing definitions and no consensus. While trauma is often a root cause of mental illness and dealing with trauma with therapy and other modalities is far preferable to psychiatric drugs, people react to and deal with trauma in a multitude of different ways. Within many Texas bills we are seeing TIC definitions such as “interpersonal or relational trauma, experiences that are a consequence of historical, cultural, systemic, institutional, and multi-generational abuse, the impact that traumatic experiences have on the brain, biology, body, beliefs, and behavior…”

Trauma-Informed Care can be interpreted and adapted to obtain many different agendas. For example:

*Adopting a Trauma-Informed Approach for LGBTQ Youth, A Two-Part Resource for Schools and Agencies- “Adopting a trauma- informed approach agencywide or schoolwide reflects a commitment to change culture…” -https://healthysafechildren.org/sites/default/files/Trauma_Informed_Approach_LGBTQ_Youth_2.pdf

*A Trauma Informed Approach for Adolescent Sexual Health (promotes sex-education and contraception) -http://resourcesforresolvingviolence.com/wp-content/uploads/A-Trauma-Informed-Approach-for-Adolescent-Sexual-Health.pdf

Will it be considered trauma if a child and parent differ in their beliefs? Round RockISD “Community Health & Well Being LGBTQIA”

https://app.peachjar.com/flyers/692293/schools/35170?fbclid=IwAR16btOZiIebv8Yl_wLDEqwUIGK-oFvqfTCw- MAX4HuWvMbGyOSmRji3HSE , https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/my-once-beautiful-daughter/

Dr. Michael Scheeringa writes about his concerns and is one of the few that has not jumped on the bandwagon in the mental health field. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/stress-relief/201709/trauma-informed-approaches-the-good-and-the-bad https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/stress-relief/201803/the-myth-trauma-informed-care

b) Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) – The same concepts described for trauma-informed care holds true here as well.

ACES has a 10 point questionnaire used in all screenings and is called “a new understanding of human behavior that could change everything”. It has an ongoing list of what some have determined are childhood adversities. Parental conflict, insults, and others are listed as an ACE and need for intervention. See here- https://www.ncjfcj.org/sites/default/files/Finding%20Your%20ACE%20Score.pdf

c) Social Emotional Learning – (SEL) – self-awareness, self-management, social awareness… These are not based on your worldview as a parent but what is being input to the curriculum as one source states, “ Children are tracked electronically to see how well they are conforming to “social norms”.

SEL experts have a wide diversity of opinion of definitions on SEL. One NPR article had 9 different definitions for SEL. http://thefederalist.com/2016/10/19/schools-ditch-academics-for-emotional-manipulation/

d) Restorative Justice – There are several definitions- some which carry potential abuses of authority. A study by the Rand Corporation showed at best, mixed evidence of effectiveness- “Restorative justice is frequently presented to teachers as “evidence-based” and on the

cutting edge of “social justice” as something that works if they embrace it.” https://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/school-discipline- reform-media

e) Historical, systemic, cultural, multi-generational abuse – This seems to cover any and all perceptions one would have in how their life has been lived and reflection on family history. Systemic – Systemic refers to something that is spread throughout, system-wide, affecting a group or system, such as a body, economy, market or society as a whole.

f) Cultural humility – Basically being able to see your privilege, and your ability to overcome that along with micro-agression, micro- insults,micro-assaults and micro-invalidations.

g) Interpersonal or Relational Trauma from abuse, neglect, maltreatment, or experiences that impact an individual’s brain, biology, behavior, beliefs or body – There are multiple research studies showing that psychiatry still has no actual studies showing a link between a gene or neurotransmitter level and any mental illness, so trying to define and standardize the effects of these various factors in mental illness can be dangerous. See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dilip-v-jeste-md/dsm-5_b_2280155.html), and http://edlibertywatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Child-Mental-health-Quotes-and-references1.pdf

2. Some of the Screenings and Assessments of Concern Currently Used:

a) ACE Questionnaire – https://www.ncjfcj.org/sites/default/files/Finding%20Your%20ACE%20Score.pdf

b) Recommended screenings and assessments by the Central Texas Trauma-Informed Care Consortium for children who attend school, pediatric offices, early childhood intervention, in home visits, child welfare system, juvenile justice,

etc. – https://www.traumatexas.com/trauma-screening/

c) TeenScreen admitted by its developer to have an 84% false positive rate. Mental screening is notoriously inaccurate, with several commonly used instruments having approximately 60-84% false positive rates. http://edlibertywatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Rutherford-Report-Final-Redacted.pdf

3. Questions to Ask :

a) Parental Rights and Transparency:

* Will there be a form to opt-in, provides the exact questions that will be asked, states clearly the rights of parents to refuse screenings, assessments,evaluations, recommendations for treatments, programs, or services with no threat of retaliation?

*Will there be data privacy issues and will parents receive access to their child’s FULL file?

* Will this increase CPS referrals (as the AISD Austin police officer testified in the HB10 hearing – 875 children last year alone were referred to CPS from AISD for some sort of mental health problem determined by the school)? The government is supposed to presume parents are fit until the evidence shows otherwise – presumptions can be easily overcome by presenting evidence. Results of trauma screenings and assessments could eventually be entered as evidence and burden of proof that DFPS has to meet is very low.

*Many of the mental health bills refer to early intervention and referrals to mental health services and treatments. What precisely does this mean and what if parents do not agree?

Examples: Aliah Gleason case (2005) – teen was forcibly taken from school and incarcerated in a mental institution & given 12 different meds without parental consent after a mental screening: http://ahrp.org/mental-health-screening-a-form-of-child-abuse-children-drugged- without-parental-consent/.

A Detroit mother fought a five-year legal battle against a state agency that insisted on removing her daughter from the home and administering to her a psychotropic drug that caused serious side effects.https://www.clickondetroit.com/news/charges-dismissed-against- detroit-mother-maryanne-godboldo-due-to-aneurysm.

b) Religious Service Providers/Convictions:

*Will mandated training programs and screenings for schools, pediatricians, child welfare services, judges, lawyers, etc. mean that Christian programs/trauma models/treatments get pushed out and not allowed by state contracts or grants?

It is a concern that Christian organizations, counseling services may be pushed out, be forced or have to compromise their principles to receive government money

c) Subjectivity in Diagnosis\Unpredictable Outcomes:

*What are the outcomes – so what if you can label people as being predisposed to various diseases based on trauma or adverse childhood experiences – then what? Mental-health diagnostic criteria are readily admitted to be subjective and difficult to use in children, all who undergo rapid developmental changes. Under the right circumstances, everyone could be considered “at risk” for mental-health problems. This assessment comes from multiple prominent psychiatric organizations including the World Health Organization, U.S. Surgeon General, and American Psychiatric Association.

*Many school/mass shootings and stabbings have involved psychiatric drugs. More mental- health screening and treatment would not have stopped this. https://thenationalpulse.com/commentary/turning-teachers-psychotherapists-will-not-prevent-school-shootings/

4. Some of the Organizations of Concern Promoting these “Mental Health” Programs Nationwide:http://learningforaction.com/lfa-blogpost/funders-practice-trauma-informed-principles

*Hogg Foundation – https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2017/9/15/hogg-foundation-for-mental-health-grants-teenagers

*Robert Woods Johnson Foundation – progressive in socialized medicine and bemoans the effect of climate change on “health and equity”; https://www.rwjf.org/en/library/research/2018/06/applying-an-equity-lens-to-social-emotional-and-academic- development.html


Analysis of HB19

This bill is the Non-Physician Mental Health Professional language that was also embedded in the original SB11, Committee Sub for HB17, and probably other bills.

It allows Local Mental Health Authorities to hire non-physician MH professionals to work with schools.

  • School Districts don’t have to access these services.
  • The non-physician MH professionals may not treat or advise on treatment of individual children.

Because the main functions of the non-physician mental health professional appear to be related to advancing agendas, and creating awareness, it isn’t clear why we even need this bill. Schools already have mental health activities.

Our position:

  • This sounds like a PR and marketing activity for mental health services.
  • While suicide prevention is desirable, it seems as though this position simply ramps up the status quo.  The status quo is, at the least, ineffective.
  • We’d rather see the money spent doing a detailed investigation of our state’s suicide prevention activities to determine why, after investing millions of dollars and training tens of thousands of school personnel, these programs have not reduced teen suicides. In fact, they are going up.


Analysis of SB11

Analysis of HCSB11

This bill has a number of provisions aimed at school safety. However, it still  erodes privacy, liberty, fails to warn parents or children that school Threat Assessment Teams are watching over, and potentially questioning their non-dangerous children, with no Miranda warning, no notification that questions have been asked.

While state provisions requiring parental consent remain intact, and while there is a provision on parental notification if they think your child is suicidal, this simply isn’t enough protection.

The fact is, Threat Assessment Teams are geared toward considerable questioning and intelligence. We do not know the track record of threat assessment teams at preventing anything.

Absent an immediate and obvious threat, there is no screening, assessment, or interview that can dependably prevent violence. Even the American Psychiatric Association has stated that when it comes to long term predictions of future dangerousness, they get it wrong in at least two out of three cases.

Texas School Safety Center forwards a number of model policies or programs from the Secret Service and from other states. All are intrusive, many envision some very open ended questions that could result in law enforcement or other contact. In at least one model, parents are informed LAST.

Here are links to recommended questions and practices:

https://txssc.txstate.edu/tools/tam-toolkit/implementation

Model from L.A. County Unified School District is particularly problematic. It’s next to the last links on the page linked above.

Section 1: Facilities standards- has to do with construction or retrofitting of buildings.

Section 2: Non-physician mental health professionals- These are to forward unspecified initiatives that are required under state law, required under a memorandum of understanding, or that may be forwarded by the Texas Education Agency or others.

They are employed by Local Mental Health Authorities.

These non-physician mental health facilities may not treat or assess an individual student.

This contrasts with HB18, where such “professionals” may assess or treat an individual student.

HHSC is required to submit an annual report of outcomes of such programs.

Section 4: It appears that Charter Schools are required to have “healthy relationship” training, and are subject to school safety requirements.

Section 9 of the bill allows the School Health Advisory Council to recommend the required number of hours of age appropriate education on a number of things under existing law. Adds suicide.  After sex ed, it adds healthy relationships.

Under the strategies the SHAC may recommend are strategies to increase parental awareness of risky behaviors, mental illness, etc… and also make them aware of community resources.

School board has to approve healthy relationship components based on certain statutory criteria, including evidence based, age appropriate (page 15, beginning on line 22)

Section 11: School Safety Training, by Texas School Safety in conjunction with Governor’s Office of Homeland Security.

Page 19. Line 23 Psychological safety practices during a disaster or the recovery phase  has to align with practices under Texas Health and Safety Code Sec.161.325- these are the suicide prevention best practices already required by the state. Includes suicide prevention, grief informed, trauma informed practices.

Psychological safety practices agreed on by TEA Commissioner and Texas School Safety Center.

Page 25, beginning on line 19: THREAT ASSESSMENT AND SAFE AND SUPPORTIVE SCHOOL PROGRAM TEAM.

(1)  “Harmful, threatening, or violent behavior” includes behaviors, such as verbal threats, threats of self harm, bullying, cyberbullying, fighting, the use or possession of a weapon, sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating violence, stalking, or assault, by a student that could result in:

(A)  specific interventions, including mental health or behavioral supports;

(B)  in-school suspension;

(C)  out-of-school suspension; or

(D)  the student’s expulsion or removal to a disciplinary alternative education program or a juvenile justice alternative education program.

Page 26, line 17: (3)  a systemic and coordinated multi-tiered support system that addresses school climate, the social and emotional domain, and behavioral and mental health; and

Page 27, line 12: (d)  The superintendent of the district shall ensure that the members appointed to each team have expertise in counseling, behavior management, mental health and substance use, classroom instruction, special education, school administration, school safety and security, emergency management, and law enforcement.  A team may serve more than one campus of a school district, provided that each district campus is assigned a team.

The upside of this team is that it includes people with special education and school administration. This could actually be a good thing because they are more likely to have the training and experience to ensure parental rights are respected and parental and civil rights protections of special ed law are followed. Another advantage is that in the event of litigation, no one can say they were ignorant of these rights.

Page 28, beginning on line 1:

(f)  Each team shall:

(1)  conduct a threat assessment that includes:

(A)  assessing and reporting individuals who make threats of violence or exhibit harmful, threatening, or violent behavior in accordance with the policies and procedures adopted under Subsection (c); and

(B)  gathering and analyzing data to determine the level of risk and appropriate intervention, including:

(i)  referring a student for mental health assessment; and

(ii)  implementing an escalation procedure, if appropriate based on the team’s assessment, in accordance with district policy;

Concern with this section is that parental consent is not specifically delineated. Also, escalation is not defined. Am concerned that escalation procedure could include CPS or other referral.

Page 28, beginning on line 23:

(g)  On a determination that a student or other individual poses a serious risk of violence to self or others, a team shall immediately report the team’s determination to the superintendent.  If the individual is a student, the superintendent shall immediately attempt to inform the parent or person standing in parental relation to the student.  The requirements of this subsection do not prevent an employee of the school from acting immediately to prevent an imminent threat or respond to an emergency.

This section provides at least some protection because it shunts the process over to existing statute for suicide prevention, which provides for parental consent.

ChildFind portions of special ed law also protect parental consent prior to assessments.

This language is in both bills in some form.

