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