Reports From Your SREC - Blog

Nov. 2nd Proposed Amendments to the Texas Constitution

These are proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution which passed in the Texas Legislature, and each must now pass at the ballot box on November 2, 2021 before becoming part of our state constitution. They are shown in the same order that they will appear on your ballot, and that order was determined by random drawing.

Early voting for this election will run from Monday, October 18th through Friday, October 29th.

Proposition 1 (HJR 143)

“The constitutional amendment authorizing the professional sports team charitable foundations of organizations sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association or the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association to conduct charitable raffles at rodeo venues.”

Proposition 2 (HJR 99)

“The constitutional amendment authorizing a county to finance the development or redevelopment of transportation or infrastructure in unproductive, underdeveloped, or blighted areas in the county.”

Proposition 3 (SJR 27)

“The constitutional amendment to prohibit this state or a political subdivision of this state from prohibiting or limiting religious services of religious organizations.”

Proposition 4 (SJR 47)

“The constitutional amendment changing the eligibility requirements for a justice of the supreme court, a judge of the court of criminal appeals, a justice of a court of appeals, and a district judge.”

Proposition 5 (HJR 165)

“The constitutional amendment providing additional powers to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct with respect to candidates for judicial office.”

Proposition 6 (SJR 19)

“The constitutional amendment establishing a right for residents of certain facilities to designate an essential caregiver for in-person visitation.”

Proposition 7 (HJR 125)

“The constitutional amendment to allow the surviving spouse of a person who is disabled to receive a limitation on the school district ad valorem taxes on the spouse’s residence homestead if the spouse is 55 years of age or older at the time of the person’s death.”

Proposition 8 (SJR 35)

“The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of all or part of the market value of the residence homestead of the surviving spouse of a member of the armed services of the United States who is killed or fatally injured in the line of duty.”



The following analysis was put out by the North Texas Citizens Lobby and authored by Barbara Harless.

8 Proposed Texas Constitution Amendments Nov. 2, 2021

8 proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution will be on the Nov. 2, 2021 ballot for all Texas registered voters. Three questions must be answered to evaluate the constitutionality of each proposal…
1) Is it “constitutional”? (Supports the constitutional republic)
2) Is there a need? (Do all the People have a need for and benefit from the proposed government intervention?)
3) Affordability? (Can the People afford it? Is the cost equal and uniform?)

To understand why these questions are important, see this explanation: https://ntcl.org/2013/10/13/all-laws-must-pass-the-constitutional-test/
Additionally, do you know how your elected House Representative and your Senator voted on each of these?  This article will tell you on each of the 8 proposals. Please call them. Ask them why they voted the way they did.

Prop# 1
The 2021 ballot will read…
“The constitutional amendment authorizing the professional sports team charitable foundations of organizations sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association or the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association to conduct charitable raffles at rodeo venues.”

Here’s an overview of the history of government approved charitable raffles in Texas…
In 1989 raffles were approved by voters. Texas law establishes how charitable raffles must be conducted and who may hold them. Currently the Constitution requires the state legislature to enact laws prohibiting lotteries and gift enterprises – with exceptions, and those exceptions are:
1. State lottery
2. Charitable bingo, and
3. Charitable raffles

In 2015, voters approved a constitutional amendment to allow certain charitable foundations associated with five (5) certain named professional sports teams.. Those were defined as Texas Professional sports teams that belong to these 5 associations:
Major League Baseball
National Basketball Association
National Hockey League
National Football League, and
Major League Soccer

In 2017 voters approved a constitution amendment to expand those professional sports team charitable foundations to include teams that belong to 12 additional organizations:
1. The American Hockey League,
2. East Coast Hockey League,
3. American Association of Independent Professional Baseball,
4. Atlantic League of Professional Baseball,
5. Minor League Baseball,
6. the National Basketball Association Development League,
7. National Women’s Soccer League,
8. Major Arena Soccer League,
9. United Soccer League,
10. Women’s National Basketball Association
11. NASCAR, INDYCar, or another nationally recognized motorsports racing association at a venue in this state with a permanent seating capacity of not less than 75,000; or
12. an organization hosting a PGA event.

Fast forward to this year, the 2021 proposed constitution amendment requires the Rodeo to be conducted at a facility owned or operated by – and operated at the home venue of – an organization sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association or the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association at which rodeos are conducted by that organization to participate in the state-sanctioned charitable raffles.

This article will give you the list of Nay votes on each proposition. Since a proposed constitution amendment must receive 2/3 favorable votes in each chamber, you can properly presume that if your legislators’ names are not listed, then they voted “FOR” the proposal. Voters should take notes and call your legislators and ask them why they voted the way they did. We the People are tasked with the decision – Are they worthy of my vote in the primary next year?

Prop #1 passed in the House despite these 17 Nay votes – all of these were Republicans

NAY votes – HOUSE
CainPattersonSwanson
CasonSanfordTinderholt
FrankSchaeferToth
HefnerShaheenVasut
MurrSlatonWilson
NobleSlawson 
Biedermann, Landgraf, Leach, Middleton intended to vote Nay

And 2 Nay votes in the senate, both Republicans…

NAY votes – SENATE
BirdwellHall

Now, let’s apply 3 questions…

1.) Is it “constitutional”?
(Supports the constitutional republic)
NO
Governments are not instituted to pick winners/losers, especially in matters of charity.

2.) Is there a need?
(Do all the People have a need for and benefit from the proposed government intervention?)
NO
The government is not required to inspire charitable donations, and the constitution is certainly not the place to address personal charity.

3) Affordability?
(Can the People afford it? Is the cost equal and uniform?)
NO
All government actions and their agencies require funding by the People. Prop #1 increases the scope and cost of government to administer, monitor, and penalize the actions of such foundations and charitable raffles.


