Saturday, May 30, 2015

Voice and Exit: How 3D Bioprinting will transform Medicine

"And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins."
Mark 2:22

Laura Bosworth explains how 3D printing can make organ shortages a thing of the past, starting with Breast Cancer survivors:


  • 3D printing has been around for decades, what's changed is that the cost has dropped.
  • Similar to the replicator in Star Trek.
  • Working on 3D printing food.
    • Modern Meadow -- Using cow and pig cells to 3D print pieces of meat.
  • 3D printers have been used to create custom hearing aids for decades.
  • Custom printing for vets who need to have skulls rebuilt.
  • Functioning kidneys printed in China.
  • Functioning livers printed in U.S.
  • 18 people a day currently die due to organ shortages.
  • It could take decades until this is widely available.
  • Nipples for breast cancer survivors is the first step.

Voice and Exit 2015 is coming to Austin next month; learn more and register here.

Friday, May 29, 2015

HB 1: A Reasonably Not Crappy Budget

"There is desirable treasure,
And oil in the dwelling of the wise,
But a foolish man squanders it."
Proverbs 21:20

For all the Texas Legislature's failures this session, credit must be given where it's due: They've done a reasonably decent job putting together the state's two-year budget.

In 2013, the 83rd Texas Legislature increased spending by 26%.  That was one of the major actions that radicalized this website against Texas House leadership.  It was ugly.

In 2015, by contrast, spending will go up by less than 4%; that's less than Population Growth + Inflation.

Last summer, the Conservative Budget Coalition called for a state budget that wouldn't exceed Population + Inflation.  That would mean a top line number of $215 Billion and a growth rate of 6.5%.  The final numbers are $209 Billion and 4% respectively.

Some other highlights:

  • A number of transportation diversions have been ended or substantially curtailed.
  • Several pro-Life riders.
  • A substantial commitment to border security.
Again, this budget is far from ideal.  If we were writing it, we'd do things differently.  Considering the realities in the legislature this session, however, it could have been FAR worse.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

How Byron Cook Killed pro-Life Legislation

"They sharpen their tongues like a serpent;
The poison of asps is under their lips."
Psalm 140:3

After slow walking the bill for weeks then deliberately watering it down, on Tuesday night Byron Cook chose to assault the first amendment rather than protect the unborn:

  • Schaefer tries to get Cook to postpone the "ethics" bill until after voting on the campus carry and pro-life bills.
Texas Right to Life has A LOT more here.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Texas House creates ANOTHER Open Carry Hurdle

"Though his hatred is covered by deceit,
His wickedness will be revealed before the assembly."
Proverbs 26:26

Shortly after 6pm this evening, the Texas House failed to concur with the Senate version of HB 910, the (already watered down) open carry bill.  This means the bill will go to a conference committee.  Both chambers will now have to approve a conference report.

Also worth noting is that House leadership appointed Panic-button Poncho and Charlie Geren to the conference committee.

Senator John Whitmire (D - Houston) has already vowed to filibuster the bill if it hits the Senate floor late enough.  It's often said in the Texas Legislature that "delay equals death."  Read into that what you will.


The Trib has more here.


Don Huffines put out the following statement:
Our police officers in Texas do amazing work and act as professionals under the most difficult of circumstances. I have...
Posted by Don Huffines on Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Cook's Fiasco "Ethics" Bill draws Senate Rebuke

"But they are altogether dull-hearted and foolish;
A wooden idol is a worthless doctrine."
Jeremiah 10:8

Van Taylor puts Cook in his place:
“The purpose of the Senate’s ethics package, which was applauded by Governor Abbott who placed this charge on his emergency call, is to put a mirror on elected officials and affirm to the people that our efforts to represent them rise above even the appearance of impropriety or self-service,” stated Taylor.

“Some in the House apparently don’t think elected officials are the problem and instead muddled the bill with a litany of bizarre measures that point the finger at everyone besides themselves, including a page from Hillary Clinton’s playbook to launch an assault on the First Amendment. This is one of those head shaking moments that rightfully raise doubts in the minds of our constituents as to the Legislature’s resolve to serve the people above all else.”


However, the House State Affairs Committee morphed the bill from meaningful ethics reform of government officials to attacks on civil liberties and additional protections for elected officers. The changes were so out of line with the original purpose of the bill that the House committee had to change the bill’s caption. Instead, the House reached for non-germane and unconstitutional provisions including the forced disclosure of donors of non-profit organizations in order to engage in political speech.
Read the whole thing here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Texas House votes to censor filming legislators

"Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips
And from a deceitful tongue."
Psalm 120:2

One of the most egregious provisions of Byron Cook's re-written "ethics" bill currently being debated on the Texas House floor would open citizen journalists to lawsuits if they film a legislator without the legislator's knowledge.  Representative Matt Schaefer offered an amendment to strip that provision from the bill.  During the debate, Cook and Representative Jessica Farrar whined about how it was just so dadgum mean to do ambush interviews of legislators without knowing who signs their paychecks.

Schaefer, David Simpson, and Jonathan Stickland, meanwhile, explained how filming legislators is a tool for citizen journalists to hold elected officials accountable; Pat Fallon explained that, even if the elected officials don't like it, ambush interviews come with the territory.