Page 36, beginning on line 43-  school safety allotment must pay for:

(3)  school safety and security training and planning, including:

(A)  active shooter and emergency response training;

(B)  prevention and treatment programs relating to addressing adverse childhood experiences; and

(C)  the prevention, identification, and management of emergencies and threats, including:

(i)  providing mental health personnel and support;

(ii)  providing behavioral health services; and

Download PDF version below:


Analysis of HB18: A Framework for Expanded School Mental Health

While this bill is characterized as just being a “framework” for school mental health, it actually makes fundamental changes in the focus of our schools.

1. This bill broadens the definition of mental illness, by calling it a “mental condition.” A mental condition is defined like this: (A) constitutes a mental illness, disease, or disorder, other than or in addition to epilepsy, substance abuse, or an intellectual disability; or (B) impairs a person ’s social, emotional, or educational functioning and increases the risk of developing a condition described by Paragraph (A).

We already have a problem “definition creep” in mental health. Each new edition of psychiatry’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (it’s catalogue of disorders) expands the list of disorders that psychiatrists can diagnose and bill for:

This sort of definition creep has no doubt contributed to overdiagnosis and over drugging of our society at large. Psychiatry’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual lists “disorders.” (These are literally voted into existence, and there is considerable drug company influences on the panels that vote these disorders into existence) The DSM was first published in 1952 and had 128 diagnoses. The 5th edition of the DSM was published in 2013 and had 541 diagnoses.

This sort of definitional creep leads to things like: Reading disorder, math disorder, disorder of written expression, gaming disorder. While one would hope that these everyday problems would be managed academically or with parental discipline.  https://psychcentral.com/disorders/

“Unlike our definitions of ischemic heart disease, lymphoma, or AIDS, the DSM diagnoses are based on a consensus about clusters of clinical symptoms, not any objective laboratory measure.”– Thomas Insel, Former Director– National Institute of Mental Health

– Thomas Insel, Former Director– National Institute of Mental Health

2. Positive behavior supports and interventions, grief and trauma-informed practices are among the practices that must be added to District Improvement Plans. These plans serve as guidance to districts for improving student performance. Implementation of Comprehensive School Counseling plan also incorporated. (page 2, line 33)

3. Continuing education for school principals must include evidence or researched based practices approved by the Commissioner of Education in consultation with the Health and Human Services Commission, on such things as how to effectively implement the Comprehensive School Counseling Program, mental health programs addressing a mental health condition. (page 4, line 10)

4. Continuing education for School Counselors must include: counseling students concerning mental health conditions and substance abuse, including through the use of grief-informed and trauma informed interventions and crisis management and suicide prevention strategies, and effective implementation of a comprehensive school counseling program. (page 4, beginning on line 57)

5. Staff development- includes recognizing students with mental health conditions, or at risk for suicide, how grief and trauma affect student learning and behavior and how evidence-based, grief-informed, and trauma-informed strategies support the academic success of students affected by grief and trauma (page 5, beginning on line 11)

6. Mental Health Education: (Page 6, beginning on line 54) (ii) mental health, including instruction about mental health conditions, substance abuse, skills to manage emotions, establishing and maintaining positive relationships, and responsible decision-making; science, risk factors, causes, dangers, consequences, signs, symptoms, and treatment substance abuse, including the use of illegal drugs, abuse of prescription drugs, abuse of alcohol such as by binge drinking or other excessive drinking resulting in [and] alcohol poisoning, inhaling solvents, and other forms of substance abuse. The agency shall compile a list of evidence-based substance abuse. (nobody knows causes, and the science isn’t settled)

7. Page 6, line 58- Local SHAC’s decide number of hours of MH and other health education K-12, as well as integrating the curriculum with health and mental health services provided at the campus, including by a private provider (page 7, line 24).

8. (8, beginning on line 55) Mandates the planning, establishment, and evaluation of a Comprehensive School Counseling Program.

9. Gives the school district the authority to contract with a non-physician mental health professional. This includes a masters level psych nurse. Can these prescribe? (page 9, beginning on line 10) Unlike other bills, this professional is not prohibited from treating individual children.

10. (Page 9, line 66)- expands who in the school can recommend a student be seen for a psych eval. It expands it to non-physician MH professionals hired by or under contract to the school. Nothing in this bill prevents the non-physician MH professional from also working for a psych hospital or other program that could benefit from such referrals. This makes clear that the district personnel can refer to the non-physician MH professional for evaluation.

11. (page 10, line 23, 24) Clarifies that MH and substance abuse services can be delivered by a school-based health center.

12. (Page 10, beginning on line 34) Changes consent requirements for school MH services. When original law was passed, it was amended to make it where a parent had to consent to each episode of MH services. Under this bill, the parent could consent to a series of treatments.

13. (page 10, beginning on line 64) Allows TEA and HHSC to come up with “guidelines” on how schools can partner with local mental health authorities or even private providers to increase student access to mental health services and how to make it billable under Medicaid.

14. (Page 34, beginning on line 6) HHSC MUST PROMOTE MH FIRST AID

Download PDF Version:


THE TOP 5 – MAY 6, 2019

1.   Call TODAY on SB11 – “School Safety” bill to be heard in the House Public Education Committee

They will hear this bill tomorrow on Tuesday, May 7th and it Has Morphed into what we believe is a highly dangerous bill. 

 Here are some highlights: 

·         School “multi-hazard” safety plans must include provisions for looking after the “psychological safety” of a child in the response and recovery phases of an emergency.

(page 13, beginning on line 19). What is psychological safety? 

·         A systemic and coordinated multitiered support system that addresses school climate, the social and emotional domain, and behavioral and mental health.(page 20, beginning on line 17) 

·         Each threat assessment team shall: (1) conduct a threat assessment that includes:

(A)   assessing and reporting individuals who make threats of violence or exhibit harmful, threatening, or violent behavior in accordance with the policies and procedures adopted under Subsection (c); and

(Think about the 7-year-old chewing his pop tart into the shape of a gun)

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/examiner-recommends-school-board-uphold-pop-tart-suspension/

(B)   gathering and analyzing data to determine the level of risk and appropriate intervention, including:

(i)                 referring a student for mental health assessment; and

(ii)                implementing an escalation procedure, if appropriate based on the team’s assessment, in accordance with district policy;

(page 22, beginning on line 1) 

·         (g) On a determination that a student or other individual poses a serious risk of violence to self or others, a team shall immediately report the team’s determination to the superintendent. If the individual is a student, the superintendent shall immediately attempt to inform the parent or person standing in parental relation to the student.      (page 22, beginning on line 19) 

It is deeply disturbing that a threat assessment team, including multiple disciplines, and possibly including multiple agencies appears to be able to assess your child, refer for mental health assessment, and only later does the bill mention parental notification.

Yes, existing statute makes clear that schools have to have parental consent before doing mental health screenings. But what about assessments? Can we have faith that “assessment” will be treated like “screening?” Will it be informed consent? 

How valid is consent when you are up against a Threat Assessment Team? 

Why should we trust this bill when so many of the documents on the School Safety Center Website are long on questions and in some cases the parents are the last to know?

This bill has morphed from being a decent bill that happened to have some dangerous language into being one of the worst bills of the session. We strongly encourage you to immediately call all House Public Education Committee offices. And plan to show up in force on Tuesday. 

We know we’re asking a lot. We know you’ve already done a lot.  But this we have to do. 

Here’s where it starts. Call these offices and ask them to vote NO on SB11: 

Dan Huberty, Chair512-463-0520Rep. Ken King(512) 463-0736
Diego Bernal, Vice512-463-0532Rep. Morgan Meyer(512) 463-0367
Rep. Alma Allen(512) 463-0744Rep. Scott Sanford(512) 463-0356
Rep. Steve Allison(512) 463-0686Rep. James Talarico(512) 463-0670
Rep. Trent Ashby(512) 463-0508Rep. Gary VanDeaver(512) 463-0692
Rep. Keith Bell(512) 463-0458  
Rep. Harold Dutton Jr.(512) 463-0510  
Rep. Mary Gonzales(512) 463-0613  

      Call Governor Abbott’s Public Opinion Line: (512) 463-1782 

If you thought it was important to show up to try to testify against SB10, read the full text of the engrossed version of SB11 here:

https://capitol.texas.gov/tlodocs/86R/billtext/pdf/SB00011E.pdf#navpanes=

2. Call your Senators again on School Finance HB3 TODAY. 
It was rushed out of committee and the sales tax swap is just wrong. Texas should NOT be raising taxes. 

Only Senator Bettencourt, Senator Hall and Senator Paxton questioned this bill as it was being rushed through committee. This plan is wrong when we have a $9 billion dollar surplus. We are just spending, spending, spending this legislative session with no regard to the long term effects for our state. Americans for Tax Reform, the Heritage Foundation, and Texas Public Policy Foundation have been writing about Governor Abbott’s spending spree. Read this full email from Grassroots We the People on this bill here.  Please call your State Senator today and tell them to vote NO on HB3. 

3. We need FREE speech on college campuses. PERIOD!

Please call your legislators now on HB 2100 to protect free speech on college campuses. The conservatives are now the ones that they are attempting to shut down, ban, and silence. This can NOT be in our nation. The big deciders on this bill will be Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick. They have all endorsed a weak Senate bill when it passed. But that was before the great and much stronger House bill passed.

We need to make a tremendous difference at this critical moment by reaching out to let Gov. Abbott and Lt. Gov. Patrick know that the House bill, HB 2100 is the better bill.

There is some real momentum behind the stronger House bill. Just as it was being debated, a leftist set off a smoke bomb to disrupt a pro-life talk at the University of Texas, Austin. The bomb caused a fire alarm and the whole building had to be evacuated. There is outrage over this, and that has helped to build support for the stronger House bill.

Here is an article concerning  HB 2100 and about the smoke bomb disruption of the pro-life talk:

https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/smoke-bomb-disrupts-university-of-texas-austin-a-strong-speech-bill-is-passed/ 

4. Protect Vulnerable Texas patients by ending the 10-day rule

From our friends at Texas Right to Life – Take action now for LIFE!  Now is our chance to END the horrible 10-Day Rule!  The Texas Senate is slated to vote soon on a bill that would repeal the anti-Life 10-day countdown forced on vulnerable hospital patients.

But the powerful medical lobby is working overtime to deceive your senators and kill this life-saving bill.  They disguise this form of involuntary euthanasia as “ending patient suffering.” 

Friend, please contact your state senator and tell him or her to stand with you and repeal the anti-Life 10-Day Rule.  No family should watch their loved ones hastened to their deaths against their will. 

5. Pray for Israel as they battle back against the recent rocket attacks from Gaza. 

Over 600 rockets have been shot, several people injured, and four people dead. Our ally in the Middle East has a strong ally in America, but continue to pray for peace in the Middle East and continue to let the White House know that we stand with Israel. 

Read the article here from Fox News. We are in the final stretch of the legislative session, but now the time to be the most vigilante. Thanks for calling and making a difference for our state. 

Trayce Bradford, President of Texas Eagle Forum

SB11 Headed for the Senate Floor

Senate Bill 11, which mixes needed school safety provisions with non-physician mental health professionals and intrusive Threat Assessment Teams that ask highly personal and incriminating questions, is headed for the Senate floor, likely this week. Although the bill isn’t currently on the Intent Calendar we see on the internet, the bill could hit the floor as early as tomorrow. 

SB11, as you remember, came out of the blue, was filed one day, and then the very next day it was heard in committee. This meant that hardly anybody had time to study the bill. 

Thanks to your noise and a few brave testifiers who raised concerns, the bill, which should have moved quickly through the Senate, has been held up since the committee hearing March 5th. We were asked at that time to speak with the committee staff and see if we could get the bill amended to address our concerns. After repeated attempts to visit, or get a return phone call or e-mail from committee staff, we give up. 

Here are the main problems with the current version of SB11: 

·        Puts new mandates on local school districts.

·        Puts non-physician mental health professionals in our schools to create “awareness” of mental illness and push agendas. Allows Texas Education Agency to name its own initiatives.

·        Mandates school Threat Assessment Teams. Threat Assessment Teams are charged with identifying children at risk, asking touchy-feely questions.

·        According to Texas School Safety Center, many of the solutions to children who may become dangerous involve mental health services.

·        Mental health services did not stop Devin Patrick Kelley (Sutherland Springs), Kendrex White (UT stabbing), James Holmes (Aurora, Co.), Eric Harris (Columbine).

·        Protects the “psychological safety” of kids, but doesn’t define it.

·        Threat Assessment Teams address a number of mental health components. 

At the end of the day, the perception of potential violence, like the perception of mental illness, is subjective. It’s in the eyes of the beholder. Remember the 7 year-old suspended from his Maryland elementary school for chewing his Pop Tart in the shape of a pistol?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/resolution-years-later-in-boys-suspension-over-pastry-gun/2016/10/25/6bc337de-96f5-11e6-bc79-af1cd3d2984b_story.html

This bill needs lots of noise and lots of pressure. 

We urge you to call your Senator and ask him or her to vote NO on SB11! You can find your Senator by going to https://fyi.capitol.texas.gov/.

Again – this is a good time to make noise!