Prop# 2
The ballot will read…
“The constitutional amendment authorizing a county to finance the development or redevelopment of transportation or infrastructure in unproductive, underdeveloped, or blighted areas in the county.”

The change in text to the Texas constitution will be in Article 8 – TAXATION AND REVENUE, – under: DEVELOPMENT OR REDEVELOPMENT OF PROPERTY; AD VALOREM TAX RELIEF AND ISSUANCE OF BONDS AND NOTES, by adding counties to entities allowed to issue debt for transportation and infrastructure.

With this amendment, the counties may not:
1) Pledge >65% of increase in tax revenues toward repayment of debt (bonds/notes).
2) Use proceeds from the bonds or notes to finance the construction, operation, maintenance, or acquisition of rights-of-way of a toll road.

I defer to Terri Hall of Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom on all things related to transportation. Terri is strongly opposed to Prop# 2. Here’s what she has to say…

Proposition 2 contains misleading ballot wording to hide the fact that this proposition uses local property tax increases to pay for transportation projects that should be funded by the state using your existing taxes. Lawmakers already tried getting this past the voters in 2011 (then known as Prop 4), but voters rejected it. Now they think they can get it slipped past you this November by deceptively changing the ballot language to the remove the phrase ‘ad valorem tax increases’ and throw in the word ‘transportation’ . Ballot initiatives for transportation tend to pass with over 90% of the vote – nearly 100% of citizens need and use roads on a daily basis, it’s one of the few core functions of government. In fact, Prop 2 would authorize counties to divert up to 65% of your property tax to projects the state should be funding with your existing road taxes. Even more frightening is the broad language used for the land to do it. It changes the constitution to give counties authority to issue bonds to finance ‘undeveloped, underdeveloped, or blighted areas.’ That could mean virtually anything! One man’s blight is another man’s treasure.

Terri’s PAC (Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom), along with Grassroots America – We the People PAC, and the True Texas Project have informed the Texas Secretary of State that if Prop# 2 passes in November, they will file suit regarding the misleading ballot language. The letter can be read at TexasTurf.org https://www.texasturf.org/images/pdf/Ltr-SoS-Prop2-TURF-TTP-GAWTP-2021.pdf

Prop# 2 has 112 authors in the HOUSE: 47 Republicans, 65 Democrats.
Oddly, some of the House authors flipped and voted against Prop 2. In the House the nay votes are shown here – most of these are Republicans.

HOUSE Nay Votes
BeckleyNoble
BiedermannPatterson
CainPaul
CasonShaheen
CookSlaton
EllzeySlawson
HefnerVasut
Middleton 
Intended to vote no: Anderson, Holland, Leach, Leeman, Murr, Oliverson, Schaefer, Schofield, Swanson, Tinderholt, Toth

The senate Nay votes are listed here:

SENATE Nay Votes
BuckinghamHughes
HallSpringer

1) Is it “constitutional”?
(Supports the constitutional republic)
NO
Any actions by government (or individuals) that do NOT respect and support individual rights to life, liberty, and property, are un-constitutional.

Under-developed, un-developed, or blighted property can be defined, and redefined, by the legislature at any time. What one man sees as his treasure may be government’s definition of blight or under-developed. Through eminent domain powers, government can take property and develop it for the “greater good”, while committing the greater good to more debt. The sheeple were tossed one positive crumb. Counties CANNOT use the debt to finance the construction, operation, maintenance, or acquisition of rights-of-way for a toll road, thanks to Sen. Bob Hall’s floor amendment.

2) Is there a need?
(Do all the People have a need for and benefit from the proposed government intervention?
YES and NO
YES, transportation improvements generally benefit all the people whether for private transportation or common carrier.
NO, all the people may not have a need. In many cases, transportation improvements can be seen as a “desire” and not a “need”. Often times the increase in traffic with noise and light pollution deteriorates the value and aesthetics of adjacent private property; something those property owners don’t need.

3) Affordability?
(Can the People afford it? Is the cost equal and uniform?)
Neutral. The cost and uniformity will be different in each situation. The bill author said that transportation improvements will bring more local tax dollars, or “revenue”, to the area. Note that while nothing is free, the bill author stated that there will be no increase in ad valorem tax rate for financing of this debt, only an increase in ad valorem revenue will be used, and no more than 65% of an increase in the revenue each year may pay off this debt created by a county. Well, expenses are paid out of the same pot, so it’s possible that up to 65% of other government services will be trimmed to pay for this new transportation debt, especially in lean economic times, or government mandated shut downs.

Tax Increment Financed projects are required to hold one hearing for public input, but the public does not vote on these projects. Just because the ballot doesn’t say “debt paid for with property taxes” that is how the projects will be funded.


Prop# 3
The ballot will read:
“The constitutional amendment to prohibit this state or a political subdivision of this state from prohibiting or limiting religious services of religious organizations.”

We question whether this proposed amendment is necessary or good.
Article I, of the Texas Constitution, Section 6 currently reads:

FREEDOM OF WORSHIP. All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences. No man shall be compelled to attend, erect or support any place of worship, or to maintain any ministry against his consent. No human authority ought, in any case whatever, to control or interfere with the rights of conscience in matters of religion, and no preference shall ever be given by law to any religious society or mode of worship. But it shall be the duty of the Legislature to pass such laws as may be necessary to protect equally every religious denomination in the peaceable enjoyment of its own mode of public worship.

Prop# 3 will add this text … Sec. 6-a. This state or a political subdivision of this state may not enact, adopt, or issue a statute, order, proclamation, decision, or rule that prohibits or limits religious services, including religious services conducted in churches, congregations, and places of worship, in this state by a religious organization established to support and serve the propagation of a sincerely held religious belief.