The amendment failed 66-74:
RV# 1539 — Unofficial Totals66 Yeas, 74 Nays, 3 Present, not voting
Yeas - Anderson, C.; Anderson, R.; Ashby; Bell; Bohac; Bonnen, G.; Burns; Burrows; Canales; Craddick; Crownover; Cyrier; Dale; Davis, S.; Fallon; Fletcher; Flynn; Frank; Goldman; Gonzales; Guillen; Gutierrez; Huberty; Hughes; Keough; King, P.; King, S.; Klick; Koop; Krause; Landgraf; Larson; Laubenberg; Leach; Lozano; Metcalf; Meyer; Miles; Murphy; Murr; Paddie; Parker; Paul; Phelan; Price; Rinaldi; Rodriguez, E.; Sanford; Schaefer; Schofield; Shaheen; Simmons; Simpson; Smithee; Spitzer; Springer; Stickland; Thompson, E.; Tinderholt; Turner, E.S.; VanDeaver; White, J.; White, M.; Wray; Zedler; Zerwas
Nays - Allen; Alonzo; Alvarado; Anchia; Aycock; Bernal; Blanco; Bonnen, D.; Button; Clardy; Coleman; Collier; Cook; Darby; Davis, Y.; Deshotel; Dukes; Dutton; Elkins; Faircloth; Farias; Farrar; Frullo; Galindo; Geren; Giddings; González; Guerra; Harless; Hernandez; Herrero; Howard; Hunter; Isaac; Israel; Johnson; Kacal; King, K.; King, T.; Kuempel; Longoria; Lucio; Márquez; Martinez; Martinez Fischer; McClendon; Miller, D.; Miller, R.; Minjarez; Moody; Muñoz; Naishtat; Nevárez; Oliveira; Otto; Phillips; Pickett; Raney; Raymond; Reynolds; Riddle; Rodriguez, J.; Romero; Rose; Schubert; Sheffield; Smith; Thompson, S.; Turner, C.; Villalba; Vo; Walle; Workman; Wu
Present, not voting - Mr. Speaker; Sheets(C); Turner, S.
Absent - Burkett; Capriglione; Farney; Keffer; Morrison; Peña; Stephenson

First Amendment Tuesday: Detailing all the Wreckage

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

Today is the deadline for worthwhile bills to move in the legislature; on that note, First Amendment Tuesday this morning detailed the bills stuck behind an absolutely AWFUL "Ethics" bill.

Tony McDonald (Empower Texans) (Partial):

  • SB 19, by Byron Cook, would prohibit Churches from passing collection plates.

  • American laws for American courts is dead.
  • Debbie Riddle was an initial sponsor of ALAC.
  • 1/3 of the adoption agencies in Texas are faith based.

  • TLO is one of the best uses of our tax dollars.
  • SB 313 (Seliger) -- AWFUL bill would re-write TEKS.
    • HB 2811 (Huberty) also viable
  • SB 1200 -- Larry Taylor has a bill that would undermine State Board of Education.
  • "If the foundations are destroyed...."
  • SB 9 is TERRIBLE now; worse than doing nothing.

  • The left is radically opposed to religious freedom.
  • Anything on religious liberty is "Indiana-style."
  • SB 206 -- Amendment by Scott Sanford.
  • SB 19 is a threat to everyone.


  • SB 575:
    • Would have originally banned abortion coverage under Obamacare, Private Insurance, and State Employee Plans.
    • Byron Cook delayed it then gutted it.
    • TxRTL was offered a deal on SB 575 for pulling amendments on Sunset Bills
    • Debbie Riddle and Patricia Harless voted no.
    • Sarah Davis and Patrica Harless were trying to break Quorum.
    • SB 575 will only hit the floor at 11:50 pm (if at all).
    • HB 3994 is a GREAT bill.

Mr. McRaven's final assault on campus carry

"Every one of the builders had his sword girded at his side as he built. And the one who sounded the trumpet was beside me."
Nehemiah 4:18

"The presence of handguns on Texas campuses, where we would be one of fewer than 10 states to allow this conduct, may well cause faculty to be discouraged from relocating from other states," wrote McRaven, best known for leading the raid that killed Osama bin Laden during his tenure as the head of U.S. Special Operations Command. "The intuitive answer is that the presence of concealed weapons will make us less competitive."

McRaven wrote the letter, dated April 20, in response to questions from Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie. The letter was distributed House-wide Monday morning, the day before the chamber is scheduled to debate Senate Bill 11, which would allow licensed gun owners to carry concealed handguns into college buildings and dormitories. Currently, concealed handgun licensees only are allowed to bring their guns into the open, outdoor areas of campuses.


"In addressing these costs, our campuses will either need increased revenue or be compelled to reduce or discontinue other services or activities," McRaven wrote. His letter included a number of suggestions for how to improve the campus carry legislation, including prohibiting concealed handguns in campus buildings that house mental health and crisis counseling centers.
Read the whole thing here.

Monday, May 25, 2015

#TXLEGE attempting Common Core Backdoor

"Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man,
But afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel."
Proverbs 20:17

Oh good grief, from Texas Eagle Forum:
sTexas Eagle Forum is also alerting you to help stop a pincer-type attack scheduled in both the House and the Senate on Monday, May 25.

SB 313 by Seliger is on the House General State Calendar today, Monday, May 25 – NOT on the Senate Local and Uncontested Calendar for Sunday, as incorrectly reported in our May 24 Alert.

HB 2811 by Ken King is on the Senate Calendar, under Regular Order of Business today, Monday, May 25 - NOT on the House Daily Calendar for Sunday, as incorrectly reported in our May 24 Alert.

These are identical bills, and this scheme MUST be stopped!!


Reasons to vote “NO” on SB 313 and HB 2811:

· Bills are unnecessary – the SBOE is already working on reducing the number of TEKS taught.

· Exposes our outstanding Type#1 (traditional, fact-based) English / Language Arts / Reading TEKS, Math TEKS, and pro-American Social Studies TEKS to being re-written by progressives who will revert to Type #2 TEKS:

· Throws a monkey wrench into the TEKS revision

Cycle already set in place and functioning

· Robs the PSF – the children’s textbook fund

· Creates impossible task for the State Board of Education

· Provides opportunities for technology companies (one of which supported one of the bills) to make lots of money

These bills can come up at any time; time is of the essence!!!

