Thursday, April 30, 2015

Give Red Light Cameras the Red Light!!!

"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."
Matthew 6:24

[Author's Note: As of 4:15 P.M. they were still on the floor; it's unlikely this bill will be heard before 6 or even 6:30 (and it could be substantially later than that.]

TCRP Action Alert:

Today is your chance to make sure Red Light Cameras get ... well, the red light!

WHAT: House Bill 142

WHERE: House Transportation Committee, Room E2.012 (underground Extension).

WHEN: The committee will meet upon adjournment of the House, so sometime in the afternoon. (Pinpointing when a bill will be heard is not an exact science.)

WHY: To discuss the merits of banning red light cameras in Texas -- via a bill brought forth by Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R-Hurst).

MORE INFO: Read the bill here (click 'Text' tab):

We apologize for the late notice. This e-mail is sent as a part of our renewed commitment to alert our strongest supporters (that's you, by the way!) of pressing matters before the Texas Legislature this session.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Travis County appraisals up 11% as #TXLEGE reconciles tax proposals

"But the former governors who were before me laid burdens on the people, and took from them bread and wine, besides forty shekels of silver. Yes, even their servants bore rule over the people, but I did not do so, because of the fear of God."
Nehemiah 5:15

Could this be why Lt. Governor Patrick has made property tax relief the Texas Senate's priority?!?
The average residential value rose to $355,312 from $320,032 last year, Marya Crigler, chief appraiser for the Travis Central Appraisal District, said Tuesday.

Taxable residential values — that’s the market value after exemptions — rose 9 percent, to $262,462 from $240,139 last year, Crigler said.

Travis County, as well as cities, school districts and other local taxing entities will use the taxable values to set 2015 property taxes.
Austin Affordability has more:
It’s not a pretty sight!

You will see lots of $60,000 to $90,000+ increases for single family homes. Many of these same homeowners saw appraisal increases last year that were well above 10%. So, guess what that means. Even though there is a 10% cap on the home value used to calculate their tax bill, the assessment amount above the cap sits in the system to haunt the taxpayer in future years.

Even if the taxing entities lower their tax rates slightly to compensate for rising appraisals, tax bills continue to skyrocket.

Think about the longtime Austinites who have already seen their tax appraisals double and even triple in the last 10 or 15 years. Then think about the future. If taxes go up just 5% each year, it would only take 14 and a half years for today’s tax bills to double! That’s becuase [sic] the impact is compunded [sic].
 Your move Mr. Straus....

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

History Lesson: When Mr. McRaven destroyed the bin Laden photos

"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

Pop quiz: Remember the 2011 controversy, shortly after the bin Laden raid, when President Obama refused to release the photos from UBL's death?!?  Guess which currently serving University of Texas Chancellor ordered the destruction of those photos....
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that on January 31, 2014, it received documents from the Department of Defense (Pentagon) revealing that within hours of its filing a May 13, 2011, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeking photos of the deceased Osama bin Laden, U.S. Special Operations Commander, Admiral William McRaven ordered his subordinates to “destroy” any photos they may have had “immediately.” Judicial Watch had filed a FOIA request for the photos 11 days earlier. 
The McRaven email, addressed to “Gentlemen,” instructs: 
One particular item that I want to emphasize is photos; particularly UBLs remains. At this point – all photos should have been turned over to the CIA; if you still have them destroy them immediately or get them to the [redacted].  
According to the Pentagon documents, McRaven sent his email on “Friday, May 13, 2011 5:09 PM.”  The documents do not detail what documents, if any, were destroyed in response to the McRaven directive. The Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit seeking the documents was filed in the United States Court for the District of Columbia only hours earlier. Judicial Watch also announced the filing at a morning press conference. 
On May 2, Judicial Watch had filed a FOIA request with the Defense Department seeking “all photographs and/or video recordings of Usama (Osama) Bin Laden taken during and/or after the U.S. military operation in Pakistan on or about May 1, 2011.”  Federal law contains broad prohibitions against the “concealment, removal, or mutilation generally of government records. 
The records containing the McRaven “destroy them immediately” email were produced as a result of a June 7, 2013, FOIA request and a subsequent lawsuitagainst the Defense Department for records relating to reports of the 2011 McRaven purge directive. McRaven’s order was first mentioned at the end of a 2011 draft reportby the Pentagon’s inspector general (IG) examining whether the Obama administration gave special access to Hollywood executives planning the film “Zero Dark Thirty.”  According the draft report, “ADM McRaven also directed that the names and photographs associated with the raid not be released. This effort included purging the combatant command’s system of all records related to the operation and providing these records to another Government Agency.”  The reference to the document purge did not appear in the final IG report.
 More from Marine Corps Times:
WASHINGTON — A newly-released email shows that 11 days after the killing of terror leader Osama bin Laden in 2011, the U.S. military’s top special operations officer ordered subordinates to destroy any photographs of the al-Qaida founder’s corpse or turn them over to the CIA.