Although HB 1239 (Sanford, Noble, et al / Paxton, Bettencourt, Hall, Lucio) is not listed as the enabling legislation for Prop# 3, HB 1239 does appear to give statutory effect to Prop# 3 – and – HB 1239 went into effect in June, without requiring an amendment to the constitution being required…
Chapter 110, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, has been amended by adding Section 110.0031 to read as follows: Sec. 110.0031. PROHIBITION ON ORDERS CLOSING PLACES OF WORSHIP. A government agency or public official may not issue an order that closes or has the effect of closing places of worship in this state or in a geographic area of this state.
Section 110.002, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, is amended by adding Subsection (d) to read as follows:
(d) For purposes of a state of disaster declared under Chapter 418, Government Code:
1) this chapter is not considered a regulatory statute; and
(2) a provision of this chapter may not be suspended.

Chapter 418 of the Government Code is the Texas Disaster Act of 1975, which Governor Abbott used to impose his Executive Orders, beginning on March 19, 2020.

Again, HB 1239 went into effect immediately (6/16/2021), not requiring an amendment to the constitution. Prop#3, if passed, will amend the Texas Constitution. The only way to change the constitution would be for another amendment, which is a higher threshold to achieve than merely changing Texas statute by a majority vote of a future legislature.

Prop# 3 passed in the House, despite these 33 Democrats voting against…

HOUSE Nay votes
AllenGonza ́lez, M.Reynolds
AnchiaGoodwinRodriguez
BeckleyHinojosaRose
BowersIsraelRosenthal
BucyJohnson, A.Sherman
ColeJohnson, J.E.Talarico
CollierLopezTurner, C.
CrockettMezaTurner, J.
DavisMorales, C.Vo
DeshotelOrtegaWu
Gonza ́lez, J.RamosZwiener
Intended/or would have voted NO: Morales Shaw, Perez

There were 2 nay votes in the senate. – both Democrats…

SENATE Nay votes
EckhardtJohnson

1) Is it “constitutional”?
(Supports the constitutional republic)
YES
At the state level, the Texas Constitution, Article 1, Section 6 is part of the original 1876 Texas Constitution. The words in Section 6 have never been amended. Article 6 still addresses FREEDOM OF WORSHIP

As for Congress or other federal/national body enacting, adopting, or issuing a statute, order, proclamation, decision, or rule that prohibits or limits religious services, The Constitution for the united States establishes limits on what Congress can do (not the States).

Amendment #1, adopted in 1791 still reads… Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;
Article 1, section 1, of the federal constitution clearly states in the first 11 words…
All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States”
“All” means all. The president has no legislative power. Federal courts have no legislative power. Federal courts render opinions and only in certain matters. The States on the other hand decide their own matters within their borders.

2) Is there a need?
(Do all the People have a need for and benefit from the proposed government intervention?)
Yes and NO…
YES
We the People have never authorized government to interfere in religious practices, and never specifically during a declared disaster as was the case in Texas under Governor Abbott’s numerous “executive orders” beginning on March 19, 2020, limiting gatherings of Texans. Gov. Abbott unjustly declared his power over religious worship through the Texas Disaster Act of 1975 proclaiming… In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, every person in Texas shall avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people.

NO
Article 1, section 6 of the constitution already prohibits government interference in religious worship. We the People need to learn our inherent rights and defend them locally. Stop asking government to solve the problems we ignorantly and irresponsibly allow them to create and enforce.

3) Affordability?
(Can the People afford it? Is the cost equal and uniform?)
YES
There is no monetary cost involved when government does not prohibit religious freedom


Prop# 4
The ballot will read…
“The constitutional amendment changing the eligibility requirements for a justice of the supreme court, a judge of the court of criminal appeals, a justice of a court of appeals, and a district judge.”

Prop# 4 will amend the Texas Constitution to change the eligibility requirements to serve as judge on 4 different types of Texas courts.

For Supreme Court Justices, Court of Criminal Appeals, and Texas Court of Appeals, Prop 4 will create these new qualifications to serve. A candidate must …
– be a practicing lawyer licensed in the State of Texas for at least ten years; or
– be a practicing lawyer licensed in the State of Texas and judge of a state court or county court for a combined total of at least ten years; and
– not had the person’s license to practice law revoked, suspended, or subject to a probated suspension during those 10 years.

New qualifications for District Judges, a candidate …
– Must have been a practicing lawyer or a Judge of a Court in this State, or both combined, for eight years [instead of current four years]; and
– during which time the judge’s license to practice law has not been revoked, suspended, or subject to a probated suspension.

All these changes are for justices elected or appointed for a term that begins on or after January 1, 2025. Prop# 4 passed with 19 nay votes in the house (5 Republicans).
The Republicans are noted in RED …

NAY Votes-House
AllisonDavisNeave
AnchiaGervin-HawkinsReynolds
BeckleyGonzalez, J.Romero
CainGuerraSlaton
CollierJohnson, J.D.Thompson, S.
CookMun ̃ozVasut
Crockett  
Intended/or would have voted NO: Sherman, Toth
Intended to vote YES: Cain

and 1 nay vote in the senate…

NAY Votes-SENATE
Gutierrez

1) Is it “constitutional”?
(Supports the constitutional republic)
YES
The Texas Constitution defines state government, with terms, elections, appointments etc. This includes our courts.

2) Is there a need?
(Do all the People have a need for and benefit from the proposed government intervention?)
NEUTRAL

3) Affordability?
(Can the People afford it? Is the cost equal and uniform?)
YES


Prop 5
The ballot will read:
“The constitutional amendment providing additional powers to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct with respect to candidates for judicial office.”

Currently, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct may only handle complaints against existing judges. This amendment would extend the Commission’s authority to impose the same standards on all judicial candidates as it does for those who are already judges, therefore leveling the playing field and ensuring all candidates for judicial positions are treated equally.