Senator Kel Seliger:  (512) 463-0131

Representative Dan Huberty: (512) 463-0520

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Voice and Exit: Why Floating Cities are the Next Frontier

"And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins."
Mark 2:22

Joe Quirk from Voice and Exit 2014:

  • The difference between us and a billionaire is miniscule compared to the difference with the bottom billion.
  • Governments are the only technology that does not make progress rapidly and peacefully.
  • The United States was a "breakaway experiment in governance."
  • Cruise ships are an early example of floating cities.
  • Nearly half the world's surface is unclaimed by governments.
  • Governments could only form if you choose to subject yourself to them.
  • The ocean is the largest solar panel in the world.
  • Water will be the next oil.
  • Regulations written in 1970 are holding back innovations in 2020.
  • "We walked on the moon 45 years ago; it's easier to float than fly."
Learn more about Sea Steading and Voice and Exit 2014 here.


Voice and Exit 2015 is coming to Austin next month; learn more and register here.

Byron Cook waters down pro-life bill out of spite

"They sharpen their tongues like a serpent;
The poison of asps is under their lips."
Pslam 140:3

We can't even:
The House State Affairs Committee passedSenate Bill 575 by Republican Larry Taylorof Friendswood on a 7-1 vote after amending it to only ban insurance coverage on health insurance purchased through the federal Affordable Care Act’s marketplace.
Originally, SB 575 would have banned abortion coverage on both ACA plans and private health insurance plans. The committee instead amended the bill so that it mirrored a measure filed in the House by state Rep. Marsha Farney, R-Georgetown, and approved by the committee this month before dying on a House bill deadline
The measure still has to clear several hurdles. It must be placed on the House calendar by 10 p.m. Sunday and passed on the floor by Tuesday.

[Emphasis added]
First off, obviously, the amended version of the bill is FAR more permissive towards the abortion industry than the original.

But where this is even more insidious is that if the House passed the bill in it's current form, it would have to go BACK to the Senate for them to concur.

Bottom Line: Unless the bill is amended on the House floor, how many babies will die between now and the start of the next legislative session because Byron Cook would rather spite conservatives than pass a pro-life bill with teeth?!?

Was Stickland Setup?!?

"He who works deceit shall not dwell within my house;
He who tells lies shall not continue in my presence."
Psalm 101:7

Very interesting report in this morning's Statesman:
On Friday, Stickland released an audio file from earlier in the session that he said is a recording of a staffer for state Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, who called Stickland’s Capitol office and used a fake name to prompt behavior that could have been used against the tea party agitator from Bedford.

In the recording, which could not be verified, a man who said he was from Houston asked Stickland’s legislative director how the man might register his support for House Bill 142, a proposal by Stickland to ban red light cameras.

Stickland said he believes the caller hoped that the conservative Republican’s aide had offered to sign him up in support of the bill without the caller being present, which would be against House policy. The Stickland staffer simply explained the process to the caller, as heard on the recording.

Stickland said the call appears to have been placed before Pickett, who chairs the House Transportation Committee, angrily tossed Stickland from a late night hearing of the committee on April 30 and accused him of the possible felony of tampering with a government document — by filling out a witness affirmation form in favor of the camera ban bill.


Stickland said he believes it was Pickett’s staff on the recording, based on conversations with his lawyer, who has had conversations with DPS.
Read the whole thing here.


Listen to the call below:

Friday, May 22, 2015

Gio and the Watered Down Gold Bill

"By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber."
2 Peter 2:3

[Author's Note: The 2013 version of the bill can be seen here; the 2015 version can be seen here.]

Longtime readers will remember that repatriating Texas' Gold was our top priority last session.  The bill died in committee.  Obviously, this was Gio's bill.

Thus it caught our attention when we noticed a similar bill had passed the House this session.  Something had changed.  For awhile, we were thinking that Gio had actually gotten something important in exchange for his support for Joe Straus.

Then we decided to read the bills.

In both versions of the bill, Section 2116.002 establishes the parameters of the Texas Bullion Depository.  Both versions place the agency under the Comptroller's office and enable political subdivisions to store their bullion in the depository.  Only the 2013 version of the bill (page 3), however, enables the depository to:
(2)provide the basis for a system for precious metals-denominated intergovernmental payments and settlements between and among:
  • (A)the agencies, political subdivisions, and instrumentalities of this state; and 
  • (B)persons making payments to, receiving payments from, or otherwise doing business with an agency, a political subdivision, or another instrumentality of this state in the exercise and discharge of a governmental function or responsibility of the political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality; 
(3)establish a process and mechanism by which the system described by Subdivision (2) is able to function in the event of a systemic dislocation in a national and international financial system, including systemic problems in liquidity, credit markets, or currency markets; and 
(4)provide a regulatory and administrative framework for the system described by Subdivision (2) to be made available to private persons.
In other words, where the 2013 version of the bill had teeth that would help re-establish sound money, the 2015 creates a new state agency that wouldn't accomplish anything.

On a similar note, Section 2116.028 of the 2013 version of the bill (page 20) fails to make it into the 2015 counterpart:
  • (a) The comptroller shall monitor the development of the depository-based system of payments and settlements and shall direct and encourage all funds and agencies of this state to use the system for intergovernmental payments and settlements to the extent prudent and practicable.  
  • (b) conditions of acceptance and liquidity of the depository system improve, the comptroller shall: 
    • (1)establish appropriate firm requirements for the use of the system for intergovernmental payments and settlements to the extent prudent and practicable; and 
    • (2)encourage the use of the system by private persons to make or receive payments to or from a state agency or fund.
Again, rendering the bill toothless.

Another interesting tidbit from the 2013 version (page 8) that fails to reappear in 2015 is Section 2116.008:
Sec.A2116.008. FULL FAITH AND CREDIT. The depository ’s obligation to deliver precious metals and transfer account balances to the order of a depository account holder under this chapter is backed by the full faith and credit of this state.
That being said, if you end up in litigation with the Texas Bullion Depository, at least the 2015 version (page 9) offers this reassurance in Section 2116.009:
(e)A suit authorized by this section must be brought in a district court of Travis County.
Because judges in Travis County have such FANTASTIC reputations....