The email was obtained under a freedom of information request by the conservative legal group Judicial Watch. The document, released Monday by the group, shows that Adm. William McRaven, who heads the U.S. Special Operations Command, told military officers on May 13, 2011, that photos of bin Laden’s remains should have been sent to the CIA or already destroyed. Bin Laden was killed by a special operations team in Pakistan on May 2, 2011.

McRaven’s order to purge the bin Laden material came 10 days after The Associated Press asked for the photos and other documents under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act. Typically, when a freedom of information request is filed to a government agency under the Federal Records Act, the agency is obliged to preserve the material sought — even if the agency later denies the request.
Read the original e-mail chain here.

U.T. had to have known about this before they offered him the job.

Pro-Life Legislators: Persecuted

“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

This week's update brings us big news:

  • Reached an agreement with Drew Springer on HB 3074.
    • Tan Parker helped with negotiations.
  • Matt Schaefer amendment would have closed a loophole allowing abortions against disabled children.
  • If pro-life bills were making it through the regular process, it wouldn't be necessary to use amendments.
  • J.D. Scheffield: Babies with disabilities must be "dealt with."

First Amendment Tuesday: Fire the Coaching Staff?!?

"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

First amendment Tuesday; it's certainly not boring!!!

Tony McDonald (Empower Texans) (Partial):

  • Joe Straus doesn't care about conservative priorities.
  • Every reform we're pursuing is opposed by someone whose livelihood depends on it.
  • "From a day to day, bill to bill, perspective," lobbyists control the process.
Emily Kebodeaux/Jim Graham (Texas Right to Life), Tony McDonald (Reprise):

  • We haven't heard a pro-Life bill on the floor yet.
  • Explains Sunset process.
  • J.D. Sheffield's five minute diatribe about how unborn babies had to be "dealt with" was complimented by Planned Parenthood.
  • Four Price pulled the bill to protect Straus from having to overrule Trey Martinez Fischer's point of order.
    • Cuts off members from being able to overrule Straus
  • 2 hearings later this week.
  • "Not one regular pro-Life bill has passed in Texas since 2003."
    • Songram and HB 2 only passed because Rick Perry put his foot down.
  • House only hearing watered down pro-Life bills; Senate has only heard one pro-Life bill period.
  • Texas' national pro-Life ranking is falling.
  • 600 bills have passed a chamber, only one on either life or 2A: "That's what they really think of the Republican platform."
  • In the 570 days between now and next session, 120,000 babies will be killed if the legislature fails to act now.
  • "If we do not win in the next 5 weeks, it is incumbent upon us to change the players on the field."

  • SB 1543 by Perry has passed.
  • Tebow bill had hearing in Senate.
  • Parental rights bill has had hearing in both chambers.


  • Oppose HB 742 by Huberty.
  • Marriage bills in Calendars.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Protecting Texas from EMP attack

"Go to the ant, you sluggard!
Consider her ways and be wise,
Which, having no captain,
Overseer or ruler,
Provides her supplies in the summer,
And gathers her food in the harvest.
Proverbs 6:6-8

[Author's Note: North Korea already has the relevant technology and they're on the record threatening Austin.]

Last week, both chambers of the Texas Legislature considered legislation that would safeguard Texas' electrical grid against Electro-Magnetic pulse (EMP) attack.  While the consequences of an EMP attack could be devastating, protecting against it is relatively inexpensive (and would be an appropriate use of the rainy day fund).  Senator Bob Hall lays out his version of the bill below:


  • Congress and the military has known about this for four decades.
  • When the military takes positive action to do something, it shows they're scared.
  • EMP's are an inexpensive way for various Global bad guys to do the most damage.
  • Even absent an EMP, a hardened electrical grid would be good economically because it protects against weather related power outages.
  • Fiscal note on the bill is only $3 million.
  • Sadly, the Feds are "schizophrenic" on this issue; the utilities are not preparing themselves.
  • Even if a foreign enemy does nothing, a natural EMP blast is inevitable.
Kevin Freeman has a lot more here.