This is the actual text that will be added to Article V of the constitution…
(13-a) The Commission may accept complaints or reports, conduct investigations, and take any other action authorized by this section with respect to a candidate for an office named in Subsection (6)(A) of this section in the same manner the Commission is authorized to take those actions with respect to a person holding that office.

Prop# 5 passed unanimously in both chambers.

1) Is it “constitutional”?
(Supports the constitutional republic)
YES

2) Is there a need?
(Do all the People have a need for and benefit from the proposed government intervention?)
YES
Access to a body that reviews judicial conduct for both incumbents and challengers provides one more scorecard for voters to access.

3) Affordability?
(Can the People afford it? Is the cost equal and uniform?)
YES
Prop 5 will increase the responsibilities of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct by expanding the list of individuals potentially subject to a complaint or investigation by the commission but the cost is justified if it helps to inform voters of their choices at the ballot box.


Prop# 6
The ballot will read:
“The constitutional amendment establishing a right for residents of certain facilities to designate an essential caregiver for in-person visitation.”

Prop# 6 will amend the Bill of Rights in the Texas Constitution by adding all these words…
ARTICLE I.
Sec. 35. (a) A resident of a nursing facility, assisted living facility, intermediate care facility for individuals with an intellectual disability, residence providing home and community-based services, or state supported living center, as those terms are defined by general law, has the right to designate an essential caregiver with whom the facility, residence, or center may not prohibit in-person visitation.
(b) Notwithstanding Subsection (a) of this section, the legislature by general law may provide guidelines for a facility, residence, or center described by Subsection (a) of this section to follow in establishing essential caregiver visitation policies and procedures.

How many essential caregivers are mentioned here? One – “an” essential caregiver.

How will the legislature provide the guidelines? SB 25 gives us a peek at how the legislature currently plans to provide guidelines. SB 25 is the legislation providing specific rules for “essential caregivers” and already became effective 9/1/2021, without a requirement that Prop#6 first pass on Nov 2nd .

SB 25 grants Texas Health & Human Services Commission (the state’s largest agency, created in 1991) the power to provide and oversee the provisions and limitations for essential caregivers during a declared public health emergency. “Essential caregiver” is defined as a family member, friend, guardian, or other individual selected by a resident, resident’s guardian, or resident’s legally authorized representative for in-person visits.

SB 25 allows temporary limits during a declared public health emergency…
1) Visitation schedule shall allow at least 2 hours each day
2) A facility, through a petition to HHS, may suspend in person visitation for up to 7 days at a time
3) Each 7 day suspension is to be considered by HHS separately.
4) Suspension of visitation may not exceed 14 consecutive days or a total of 45 days.

Keep in mind that the Legislature can amend these rules anytime they want, to be more restrictive or less restrictive. But according to the text in the Prop#6 constitution amendment, they may (not “shall”) provide guidelines.

Prop 6 Passed with 1 Nay vote in the House:

NAY votes – House
Hinojosa

And 1 Nay vote in Senate:

Nay votes – Senate
Johnson

1.) Is it “constitutional”?
(Supports the constitutional republic)
Yes and No…
YES
Prop# 6 is one step closer to personal freedom by putting a restriction in the Constitution to limit the governor from using his pen to single-handedly restrict our interactions with loved ones through executive order…
NO
The ballot wording for Prop# 6, like most ballot wording, hides the fact that the legislature can restrict caregiver contact. The actual amendment to the Texas constitution will read…
“ the legislature by general law may provide guidelines for a facility, residence, or center …in establishing essential caregiver visitation policies and procedures.”

For several decades the legislature, regardless of which Party has been in control, has refused to support individual choice and responsibility when it comes to personal self-defense (right to keep and bear arms). We know from the China virus, that governments threaten individual health when the People ignorantly comply with absurd mandates. The legislature is only in session 140 days in odd numbered years. Meanwhile, they give immense power to appointed bureaucrats (HHS) to make rules and penalties. The proposed amendment should read “The governor and his executive departments are prohibited from directing human interaction in this state.”

The amendment states “an” essential caregiver – that’s one (1). Why not 2, 5, or 10 essential caregivers? If I’m in a nursing facility and I choose my son as my “essential caregiver”, and not my daughter, how will that affect their relationship? Will this adversely affect my relationship with my daughter? Everyone in my family is essential to me. They each give me physical and emotional support, and could give me monetary support when I’m older. How will I choose just one? Should I choose the one with the most money? Or the one that’s most likely to visit me more often hoping I’ll bequeath a bigger portion of my estate? Bureaucrats can restrict or expand the definition of “essential”, thus jeopardizing some Texans.

2) Is there a need?
(Do all the People have a need for and benefit from the proposed government intervention?)
NO
It is alarming that the People allow our governments to interfere with our interactions with loved ones. When was the last time you visited your grandmother when you were sick with the flu? Do you need government to tell you when you can visit her? This proposed amendment to our Texas constitution is a veiled nefarious government attempt to solve a government-created problem.

3) Affordability?
(Can the People afford it? Is the cost equal and uniform?)
NEUTRAL
The cost to administer and police is addressed this way by the Texas Legislative Budget Board: “It is assumed that any costs associated with the bill could be absorbed using existing resources”


PROP #7
The ballot will read…
“The constitutional amendment to allow the surviving spouse of a person who is disabled to receive a limitation on the school district ad valorem taxes on the spouse’s residence homestead if the spouse is 55 years of age or older at the time of the person’s death.”

In 2019, the 86th Legislature passed HB 1313, which expanded property tax exemptions on public school taxes to include the surviving spouse of an individual who was disabled as long as the surviving spouse is at least 55 years old. The bill was in conflict with the Texas Constitution, therefore if Prop# 7 passes this November, a tax collector will have to calculate the taxes that should have been imposed for the 2020 and 2021 tax years according to that bill, and if the taxes collected exceeded those that should have been imposed, the collector would have to refund the difference to the qualifying surviving spouse.