The Top 5 – April 1, 2019

1.   Watch our press conference to oppose the Republican-driven Big Nanny State Mental Health Bill

From our press release…
Austin, Texas (Thursday, March 28, 2019) – Today, a group of influential, long-time conservative leaders will hold a news conference to push back on Big Nanny State Mental Health bills being promoted by Republicans in the Texas House and Senate.
The Coalition for the Protection of Parental Rights will express strong objections to mental health legislation that grows state spending and state government, heaps more burdens on teachers, and threatens parental rights, privacy, and gun rights.
Speakers will include Cindy Asmussen, Ethics & Religious Liberty Advisor, Southern Baptists of Texas Convention; Trayce Bradford, President, Texas Eagle Forum; Pastor Stephan Broden, State Republican Executive Committeeman for Senate District 23; JoAnn Fleming, Executive Director, Grassroots America – We the People PAC; Barbara Harless, Co-founder, North Texas Citizens Lobby; Alice Linahan, Vice-President, Women on the Wall; and Rachel Malone, Executive Director, Gun Owners of America/Texas.
Watch it here.

2. Read the details on the mental health bills in the Texas LegislatureCindy Asmussen and I detailed all of the issues with these bills before Texas Faith and Family Day.Please read about them here. After you are educated on these, PLEASE call your legislators and talk to them about these important issues. 

3. Attorney General Ken Paxton sent a letter to the City of San Antonio concerning Chick-fil-AFrom his press release last week: “Attorney General Ken Paxton today sent a letter to the mayor and council members for the City of San Antonio, informing them he is opening an investigation surrounding the city’s decision to exclude Chick-fil-A from a concession contract that City staff recommended. By separate letter, he also requested that Secretary Elaine Chao of the United States Department of Transportation open an investigation into the city of San Antonio’s potential violation of federal law and Transportation Department regulations when the city banned Chick-fil-A from operating a restaurant in the San Antonio International Airport based on the company’s religious beliefs. Last Thursday, the San Antonio city council voted to remove Chick-fil-A from a new airport concessionaire contract, citing Chick-fil-A owners’ religious beliefs.”

Please call the AG’s office and thank him for this action. (512) 463-2050

4. Oppose HB 850- Come to Austin tomorrow for the hearing

From our friends at Texas Values:

“On Tuesday, April 2, the Texas House Business & Industry Committee will hold a public hearing on HB 850, a dangerous #BanTheBible bill that would create special protected classes based on “sexual orientation and gender identity/expression” in the Texas Labor Code. Hiding under the disguise of “sexual orientation and gender identity” (SOGI) language, this bill would create new government power to ban free expression of biblical beliefs and would specifically threaten the religious freedom of private business owners across Texas.

We need grassroots Texans – especially business owners, pastors, church employees, leaders of faith-based nonprofits, and any Texan that cares about faith and religious freedom – to come testify against this #BanTheBible bill:

What: House Business & Industry Committee Public Hearing
When: Tuesday, April 2, 2019 at 10:30 AM or upon final adjournment/recess
Where: Committee room E2.016 in the Texas Capitol”5. Progressive Privilege: A Threat We’ve Got to Flush

Watch this video from our friend Kevin Freeman on his show: Economic War Room.

Thank you, friends. Let’s keep it up. 

Trayce Bradford, President of Texas Eagle Forum

The Top 5 – March 25, 2019

The season is getting intense and more action every day. Please make calls to your legislators this week, come down to Austin to testify with us, and educate others. We are doing this together. We are the grassroots army!

THE TOP 5- MARCH 25, 2019

1.   Born Alive Legislation (HB 16) hearing on Monday

Please call your legislators and let them know you are in support of this important piece of legislation put forth by Rep. Jeff Leach and Senator Lois Kolkhorst that would strengthen protections for infants who survive abortion procedures. We, here at Texas Eagle Forum, support this bill wholeheartedly. Let’s do here in TEXAS what New York was not willing to do. 

2. Securing the Grid legislation hearing this week. Call your legislators and tell them to support House Bill 400 by Rep. Tony Tinderholt and the companion Senate bill by Senator Bob Hall to make sure your electric grid is secured here in Texas. If the federal government won’t do their Constitutional responsibility to protect the citizens of the United States then we here in Texas should finally do it here. The hearing on this important bill is this week, so please call.

3. The House Budget is UP this week – it is time to get serious. This Wednesday is the day that the House budget (HB1) and supplemental budget (SB500) will be on the House floor. This is usually one of the most fun and heated days of session. If you have an opportunity to watch, you should! We will be urging legislators to vote NO on HB 1 because it is above our Conservative Texas Budget limits and to vote YES on SB 500 because it is below our limits. The Texas budget is one of the most important issues each legislative session. Let your voice be heard NOW on the budget.

Here is a one pager from TPPF that compares the 2020-2021 budget figures

Here is an op-ed on the Conservative Texas budget.

Also one on Property Tax Reform and where we are in the middle of the session. 

4. End Renewable Energy Subsidies – Hearing on Monday(Taken directly from an email by the Texas Public Policy Foundation)The House Committee on State Affairs will discuss subsidies and decommissioning requirements for wind farms in a hearing Monday at 10:30 a.m. 

The Texas Legislature should end subsidies for renewable energy generators that harm the reliability of our grid and cost taxpayers billions. Tell your legislators to protect the reliability of our grid by ending subsidies for wind farms!

Here are the facts:

  • Big renewable energy companies in Texas have received $18 BILLION in subsidies.
  • Renewable energy fails to perform when we need it most, leaving generators of reliable power to make up the difference—without the subsidies.
  • Huge subsidies for renewable generators artificially force prices down, making it impossible for reliable power generators to compete.

5. Eat at Chick-Fil-A this week

The city of San Antonio didn’t approve Chick-fil-A to be in the airport because they said Chick-fil-A has a “legacy of anti-LBGTQ behavior”. Can I say, RIDICULOUS?!! Read the article here and then go eat at a Chick-fil-A this week. 

Thank you, Patriots. 

Trayce Bradford, President of Texas Eagle Forum

Mental Health Faith & Family Day Handout

“We as Texans and parents are deeply concerned about mental health legislation such as HB10, SB10, SB11, SB1893, HB822, HB1536, HB 1069, HB198, HB204. The addition of 150 mental health bills in the 86th Texas Legislature is very concerning, both from a cost and liberty perspective. We know there are people who need help, but this answer must not come at making it prescriptive for everyone, expanding government control and mandates via adding school mental health clinics and services, mental health curriculum, student assessments, a state-wide mental health consortium that establishes a new government bureaucracy, grants and programs to research nebulous behavioral health, expanded authority for CPS and added new burdens for foster parents. These are only some of the many measures seeking to be legislated…”


Download Handout to continue reading…


The Top 5 – March 18, 2019

This week is popping with bills getting hearings and many are coming up TODAY.  You are still needed even when you can’t make it down to Austin.  Please reach out to let your legislator know that you support or don’t support the legislation making its way through the process. Our voice is our strongest tool we have for making a difference. PLEASE be sure and read through to the end as there is a lot of information this week.  Also, please, keep an eye out as you may be getting updated action Items during the week since we are at the half way mark of session.

Our top 5 for this week. Please make some calls and join the action. 

Important Bills to make your voice heard on – 

1.   De-Funding Planned Parenthood

First SB22 (House companion HB1929) to Defund Planned Parenthood –  it will stop taxpayers and at the state and local level from funding the abortion industry.  Take a look at the actions you can take at the Texas Values action page on this issue. This is one I know we all care about deeply. 

2. Property Tax Reform

Here is a note from our friend Vance Ginn. 
Here’s an update on the budget picture for the House Approps Committee hearing today at 10 am. There is no change to the amount for property tax relief.I’ve put the CSSB500 (House) details from the attached PDFs (from the Approps Committee) into the attached spreadsheet. It is a massive supplemental bill with a total amount of $9.1 billion for the 2018-19 and 2020-21 budget periods. For just the 2018-19 biennium, excluding $1.17 B for Harvey recovery, to compare with the 2018-19 Conservative Texas Budget limits based on 4.5% in pop+inf of $3.6 B in state funds and $4.44 B in all funds, CSSB500 (House) includes:

  • $1.94 B in state funds
  • $4.26 B in all funds.

Both are below the CTB limits.For just the 2020-21 biennium, excluding $664 M for Harvey recovery, the amounts that will go towards the 2020-21 CTB limits based on 8% in pop+inf of $156.5 B in state funds and $234.1 billion in all funds, CSSB500 (House) includes:·         $3.03 B in state funds·         $3.03 B in all funds.Therefore, $3.03 billion will be added to HB 1, which looks to already be above the CTB limits.Recommendations:·         From the data provided for CSSB500, it is below the 2018-19 CTB limits and could be supported while noting that making a $658.2 million expense for a 13th payment to retired teachers is poor policy when TRS is already in a major crisis.·         From the data provided for CSSHB1 and the amounts from CSSB500, there is not enough information (can’t calculate total state funds or all funds) to completely compare with the 2020-21 CTB limits, but the introduced HB1 was above the CTB limits in both state funds and all funds and is increased from CSSB500 by $3 B. HB 1 should not be supported unless new information for the substitute indicates the totals for state funds and all funds, excluding Harvey recovery, are below the limits above.

Also read this article from Texas Public Policy Foundation to get educated on this issue. 

3. Ending Taxpayer Funded Lobbying – SB19 (CSSB29) Ending Taxpayer Funded Lobbying (Plank 217 in the party platform) will have a hearing on Monday.  Contact your Senators to let them know you support SB29.  Check out the FAQ page from our Friends at Grassroots America – We the People here.

4. Election Security – This bill (SB9) also has a hearing on Monday.  Please see the important material below from Grassroots America – We the People: 

Breaking News!
Hearing called for Monday 9 AM

Call to action to support

Senate Bill 9: Election Security
Relating to election integrity;
increasing criminal penalties;
creating a criminal offense;
creating civil penalties
By Senator Bryan Hughes, SD 1

Plain Language of the Bill

  • Requires that all voting systems have a voter verifiable paper audit trail and helps counties that have recently purchased systems without that component pay to retrofit their machines.
  • Uses the paper trail to conduct ongoing, randomized audits statewide to confirm that electronic systems are recording votes as voted. This program would begin as a pilot program for audits but go statewide once all paper systems are in place.
  • Allows law enforcement to conduct operations and investigations during elections to check for vulnerabilities in the electoral system or process.
  • Prohibits pre-checking boxes to affirm eligibility to register, like citizenship, on mass-mailed voter registration cards.
  • Requires those assisting curbside voters to provide more information about the nature of their relationship to the voter and the reason for assistance.
  • Requires those assisting other voters in the polling place to provide basic information including their name and relationship to the voter.
  • Requires those who seek to vote by an absentee ballot by mail due to a disability to affirmatively indicate that they meet the definition of “disabled” under the code, not merely check a box that makes a conclusory statement that they are disabled. Provides avenue for redress and civil penalties for election fraud that can be enforced by a candidate who has been harmed by the fraud.
  • Makes sure we are actually participating in the interstate crosscheck system to clean and maintain our voters rolls as previously directed by the legislature.
  • Requires an automatic recount if/when the total number of votes cast in a precinct exceeds the number of registered voters in that precinct.
  • ACTION #1: Testify in support of the bill on Monday, using points from above.

Public testimony will be limited to 2 minutes. If submitting written testimony, please provide 20 copies to the committee clerk with your name on each.

NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING

  • COMMITTEE: Senate State Affairs
  • TIME & DATE: 9:00 AM, Monday, March 18, 2019
  • PLACE: Senate Chamber

ACTION #2: Contact these Senators and tell them you support SB 9, using some of the points from above to say why you support it! Contact them by phone and on social media!

We’ve been working with Senator Hughes
and his staff for several months.
Please help support the bill by letting your voice be heard!

We must clean up election law & close loop holes
for corruption BEFORE the 2020 Elections!

5. Texas Faith and Family Day  – Updates

Thank you all who drove down to Austin last Wednesday to joined us for Faith and Family Day. For those of you who didn’t, you can watch our part here on Facebook where Cindy Asmussen and I talk about the disturbing mental health bills that are working their way through the legislature. Watch it here.


The Top 5 – February 25, 2019

Lt. Col. Allen West will be with us at Faith & Family Day. SB2 (Property Tax Reform) gets a hearing on Wednesday, Rep. Mayes Middleton leads charge to get rid of Taxpayer Funded Lobbying, and Gun Rights and the Pro-life issue should continue to be watched by all.

Our top 5 for this week. Please make some calls and join the action.

I am going to start today with comments from Michael Openshaw, one of the most reliable front line citizen activists that we have in our state and who just happens to be spending time in Austin this legislative session. Thank you, Michael.
 

“Beleaguered Property Owners! We need your voices IN Austin Wednesday, Feb 27th 8am! This is when the taxpayer-funded lobbyists and many of YOUR local officials will show up to say the voters should NOT be in control of rising tax bills! If you aren’t there, your voice won’t be heard!

SHARE! SHARE! SHARE!”

1.   SB2 (Property Tax Reform) hearing this Wednesday in Austin. 

Here is what you can do:

  • Go to Austin as a citizen and testify.
  • Go to Austin and sign in for SB2, but do not testify just be there in support and visit offices of legislators to share your concerns.

2. Support HB281 – the Taxpayer Funded Lobbyist Ban Bill

While you are in Austin on Wednesday or making calls on #1, please tell your representatives to support HB281 to stop taxpayer funded lobbying. Thank you to former Senator Konni Burton for all her work on this last session. Now new State Representative Mayes Middleton who is wasting no time getting down to business is leading the charge. It will be heard in the House State Affairs Committee on Wednesday as well. Here is an article about the bill. 