BOTTOM LINE: The 2013 version of this bill had meaningful economic possibilities.  The only reason it's moved in 2015, however, is because it's been gutted.  Is anyone surprised?!?

Cook attempting to kill pro-life bill

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

EVERYTHING with Byron Cook requires pulling teeth:
The House Committee on State Affairs is about to kill Senate Bill 575 by Senator Larry Taylor.

One day remains for the House Committee to vote SB 575, the Pro-Life Health Insurance Reform Bill, on to the floor for full debate. The State Senate passed SB 575 two weeks ago by a vote of 21-10 with no weakening amendments, but the House Committee on State Affairs wants to take out a key provision and render the bill ineffective.

The House Committee on State Affairs has been sitting on the bill for two weeks, while YOU the taxpayer are subsidizing the abortion of others through your tax dollars and through your private insurance premiums. SB 575 would remove automatic coverage for abortion from health insurance plans as well as ensure that abortion is not covered in the state exchanges mandated by PPACA.

However, some of the committee members are trying to weaken the bill by taking out the provision that protects YOU, the insurance consumer, from subsidizing the abortion of others. THIS WOULD RENDER THE WHOLE BILL MEANINGLESS.

10 states protect private insurance consumers from participating in abortion coverage through their private benefit plans; 25 other states have excluded abortion coverage from the state exchanges, and 21 other states restrict coverage for abortion for governmental employees.
Read the whole thing here.


Representative Byron Cook: (512) 463-0112

Thursday, May 21, 2015

No defenders for Mr. McRaven's Cover-up

"Can anyone hide himself in secret places,
So I shall not see him?” says the Lord;
“Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the Lord."
Jeremiah 23:24

Jon Cassidy's pulls no punches:
Last week, McRaven decided to defy the guidance of Attorney General Ken Paxton and three of his predecessors and block Hall from reading the Kroll papers, despite a prior board vote permitting it and Hall’s “inherent right of access” as a regent under state law, which Paxton cited. The disgrace for the entire UT community will only be compounded once a court issues a writ of mandamus compelling McRaven to turn over the documents.

There’s no defense for lawlessness, and there’s no defense for a cover-up, which is why nobody is defending McRaven and the UT board majority, which gave him tacit approval.

The board hasn’t spoken in its own defense. It could start by explaining why people who took part in the corruption of UT’s admissions program have any say in what the rest of us learn about it.

McRaven has offered just two explanations: 1) the circular reason that reopening the matter would reopen the matter, and 2) it would be working “at cross-purposes with our own litigation team” in an affirmative action case before the Supreme Court; that is, the facts contained in the Kroll papers would undermine the lies UT has already told the court.

UT’s actions are so utterly indefensible that all its attorneys can offer is procedural gibberish in defense: please, Mr. Paxton, ignore Hall, because his attorney can’t write a letter on his behalf for some reason we’re just now inventing.


Most telling, the institutional voices that have defended the disgraced president Bill Powers these past three years have been silent. None of the pro-Powers alumni are writing op-eds defending this obstructionism.

There’s nothing for them to say. That talking point about Hall being some agent of Rick Perry on a mission to destroy Powers? Perry and Powers are gone now.
Read the whole thing here.

Yesterday, this author (very briefly) spoke with Attorney General Paxton about this topic and he told us: "The law says what it says."

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

#TXLEGE set to pass $3 BILLION Higher Ed Slush Fund

"The rich rules over the poor,
And the borrower is servant to the lender."
Proverbs 22:7

"Tuition Revenue Bonds" are a boondoggle we addressed during last year's Attorney General race.  They create a 'university construction' fund that is ultimately backed by Texas taxpayers.  Naturally, our conservative Texas Legislature would reject such foolishness out of hand...right?!?

Sadly, that isn't the case.

HB 100 (Zerwas) would authorize $3 billion in TRB's.  It passed the Texas House overwhelmingly in early April.  Yesterday, the Texas Senate approved the measure 26-5.

Another insidious aspect of TRB's is that they are political pork for legislators.  Many of the project this time are in the district of Straus lieutenants.  As a source explained in March:
House Bill 100 is a doozy. It's basically earmarked pork at your expense. the way the state does higher ed buildings is via "tuition revenue bonds," where the state borrows money pledged against tuition with the idea that the debt service would be paid in future appropriations bills.... It's basically a bill full of congressional-style earmarks The specific projects are listed in the bill. The Legislature stripped the Coordinating Board of the ability to prioritize.
On the bright side, at least Charles Schwertner raised a stink over tuition deregulation during yesterday's debate.  Higher Ed. committee chairman Kel Seliger pledged to study the issue during the interim.  We'll see if Seliger keeps his word.

Par for the course for this session.


The Trib has more here.


Read the full bill below:

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

First Amendment Tuesday: Shenanigans Late in Session

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

With less than two weeks till sine die, we've entered the most dangerous part of any legislative session.  With deadlines looming and the self-inflicted time crisis having squandered the bulk of the session, now is the time when things get sneaked in under cover of night.  Even if you can't stop something, the key is to raise a stink about it so that it at least occurs in public.