Prop# 7 and Prop# 8 address exemptions to ad valorem taxes, aka property taxes. Therefore let’s review recent history of ad valorem tax exemptions adopted via amendments to the Texas constitution…
2007: exempt all or part of the residence homesteads of certain totally disabled veterans
2011: property tax exemptions for surviving spouse of a “100 percent or totally disabled veteran”
2013: exemption for surviving spouse of a member of the U.S. armed services who is killed in action (KIA).
2015: Removed the date-of-death restriction regarding disabled veterans so that all surviving spouses now inherit the exemption (3800 homesteads qualified for this new exemption that year). For those taxing districts with higher populations of disabled veterans, the state subsidizes these cities with taxes from other districts. And this 2015 homestead exemption is available to all surviving spouses that move to Texas from other states.
2017: exemption from ad valorem taxation of all or part of the market value of the residence homestead of the surviving spouse of a first responder who is killed or fatally injured in the line of duty.” Fatally injured means the responder could die later, as a result of actions taken while performing official on-the-job duties.

The surviving spouse of a first responder who is killed or fatally injured in the line of duty is entitled to an exemption from taxation of the total appraised value of the surviving spouse’s residence homestead” as long as the spouse does not remarry. This exemption value can be transferred to another homestead should the spouse move, and this exemption was retroactive to include all spouses of deceased first responders.

The definition of “first responder”; there are 17 categories of government personnel that qualify for this tax exemption:
1. a peace officer
2. paid probation officer
3. parole officer
4. paid jailer
5. organized police reserve or auxiliary unit
6. employees of the correctional institutions division
7. jailer or guard of a county jail
8. juvenile correctional employee
9. employee of the Department of Aging and Disability Services or Department of State Health Services who works at the department’s maximum security unit
10. individual certified by the Texas Commission on Fire Protection
11. individual whose principal duties are aircraft crash and rescue fire fighting
12. member of an organized volunteer fire-fighting unit
13. performs emergency medical services or operates an ambulance
14. a chaplain for a) Volunteer fire-fighting unit, b) Law enforcement agency, c) Texas Department of Criminal Justice
15. A trainee employed by the state or a political subdivision for any of these positions
16. employed by the Department of Public Safety and deployed into the field to support law enforcement operations
17. employed by the Parks and Wildlife and assists in law enforcement

If the surviving spouse remarries, they lose the tax exemption. Surviving spouses moving to Texas from another state qualify.

Fast-forward to this year, 2021. Texas voters will vote on whether to extend property tax exemptions on public school taxes to a surviving spouse of a qualifying disabled property owner as long as the survivor is 55 years of age or older.

Prop 7 passed unanimously in both chambers.

1) Is it constitutional?
(Supports the constitutional republic)
NO
When you reduce the amount of payers into the tax system, you increase the amount of debt to those fewer payers. Prop# 7 continues to reduce the pool of property owners who must carry the load for all property owners. Property taxes are Marxist with the intent to abolish property ownership. To be constitutional, this amendment would abolish all ad valorem property taxes.

2) Is there a need?
(Do all the People have a need for and benefit from the proposed government intervention?)
NO
All property owners are not disabled or married to someone disabled. Additionally, those who rent their home don’t qualify for property tax exemptions.

3) Affordability?
(Can the People afford it?
Is the cost equal and uniform?)
NO
Prop 7 creates another special class of property owners, and penalizes others with more debt. Government forced charity is not charity. What if you kept all your local, county, state and federal taxes that go to entitlement programs for those that are challenged to help themselves? Do you have a family member or a neighbor that you would be able to assist with that money, without government taking their chunk out first? How did our economically challenged neighbors receive assistance prior to FDR’s 1933 NEW DEAL, a federal program that forced federal taxes to provide support for the unemployed, youth and the elderly, among numerous other programs? Answer; through our churches, family, and neighbors.

As retired congressman Ron Paul said. “Don’t steal. The government doesn’t like competition.”

Just like freedom is a fundamental desire of every human being, so is the desire to help fellow humans. Individuals express charity in many other forms. There are hundreds of organized charities that do great work for those who show a need for assistance, the best being through religious charities. Government charities take a large chunk of the donation before it benefits those to whom they are intended to benefit.


Prop# 8
The ballot will read:
“The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of all or part of the market value of the residence homestead of the surviving spouse of a member of the armed services of the United States who is killed or fatally injured in the line of duty.”

A little background…In 2013 Texas voters passed an amendment that provided for full property tax exemption to surviving spouses of US military members “killed in action”,- as in during combat. This year, Prop #8 extends this full property tax exemption to those surviving spouses of servicemen killed in” the line of duty” as well, not just those killed in combat. The exemption only applies as long as the spouse does not remarry, and includes veterans’ widows that move to Texas from other states.

There was one nay vote in the senate…

NAY votes – SENATE
Johnson

Prop 8 passed unanimously in the House.

1) Is it “constitutional”?
(Supports the constitutional republic)
NO – like prop# 7, Prop# 8 creates a special class of property owners. If Texans and our state government had any say so about our soldiers going overseas this might be a different situation but we don’t. Congress hasn’t declared war since WWII. One man UN-constitutionally does this – the President of the United States, while Congress twiddles their thumbs.
Government forced charity is not charity. See Prop# 7.

2) Is there a need?
(Do all the People have a need for and benefit from the proposed government intervention?)
NO

3) Affordability?
(Can the People afford it? Is the cost equal and uniform?)
NO
 – the exemption is neither uniform nor affordable.