Senate Natural Resources Committee Chairman Troy Fraser: (512) 463-0124

"Texas Competes": A Potemkin Village

"Who say to the seers, “Do not see,”
And to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us right things;
Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits."
Isaiah 30:10

Potemkin Village - An impressive facade or show designed to hide an undesirable fact or condition.

A new organization, "Texas Competes", recently emerged.  Led by the Texas Association of Businesses, it is mostly comprised of the usual suspects behind big business/big government crony socialism.  Their goal is to use the power of government to create new classes of thought crimes in Texas:
We believe that in order for Texas businesses to compete for top talent, we must have workplaces and communities that are diverse and welcoming for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.

We believe that treating all Texans and visitors fairly is essential to maintaining Texas' strong brand as the premier home for talented workers, growing businesses, entrepreneurial innovation, and a thriving travel and tourism industry.

It's time to ensure fairness for all Texas employees, residents, and consumers. A united Texas is a competitive Texas. And when Texas competes, Texas wins.
First, it's important to point out that 'discrimination' against homosexuals is essentially non-existent in Texas.  Since 2013, only two semi-credible accusations have emerged.  One involved a Lubbock man, who worked for an explicitly CHRISTIAN youth ministry, who was unnecessarily flagrant about it in front of children.  The other involved a former women's track coach at the University of Texas who took advantage of a student.  If this were a widespread problem, one would expect examples of this alleged 'discrimination' to be too numerous to list.

Clearly, one semi-credible accusation per year in a state with 27 million people requires big business and big government to create thought crimes.

More revealing, however, is the degree to which "Texas Competes" is comprised of aging legacy companies, law firms, and regional chambers.  The screenshot below is a representative sample of their membership.  How many of these 'companies' have you heard of?!?

Perusing their full roster, one sees (perhaps) 7-10 growing companies that are relevant to Texas' future.  Most pledge signers either don't produce anything or they peaked a generation ago.  Furthermore, for 200 'companies' to take a position in a state with MILLIONS of businesses isn't impressive.

Bottom Line: The only people backing this alleged 'groundswell' are the usual suspects promoting big business/big government collusion; does anyone care what American Airlines thinks?!?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Keffer unintentionally makes case for new representation

"While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage."
2 Peter 2:19

Priceless quote from Jim Keffer pretending not to care about the next election:
"With the session in full swing and with our rural representation decreasing with every census, protecting the values and economies of rural Texas demands my undivided attention," Keffer said in a statement Tuesday.

[Author's Note: Emphasis added.]
Keep in mind, Jim Keffer was first elected to the Texas House in 1996.

If a region's economy and population is "decreasing with every census," perhaps it's time to replace elected officials who have been in office for two decades.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Sid Miller rebukes Food Nazis

"For each one shall bear his own load."
Galatians 6:5

One small step to rollback central planning:
Within the next couple of months, the Texas Department of Agriculture could be poised to repeal a state policy that bans deep fat fryers and soda machines on school campuses and places limits on the time and place that junk food can be sold there. In addition, Miller is proposing an increase in the number of allowed fundraiser days – when cupcakes and other sugary, fatty foods can be sold during the school day – from one to six per school year.

His critics are calling foul, saying that Miller's actions are counterproductive in a state struggling to contain child obesity rates. But the commissioner believes that repealing these parts of the Texas Public School Nutrition Policy will simplify things, pulling the state into line with less-strict national standards. Currently, there are no federal restrictions on deep fat frying as a preparation method.

“It’s simple. If a school district doesn’t agree with any of these changes, then they don’t have to implement them," Miller wrote in a statement, referring to the policy changes. "That’s the beauty here.”

Miller hinted in January that deep fryers would be one of his priorities, and he officially proposed the change in March. A public comment period closed earlier this month, and Miller's nutrition team is now reviewing more than 200 comments. He is expected to announce this summer whether the commission will move forward with the changes.


“I don't think there is any way he could have studied the issue or he never would have done this,” said Combs, who said it was “unimaginable” that Miller would go ahead with these repeals. “I am actually baffled and sorry that Commissioner Miller did what was not good for kids. If you give children bad choices, they will make them.”

The Partnership for a Healthy Texas, a statewide coalition of more than 50 organizations working to prevent obesity, filed an open letter in opposition to the proposed changes. In the letter, the group challenged the merits of local control in questions of childhood nutrition.