Tony McDonald (Empower Texans):

  • Conference committees rarely have formal meetings.
  • Texas open meetings act de facto doesn't apply to the legislature.
  • Bills are usually hashed out between the House and Senate bill authors.
    • "This is a REALLY dangerous process."
    • Lack of Transparency and tight deadlines.
  • Outside the bounds resolutions: Supposed to ask for permission but usually they ask for forgiveness and it's granted automatically.
  • Read conference reports during the last few days of the session.
    • This is one of the most useful things activists can do; no one has time to go through them all.
    • Dan Flynn tried to use this process last session to sneak thru an anti-Wallace Hall bill.
      • "Dan Flynn Should be censured and removed from the House."
  • You have to trust guy at the front mic to tell the truth.
    • Author's Note: Exactly.
  • You'd be surprised what qualifies as a typo on the last day of session.
  • Short notice periods on all this nonsense.
  • If you catch anything, TELL DAVID SIMPSON.
  • If you see something fishy during the last few days of the session, don't assume anyone else has found it.

  • Event tomorrow to "lean on calendars committee."
  • House killed Pastor protection bill.
  • Dan Patrick is the only reason we got Pastor protection bill thru Senate.
  • SB 531 (American Laws for American Courts) -- Needs to be heard on Senate Floor.

  • SB 2065 needs a House vote THIS WEEK.
  • "It's not done till it's done."
  • We knew the D's would chub if they got the opportunity.
  • Locate Tea Party leaders in Calendars committee members districts.
  • Joan Huffman says she'll move ALAC, but she hasn't done so and she has the votes.


  • Details likely tax relief plans: Likely to be something along the lines of Senate's approach to property taxes and House's approach to margins tax.
  • #2A: If you want to carry openly, and you don't want to be harasses constantly, contact your Senator.
  • The Governor ought to call a special session "on a number of things."

Mom's Demand Action, Texas: The Synchronized Testimony

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction."
Proverbs 1:7

Yesterday, during the Texas Senate's State Affairs committee's hearing on the watered down licensed open carry bill, the individual members of Moms Demand Action delivered testimony that had clearly been written out by others before hand.  It could have been a drinking game.  See more below:

  • Good afternoon; My name is "X" and I'm a supporter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
  • I want to thank the committee chairs and the committee members who have treated us with respect and decorum throughout the session.
  • I want you to know that, whether or not this bill passes, thousands of Moms and I will be organizing in our communities and we'll be back here in the interim and next session.
  • I oppose open carry because it is a bad policy that doesn't solve any existing problems.
  • It panders to dangerous and extreme element.
  • It is opposed overwhelmingly by law enforcement officials across this state.
  • I understand this legislative body is considering adding campus carry as an amendment.
  • All major stakeholders on university campuses oppose campus carry.
    • Author's Note: Who cares?!?

Monday, May 18, 2015

J.D. Sheffield's tantrum on Texas House Floor

"Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child;
The rod of correction will drive it far from him."
Proverbs 22:15

Last Friday, J.D. Sheffield attempted to sneak through a bad bill on the local and consent calendar.  Jonathan Stickland wasn't having it.  Sheffield's reaction speaks for itself:

  • "Mr. Stickland is sticking his nose where it doesn't belong."
  • Takes cheap shot at Sid Miller.
  • Stickland: "Does the gentleman intend to speak for ten minutes on this bill?!?"

DPS Closes Baseless Stickland Investigation

"And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart."
Galatians 6:9

Press Release from Stickland's Office:
DPS Informs Stickland that Committee Allegations Have No Merit

Austin, TX – State Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R–Bedford) announced today that DPS in-formed his legal counsel late last week that DPS has completed their investigation of allegations against Stickland and his office related to witness registrations at an April 30, 2015 Transportation Committee meeting. DPS informed Stickland that the allega-tions are without merit and that the case is closed.

“Late Friday I spoke with one of the rangers assigned to the case,” said Trey Trainor, outside legal counsel for Stickland and his staff. “I was told that the investigation was over and that I would not be hearing from DPS anymore.”

DPS officers met with Stickland and his staff and interviewed them related to a criminal investigation of violations of the penal code. Those meetings concluded on Thursday and DPS promptly closed the case the next day.

“The officer said they had taken the evidence gathered by DPS to the DA’s Office and the district attorney was not interested in taking the case,” added Trainor. “We have said since the beginning that there were no violations of the law or violations of House rules, and I am glad that law enforcement agreed.”

Stickland spoke with General Investigating and Ethics Committee Chairman John Kuempel (R–Seguin) on Monday and was informed that the committee did not have any additional hearings scheduled at this time.

Double Standards and the Governor's Emergency Items....

"Diverse weights and diverse measures,
They are both alike, an abomination to the Lord."
Proverbs 20:10

Update: Apparently, the Ethics bill was heard in House State Affairs last week; doesn't change the underlying point of the post.


The centerpiece on the 84th Legislature’s table isn’t getting the attention the governor hoped for.

In his mid-February State of the State speech, Gov. Greg Abbott tried to put ethics reform high on the agenda, telling the Legislature, “Let’s dedicate this session to ethics.” He added it to his list of five “emergency” items that could get expedited treatment by lawmakers.

He pointed to ideas in his “blueprint” for the state, “like requiring elected officials to disclose contracts they have with public entities, prohibiting lawmakers from voting on legislation from which they could profit and more disclosure of campaign finance information.”

Abbott told lawmakers that a failure to act would threaten the bonds between them and their constituents, “and rightfully raise suspicions about who we truly serve — ourselves, or the people of Texas.”

But not a lot has changed, and only two weeks remain before the session ends. Further reform is still possible, but the most significant changes being proposed still haven’t been considered by the Texas House, much less by a committee that would have to reconcile the Senate and House versions of reform


But the contract and income disclosures that Abbott wanted remain undone. Those would require lawmakers to reveal contracts and business relationships with government contractors that currently go undocumented. Lower limits on how much money lobbyists can spend on lawmakers without identifying those lawmakers is stuck.


Time is short. A House committee has the legislation now, and has until the end of the week to send it to the full House, which in turn has to act on it by May 26.
Byron Cook hasn't called a hearing has slow-walked the Governor's ethics bill (among other things).  Meanwhile, we were expected to fall into line over pre-K.  Duly noted and very revealing.