Source: https://ntcl.org/2021/09/24/8-proposed-texas-constitution-amendments-nov-2-2021/

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Bexar CEC Meeting June 28, 2021 Video

The County Executive Committee meeting chaired by John Austin was held at the Firefighters Hall in San Antonio, and was livestreamed by Karen Marshall on her personal facebook page. The video is split into three parts, in order to leave out most of the party’s financial and budget information, as naturally that does not need to be posted on the world wide web. Commentary provided in the video is her own and not approved by SREC Committeeman Mark Dorazio.

Highlights of the meeting included a visit from Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judges Mary Lou Keel, Scott Walker and Jesse F. McClure III, and Judge Lori Valenzuela swearing in the crop of new precinct chairs. The meeting got heated at times when new business was brought up. Here are the livestreams:

CEC Meeting Part 1

CEC Meeting Part 2

CEC Meeting Part 3

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RPT Chairman Candidates Forum

Texas National Committeewoman Toni Anne Dashiell hosted a forum by Zoom on Friday, June 25th featuring all four of the candidates running to be the new chairman of the Republican Party of Texas.

These candidates are Matt Rinaldi, David Covey, Chad Wilbanks and Bill Burch. One of these four will be elected by the members of the State Republican Executive Committee on July 11th at the special meeting in Lewisville, Texas.

This election meeting will be livestreamed on the TXSD25 facebook page, and is scheduled to start at 2:00 PM CST.

If you have a strong preference for which candidate you would like to see elected, you should contact your SREC Committeeman and Committeewoman to let them know who you would like them to vote for. If you live in Senate District 25 (Donna Campbell’s district), then Mark Dorazio and Krissy Coons are your SRECs.

The new chairman will serve until the next state convention, in 2022.

Here is the link to watch the one-hour forum: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAFgsF04Kb8

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School Choice Gets the House’s Back Door Treatment

Thursday, April 22, 2021 – Budget Day in the Texas House of Representatives

Near 5:00 PM, Rep. Herrero introduced Amendment 84 with Rep. Huberty standing close behind him. He thanked “Dr. VanDeaver and all those that support public education…..Stand with our public school teachers.”

The amendment reads, “Prohibition on Use of Appropriated Money for School Choice Programs. Money appropriated by this Act may not be used to pay for or support a school voucher, education savings account, or tax credit scholarship program or similar program through which a child may use state money for nonpublic primary or secondary education.

Rep. Steve Toth, whose district is in Montgomery County near Houston, spoke against the amendment, saying,

“Members, not all of us have choice. I have choice. If I lived in a district that didn’t adequately and effectively provide a good education to my child, I have choice, I can move to a different district. Parents desire choice. Parents desire to make that decision as to whether or not the educational experience their child is receiving is effective or not. Every parent deserves that choice.

This is a poll that was done by the Mason-Dixon Polling Strategy Company. It’s a nonpartisan organization.  They do polling for Republicans, Democrats, on all sorts of different issues. I’m kind of a polling nerd. I used to work for the Harris poll.

They went out to 625 registered Texas voters, margin of error of plus or minus 4%, with a 95% probability rate. And here’s what it says,

If you live in East Texas, 79% of Texans desire parental choice.

If you live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, 76% of parents desire School Choice.

Houston Metro, parental choice, 79%,

Central Texas, 76%

West Texas, 71%

And if you’re in a 50/50 district, here’s the most key thing of all, if you’re in a 50/50 district, independent voters, overwhelmingly, 74% believe in parental choice.

Let’s give underserved children the same choice that every single member of this Texas House and Senate has. And I ask for you to reject this amendment.”

Then Rep. Huberty, of the Public Education Committee, spoke for the amendment:

“Members, we’ve had this discussion in this body for years about this. The reality of the situation is we have plenty of options of choice within our public schools. That’s just false narrative. We’ve had the ability to send, when we talk about special needs kids as an example, we have the ability to put them in private placement, we have the ability to let them do that. We’ve expanded the options for parents through the pandemic, of creating opportunities. We’re talking about virtual schools now. We talking about all these wonderful options that we have there. So I respectfully ask you to vote for the amendment.”

Rep. Herrero said in closing: “Join all the members that are here in support of this amendment (indicating the members standing behind him) and stand with our public school teachers and support this amendment. I move for the adoption.”

Rep. Biedermann raised a point of order against further consideration of Amendment 84 under Rule 8, Section 4, of the House Rules on the grounds that the amendment changes general law through an appropriations bill. The point of order was withdrawn.

A record vote requested by Rep. Toth.

Final vote tally:  115 Yeas to 29 Nays, 2 present but not voting.

The 29 Republican representatives who voted in favor of School Choice by voting against this amendment to defund any form of it were:

Biedermann, Bonnen, Cain, Capriglione, Cason, Craddick, Frank, Gates, Hefner, Hull, Jetton, Klick, Krause, Leach, Metcalf, Middleton, Murphy, Noble, Oliverson, Parker, Patterson, Paul, Sanford, Schafer, Shaheen, Swanson, Tinderholt, Toth, Wilson.

Statements of vote:

Button was out of the chamber, but would have voted “no.”

Leach said he was shown voting no, but intended to vote Yes.

Leman was shown voting Yes, but intended to vote No.

Metcalf was shown voting no, but intended to vote Yes.

Shaheen was shown voting No, but intended to vote Yes.

(So apparently statements of vote changes afterwards are documented in the journal, but the tally does not change. Their votes stay as recorded. I crossed through the names who indicated they meant to vote for the defund amendment.) All the representatives not named above voted for the defund amendment.

This was a back door move to eliminate any chance of any kind of School Choice getting through, because while activists attentively watch the progress of bills, which all had to be filed by March 12, no one outside the back offices of the Capitol could have seen this amendment coming, and it was only filed the day of the Budget vote. And the great majority of Republican Representatives and all the Democrats voted in favor.