3. Gun Rights – HB238 and HB357

If you are interested in Gun Rights, there are several we are keeping an eye on during this session and specifically this week.  Rep. Matt Krause has HB238, which will be heard in the Homeland Security and Public Safety bill on Wednesday! HB 238 relating to the enforcement of certain federal laws regulating firearms, firearm accessories, and firearm ammunition with in the State of Texas.

Here is some helpful information regarding HB238 and what you can do from: 
Rachel Malone from Gun Owners of America. 

“Hey Texas, ever wish our state and local governments could be kept from enforcing federal gun regulations that aren’t anywhere in our state laws?

HB 238 by Rep. Matt Krause would take care of that, and it’s up for a hearing in the Texas House next Wednesday (2/27).

Want to help?

1. Ask your state rep to co-author HB 238 (call their Capitol office; you’ll talk with their staff)

2. Attend the hearing in Austin Wednesday morning

3. Watch the livestream

LINKS:

Bill info: https://capitol.texas.gov/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=86R&Bill=HB238

Bill text: https://capitol.texas.gov/BillLookup/Text.aspx?LegSess=86R&Bill=HB238

Hearing info:https://capitol.texas.gov/tlodocs/86R/schedules/html/C4202019022708001.HTM

Texas House livestream page: https://house.texas.gov/video-audio/

Find your rep’s Capitol office number: https://wrm.capitol.texas.gov/home”

Also keep an eye out for movement on HB357 – Constitutional Carry.  No Hearing date as of yet, but word is it could come sooner rather than later.  If you would like to be updated by those working closely on this issue check out this public Facebook page, Testify for Constitutional Carry (HB 357).

Bill information can be found on Texas Legislative Online TLO (I know most of you are becoming proficient at the TLO site 🙂  I again encourage you to sign up at: https://capitol.texas.gov/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=86R&Bill=HB357

I am sharing this for those of you who want to follow the progress of the bill and who authors or co-authors the legislation.You are able to read the language of the bill as well as follow who testifies for or against it when it has a hearing.  That is why I keep encouraging you to get signed up and rolling on the TLO. We may hold a quick training on some of these tools via a facebook live or call/webinar soon. 

Bunni Pounds, former Congressional candidate and TEF consultant, wrote a blog this last week called A Time to Weep on how our hearts get callous toward this issue and how we need to seek God to give us fresh eyes in our fight for the unborn.  I encourage you to read it here.

4. Life – Waiting but Staying Educated

Life – As we wait for the pro-life legislation to be moved in the 86th session, let us be clear what we are fighting for and what has been happening in our nation.   If we, as a nation, have so seared our hearts, minds and souls to the heinousness of killing a child than we, as a nation, will reap the consequences.  We must be a voice and be vigilant on life.

Check out the January addition of the Torch here on the Life issue here.

Here are also some incredible articles by Lifenews.

Article #1 – Senator Tim Kaine may oppose bill to stop infanticide because it protects a fetus who survives abortion. 

Article #2 – Planned Parenthood President: We Kill Babies because we “believe in life. We are being pro-life.”


Please consider financially supporting us at Texas Eagle Forum during this important legislative session. We know what we are doing together will make a difference for our state and our nation. 

Article #3 – Vermont House Approves Bill to Legalize Abortion Up to Birth “Baby shall not have Independent Rights under Law.” 

Article #4 – 12,000 Viable Unborn Babies are killed in Late Term Abortions Every Year

Article #5 – Watch: Activist Defends Infanticide: No Different than Abortion Because “Nothing Changes During Birth

5. Lt. Col. Allen West will be speaking at Faith and Family Day on March 13th

Come to Faith & Family Day this year with us. WE will be standing up together for our Christian values together in Austin. It is a fun, informative, and rewarding day as Texas Eagle Forum joins together with other organizations to lobby our legislators. Check out the schedule here on the website and register today. Here is the Facebook event to join and share as well.

Please consider financially supporting us at Texas Eagle Forum during this important legislative session. We know what we are doing together will make a difference for our state and our nation. 

Trayce Bradford, President of Texas Eagle Forum

The Top 5 – February 18, 2019

Beto O’Rourke FINALLY declares what we all knew before – He is for OPEN BORDERS. Congressman Michael Cloud has a bill that really highlights the national debt and Property Tax Reform has an opponent.

Our top 5 for this week. Please make some calls and join the action. 

I may have crossed over into complete session nerd-dom.  I am now signed up on Texas Legislative Online (remember that was one of the assignments from the last several weeks) and I am receiving all the updates for every committee hearing and a really LONG list of bills moving in the Senate. So much going on, but it is so rewarding to help track it for you.

Meetings are starting in House committees this week. Some of these committees have bills in front of them, others are organizational hearings, and others are invited testimony. We are keeping an eye on these and when we see bills moving that we care about, we will alert you (or you, please, keep me informed on bills you think we should be paying attention to). 

We do have a few “study” items and action items this week. Some of these issues are items we as conservatives agree on, but we may not always agree on the best way forward. The action items are hopefully helpful suggestions and beneficial information.

Thank you for stepping up and being engaged. Every day during this session so far, we have heard something that makes us shake our heads; but also every day there are brave men and women like yourself standing up for life, virtue, and truth.

1.   Let’s continue to track what is going on with the Texas border. 

Congressman Dan Crenshaw issued a challenge to Beto O’Rourke this last week and Beto responded. It went viral as former Congressman Beto O’Rourke finally told the world what we always knew all along during the last campaign – He is for open borders, period. Watch this!

Action Alert: State Reps. Briscoe Cain (512-463-0733) and Kyle Biedermann

(512-463-0325) are proposing legislation to allocate $2.5 billion  from the Texas Rainy Day Fund (current balance of $11 billion) to fund construction of border wall on the Texas  border using Texas companies. If you support this, please call the offices of these two Freedom Caucus members and thank them.

2. Property Tax Reform (SB2) passed out of committee, but…..

Read this article about Senator Kel Seliger’s opposition to this bill and then let’s all call his office today. Big, BIG ACTION ALERT!

Time to let Sen. Kel Seliger’s HEAR from you!

Austin: (512) 463-0131 or his District office in Amarillo (806) 374-8994

Please share this action alert with friends. 

3. Federal Action Alert – Cost Estimates Improvement Act (H.R. 638) by Michael Cloud 

Along with our friends at Freedom Works, we want to urge you to support the Cost Estimates Improvement Act introduced by Rep. Michael Cloud (Republican – TX-27). The Cost Estimates Improvement Act would require the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation to provide the costs of servicing the public debt when producing cost-estimates of legislation and a list of any duplicative activities covered by a bill. We talk about the national debt but this a practical step to do something about it. Read the blog by Freedom Works here.

Congressman Michael Cloud’s op-ed on the bill is here. 


Call your U.S. Congressman or Congresswoman now and ask them to co-sponsor this bill TODAY.

4. The Fight for Life – It never stops

Senator Bob Hall (SD-2) had a great run down on the Fight For Life in his weekly update that he emails out to his district. I wanted to share it with you because it gives you information on pro-life legislation.  There are more bills coming and we will get you that information asap!  

5. Join us at Faith and Family Day in Austin on March 13th

Please Join us at Faith and Family Day this year!  You will be glad you did as WE stand up for our Christian values together in Austin. It is a fun, informative, and rewarding day as Texas Eagle Forum joins together with other organizations to lobby our legislators. Check out the schedule here on the website and register today. Here is the Facebook event to join and share as well. 

This is how we make a difference. Please consider financially supporting us at Texas Eagle Forum during this important legislative session. We know what we are doing together will make a difference for our state and our nation. 

Trayce Bradford, President of Texas Eagle Forum

The Top 5 – February 11, 2019

The New Green Deal, the State of the Union, the State of the State and why we need to dig into what is really going on… Our top 5 for this week.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) were joined by Democratic lawmakers from both the House and Senate on February 7, 2019, to introduce Green New Deal legislation.

The Top 5 – February 11, 2019
This last week brought us a number of presentations from the State of the Union (SOTU) by President Trump to the State of the State (SOTS) by Governor Abbott, and lest we forget the unforgettable debut of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from NY presenting her New Green Deal. Each of these items are important not just for what they say but also what is missing. We have to listen closely and look closely.

Committees are up and running in Austin. The big news from last week was the hearings in the Senate by the first ever Property Tax Committee regarding that very thing – property tax reform. (SB2 and HB2 are identical bills). Citizens want to see relief above and beyond just reform. As home values go up, tax rates NEED to go down, not the other way around. The turnout by citizens’ participating last week was better than year’s past. I heard from one source that these hearings usually consist of tax-funded lobbyists and a few, if any citizens. This is a good sign that people are paying attention, caring about the issue, and showing up. We will need your voice when this comes up in the Texas House as well!

Bills are being filed and we want to keep an eye out on all the mental health bills. This is a an emergency issue on the Governor’s list and one we must be diligent to monitor. We are working with a team of folks to comb through this legislation. We will keep you all informed on next steps.

Here are some preparations and activities for this week of February 11th. From my family to yours – Happy Valentines Day!

1. Get your bills and issues on your alert list now.

The pace this session will pick up so please take some time now to get bills on the issues you are following on your alert list here.

2. Items to review – SOTU, SOTS, and AOC’s NGP

Please take a few minutes to look over the following items.

President Trump’s SOTU transcript
Governor Abbott’s SOTS transcript
Here is what the Governor listed as emergency items:

School finance
Teachers pay
Mental health
Property tax reform
Disaster relief

We agree with Governor Abbott listing school finance and property taxes as emergency items as well the other items, but what about the life issue. With states like NY and NM passing laws that allow the killing of babies that have been born alive, we hope we will hear from our governor on what Texas is doing to make sure this does not happen here. We also are not hearing from him on our broken immigration system. We know that focusing on caravans are the media’s way of controlling a narrative, but for those of us following what happens to daily along the border, are already familiar with the number of illegals crossing into our state.

Also please read about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s new green deal that she put forth this week. This is extremely troubling from one of the women in white at the State of the Union.

I am including the article on this Congresswoman’s ludicrous blathering because lately, I have been more than stunned at what people will support. Just as soon as it came out every Democrat Presidential Candidate came out in support of it. I had to wonder – have they read this thing? Some of our own Democrats in the Texas Legislature are supporting her as well, which is troubling. When you put her NGD together with her behavior, I have to wonder, how does anyone support this woman? Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez sat through the President’s speech where he is lauding our officers that had captured human traffickers and didn’t even clap. When he talked about our lowest unemployment in decades, nothing from her. And she sat on her hands as the President spoke of protecting the most vulnerable of us all, babies, and being a culture of life. Isn’t that what this New Green Deal of hers is all about – making life better for everybody? I guess not.

3. Updates on Property Tax Relief

If you want to get an idea of what was happening at the property tax hearing, listed below are several clips and analysis of the bills. If you are a homeowner, be sure and add SB2/HB2 to your Texas Legislative Online (TLO)list to follow the bills. We need you to weigh in when the House committee meets soon. Be sure and follow some sources that are focusing on this and school finance – be sure and follow some sources that are focusing on this, Appraisal Districts and school finance – reforming Robin Hood.”

Chairman Bettencourt opens SB2 Hearings

HB1333 by Rep. Matt Krause – Appraisal District Reform

SB689 by Senator Angela Paxton – Relating to the repeal of provisions requiring school districts to reduce their wealth per student to the equalized wealth level.

Texas Public Policy on Robin Hood

Vance Ginn and team – State of the State recap and SB2 recap

Conservative Texas Budget

4. A Response to Governor Ralph Northam

This is a wonderful response to the Governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam by Benjamin Watson. The Governor was whining about people calling him out for his support of a heinous bill filed that would allow abortion even when a mother is in labor. Unbelievable.

5. Continued Prayer for our Legislators

Remember to PRAY for all of the families of legislators, state leaders and staff. They make a sacrifice during session and it is important that we can keep these families in our prayers. Pray for health, provision, mercy, rest, protection, joy and support.

Thank you for your support of TEXAS EAGLE FORUM.

To support us as we engage in all of these issues for our Texas families, please click here.

Trayce Bradford – President of Texas Eagle Forum


The Top 5 – February 4, 2019

Time for the Top 5 action steps for this week. Property Tax relief and more…

I was in Austin again last week accompanied by Cindi Castilla, Dallas Eagle Forum President. We were able to meet with several legislators and their staff. It was a blessing to have Cindi along. Thank you for those praying for us. 

Here is our list for the week. 

1. PRAY for all committee chairs in the House and the Senate

At this point, things look better than they have in the last few sessions.  The early committee assignments bode well for a session that is on time and hopefully one that gives legislation the opportunity to go through the process. We shall see.

Please, as always, be praying for our legislators, statewide leaders, their staffs and most importantly their families.  This week we are asking for prayer to be focused on all committee chairs. 

Here is the list of the Texas House Committee Chairs.

Here is the list of the Texas Senate Committee Chairs with one change that Senator Bob Hall has replaced Senator Seliger as AG Chair. 

2.  Be Educated on the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) in New York

I am sure many of you, like me, were devastated and disgusted by the glee with which New York and its governor celebrated the passing of a law that now allows abortions up to birth.  Read that again, up to birth.  

Did you know that the RHA removes legal protections that once ensured that viable babies who survived abortion would be given medical treatment?

