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.





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