Representative Byron Cook: (512) 463-0730

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Obama's Justice Department makes life difficult for Austin Firearms Retailer

"For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed."
John 3:20

Operation Choke Point, the Obama administration's backdoor attempt to disarm the public following the collapse of anti-Second Amendment legislation, recently ensnared Texas Firearms Celebrity Michael Cargill:

  • BitPay did similar stuff in the past.
  • Goes through annual Federal certifications.
  • "I can tell you when one of my employees gets a speeding ticket, we're so heavily regulated."
  • There is no reason not to do business with a gun dealer.
  • Goal is to take away credit card business.

Friday, May 15, 2015

About running for Congress: An open letter to Don Huffines

"Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass."
Psalm 37:7

Dear Senator Huffines,

Earlier this week, Quorum Report reported:

Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas, told Quorum Report on Tuesday that he is “looking at all options” when asked if he plans to run against Rep. Pete Sessions, a senior Republican congressman from Big D.
“I can’t rule it out,” Huffines said when asked whether he is taking a serious look at the seat held by Sessions. “That would be my comment.”

Under no circumstances should you run against Pete Sessions; we need you to stay in your current position until at least the end of your term.

Here's why: If you were to be elected to Congress, that would trigger a special election for your Texas Senate seat.  For obvious reasons, that's a prospect the lobby would relish.  You remember better than anyone how close your last election was.

A special election where we're playing defense is a headache the grass-roots doesn't need.  It's tailor made for John Carona to sneak back.  We need to stay on offense.

Make no mistake: Pete Sessions is a jerk.  Ironically enough, the last time you and I spoke at length was the day after his buffoonish April townhall.  But that doesn't mean you're the right person to run against him.  Even if Katrina doesn't run, Sessions is going to have one or more opponents.  Why risk a perfectly good Texas Senate seat for a race that could already see 3-5 candidates?!?

As March's debate over the margins tax proved, we need you in the Texas Senate. Please stay put.  Besides, Austin is a MUCH nicer place to spend time than Washington D.C.

Adam Cahn
Austin, TX

P.S. That being said, if you wanted to to piggyback off of the name recognition you already have in Dallas County, do feel free to pitch this race to your brother.

Keffer uses profanity on Texas House floor

"A fool has no delight in understanding,
But in expressing his own heart."
Proverbs 18:2

The degree to which some people will go to protect Joe Straus....

Thursday, May 14, 2015

At McRaven's bidding, regents stiff Hall (and Paxton); change rules....

"Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth."
Matthew 13:40-42

At today's meeting, the U.T. Board of Regents held a three hour executive session where they (predictably) sandbagged Attorney General Paxton; then, in an act of chutzpah led by Mr. McRaven and Steve Hicks, they changed the rules to shut down further inquiry from Wallace Hall.


  • Cranberg: "Unnecessarily Neutering"; chilling.
  • Analogous to "getting rid of the turbulent priest."
  • McRaven: As the C.E.O. "I will look into it."
  • Cranberg: Longer running "journey of discovery."
  • Hall: Change designed to thwart Regents from performing their fiduciary duties.
  • Cranberg: The Kroll report never would have happened if this rule had been in place.\
  • Pejovich: Regents received rule changes less than 24 hours ago.
  • Hall: Outcome of last meeting "reinterpreted after the fact."
    • "This is not the way fiduciary responsibility is carried out."
  • Rule change passes 6-3

Mr. McRaven's "Blue Ribbon Panel" Reports Back

"Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord,
But a just weight is His delight."
Proverbs 11:1

Following the Kroll report, Mr. McRaven commissioned a "blue ribbon panel" to investigate the U.T's admissions practices; they reported back at today's regents meeting:

  • McRaven will make his full recommendations at the August meeting.
  • (Former U.T. President) Larry Faulkner chaired it, which means it's a joke.
  • No firewall between the University President and admissions.
    • In limited cases, President should be able to overrule admissions committee
    • Prez will report on these cases once a year to the Chancellor.
      • Author's Note: Who, of course, will do nothing.
  • Letters: Undue influence = Coercion.
  • No "sharply restrictive" policies on letters.
  • No open records for admissions data.
    • Blah, blah, FERPA, blah, blah.
  • Abandon admissions holds.
    • Author's Note: Essentially, create a new system for business as usual.
  • Process is inherently subjective.
  • Wallace Hall: "How is it ever acceptable" for someone to gain admission via proximity to the university President or the right legislator?!?
  • "President is the ultimate admissions officer."
  • Act all butt-hurt that Jim Pitts' incompetent son Ryan's 155 LSAT score became public
The statesman has a detailed write up here.

Bottom Line: Any allegedly new admissions policy based upon the premise that the university "President is the ultimate admissions officer" is, by definition, a farce.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

House Passes Joe Pickett's Federal Reserve rent-a-cop Bill

"Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord, But a just weight is His delight."
Proverbs 11:1

With less than two days until the deadline to get bills out of their originating chamber, the Texas House just voted to approve the Federal Reserve law enforcement bill Jonathan Stickland knocked off the local and consent calendar two weeks ago; the bill would grant state of Texas law enforcement powers to commissioned security guards from the PRIVATE Federal Reserve bank..

While the result wasn't a surprise, the condescension with which bill author Joe Pickett (D- El Paso) defended his position was still a sight to behold.  Pickett claimed that opposition to his bill was solely motivated by opposition to the Federal Reserve.  Pickett also said his bill was limited in scope to property crimes (ie. graffiti) committed on Federal Reserve properties.

Stickland, joined by David Simpson, was concerned about the potential loophole language allowing security guards to use law enforcement powers when performing "operations by or on behalf of" the Federal Reserve.  Simpson explained how giving this sort of authority under the pretense of fighting graffiti is inherently dangerous.  Stickland compared this loophole to "a mack truck."