"Schools are one of the key environments where our state can work to defeat child obesity," the organization wrote. "Fit, nourished children perform better, miss less school, have fewer behavioral challenges, and are more likely to grow up to be healthy, working adults."

[Author's Note: Emphasis added.]
Read the whole thing here.

This website's only additional recommendation to Commissioner Miller would be to go further.  The Texas Department of Agriculture should fully repeal the "fundraiser" regulation.  Why should central planners have any role in this process to begin with?!?

Finally, while she did a fantastic job as Comptroller, that line from Susan Combs is ASTONISHING!!!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

"About Rinaldi's Amendment": An Open Letter to Craig Estes

"and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book."
Revelation 22:19

The Honorable Craig Estes
Texas Senate
1100 Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78701

Dear Senator Estes,

During third reading for HB 910, Representatives Harold Dutton and Matt Rinaldi added an amendment that would protect the fourth amendment rights of citizens lawfully open carrying a handgun that passed the Texas House with over 130 votes.

I am writing you today to ask you to ensure this amendment makes it through the conference process.

Absent the Rinaldi/Dutton amendment, police would have the authority to harass citizens lawfully carrying openly.  The Rinaldi/Dutton amendment requires police to use the same "reasonable suspicion" standard they use when they suspect other criminal behavior.  It's not difficult to see how, with the wrong cop having a bad day, the possibility for abuse exists.

Contrary to hysterical media reports, the Rinaldi/Dutton amendment is not a backdoor attempt to pass Constitutional Carry (we wish that it were).

Thank you for your consideration.

Adam Cahn
Austin, TX

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Entrepreneurship and the Texas Future

"Wisdom is the principal thing;
Therefore get wisdom.
And in all your getting, get understanding."
Proverbs 4:7

The Texas Public Policy Foundation opened its new building with a fantastic primer on entrepreneurship; this author especially appreciated the discussion of Biblical financial principles and the role they played in building the businesses.

Jim Lininger:

  • Insurance companies were pulling out of the medical industry in Texas.
    • "I was just offended."
  • "Then I became really passionate about school choice."
  • "Two years later we went public and I owned 98% of the stock."
  • "The schools today are as bad as they were 26 years ago."
Red McCombs:

  • "I was very much aware of the Depression."
  • "I always hustled for the use of time."
  • "I never was money hungry, but I never was opposed to carrying around a little either."
  • "I know how to win, I expect to win, and most of the time I do win."
  • Most great things in the world are driven by entrepreneurs.
  • Do what you're currently doing really well and you'll be noticed.


  • "When you say you're a Christian company, you've got to act like one."
  • "It took us seven years to earn our first million dollars, but the Bible says that which is grown slowly is grown successfully."
  • Never borrowed money until later.
  • Fracking is more like mining for oil and gas than drilling.
  • When you start something, have a plan.
  • Turn hard times into good times.
  • "The harder you work, the luckier you get."
  • "Only those who are doing things are making mistakes."


  • McCombs: "If you're going to be in the field, Texas is the best place to be."
  • The easy way out is never the best way.
  • Christians tend to be harder working and more reliable than most people.
  • If you follow tithing carefully, you'll be blessed.
  • Tithing is foundational.
  • Opportunity knocks by the week, the key is to pick the right one.
  • "The hardest time in the world to get a job is when you're out of a job."

Pastor Protection Bill up today

"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places."
Ephesians 6:12

From Texas Values:
Tomorrow, Wed. April 22, the House State Affairs Committee will have a public hearing on our priority legislation, HB 3567, that protects Texas pastors, churches and religious organizations on the issue of marriage. We need a strong showing in support of religious freedom, especially from our pastors, at the hearing!

We will be gathering tomorrow with Pastors and supporters of the bill at 1:00 PM on the North Steps of the Capitol to give updated information and then will move over to the Reagan Building before the hearing begins (the hearing will be in Room 140 of the John H. Reagan Building). You can also feel free to stop by our office at 900 Congress Ave, Suite 220 (2 blocks south of the Capitol) if you are in Austin earlier.

Please note that the hearing itself will begin AFTER the House session adjourns, which could be between 1:00 pm and 5:00 pm.  You will need to plan on being there all day.  It is a sacrifice and inconvenient – but if we aren’t willing to take a stand for our religious freedom, no one else will.