The RHA says that certain non-physicians can now commit abortions in New York. What happened to giving women the very best medical care for their abortions?  Are we seeing a return to those back alley abortions that we heard about so many years ago? Wasn’t the pro-death (they have earned this title as far as I am concerned) side always blaming those that are pro-life for putting women at risk?

For more information on that law that is actually legal in several other states, they just decided not to celebrate it, please see the information below.  This matters because their eyes are set on Texas and we need to know how to engage in discussions with both our legislators and our circle of influence.  

Some facts about the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) here
Pro-Life Essentials Facts You Should Know Regarding Abortion 
  
3. Property Tax Relief

Please pay attention to the Property Tax relief debate going on in Austin and call your legislators with your opinions. Here are some tools and resources that we find helpful. We have to work together to find real solutions. 

HB 2 was filed on 1/31 in the Texas House but has not yet been assigned to a committee.

The Texas Senate will have a hearing this Wednesday 2/6 in the Property Tax Committee with Chairman Bettencourt. Here is the alert on the hearing with all the information. Get educated and consider coming down to testify. We are here to help you. 

Frisco Mayor Calls Property Tax Reform Nonsense
Vance Ginn Economics Blog or Facebook page
Texas Public Policy Statement on the bills
SB2 Bill
HB2 Bill
Conservative Texas Budget
TPPF on the Conservative Texas Budget

4. Prepping for the Session. Are you a Prepper?

Please make sure you sign up on Texas Legislative Online.
 
You can search and track the pieces of legislation you are most interested in! 

Have you asked others to sign up for the Top Five?  Have you signed up for our newsletter, The Torch, that is mailed each month? You can do that at: 
www.texaseagle.org

You may want to read or engage with one the pages or groups we recommend on this Top Five, such as Vance Ginn Economics FB page.  TEF receives nothing from referring you to any of these groups except the satisfaction of knowing we are connecting people to the information and groups they will benefit from. We want you to be able to be comfortable in engaging at all levels of the governmental process.

5. Texas Faith and Family Day – March 13, 2019

Many of you may have already heard of the “Ban the Bible” legislation that has been filed. Texas Values has listed the bills to be watching and what concerns there are with those pieces of legislation here.

Please don’t just read these articles but get engaged!  Join us and be a voice for life, liberty and property!  We hope to see each of you down in Austin. Bring some friends! Let’s show the leaders in Austin that people of faith are voters with a voice and the convictions to work hard to make sure Texas is a place that welcomes diversity and cherishes faith and family! 

Here is the Facebook event to join.  and the website with all of the information. See you then. 
Thanks for joining with us. 

Trayce Bradford – President of Texas Eagle Forum


The Top 5 – January 21, 2019

Greetings Eagles!

First of all – Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Let’s pause for a moment to remember what a great man of God he was and how he impacted our country for good. Thankful for his life. 

Well, the Texas Legislative Session is underway. Senate committees have been assigned and it looks like the House committees will be close behind. 

This session will have a strong focus on property tax reform and school finance reform – including an increase in teacher’s pay according to the statements made by Governor Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick last week at their inaugurations. We are hopeful we will also see the security grid issue addressed, as well as a several other items that liberty loving patriots are interested in. 

Each Monday we will bring you at least five action items for that week.  As the session progresses these items will become much more specific and more time sensitive.

Let’s get started for the week of January 21st:

1.   Contact your State Senator and State Representative

If you have not already done so, it’s a great idea to reach out to both your state senator and your state representative.  If you don’t know who represents you in Austin, click here.  Introduce yourself via email, personal card, phone call or office visit locally or if you are in Austin stop by their office there. Introduce yourself to their staff. Texas Eagle Forum suggests doing this even if you are on different sides of issues or even parties. This helps them know they are being held accountable but also gives them an idea of those that are engaged and care about what happens in their district and their state.

2.   Pray for your Legislators

The Texas Legislature only meets bi-annually, so they have a lot to get done and accomplish. Pray for each of them, their families and their staff.  Here is a place to get scripture and ideas for praying for your leaders.

3. Get Set Up on Texas Legislature Online

This is the most important website for the legislative session: 
 https://capitol.texas.gov/MnuHouse.aspx

You can find information you need regarding the legislators that represent you, what legislation they are authoring or working on, and the legislation you want to learn more about. You can also sign up to follow bills as they progress (or not). There are maps of the capitol which can be quite helpful for visitors to the capitol as well as information on the process of a bill through the Texas legislature.  I love the feature that alerts me to any new movement of bills I am watching. Create an account and join us for the fun. 

4. Look Over Legislation that Interests You

This is so important – please take the time to look over the legislation that interests you, that you want to follow, work on, and share.  It is so important for you to know what is in that bill and not look to the media or others on social media to provide that information.  Many times misinformation gets spread and we end up fighting a fight over an issue that never needed to happen.  Sometimes this is intentional by those trying to kill legislation but sometimes it comes from “friends” that are passing along information that is incorrect.  If you have questions. ask someone in your legislator’s office or look to some credible sources that are focused on that issues. One example is the budget – you can check out www.conservativetexasbudget.com on that subject. 

The Senate is already starting budget hearings in the finance committee and they are sending the protocol for those hearings as well.  (This gets back to action item 3, if you are interested in the budget get signed up today on the TLO website and add that issue to your bills to follow or receive alerts.)

5. Share Texas Eagle Forum with your Friends

Tell everybody (okay maybe not everybody), but please spread the word to your circle of influence to sign up for our Monday emails and to be ready to take action on the behalf of this great state of TEXAS! 

Forward this email to your family and friends and they can sign up HERE for our action alert emails, the Torch (our printed newsletter) and our inspirational content. 

Thank you again for being faithful to read our updates, get engaged, and serve together on these important issues. Let’s have a great session together. 

Trayce Bradford – President of Texas Eagle Forum


Early Voting Is Oct. 22 – Nov. 2

VOTE VOTE VOTE 

Today starts early voting in one of the most critical election cycles we have seen.  You know this matters and you know that you have a voice through your vote.  What a privilege to live in a nation that though she may have her faults, America is still the longest running successful experiment of a constitutional republic in history! Not to mention we have the blessing of living in the great STATE OF TEXAS! 

Get out and vote to keep this country and this state solid and strong!

PRAY: Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 2 Corinthians 3:17

Ask God to protect all those working on campaigns and volunteering, for the candidates and their families on both sides.

Take 10 to Win:

Please reach out to at least ten friends or family to make sure they vote, someone may need a ride or may need your input.  If all of us took that opportunity we would see a significant increase in voter turnout.

Who represents you?

https://gis1.tlc.texas.gov/mobile/fyi/

Location Location Location

Not sure where to vote, go to your county website and they should have an entire section or page with all the information you will need.  During early voting you may vote in a number of locations, however, on election day you do have an assigned voting location that corresponds with your precinct number located on your voter i.d.

Other sources:

http://www.votetexas.gov/voting/when.html#when-to-vote

https://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/index.shtml

Voting Dates & Times:
Early Voting
Monday, October 22, 2018 – Friday, November 2, 2018
*7:00 A.M. – 7:00 p.m.
Election Day
Tuesday, November 6th, 2018
*7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
DISCLAIMER
*PLEASE CHECK POLLING TIMES WITH YOUR INDIVIDUAL COUNTY AS TIMES WILL VARY COUNTY BY COUNTY

https://ivoterguide.com:

This is an excellent resource for those that want to look at all candidates in particular races and see where they stand on the issues.


Recommendations:

U.S. Senate:

Ted Cruz

Congress:

CD1: Louie Gohmert

CD3: Van Taylor

CD6: Ron Wright

CD14: Randy Weber

CD16: Rick Seeberger

CD21: Chip Roy

CD24: Kenny Marchant

CD25: Roger Williams

CD26: Michael Burgess

CD27: Michael Cloud

CD33: Willie Billups

State Wide Offices:

Governor: Greg Abbott

Lt. Governor:  Dan Patrick

Attorney General:  Ken Paxton

Comptroller: Glenn Heger

Railroad Commissioner: Cristy Craddock

Agriculture Commissioner: Sid Miller

Texas Senate:

SD 2: Bob Hall

SD 5: Charles Schwertner

SD 7: Paul Bettencourt

SD 8:  Angela Paxton

SD 9: Kelly Hancock

SD10: Konni Burton

SD 16: Don Huffines

SD 17: Joan Huffman

SD 25: Donna Campbell

SD 30: Pat Fallon

Texas House:

HD 5: Cole Hefner

HD 6: Matt Schaefer

HD 15: Steve Toth

HD 21: Dade Phelan

HD 23: Mayes Middleton

HD 60: Mike Lang

HD 61: Phil King

HD 65: Ron Simmons

HD 66: Matt Shaheen

HD 67: Jeff Leach

HD 70: Scott Sanford

HD 73: Kyle Biedermann

HD 83: Dustin Burrows

HD 89: Candy Noble

HD 91: Stephanie Klick

HD 92: Jonathan Stickland

HD 93: Matt Krause

HD 94: Tony Tinderholt

HD 96: Bill Zedler

HD 97: Craig Goldman

HD 106: Jared Patterson

HD 107: Deanna Metzger

HD 108: Morgan Meyer

HD 113: Jonathan Boos

HD 114: Lisa Luby Ryan

HD115: Matt Rinaldi

HD128: Briscoe Cain

HD130: Tom Oliverson

HD132: Mike Schofield

HD 150: Valoree Swanson

Judicial Seats:

Supreme Court of Texas, Position 2: Jimmy Blacklock

Supreme Court of Texas Position 4:- John Devine

Supreme Court of Texas Position 6: Jeff Brown

Court of Criminals Appeals, Place 8: Michelle Slaughter

1st Court of Appeals, Place 8: Michael Massengale

2nd Court of Appeals, Place 5: Dabney Bassel

3rd Court of Appeals, Place 6: Mike Toth

5th Court of Appeals, Place 11: John Browning

5th Court of Appeals, Place 12: Jim Pikl

14th Court of Appeals, Place 3: Brett Busby

219th District Court: Jennifer Edgeworth

323rd District Court: Alex Kim

Local:

Collin County Judge: Chris Hill

Dallas District 2: J.J. Koch

Harris County Civil Court at Law #2: Erin Swanson

Tarrant County District Attorney: Sharen Wilson

Dallas County District Attorney: Faith Johnson

Dallas County Judge: Brian Hutcheson

Dallas Sheriff – Aaron Meeks

CHECK OUT

For a list of candidates in your county:

https://webservices.sos.state.tx.us/ballot-cert/report.aspx

It is best to vote straight ticket if you are unsure or unfamiliar with the candidate. Chances are you align more with the candidate you may not have had time to research. While leaving that box blank is giving that vote away.

Voting Dates & Times:
Early Voting
Monday, October 22, 2018 – Friday, November 2, 2018
*7:00 A.M. – 7:00 p.m.
Election Day
Tuesday, November 6th, 2018
*7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
DISCLAIMER
*PLEASE CHECK POLLING TIMES WITH YOUR INDIVIDUAL COUNTY AS TIMES WILL VARY COUNTY BY COUNTY

The Torch – March 2018

Download The Torch Here:

Download The Torch PDF


2018 Primary Endorsements

Below are the Texas Eagle Forum 2018 Candidate Endorsements lists. If you have any questions, please contact us. We’re continuing to update this list as we move forward.


United States Legislature

U.S. Senator – Ted Cruz

Congressional Dist. 1 – Louie Gohmert

Congressional Dist. 3 – Van Taylor

Congressional Dist. 5 – Bunni Pounds

Congressional Dist. 6 – Ron Wright


Texas State Legislature

TEXAS

Governor – Greg Abbott

Lt. Gov – Dan Patrick

Attorney General – Ken Paxton

Railroad Commissioner – Christi Craddick

Agriculture Commissioner – Sid Miller

Comptroller of Public Accounts – Glenn Hager

Texas Supreme Court, Place 5 – John Devine

Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 8 – Michelle Slaughter


HOUSE

House Dist. 2 – Bryan Slayton

House Dist. 4 – Marty Reed

House Dist. 5 – Cole Hefner

House Dist. 6 – Matt Schaefer

House Dist. 8 – Thomas McNutt

House Dist. 9 – Garrett Boersma

House Dist. 11 – Danny Ward

House Dist. 13 –  Jill Wolfskill

House Dist. 14 – Sarah Laningham

House Dist. 15 – Steve Toth

House Dist. 18 – Emily Kibodeaux

House Dist. 23 – Mayes Middleton

House Dist. 47 – Jay Wiley

House Dist. 52 – Jeremy Story

House Dist. 59 – Chris Evans

House Dist. 60 – Mike Lang

House Dist. 61 – Phil King

House Dist. 64 – Mark Roy

House Dist. 65 – Ron Simmons

House Dist. 66 – Matt Shaheen

House Dist. 67 – Jeff Leach

House Dist. 70 – Scott Sanford

House Dist. 73 – Kyle Biederman

House Dist. 83 – Dustin Burrows

House Dist. 86 – John Smith

House Dist. 87 – Drew Brassfield

House Dist 88 – Jayson Huddleston

House Dist. 92 – Jonathan Stickland

House Dist. 93 – Matt Krause

House Dist. 94 – Tony Tinderholt

House Dist. 96 – Bill Zedler

House Dist. 97 – Craig Goldman

House Dist. 98 – Armin Mizani

House Dist. 99 – Bo French

House Dist. 105 – Rodney Anderson

House Dist. 106 – Jared Patterson

House Dist. 108 – Morgan Meyer

House Dist. 113 Jonathan Boos

House Dist. 114 – Lisa Luby Ryan

House Dist. 115 – Matt Rinaldi

House Dist. 122 – Chris Fails

House Dist. 126 – Gail Stanart

House Dist. 128 – Briscoe Cain

House Dist. 131 – Tom Oliverson

House Dist. 132 – Mike Schofield

House Dist. 134 – Susanna Dokupil

House Dist. 150 – Valoree Swanson


SENATE

State Senate Dist. 2 – Bob Hall

State Senate Dist. 5 – Charles Schwertner

State Senate Dist. 7 – Paul Bettencourt

State Senate Dist. 8 – Angela Paxton

State Senate Dist. 9 – Kelly Hancock

State Senate Dist. 10 – Konni Burton

State Senate Dist. 25 – Donna Campbell

State Senate Dist. 30 – Pat Fallon

State Senate Dist. 31 – Mike Canon


Various Judicial and County Races

Justice, 14th Court of Appeals Dist. Place 3 – Brett Busby

Justice, 1st Court of Appeals Dist. Place 8 – Michael Massengale

Justice, 5th Court of Appeals Dist. Place 11 – Tom Nowak

Justice, 5th Court of Appeals Dist. Place 12 – Jim Pikl

Justice, 2nd Court of Appeals Dist. Place 4 – Wade Birdwell

Justice, 2nd Court of Appeals Dist. Place 5 – Dabney Bassel


Tarrant County

District Judge 233rd Judicial District – Kenneth Newell (Tarrant)