Unfortunately, but predictably, the bill passed.

31 members joined Stickland and Simpson in voting nay.

Texas House chooses to criminalize...HOCKEY FIGHTS?!?

“For My people are foolish,
They have not known Me.
They are silly children,
And they have no understanding.
They are wise to do evil,
But to do good they have no knowledge.”
Jeremiah 4:22


UPDATE: Matt Rinaldi added an amendment on third reading that removes 'player on player' violence from this bill.  In essence, this guts the troublesome aspects.  While the worst aspects of the bill have been defanged, the entire debate was still a waste of time.


With less than two days to get legislation out of the originating chamber, what has the Texas House chosen to focus precious time on?!?

This is certainly a statement of priorities; tick, tock....

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Pro-Life Update: Will this session be a Pro-Life victory?!?

"Therefore the Lord will have no joy in their young men,
Nor have mercy on their fatherless and widows;
For everyone is a hypocrite and an evildoer,
And every mouth speaks folly.
For all this His anger is not turned away,
But His hand is stretched out still."
Isaiah 9:17

With Thursday's deadline looming, the Texas House has passed ZERO pro-life bills (so far):


  • Senate passed the first pro-life bill out of either chamber last week.
  • Thankful for Drew Springer's help on HB 3074.
  • At this point, the biggest threat is the clock and the lack of action from many who claim to be pro-life.

Paxton SMACKS down U.T. Politburo!!!

"And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart."
Galatians 6:9

Well, well, well:
AUSTIN –Attorney General Ken Paxton today issued an opinion regarding the right of university regents to access records in the possession of the university that a regent believes are necessary to review in order to fulfill his/her duties as a regent.

Consistent with the opinions of three recent attorneys general, Paxton concluded that a university cannot prohibit individual regents from access to and copies of university records unless a state or federal law requires otherwise.

The ruling notes that access to records is a necessary part of a board member’s fulfillment of his or her duties. As a previous opinion said, “a governmental body cannot adopt a policy that prevents a member of the body from performing the duties of office.”
Read the full opinion below:

Regents meeting tomorrow!!!


The Trib has more here.

First Amendment Tuesday: Games with the Calendar

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

With Thursday's deadline to pass bills out of the originating chamber approaching, games with the Texas House calendar have stepped up to another level.

Tony McDonald (Empower Texans):

  • House walking bills progressively slower.
    • Bills they're working on today (Tuesday) were originally scheduled for last Friday.
  • Explains the different calendars.
  • MAJOR STATE CALENDAR (Wed) -- A couple bad things and a judicial bypass bill.
  • At this point, it's impossible to pass something that isn't on a calendar.
  • Chubbing -- Wasting time to kill bills.
    • de facto filibuster.
  • Details games that have been historically been played with the clock late in session.
  • Did oppo. research on Paul Sadler for Ted Cruz.

  • Sylvia Garcia has a "community schools" bill up.
    • Open invitation for Planned Parenthood to come into schools.


  • We will never get rid of pre-K.
  • HB 4105 on floor today. (Allegedly)
  • Pastor Bill on floor today. (Allegedly)

Monday, May 11, 2015

Revolutions run amok, Victims, and Body Counts

"And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death."
Romans 7:10

Fantastic article about the predictable consequences of the Sexual Revolution:
It is inevitable that advocates for the Sexual Revolution will say all we need is a bit more of it. More orgasms. More sex-ed. More abortion. More contraception. Less guilt. More freedom, man.

But they will never acknowledge that their revolution has been tried and found wanting, wanting being a fairly benign way of saying murderous.

Their revolution has been murderous indeed and the body count grows ever higher. Yet still they want more, just a little bit more.


Many revolutions have impressive body counts. But the Sexual Revolution is far and away the most impressive and it shows no sign of abating, only metastasizing. Well, maybe Plato’s Retreat closed in ’85 but Ashley Madison is alive and well, as are the sex ads at Craig’s List and Maybe the gay bathhouses closed, but check out the website Grindr. Actually, don’t.

Gay writer Jeffrey Escoffier says, “Central to the Sexual Revolution was the growing acceptance of sexual encounters between unmarried adults.” He says sexual debut came earlier and earlier and that increasing divorce “provided another opportunity for men and women (to a lesser degree) to engage in non-monogamous sexual activity.”


It is a wonder to see sexual revolutionaries, just like the communists before them, insist that all we need is just a little bit more. At least the communists thought the breaking of a few eggs might be regrettable but in the long run was beneficial to the omelet. The sexual revolutionaries deny the eggs.

The litany of broken eggs is tedious, certainly, but we must continue to recite it and in the recitation lay it all at the doorstep of the revolutionaries: more than 50 million dead babies in this country alone; almost one million deaths due to AIDS; 19 million new cases of STDs every single year in the United States; millions addicted to pornography; sex trafficking; galloping pedophilia; forty percent of children born without a father in the home. Your mother never heard of chlamydia. Now teen girls get shots to prevent it.


Roback Morse describes the modern view of sex as “a recreational activity with no moral or social significance. The freedom we have come to value is to be completely unencumbered by human relationships. We are entitled to end or walk away from any relationship with a person who might legitimately make demands upon us that we don’t want to fulfill. And the reproductive freedom in particular is the right to unlimited sexual activity without a live baby resulting.”

She says the major tenets of the Sexual Revolution are that every person is entitled to unlimited sexual activity, contraception will cure all negative consequences including conception and disease, no one is required to give birth and therefore abortion is an absolute entitlement, any consequences not handled by contraception and abortion are not worth talking about, no one ever gets attached to an inappropriate sex partner, no one ever regrets a consensual sexual encounter, and teen depression linked to hooking up doesn’t exist.