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Let Our Children Go!

There is ONE approved bill for achieving the School Choice for All Legislative Priority, and it desperately needs action right now.

Senator Bettencourt’s SB 1968 and its identical companion bill, Representative Middleton’s HB 4537, establishing the Family Educational Relief Program, are stalled.

SB 1968 was assigned to the Senate Education Committee, HB 4537 was assigned to the House Public Education Committee, and neither has been seen or heard since.

These bills MUST be given hearings by the first week in May, or they are high and dry.

Republican voters have been requesting School Choice for decades now, for the benefit of all Texan children. Polls demonstrate that in every region of Texas, over 70% of the population wants choice in schools. School Choice has been placed on the ballots of multiple Republican Primary Elections as Propositions, and each time has passed statewide by wide margins.

More than this, School Choice is one of the ten enduring Principles of the Republican Party of Texas, ahead of all the planks in the Platform. To that end, it has once again been voted by the thousands of state convention delegates as one of their priorities for the Texas legislators.

But unless legislators are swiftly shown that constituents’ will is forcefully behind this cause, this issue and these bills will be allowed to quietly lapse for the 13th legislative session in a row. Other issues have become more prominent this year and garnered much of peoples’ attention. Perennially, influential unions and associations, superintendents and school districts who think of families being allowed to choose as a threat to “Our Money” and “Our Students,” lobby powerfully to see that such legislation gets quashed at the outset and never sees the light of day.

But an enduring issue such as School Choice, with effects greater than can be measured, what with the quality of educations and success of children growing up now at stake, should not be disregarded any longer.

If you believe children should not be consigned to the school the district has assigned, then please contact legislators NOW to support SB 1968 and HB 4537.

To learn more about how the Family Educational Relief Program would work, see these articles:

PARKER: Is Texas Legislature Closer to Passing More School Choice Than Ever Before?
https://www.texasinsider.org/articles/parker-is-texas-loser-than-ever-to-more-school-choice

Is Texas About to Change How Parents Choose Their Children’s School?
http://texasinsider.org/articles/is-texas-about-to-change-how-parents-choose-their-children-s-school

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Republicans, Rally at the Capitol!

The delegates of the 2020 Texas Republican Convention passed Legislative Priorities that we as a party will advocate during the 87th Texas Legislative Session which is starting now.

Come out to show your legislators that their constituents are paying attention and want them to pass legislation accomplishing these priorities!

Our Legislative Priorities:

  • Election Integrity
  • Religious Freedom
  • Abolish Child Gender Modification
  • Abolition of Abortion
  • Constitutional Carry
  • Monument Protection
  • School Choice for All
  • Ban Taxpayer-Funded Lobbying

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How We Got our 2020 Platform

Here’s what happened to reach the Republican Party of Texas Platform we have today, now that the vote on the planks has concluded:

1. People submitted resolutions at their precinct conventions on March 3rd. 

2. The State Party Chairman appointed Mark Dorazio as the Chairman of the Temporary Platform Committee.

3. County and Senatorial District Conventions formed Resolutions Committees to process the resolutions from precinct conventions and any new resolutions submitted directly to their conventions.

4. Pandemic delayed the May 23rd County/SD Conventions until up to as late as June 27th.

5. The State Convention in Houston was postponed until July 16-18.

6. Almost all resolutions were submitted to the RPT by June 27th.

7. Volunteers and staff diligently entered the thousands of resolutions from the 248 County and SD Conventions which took place into one document for the Platform Committee, either by copying and pasting or retyping them, sorting them into the 9 categories of the Platform while doing so, by the week before convention.

8. State Republican Executive Committee members from the 31 districts each nominated one volunteer to serve on the Temporary Platform Committee. Chairman Mark Dorazio then appointed 9 subcommittee chairmen from among these 31 committee members.

9. Volunteer platform committee secretaries/editors were recruited. These people served every hour of every day that the committee and subcommittees met, and worked long after the meetings concluded.

10. Thursday, July 9th, the mayor of Houston announced he was reneging on the city’s contract to host the RPT Convention at the Houston Convention Center.

11. As scheduled, for the full day of Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, July 13, 14 and 15, the Temporary Platform Committee met in Houston, but not at the Convention Center. At the hotel across the street from the Convention Center they met in 9 subcommittees, and then as a committee of the whole. They considered every plank from the previous platform, considered the new submitted resolutions, and heard testimony from delegates who showed up to speak to the committee on particular resolutions or planks. The committee concluded business at 11:54 PM on Wednesday.

12. During the virtual convention general assembly on Sunday, July 19th the delegates approved a motion which included postponing voting on the party Rules and Platform Reports until some other time in the future, by a method to be recommended by a Committee of 10 which was then elected.

13. The Committee of 10 recommended voting on the Platform and Rules via a “Survey Monkey-style” survey to delegates and alternates by electronic mail, with a minimum of three (3) days allowed for them complete the survey. Each Platform plank from the Permanent Platform and Resolutions Committee shall be voted on individually by each delegate, and the Minority Reports from both that Committee and the Rules Committee shall be included for separate votes.
The electronic mail notification on the voting platform shall include a paragraph from the person designated to present the Minority Report, as well as the proposed language from the Committee, pursuant to RPT Rule 24. Sufficient identifying information shall be included to allow for seating of alternates and SD identification for weighted voting purposes. The results of the Survey Monkey-style voting shall be ratified at the next regular SREC meeting but announced as soon as available by RPT staff.

14. Mark Ramsey, chairman of the Legislative Priorities Committee, and Karen Marshall, an editor of the Platform Committees, set about creating a method for delegates to vote which met these criteria and included backup methods to handle the kind of problems encountered during the July virtual convention. An enormous amount of effort went into crafting the ballot so that it met all party rules and parliamentary requirements, as well as be as user-friendly as possible.