District Judge 322 Judicial District (Family) – James Munford

District Judge 323rd Judicial District (Juvenile) – Alex Kim

District Judge 325th Judicial District (Family) – Cynthia Favila Terry

District Judge 342nd Judicial District – Pat Gallagher

County Tax Assessor, Collector – Mike Snyder

Judge County Probate Court at Law No.1 – Patricia Cole

Judge, County Criminal Court at Law No 4 – Deborah Nekhom

Justice of the Peace, Place 6 – Chris Garcia


Collin County

Collin County Judge – Chris Hill

District Judge 219th Civil Dist. Court – Collin County – Jennifer Edgeworth


Harris County

Harris County Civil Court at Law No. 2 – Erin Swanson


Lubbock County

County Judge Lubbock County – Gary Boren


More Endorsements:

Texas Home School Coalition  –  thsc.org/political-action/endorsements

Texas Right to Life   –  texasrighttolifepac.com/endorsements-2018

Empower Texans   –   empowertexans.com/2018-primary-endorsements

Texas Values  –  txvalues.org


Action Alert Today – Call In

Good Afternoon!

Thank you for your help through out this unusual session. I cannot tell you how much it encourages me to know you all are out there getting engaged and fighting for Texas and our families.  I know there are many bills you may want to call on or wonder what the heck is happening, and believe me, I get it, however, we have reached a time where hard deadlines are hitting and basically if the bill is not already on the calendar it is dead.  There are many reasons and many ways bills meet their demise and we will discuss all of these to the best we can after session at a session wrap up for Texas Eagle Forum.  But today there is still work to do. Two priorities for us are listed below.  Please act on these quickly!

As always THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!

Call to Action : HB 29 Human Trafficking Omnibus Bill 

Background:
The Senate Amendments require tech companies to respond quickly to law enforcement if human trafficking or violent crimes occur on their platforms or if they have information related to the crime.

~ March 2017: 14 year old girl was sexually assaulted by multiple men on Facebook Live
~ April 2017:  Elderly man was brutally murdered on Facebook Live
~ May 2017:  Change.org petition posted demanding Google, Facebook & others to stop supporting child sex trafficking
Learn more, read this article from the Washington Post.

Goal:
Help law enforcement stop human trafficking & violent crimes online!  Keep the Senate Amendments! 
Contact:
Conference Committee From the House
Chairwoman Senfronia Thompson 
(512) 463-0720  senfronia.thompson@house.state.tx.us
Rep. Diana Arevalo
(512) 463-0616  diana.arevalo@house.state.tx.us
Rep. Nicole Collier
(512) 463-0716  nicole.collier@house.state.tx.us
Rep. John Frullo
(512) 463-0676  john.frullo@house.state.tx.us
Rep. Morgan Meyer
(512) 463-0367  morgan.meyer@house.state.tx.us

As we get the Senate list I will send but please start calling on this right away. The author of the bill is Chairwoman Thompson and  has been doing great work for years on human trafficking when no one else believed it existed.  There are a number of issue she and I may not agree on but this one we do!!

Call To Action : Contact ASAP for Pro-life Measure

Background:
Last night, House Bill 3124 was amended to add language from Senate Bill 20 (ProLife health insurance reform), which would ban abortion coverage in private insurance plans as well as plans offered to state employees and participants in the Affordable Care Act. Abortion coverage would have to be purchased in supplemental plans.
Learn more, read this article from the Statesman.

Goal:
Let our Representatives know that citizens will NOT accept the excuse of “House parliamentarian ruled Senate’s amendment non-germane.” 

Contact:
Rep. Lance Gooden 
(512) 463-0458
Pass this message on to your circle of influence and have them contact the Representatives too. Multiply your impact! 

Thank you,

Trayce Bradford

 


The Top 5 – May 15, 2017

This week’s top 5 is again a bit different, lengthy, but so important.  Please prayerfully read #1, watch the video, and then you will find 4 more action items to work through.

#1 – We Must Have the Knowledge of the Truth – Last week was one of many twists and turns and I look forward to sharing the truth as to what played out. I hope by now those of you that know and follow Texas Eagle Forum, and those that know me, realize I want truth based in facts. We all have opinion and styles, but at the end of the day – truth bares itself out.
We started this week last Saturday as my youngest daughter and I waited in the gallery to hear HB 45 what many refer to as ALAC (American Laws for American Courts) pass a third reading with 135 votes. HB 45 has since made its way to State Affairs in the Senate but more on that later (#2 below).

As I have been sitting in the gallery many days, I was witness to some interesting turn of events including one Representative taking it upon himself to bring back a dead bill that he was not even the author of.  It was brought in the debate using an unusual move that has never happened in the history of the Texas State Legislature. Was this a life bill? No! Was this bill about education or better roads?  NO and NO. The bill had more to do with chasing federal dollars and adding more regulations on citizens.  We must wonder, what was the point of all of it?

As the week went on, the Democrats were able to chub daily at the microphone and the strong conservative delegation could get NOT one bill put on this general calendar – this covered the ENTIRE session. Yes, you read that correctly – not one bill out of hundreds! (Another little known fact is the current member that has had the most legislation passed this session is a Democrat.)  So where is all this heading?

Elizabeth Graham of Texas Right for Life sums it up well:

This 85th Session of the Texas Legislature has been dominated by the political games and personal attacks on the conservative members, many of whom belong to the House Freedom Caucus, orchestrated by the leadership cabal of moderate Republicans and pro-abortion Democrats of the Texas House of Representatives.

With Thursday’s midnight deadline looming for the passage of House bills, House leadership once again did not disappoint, again singling out and punishing members for no other reason than their conservative voting records and proclivity to expose the vindictive tactics of House Leadership.  In order to achieve an important legislative goal and left with no other recourse after respectfully enduring months of abuse and the thwarting of conservative legislation, the Freedom Caucus successfully organized and executed an effort that killed scores of bills anointed by House leadership.

The open disdain of the speaker and his chairmen toward the mainstream Republican House members already had tensions rising.  The majority of House members, including some Democrats, support conservative reforms for Texas, real reforms that impact Life, faith, freedoms, the protection of our women and daughters, fairness in education, family equality, and other measures.  These measures would all pass 90-60 if a vote on the House floor was ever allowed.  But House leadership has systematically stalled all such legislative proposals while prioritizing bills that are antithetical to the conservative movement.

Pre-born children are being torn limb from limb in the womb while House leadership ceaselessly claims to be Pro-Life.  Yet with only three weeks left in the session, not one single bill that reduces the 55,000 annual Texas abortions has been heard on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives.

On Thursday, May 11, in another coercive procedural maneuver, House leadership suspended the rules of the House to schedule votes on 200+ bills on the Local and Consent Calendar for the following day.  Historically, the Local and Consent Calendar includes bills that are non-controversial, unopposed, and apply to limited jurisdictions (such as a new local library or naming a building).  But under the current progressive House leadership, the Local and Consent Calendar has become a tool to ram through questionable measures that would otherwise be debated and defeated.  As such, House members have often selectively killed specific bills on the Local and Consent Calendar on the basis of principled, studied objections.  The main objection Thursday night was the quantity; properly vetting and reading 120+ bills would have been impossible after working until midnight and then needing to be on the House floor at 10:00 a.m.

However, after conservatives and members of the Freedom Caucus objected to the rules suspension for the Local and Consent Calendar, dozens of their bills were removed from the Local and Consent Calendar—a blatant act of political retribution ensuring the death of the conservatives’ bills.  This attack from leadership was personal and severe.

Subsequently, the Freedom Caucus called a press conference to shed light on the ever-changing rules of the House. Representative Jeff Leach (R-Plano) described the move as “another direct shot at the conservative members of this House” by leadership. Representative Matt Shaheen (R-Plano) elaborated, “Our bills have been targeted for weeks…for conservative legislators, their bills have been targeted because of the voting record of those legislators. If you are too conservative, you cannot represent your district.”

After the press conference, the Freedom Caucus masterfully used parliamentary procedures and debate tactics to break free from the suffocating hands of House leadership. The Freedom Caucus spent time at the back microphone of the House, methodically deliberating the policies before the full House, and thereby burning the clock with protracted debate (called “chubbing”).  In doing so, the Freedom Caucus killed bills that House leadership wanted to pass by the midnight deadline. Leadership was given a lethal dose of their own bitter medicine Thursday night.

Once the Freedom Caucus achieved the goal of killing those House bills, similar proposals that are still viable in the Senate will likely emerge as much stronger policy reforms, e.g., the Sunset bills that reauthorize state agencies. In sessions past, Pro-Life amendments have been successfully added to Sunset bills related to health and medical agencies.  The Sunset bills under consideration in the State Senate reflect more conservative policy, which is a main reason the Freedom Caucus wanted to kill the limp versions scheduled on the House calendar Thursday night.

The process of writing Sunset bills is another example of draconian leadership.  The House versions of these measures have been so watered-down that no substantial reforms or reorganizations are offered in the Sunset bills.  House leadership demanded that the meaningful provisions of the Sunset bills be removed so that Pro-Life amendments would be rendered non-germane, thus squashing another opportunity for Pro-Life dialogue and victories.  Conservative, Pro-Life members had no choice Thursday night but to take dramatic and drastic action to kill the remaining bills, clearing the way for these Senate bills.

More importantly, House leadership controls the pace of the session.  They are responsible for killing their own bills AND also for killing Pro-Life bills that they intentionally set at the end of the calendar for Thursday. Leadership could have used the time since January to prioritize and pass not only their bills, but also important bills that reflect the Texas Republican Party Platform, like the Dismemberment Abortion Ban, which received overwhelming grassroots support.  The blame and responsibility of Thursday’s events in the Texas House of Representatives ultimately lies solely with House leadership who not only set the pace and the calendars, but also the tone and the collaboration—for better or worse.

Yours For Life,

Elizabeth Graham

Please watch the Texas Freedom Caucus Press Conference here – it is eye opening.

 

I share all this with you because I cannot know all of this and in good faith watch the lies and distortions that are being passed off as the truth. I have to speak up!  I have been keeping files and files on votes, press releases and various moves on the floor (video clips etc.) on folks that stand for liberty and for those that are obstructionists.   I want the facts and will always search for the truth.

So how can you make an impact and help support conservative legislation?


#2 – Thank the Texas Freedom Caucus
– Please reach out to the Texas Freedom Caucus by sending them an email at info@freedomfortexas.com to encourage them and thank them for having the courage required to speak up and require the rules to be observed in the House. www.freedomfortexas.com

#3 – American Laws for American Courts – HB 45 – which has been called ALAC is now in the Senate State Affairs Committee and we need your action today.  We need you to please email or call the Chairwoman Joan Huffman, if you have not already and POLITELY request a hearing as soon as possible.

Please call the State Affairs Committee Members and your own Senator to ask for his or her support.  We pray that we will be on the floor for a vote by next week.

#4 – The Fight for LIFEPlease take a moment and read this article from Texas Right to Life. Please pray that the Dismemberment Abortion Ban is amended onto a bill this week.  You can always reach out to your state Representative and let them know your concerns on this issue. We need this ban.

#5 – Securing our Grid – PLEASE pray for the Securing our Grid legislation. There is a lot of developments there and we will update you soon. As you know SB 83 is Senator Hall’s legislation and it is so important for the State of Texas. You can read about what has been happening on this issue here.

We have so many great Women Wednesday blogs on our website that we highlight on social media each week. Check them all out here.

Thank you so much for helping us get the word out on these important issues and being a part of Texas Eagle Forum. Together – we can make a difference.

Trayce Bradford – President


The Top 5 – May 8, 2017 – The Final Stretch

Eagles –

Thank you for sticking with us thus far. We are in the final stretch.

We only have 21 more days and I will repeat that many that have been around for more legislative session than I say this has been “one for the books”. I appreciate your patience as we have tried to be wise in where we spent our time and effort. We have been very prayerful and deliberate about our strategy this session.