The Pastor Protection Bill, authored by State Rep. Scott Sanford (R-McKinney and a pastor himself), makes it clear in state law that the First Amendment rights of clergy, pastors and churches in Texas apply to the issue of marriage. The bill ensures that the government may not force a pastor, a clergy member or church to perform a marriage or related ceremony that would violate their sincerely held religious beliefs.

Pastors and churches should not have to live in fear that the government will force them to perform marriages that violate their religious beliefs. With the Supreme Court set to take up marriage later this year, many faith leaders are now concerned about the threat of continuing government intrusion and infringement on these issues. HB 3567 makes it clear that Texas should remain a place where government respects the rights of pastors and churches to hold the Biblical view of marriage.
Read the whole thing here.


Chairman Byron Cook: (512) 463-0730

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Captain pre-K provokes backlash

"And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord."
Ephesians 6:4

OUCH (but deserved):

First Amendment Tuesday: Six Weeks to Go

"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 the clock conspicuously ticking, this morning's First Amendment Tuesday detailed the slow walk conservative legislation is getting across the board.

Tony McDonald (Empower Texans):

  • TMF's point of order was legit.
  • In 2007, Tom Craddick fired the parliamentarian and assumed dictatorial control of the House.
  • Of late, we've seen a return to that style of leadership under Straus.
  • By ruling Stickland's amendment non-germane, Straus didn't have to provide an explanation the way he would have had to if there had been a point of order.
  • D's threatened to break quorum over campus carry.
  • At one point, there were 240 bills that had been passed by the Senate that we're sitting on Straus' desk; that number has come down slightly in the past few days, but not by much.
  • HB 910 has to go through the Senate process ALL OVER AGAIN; thus it could take another month to get it to Abbott's desk.
David Walls (Texas Values):

  • We have to get bills moving at this point in session.
    • Author's Note: Not gonna happen.
  • HB 3567, Pastor protection bill, up in State Affairs tomorrow.
  • Revealing exchange last week between Bryan Hughes and Texas "Freedom" Network
Ann Hettinger (CWA):

  • THSC's parental rights bill being discussed this week.
  • We've yet to hear any abortion related bills this session.
Mary Lynn Gerstenschlager (Texas Eagle Forum):

  • Astonishing number of global warming related bills being heard this session.
  • EMP protection bills being heard in Senate today and House tomorrow.
Jim Graham:

  • HB 3074 negotiations ongoing.
  • Beware "caption only" bills -- Sound great but do nothing.
  • Meaningful bills are getting slow-walked -- "Lets get these bills out of committee."

Monday, April 20, 2015

Pension reform slowly moving forward

"A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children,
But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous."
Proverbs 13:22

With a pension reform bill scheduled for a hearing later today, supporters held a press conference this morning:


  • Restore local control of pensions.
    • Author's Note: This is real local control, not the phony type of 'local control' the taxpayer funded lobbyist crowd likes to throw around.
  • Pension review process not changed.
  • Houston has $5 billion in unfunded liabilities.
  • Houston liabilities would require 50% tax hikes to cover.
  • TPPF supports the bill.
  • You need reform at the state level before cities can even start their own reform process.
  • Texas currently has second largest local govt. debt in the country.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Texas House Gun Debate: Censorship and Lawlessness

"But You, O Lord, are a shield for me,
My glory and the One who lifts up my head."
Psalm 3:3

Texas House Chamber -- Today the Texas House, backed by Governor Abbott, refused to consider a pre-filed amendment to the watered down gun bill they debated on the floor.

HB 910, by Representative Larry Phillips, would legalize the open carry of handguns in Texas conditioned upon paying certain taxes.  This is the oversold "open carry" legislation we've heard so much about.  During today's floor debate, Representative Jonathan Stickland intended to offer a pre-filed amendment that would have removed taxation from the equation (ie. Constitutional Carry).

While Stickland's pre-filed amendment was expected to fall short, it was also expected that there would be a recorded vote.  That didn't happen.  If you are willing to follow the inside baseball of one chamber of one state legislature, today's events in the Texas House of Representatives illustrates governmental lawlessness.

Typically, amendments in the Texas legislature are subject to a standard of "germaneness."  This is a high-falutin' way of saying that amendments to bills in the Texas Legislature have to be on the same topic as the underlying bill.  As Tony McDonald has explained, most of the time this is a good thing.  It prevents the type of "Christmas Tree" bills we frequently see at the federal level.  But it's also subject to abuse when leadership wants something done.