Such tenets are awfully expensive, both in terms of the individuals who live by them and those who are merely collateral damage. The cost to society runs to the hundreds of billions of dollars even if you just look at Federal money spent on the underclass whose problems have been exacerbated exponentially by internalizing the Sexual Revolution.


Roback Morse thinks we are fighting the symptoms—abortion, gay marriage—and not the disease. She proposes something of an Inchon landing. The sexual revolutionaries have been attacking from the front for going on 50 years, their victims strewn out behind them. She proposes a landing behind their front lines, striking at the heart of their movement, counting on the victims of contraception, divorce, abortion, pornography, and promiscuity to assist us.

She is not suggesting that the individual battles cease, only that we open a new front.

As we wait, the body count rises ever higher and all the while the revolutionaries insist the revolution hasn’t really been tried, not yet anyway. All we need is a little bit more: more orgasms, more pills, more sex-ed, more abortion, more freedom man, and then you’ll see the beautiful things we can do for humanity.
Read the whole thing here.

S.A. Mayor Runoff: Can Conservatives Make Lemonade?!?

"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."
Romans 12:2


In the wake of the San Antonio mayoral elections, many grassroots conservatives are discouraged because their candidates lost. Sadly, many are saying they will not vote in the runoff between Mayor Ivy Taylor and Leticia Van de Putte. But when life gives you lemons you should make lemonade.
Conservatives need to realize this could be an opportunity for suburban conservatives and blacks community leaders to forge a new political paradigm that could topple the Hispanic/big business coalition that has dominated San Antonio (and Bexar County) since the 1980s. Ivy Taylor carried the black vote and will again carry it in the runoff. But will anti-Van de Putte suburban conservatives join Taylor to beat the SA Establishment’s anointed one?
Conservatives need to lick their wounds and realize this could be an opportunity to upset the Hispanic/big business Establishment that has dominated SA city the 1980s when it forged by Henry Cisneros. Latino political elites like Richard Perez and Henry Cisneros at the Chamber, Richard Romo at UTSA, Henry Munoz formerly at VIA and now at the National Democratic Party, and of course The Castro Twins, all work hand-in-hand with big business in SA to push their agenda. Van de Putte will continue that tradition.
To her credit, conservatives should remember that while Taylor is not a pure conservative (who is?), she held up the streetcar project and voted against the initially Non-Discrimination Ordinance. The Establishment wanted her to move on to another elected office, but she has displeased Establishment because she changed her mind.
We should remind black community leaders that they should be wary of the “Latino” agenda, specifically amnesty and sanctuary cities, which will create competition for services and resources between citizens and non-citizens. Be aware that Van de Putte and her Hispanic political elitist allies support the “Latino” agenda.
But can grassroots conservatives and suburbanites lick their wounds, be politically sophisticated, and vote in the mayoral runoff? Or will they stay just home? Christian voters stayed home in the 2012 presidential election because they couldn’t vote for Romney. How’s that working out now?
The final question is whether Mayor Ivy Taylor will sit and talk to grassroots conservatives to hear (and act) on their behalf?
Can grassroots conservatives and activists make lemonade?
Stay tuned…El Conservador.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Patrick lays down law on border security

“You shall not remove your neighbor’s landmark, which the men of old have set, in your inheritance which you will inherit in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess."
Deuteronomy 19:14


I've been asked about the main differences between the Senate Border Security Bill & House Border Bill. The bills are...
Posted by Dan Patrick on Saturday, May 9, 2015

Your move, Mr. Straus....

Friday, May 8, 2015

Pre-K: Tea Party lets Abbott save face after extracting concessions

"And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also."
2 Timothy 2:2

This website has no idea why Governor Abbott made pre-K his top priority.  Furthermore, we don't understand why legislators have been so willing to go along with this.  That being said, this isn't an entirely unreasonable outcome:

I want to give you an update on the Pre-K bill that none of us wanted (except the Governor). Because it is Abbott's pet...
Posted by Julie White McCarty on Friday, May 8, 2015

While any pre-K program is a step in the wrong direction, if this is what the final product looks like, it won't be the end of the world.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Kabuki Theater: Did Poncho Nevarez ever install a Panic Button?!?

"He who speaks truth declares righteousness,
But a false witness, deceit."
Proverbs 12:17

At the beginning of the 84th Legislature, there was a controversy regarding Representative Poncho Nevarez and "Panic Buttons."  In late March, this website put an open records request into the Department of Public Safety for all communications with Representative Poncho Nevarez concerning setting up a panic button.  The search turned up bupkus.

According to DPS records, the only communications they've had with Representative Nevarez's office this session was concerning HB 2405, a bill pertaining to signage requirments for businesses that do not permit carry on their premises that was left pending in April.

[Author's Note: Due to formatting issues, we can't embed the e-mails, so we've cut and pasted the text.]
Hey Mr. Bowie!
Thanks so much for getting back to me. I spoke with our legislative director and she said that we basically are just wanting someone from DPS to testify on the bill neutrally or in favor (although we do believe DPS is unable to testify in favor) at the bill hearing, if possible. We would greatly appreciate it! I have attached the bill rational as well as the text. If you have any questions please feel free to call.
Thanks again.
Legislative Assistant
Representative Poncho Nevarez
DPS response:
 State agencies are prohibited from taking a position on any legislation. We are happy to provide a resource witness on the bill and answer questions the members may have regarding our operations or anticipated implementation of the provisions of the bill.
Please let me know if you have questions.  Also, in the future, please reach out to me or my staff (Office of Government Relations) should you need anything in the future from the department.
   Thank you.
   Deputy Assistant Director
   Office of Government Relations
   Texas Department of Public Safety
Nevarez's office writes back:
Thanks so much! We would appreciate it if you could provide a resource witness for HB 2405 as soon as possible!
Legislative Assistant 
Representative Poncho Nevarez
Bottom Line: If Poncho Nevarez had installed a panic button, one would think DPS would have a record of the communication.