We have some real great news! For several sessions, we have had the privilege to work with Rep. Jeff Leach and his staff on American Law for American Courts. We have learned much along the way and this last Saturday the 3rd reading the bill HB 45 passed the House with 135 AYE votes. I sat for hours Thursday, Friday and Saturday waiting to hear the votes on this bill as well as HB 787, the Secure the Grid bill. The Grid bill got bumped to Monday. We are terribly excited that HB 45, American Law for American Courts heads to the Senate and for the first time ever it was voted out of the House! We also have high hopes for the Grid bill coming out of the House.

I also was invited to attend the bill signing for HB 89 – The Anti BDS bill that supports Israel. This was a thrill as it is the first bill TEF was supporting this session was signed by the Governor. Chairman Phil King did a great job shepherding this bill and Sen. Creighton worked it through the Senate.

More good news and a personal victory is SB 256 by Senator Van Taylor. This bill provides further protection of privacy for sexual assault victims, stalking victims and trafficked victims and I was in the House when it to was voted out unanimously and will head to the Governor for his signature.

Governor Abbott also signed the bill outlawing sanctuary cities as well this weekend. This was a huge WIN for the conservative movement and TEF was thrilled to have supported it as well. Here is the Governor signing the bill.

This week I want to start our top 5 a little differently.

1) Let’s Pray FIRST – Please stop right now if you can and pray. Pray for all our legislators and state leaders. They need courage, wisdom and strategy. Pray for their families and protection for all of us. We are all getting very tired and sometimes deeply frustrated. Pray for us to know what we should focus our time and energy on as we head into the final days of the session. Please pray for your families that have gone over and above to make it possible for us to be able to be in Austin. Your prayers right now mean more than anything. There are many decisions that are being made and things can literally change within minutes.

2) Privacy & Protection – Call your legislator again and ask them where the privacy legislation is and what they are personally doing to make sure that protection for the privacy and protection of women and children is taken care of in the state of Texas. This legislation is a must so that municipalities and school boards are not continuing to make up their own rules around the state. To request this is not being discriminatory, it is irresponsible for our leaders not to address this issue NOW. Co-Authoring a bill like HB 2899 is nice but if they are jumping on in the last couple of days- what have they been doing leading up to this point? We need you and we need our leaders to step up and take charge. You can see if your legislator is a co-author on the bill and if they are not, call and ask what they are doing for this incredibly important issue.

3) Thankful for American Laws for American Courts – Be sure and send an email or call your representative and thank them for supporting HB 45, this important bill through the House. You can check here by clicking on role call and see who voted for it and who did not.

4) Church Security – We have two Church Security bills currently stuck. HB 421 is in calendars and HB 981 is in the process of getting reports submitted to calendars. If you are unsure why this bill is important go to the Mom Caucus Facebook Page and you can watch one of the most recent videos from May 3rd that explains most if not nearly all Texas places of worship are out of compliance with the occupation code. Please let your legislators know this bill is one of these bills needed to make it onto the calendar. If bills don’t make it by midweek they are as good as dead. This is a critical week, please help us!

5) Protecting our consciences in Texas – CPS bills and a very important right of conscience bill HB 3859 are on the floor Monday in the House. I cannot begin to tell you how important HB 3859 is and the battle now being played out in the national media is full of misleading information. Read some of it here. As we have said so often throughout this session – Read the Bill! Apparently, the media DOES NOT READ THE BILL…This bill protects the rights of conscience for child welfare services providers. Texas is in a crisis with our child welfare system. We cannot afford to lose any of the foster/adoption providers in Texas which make up-25-30% of all orphan care. We have seen these agencies close in other state and are now being threatened in Texas. PLEASE Call your Rep. asap and ask for them to vote yes when this bill hits the floor today!

Thank you again for walking with Texas Eagle Forum this legislative session. This is not the end – this is just the beginning of our activism but these final weeks are so important.

Please share this blog with your friends.

Please donate to help us keep getting the word out.

Please pray for all of us.

Thank you – Trayce Bradford.


The Top 5 is the Top 10 this Week – May 1, 2017

Happy Monday!  Usually we do Top 5 each week but from here on out, we may have more like the Top 7 or 11, so bear with us as we go into the final stretch of the Texas Legislative Session.

I don’t know how many of you were watching the House Floor debate on the Sanctuary City bill SB 4 but it was an interesting time, to say the least.  Thank you to those that stood strong, especially Rep. Matt Schaefer and Rep. Matt Rinaldi that put up amendments that were adopted to put some teeth back in this legislation. Here is a great article from Empower Texans about what happened.

As this session has poked along, we have seen a number of bills that Texas Eagle Forum has either asked for in the past or asked for this session- that are quietly moving through both houses. These bills pertain to fighting the heinous work of human traffickers and legislation concerning our relationship with Israel as a trade partner and taking a stand against countries that back state-sponsored terrorism such as Iran and Sudan. These have been passing both houses with strong support from both sides of the aisle.

Below is a list of priorities that must move this week. It is painfully clear when you check the daily floor calendars for the next week that strong religious liberty bills, pro-life bill and our “securing our grid” bill are nowhere to be found. You also won’t find many of the more conservative members with legislation listed on these calendars. It is sad – because I know for a fact that the legislation I have had the blessing to work on – brought some of the nation’s most incredible experts on the subject matters to help craft these bills. This along with our top-notch legislators that have worked long and hard with humility to do what was best to get this legislation through the process. For some of them, it meant taking their names off the bill so the Speaker and the Committee Chairs will move it through the process.

Something that TEF is so very grateful for is the coalition of grassroots groups working together this session.  As you will see in the action items listed we each have particular bills we have taken the lead on. We are working together to support those that Texas Right to Life support and letting them take the strategy part. Texas Eagle Forum is thrilled to dovetail in with these groups and not try to recreate the wheel.  That is why this session has been a bit different in our calls to action.  We have not forgotten you and how valuable your voice is but we have had to be very strategic when to call upon you. The time is NOW.

We now NEED for you all to start calling and sending emails to try to move this legislation. Today is the day. This week is the week!  Many of these bills are just getting into calendars and that is why you have not been asked to call prior to this.

Here are the action items we need your help on as well as please pass this email along to get others involved! We need you!

***1) HB45 Texas Foreign Law Policy Act – What in the past has been referred to as ALAC is now known as HB 45.  It is still focused on keeping foreign law out of Texas courtrooms – where that law encroaches on our constitutional rights. This session the approach was a little different than before. After the interim hearing on ALAC last summer, we feel the information that was presented shined light on this issue and the legislators started to see the validity in this piece of legislation. It was voted out of the Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee 9-0 last week. Chairman Dan Flynn is the author of the bill.

It landed in Calendars this week and this is where you all come in!

We would like you to call the committee members (see numbers at the end of this email) and ask them to please get Chairman Flynn’s bill HB 45 pertaining to foreign law in Texas Courts to the floor for a vote as quickly as possible. Remind them that bill was voted out of committee 9-0 and is one that needs a chance to be heard on the floor.

Remember to please be brief and courteous. If they ask for more information just say the efforts of several legislators deciding to unify behind Chairman Flynn and working with others concerned with the wording of this bill has brought about a good piece of legislation and good faith effort on all involved.  Keep it simple and just encourage them to give the body a chance to vote.

2) Securing the Texas Grid – Several pieces of legislation pertaining to the Texas grid are moving and we hope to see that continue!  HB 787 authored by Rep. Tan Parker was voted out of the State Affairs Committee 10-0.  We need to call and ask for that important piece of legislation to be moved to the floor quickly for a vote.  You will again be calling the Calendar Committee. (see numbers at the end of the email)

As for the Senate Bill – Senator Hall’s bill SB 83 passed out of Business and Commerce this week 8-0. We need to call Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s office and please ask that bill be brought to the floor for a vote as soon as possible. His numbers are: 512-463-5342, 512-463-0001 or email LTGConstituent.Affairs@ltgov.texas.gov

There is also a letter attached to this email that you are free to send Lt. Gov. Patrick with your signature.

3) PRO-LIFE legislation is being held hostage in the State Affairs committee and it is inexcusable.  Please read this excellent article from Texas Right to Life to get the latest as well as action items. https://www.texasrighttolife.com/house-inexcusably-delays-dismemberment-abortion-ban/

4) Privacy Act (SB 6 and the House bill 2899) – One would have to be living under a rock to have not heard about this issue.  Please read this press release from Texas Values and follow the action steps provided.  Notice the obstructionist in these important issues.

From Texas Values:

BREAKING: Coppell ISD, Home District of House Privacy Bill Author, Allows Boys in Girls’ Bathrooms

While the leadership of the Texas House, including State Affairs Chair Byron Cook, sits on privacy legislation (such as HB 2899), battles over “gender identity” continue to be waged in our public-school restrooms, costing taxpayers time and resources, as well as putting our schoolchildren at risk.

The most recent example of this unfortunate (and avoidable) trend is occurring in the Coppell ISD, a school district located in the suburbs north of Dallas. The CISD includes a portion of the legislative district for Rep. Ron Simmons, author of the House privacy act, HB 2899. CISD Students have reportedly been allowed to use the restroom of the gender they identify with at the moment, as long as school administrators agree.
The CISD’s employee and student handbooks contain several “gender identity” provisions (see attached). Local media picked up on this after it was brought to light by several parents and a school board candidate who have reported hearing stories of a boy dressed as a girl exposing himself to others. One report says that the CISD Superintendent is relying on President Barack Obama’s 2016 bathroom directive, which was struck down by a Texas federal court judge and was later rescinded by President Donald Trump.

This latest example of local school districts making a mess of the bathroom and locker room privacy issue is more evidence of why the Texas Legislature must enact a statewide consistent law on this issue now,” said Jonathan Saenz, president of Texas Values. “Hiding information from parents and shutting the public out of the process of drafting these rules are putting children at all ages at risk. If the Texas Legislature does not address this major issue now, it is only going to get worse. Situations like with Fort Worth ISD, Dripping Springs ISD, and now Coppell ISD will replicate themselves all over Texas in both small and large districts.

According to Star Local Media (which owns several community newspapers in suburban Dallas-Fort Worth), the Coppell ISD is not responding to media replies, citing possible privacy law violations such as FERPA (Federal Education Rights & Privacy Act).
It’s ironic that the school district only cares about the privacy of the identity of some students but not the bathroom and locker room privacy of everyone else. Laws designed to prevent discrimination should not be interpreted in a way that puts children in harm’s way,” Saenz continued.

You simply cannot put a price on this important issue. It’s time for State Affairs Committee Chairman Byron Cook to take a vote on HB 2899, and for Speaker Joe Straus to assign SB 6 to a committee. It’s becoming apparent that our local school districts are unable to withstand the tremendous amount of pressure put on them by special interests from the LGBT left. Our legislative leaders are needed to stand in the gap in order to protect privacy.

A list of privacy violation incidents from across Texas may be read at the following link: http://tinyurl.com/SB6Texasincidents (PDF).
More information:
·         Six Essential Facts About Senate Bill 6: http://tinyurl.com/sb6Facts
·         List of businesses and organizations which support SB 6: http://tinyurl.com/sb6businesses
·         Testimonial videos in support of SB 6: http://tinyurl.com/sb6videos
Texas Values is a nonprofit organization dedicated to standing for faith, family, and freedom in Texas. More information is available at txvalues.org.

5) – Texas HOME Act SB 892

For over 100 years, Texas churches and faith based organizations have placed thousands of Texas children in loving homes. Now, their future is threatened by lawsuits seeking to restrict their First Amendment right to practice their faith when placing children in those loving homes. Faith based providers have stopped operating entirely in other states after being sued and some have already closed their doors in Houston and San Antonio.

SB 892 by Senator Charles Perry would provide faith based providers – who comprise 25% of all adoption providers in Texas – with the protection they need to keep operating and helping Texas children.

But radical, left wing groups are making wild claims that protecting the basic first amendment rights of faith based providers and churches would lead to discrimination or child abuse. These radical groups want to further their own agenda at the expense of following well respected national and Texas based providers that have helped Texas children for decades such as: Buckner International, Children’s Home of Lubbock, The Catholic Conference, Baptists Children’s Homes, and many, many more.
A hearing was held on Wednesday, April 19th in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.  Please call the members as soon as possible, and let them know you expect Texas to protect our children and our religious liberty by passing SB 892.  Please thank Senator Charles Perry for authoring the bill and Senator Charles Schwertner for hearing it in his committee.

***6) – Church Security Bill

From our Coalition Partners at Concerned Women for America

The Church Security Protection Act, House Bill 421 by Rep. Matt Rinaldi, will allow churches and other places of worship to utilize volunteer security teams. Many churches in Texas aren’t aware that the The Texas Occupations Code currently prohibits houses of worship from having volunteer security unless the people providing security are licensed as a private security company. Under the current law, churches and their volunteers who violate this law could be fined up to $10,000 and face criminal charges. HB 421 would make a small change to the Texas Occupations Code exempting churches and other places of worship from this troublesome code. House Bill 421 currently has 37 joint/co-authors and has been in the House Calendars Committee since April 10th.

Another similar church security bill, House Bill 981 by Rep. John Wray, was heard in the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee on Tuesday, April 25th and voted out of that committee the same day. This bill is much more narrow and specific than House Bill 421, but would do pretty much the same thing for churches and places of worship.
House Bill 981 currently has 3 joint authors and no co-authors and is on its was to the House Calendars Committee.