15. SREC Members served as their districts’ delegates’ support through the four day voting process, and provided access to the ballot and a unique passcode to any delegate who notified them during that time they had not received their ballot.

16. After Platform and Rules voting concluded after four days, the volunteer team went through and eliminated any duplicate votes, corrected the counties of the voters who answered “Texas” on that question, and sorted the votes by district. Then the votes were weighted according to each district’s delegate strength. After a few sets of eyes double-checked the data and the math, the results were published. Both Minority Reports, Rules and Platform, passed, as well as all proposed planks, by well over 60% each.


Thank you, everyone who participated as delegates in the virtual state convention in July, and who then voted on the recent Platform and Rules ballot.

Now that you know the process by which our Platform develops, even in unprecedented circumstances, I hope you will know how to craft your future resolutions and advocate for them effectively.


Tips:

  • Submit your resolutions by email, so they don’t need to be retyped. (Don’t scan or Xerox copy a document. The text should be selectable, able to be copied and pasted.)
  • Be sure to give each resolution a short title/subject, and identify under which of the 9 Platform categories each belongs.
  • Email a copy of your new resolution(s) to your Senate District’s member of the Temporary Platform Committee before the committee meets. Members are posted on the RPT website before state convention.
  • Show up in person on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of convention week to testify to the Platform Committee on your resolution(s).
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RPT Platform & Rules 2020

The final business of the state convention is for delegates and seated alternates to vote on the Platform and Rules. Voting will begin on Friday, October 2nd. Each platform plank must receive at least 60% of the votes to be included in the party platform. There is one Minority Report to the Platform Report and one Minority Report to the Rules Report also on which to vote.

A team of dedicated volunteers has worked very long and hard to develop the best possible Platform and Rules for our party, and then to provide the best possible process for delegates to vote, adapting along the way to this year’s unprecedented obstacles.

Click here to see the Platform Committee Report of the 2020 RPT Convention

Click here to see the Rules Committee Report of the 2020 RPT Convention

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2020 RPT Platform Minority Report

2020 Platform Committee Minority Report

SCOPE:  We the members of the Platform and Resolutions Committee who have signed the Minority Report below propose that the the version of Plank #54, as passed in the Republican Party of Texas Convention in 2018, be restored to its original form.  This request is based on the announcement of the intent to file a minority report prior to adjournment of the Permanent Platform Committee meeting, though the announcement was not accepted. 

MINORITY MEMBERS:

  • SD 6     Marga Matthews
  • SD 7     Tom Nobis
  • SD 8     Paul Chabot
  • SD 18   Caleb Pillado
  • SD 19   Stuart Knowlton
  • SD 24   Matt Long
  • SD 26   David Westbrook

The 2018 RPT Platform plank reads:

54.  Article V Convention of States: We reaffirm our support for our Texas State Legislators’ call for a limited Article V Convention of States for the specific purpose of reducing the power of the federal government, including fiscal responsibility, balanced budget, and term limits. Any proposed amendments must be ratified by three-fourths of the states.

2018 Platform plank #54, supporting an Article V Convention of States (above), garnered the second-highest number of votes to be designated as a top RPT Legislative Priority during our 2016 Convention (90% of delegates), and, subsequently, the 85th legislative session in 2017 passed it with resounding Republican legislative support.  Since it is a resolution still pending in Congress until acted on by additional states, it cannot be said to have been “passed” in any meaningful way.

In conclusion, we believe that the original language of Plank #54, as passed in convention in 2018, overwhelmingly represents and advances the core values of the Republican Party.

As a remedy, the Minority hereby tenders a motion to restore Plank #54, which the Majority Report has removed, with the original language passed in the Republican Party of Texas Convention in 2018, which reads as follows:

54.  Article V Convention of States: We reaffirm our support for our Texas State Legislators’ call for a limited Article V Convention of States for the specific purpose of reducing the power of the federal government, including fiscal responsibility, balanced budget, and term limits. Any proposed amendments must be ratified by three-fourths of the states.

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Houston Convention Update

July 10, 2020

Dear SD 25 Delegates and Alternates,

Four years ago, it was decided and voted on that we would hold the 2020 State Convention in Houston. My attention was focused on an in-person convention ever since. I had no reason to suspect any changes otherwise. COVID struck and we had to use some creative ways to hold our SD conventions across the state and we were successful. Now we are being faced with rapidly changing threats to our Republican State Convention.  Three weeks ago, the mayor of Houston stated he was going to allow the convention to proceed.  He then changed his tune and requested us to withdraw our convention.  The SREC, through a zoom meeting, decided to proceed with the convention as planned. If the RPT would have canceled, it would have cost our party $500,000+. Yesterday, July 8th, as you have probably already heard, the Mayor of Houston after several threats, has decided to cancel the 2020 RPT convention.   A lawsuit was filed today in return by the Republican Party of Texas in the District Court in Houston for breach of contract. Here is the link to the current press release.
A Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) has been filed, and a hearing is taking place right now at 4:30 pm. in an attempt to restrain the mayor from canceling the event. If we do not prevail, we expect an appeal to be filed to the next higher court. We are intending to continue to hold this convention as planned as we feel it is in the best interest of our party, and the process that we go through at our convention.  A few different options are being considered, and a virtual convention could be a possibility.  If you could be patient for a while longer, we will soon learn how we will need to proceed and notify you once those decisions are made.

[Update: The Supreme Court of Texas will hold a hearing on the RPT’s suit against Houston on Saturday, July 11th at 5:00 PM. The SREC will hold an Emergency Meeting after the hearing has concluded. You may watch the SREC Zoom meeting on the livestream on the RPT facebook page or via the RPT’s Youtube channel.]

I appreciate your prayers for all these things.

Most Sincerely,
Mark Dorazio
SREC SD25