Since so many churches have now been made aware of the guidelines set forth by the Texas Occupations Code through the promoting of these two bills, we need the Texas Legislature to act now more than ever before. With the current climate of violence against churches, we need to give churches the tools they need to freely protect themselves and their property.

Please contact the House Calendars Committee and ask them to vote HB 421 or HB 981 out of committee and to the floor for a vote. While HB 421 is the favored bill given the number of current co-authors and the strength of the bill language, we would still be pleased to see HB 981 voted out of Calendars and sent to the floor.

7) – Texas Sovereignty Act HB 2338 and the similar Senate Bill 2015 

This legislation will support tenth amendment enforcement in Texas and protects us from unconstitutional acts of the federal government. It basically defines a new joint legislative committee that reviews federal decisions whether judicial or congressional and provides determination on it Constitutionality based on US Constitution original intent and Texas Constitutionality. Basically, it allows for Texas to nullify federal overreach and give sovereignty back to Texas according to 10th Amendment SB 2015 has been referred to the State Affairs Committee and needs a hearing and HB 2338 is left pending in committee. Please call the members of the State and Federal Power & Responsibility Committee and ask them to please vote this bill out of committee this week. The chair of the committee is Rep. Drew Darby and the Vice Chair is Rep. Andrew S. Murr, so please call them.

Chair Drew Darby – (512) 463-0331
Vice Chair Andrew Murr – (512) 463-0542

Rep. Cecil Bell says about this legislation “Statewide elected officers in those separate states must formally affirm where they stand regarding this egregious erosion of state sovereignty and of the sovereignty of the people of the separate states.”

8) Toll Roads

From Terri –TexasTurf.org

We have made significant progress in the Senate, but like most conservative legislation, our pro-taxpayer, anti-toll bills are being stymied in the House.

1) Ask the Chair of the House Transportation Committee, Geanie Morrison, to call for swift hearings to vote out our anti-toll bills coming over from the Senate (SB 399 by Kolkhorst to prevent the conversion of free lanes to toll lanes. More bills are coming).

Chairwoman Geanie Morrison – (512) 463-0456

2) Call your House member and ask them to vote ‘No’ on HB 2861 and HB 1589 to hand our Texas highways to foreign toll operators in 50 year sweetheart deals that put taxpayers on the hook for the private company’s losses, which amounts to corporate welfare. Toll rates can exceed 75 cents a mile and commuters in the Metroplex report having to pay $30-$40/day to use such foreign-operated toll lanes. (For more, read here.)

We expect one or both of these BAD bills to come to the House floor for a vote this week.

Capitol switchboard: (512) 463-4630 (open M-F, 8 AM – 5 PM)

3) Call your state senator and ask him/her to support our anti-toll bills (SB 812, SB 637, SB 1437, SB 740). Two will be up for a vote Monday and the others are expected later in the week.

Capitol switchboard: (512) 463-4630 (open M-F, 8 AM – 5 PM)

Background on the bills:
SB 812 (Kolkhorst) – This requires toll entities to repay any funds they receive from TxDOT. Currently, TxDOT grants billions in our gasoline taxes to subsidize toll roads that can’t pay for themselves. Over $10 billion in your gasoline taxes have gone to prop-up loser toll projects already. SB 812 would prevent this double taxation and require the taxpayers to be repaid.
SB 637 (Huffines) – To authorize the State Auditor to conduct audits of the Regional Mobility Authorities. These are unelected, unaccountable toll authorities that are rife with ethics problems, conflicts of interest, and delivering projects late and over budget.
SB 1437 (Schwertner) – Reforms toll collection procedures, making them more fair and transparent to consumers and forces toll entities to promptly refund drivers for erroneous toll bills.
SB 740 (Kolkhorst) – Reforms many eminent domain abuses and gives landowners more rights in eminent domain proceedings.

4) Call these members of the Senate Finance Committee to support swift passage of Senator Bob Hall’s SB 84 to help fund major road projects without raising taxes. SB 84 is up for a hearing in the Senate Finance Committee Monday morning. It offers a way to prevent our Texas roadways from being handed to these private toll operators. TxDOT is trying to blackmail our legislators into passing HB 2861 and HB 1589 saying it’s the ‘only’ way to fund these big projects (the price tag exceeds $20 billion). Sen. Hall’s bill, SB 84, is another way to get these big projects funded without tolls, without raising taxes, and it needs to be voted out of committee Monday! 

(Note: We’re not having you call the more conservative members of the committee since they already support the bill.)

Chair – Jane Nelson (512) 463-0112
Vice Chair – Juan Chuy Hinojosa (512) 463-0120
Sen. Robert Nichols (512) 463-0103
Sen. Joan Huffman (512) 463-0117
Sen. Kel Seliger (512) 463-0131
Sen. Larry Taylor (512) 463-0111
Sen. Carlos Uresti (512) 463-0119
Sen. Royce West (512) 463-0123
Sen. Kirk Watson (512) 463-0114
Sen. John Whitmire (512) 463-0115

Other more conservative members if you have time to call:
Sen. Kelly Hancock (512) 463-0109
Sen. Paul Bettencourt (512) 463-0107
Sen.Brian Birdwell (512) 463-0122
Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (512) 463-0118
Sen. Charles Schwertner (512) 463-0105

9) SB 1415 Protect Families from Unjust CPS Investigations.
This is from our friends at Texas Homeschool Coalition. SB 1415 is currently pending in the Health and Human Services Committee.  Please consider emailing the committee and asking them to please move it out of committee this week.

***10) See Something Say Something HB2069 – This short bill will help protect those that report suspicious behavior pertaining to terrorism or human trafficking in good faith from being sued. This is an important bill for the State of Texas and we encourage you to call or email the Calendar Committee to send this bill to the floor for a full vote.

Pray and Stay – Please pray diligently for the rest of session and that strategy is given to these law makers that are fighting for the things that are good, noble and principled.

Please stay engaged, your voice must be heard and this takes all of us staying plugged in to the end.

Please remember you are not trying to convert these folks or train them on these subjects.  Many of them are very familiar with these issues.  They just need to hear from us.  Here are the phone numbers.

Calendar Committee contact info is here:

  • Chairman Todd Hunter todd.hunter@house.texas.gov 512 463-0672
  • Donna Howard donna.howard@house.texas.gov 512 463-0631
  • Roberto R. Alonzo roberto.alonzo@house.texas.gov 512 463-0408
  • Trent Ashby trent.ashby@house.texas.gov 512 463-0508
  • Byron Cook byron.cook@house.texas.gov 512 463-0730
  • Sarah Davis sarah.davis@house.texas.gov 512 463-0389
  • Charlie Geren charlie.geren@house.texas.gov 512 463-0610
  • Helen Giddings helen.giddings@house.texas.gov 512 463-0953
  • Kyle J. Kacal kyle.kacal@house.texas.gov 512 463-0412
  • Ken King ken.king@house.texas.gov 512 463-0736
  • Linda Koop linda.koop@house.texas.gov 512 463-0454
  • Poncho Nevárez poncho.nevarez@house.texas.gov 512 463-0566
  • Chris Paddie chris.paddie@house.texas.gov 512 463-0556
  • Dade Phelan dade.phelan@house.texas.gov 512 463-0706
  • Toni Rose toni.rose@house.texas.gov 512 463-0664

Thank you so much!!!!! God Bless You and God Bless Texas!

Trayce Bradford

President of Texas Eagle Forum


The Top 5 – April 24, 2017

After spending only 5 days’ home of the last 22 – President Trayce Bradford – wants to remind us that things are not always as they seem.  Please keep this in mind if-and-when you decide to send some friendly fire toward someone that is fighting for us and stands with principled, godly conservative values, but they have a vote or two you dislike.  Let’s keep in mind the whole body of someone’s legislative work as we head into a week where MAYBE something that we can cheer for makes it to the floor. Make sure you get all the facts before shooting off at someone. These issues can be contentious – but we don’t have to be contentious.

#1 – Senator Bob Hall’s Protecting our Grid Bill – SB 83 needs to move out of committee. Please reach out again to the Business and Commerce Committee and ask them to vote it out this week and allow the floor vote.  The Grid bill in the House – HB 787 – did get voted out of State Affairs 9-0 last week.  Please call the head of the calendars committee, Chairman Todd Hunter, and ask that it be added quickly to the floor calendar.

#2 – Bills dealing with the privacy issues for victims – SB 256 and HB 2222 are moving at a good pace through the House and the Senate.  These bills deal with the privacy issue for victims of sexual abuse, trafficking and stalking.  It helps shore up some loop holes when it comes to keeping personal privacy for these individuals intact.  This is an important bill for many including children in those abusive situations. Please tell your Senators and House Members to support these bills.

#3 – Senator Perry’s HOME Act – SB 892 (Hope for Orphans and Minors Expansion Act) relates to the protection of the rights of conscience for child welfare services providers.

Please call Chairman Schwertner and thank him for giving it a hearing and then ask him and those on the Health and Human Services Committee to please vote this bill out this week.

#4 – Sanctuary Cities, ethics reform, religious liberties – so much going on. Currently, there are 4 identical pieces of legislation that are serving as companions with SB 4 – Sanctuary cities. As of the online status today, all for have been referred to the State Affairs Committee and are awaiting to be scheduled for a hearing. Please call the Chair of the Committee – Chairman Byron Cook and ask that these bills be heard ASAP!!

To read Senator Van Taylor’s Ethic Reform bill – see the full text here and guess what – it was voted out of committee 9-0, voted out of the senate and is currently sitting in the House unassigned.  This is one of the Governor’s priority items. Tell your Senator to please support it.

It would take pages and pages to lay out all the twists and turns on religious liberty legislation or the lack thereof passing in the House at this time.  The best action now is to contact your state legislator and state senator and ask them – “Where are you supporting religious liberty?” Saying they will vote on whatever makes it to the floor is NOT a good answer.  Please ask them what they are personally doing to forward this issue.  There are some stalwarts out there and they are working hard but we need everyone on this.

#5- Anti-toll roads legislation – for updates on these important subject, we want to give you the full information from Terri Hall – Founder/Director of Texans Uniting for Reform & Freedom (www.texasturf.org) Priority bills from Terri are here:

Help us stop HB 2861 authorizing 18 Texas roads to come under the control of a private, foreign toll operator

Call your House member to vote ‘No’ on HB 2861 (by Larry Phillips) that would hand 18 Texas highways to a private, foreign toll operator in sweetheart deals that last for a half century. Foreign control of our infrastructure cedes our state’s sovereignty over critical roadways to a private, for-profit entity. These deals use billions in taxpayer subsidies, putting taxpayers on the hook for the private corporation’s losses. It’s corporate welfare on a massive scale. By granting a government-sanctioned monopoly to a single entity for over 50 years, these toll contracts are designed to extract the highest possible toll rates from the traveling public, making Texans pay a premium to drive and causing everything we buy to cost more. Commuters in the Metroplex report having to pay $30-$40/day to take two such privately operated toll lanes. Keep Texas roads in Texans’ hands and help us stop HB 2861 in the House!

>Ask your State Representative to vote ‘No’ on HB 2861. We expect a floor vote this week or next. 

1) To protect the highway fund from being raided for toll roads.
If a road is built with tax money, it should be a freeway not a tollway, otherwise, it’s double taxation. We’re just asking for the same protection as was put on Prop 1 and Prop 7 funds.

  1. A) Huffines/Campbell– HJR 35/SB 639/SB 1909/Leach– HJR 65/HB 1518

Status:
None of these bills have even had a hearing! However, Leach offered this as an amendment to the budget. It got thrown into Article 11.

>Ask budget conferees to keep Leach Amendment #257 in the final budget.

B) Kolkhorst/Pickett – SB 812/HB 303 – A compromise bill that would at least require a toll entity to repay any money it received from the highway fund. This would keep TxDOT from simply ‘granting’ money to toll projects (which is double taxation) and allowing the roads to built with state funds and allow local toll entities to pocket all the revenues. The taxpayers should, at the very least, get their money back!

Status:
SB 812 is up for a hearing this week in the Senate Transportation Committee Wednesday (if you’re at the Capitol Wednesday, come register in favor of this bill). Pickett also offered this as an amendment to the budget. If the Leach Amendment above is not adopted, Pickett’s Amendment #258 & #259 should be included in the final budget.

>Ask your senator to support the swift passage of SB 812!

2) To make the toll come off the road when the debt is paid for.

Kolkhorst/Shaheen – SB 668/HB 1282

Status:
None of these bills have gotten a hearing.

3) To prevent the conversion of free lanes or HOV lanes into toll lanes, making you pay twice to use a road you’ve already paid for — which is double taxation.

Kolkhorst/Hall/Taylor, V. – SB 399/SB 1127/SB 1143/SB 891/Sanford – HB 1311

Status:
SB 399 and SB 1143 had a hearing last week. SB 399 got voted out, but SB 1143 is still pending. Toll agencies are trying to water down the SB 399 to wiggle around this protection. They want to toll your highway main lanes and downgrade your free option to a frontage road.

>Ask your senator to support SB 399 AS FILED, and NOT amend it to make toll agencies happy (which effectively guts the bill). 

PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY! Yes, we mean pray that much and when you are done please pray some more. Please pass on the word how much we need prayer covering everything that is going on in Austin. We are not a weak and apathetic people and we serve a mighty and righteous God.  Let us go boldly before His throne and ask for His strategy and wisdom on behalf of our leaders. Cry out for protection and provision for them as well. Thank you for being the answer in so many ways to our prayers.