Today, they wanted something done:

Representative Stickland's pre-filed Constitutional Carry amendment was "ruled" non-germane behind the scenes.  Outside of the discussion Representative Stickland forced on the floor after the fact, there was no debate on the topic.  Leadership's logic was that removing taxation requirements from a bill discussing the open carry of a handgun is irrelevant to the discussion of a bill about the open carry of a handgun.  During the amendment process, leadership never protested amendments about insurance mandates, police procedures, or the open carry of knives.  But, yah, discussion of taxation under the bill was "non-germane".

No one expected Constitutional Carry to pass this afternoon.  That being said, everyone expected a debate.  For Governor Abbott and Texas House leadership to abuse the "germaneness" provisions of House rules to prevent said debate speaks volumes.


Author's Note: For obvious reasons, we're not going to reveal identities, but SEVERAL sources throughout the afternoon contacted this author over various mediums to inform us that Abbott was lobbying House members HARD behind the scenes to get the amendment dropped.

(And, yes, we're willing to go to jail over this.)


This is Representative Stickland's 8-page explanation of Germaneness that Texas House Leadership ignored.


Update: Matt Rinaldi has more:

Yesterday the House passed HB 40, preempting oil & gas exploration bans (122-18), and HB 910, allowing licensed open...
Posted by Matt Rinaldi on Saturday, April 18, 2015

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The extent of Sex Trafficking in Texas

"Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
And He saved them out of their distresses.
He sent His word and healed them,
And delivered them from their destructions.
Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
Psalm 107:19-21

Texas State Capitol -- This morning, Texas Federation of Republican Women held a rally to pomote anti-human trafficking legislation currently in front of the legislature.  McClennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara and Toni McKinley of Crowns of Hope Texas spoke.  This is tough stuff, but you need to hear it.

Sheriff McNamara:

  • October sting: 20 arrests in 2 weeks.
  • "The creeps really came out of the woodwork."
  • "Every one of 'em" picked the minor.
  • 9 Johns in 5+ hours.
  • "It's unbelievable how sickos come out of the woodwork on social media."
  • People kept calling event after media attention.


  • Up to 300,000 American children are trafficked each year.
  • The most important thing to help recovery is mentors.
    • "We don't need pity, we don't need handouts, we need a mentor."
  • Minimum $10,000 a month to run these homes.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Texas Tax Day Tea Party Rally

"And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s."
Matthew 22:21

Texas State Capitol -- Today's tea party rally at the Capitol drew a crowd of several hundred; selected videos are posted below.

Rep. Pat Fallon:

  • Move election day to tax day.
  • Don't believe a word any elected official says.
  • "If we don't stay active, we're doomed."

  • We have to be engaged or you get the government you ignore.
  • We're winning but we haven't won yet.
  • No one wanted to show up at our events six years ago.
  • Now they're fighting over which taxes to cut.

  • Tea Party has succeeded where far left failed.
  • Breitbart would be proud.
  • Everyday people are the only ones who are going to fix the border.
  • A lot of Mexico corruption is also in South Texas.

  • They know we're watching.
  • Today, technology allows like minded folks to network.
  • We've changed the look of the Republican party.
  • Senate has passed 14 priority bills.
  • Texas is now the 12th largest economy in the world.


  • Texas House has not delivered.
  • The process is getting micromanaged.
  • The House is moving slower than ever.
  • In less than 7 weeks, these idiots go home.
  • Pre-K = Cradle to grave daycare.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

#RefusetoClick: How Pornography tends to beget Trafficking

"I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness."
Romans 6:19

Whether you like it or not, when you generate traffic for an online pornographic video, this is what you are helping to financially support:


  • 85% of young men watch porn.
  • "Your fantasy is Anna's nightmare."
  • "Chances are she faces STD's and HIV."
  • "Fighting Human Trafficking then watching porn is like protesting a corrupt politician then donating to his campaign."
  • Anna's still stuck in your fantasy after you click away.
  • You can take away the demand.
  • You can simple refuse to click.

Pro-Life Update: More State Affairs shenanigans

“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

Heading into what will surely be another contentious state affairs hearing tomorrow night, Texas Right to Life's vlog this week recounts what happened last week:

  • State affairs launched attacks last week
    • It would be funny if it weren't so serious.
  • No committee member discussed actual substance.
  • TxRTL has been meeting with stakeholders since 2002.
  • HB2315 doesn't define the term "discrimination."
  • HB 3130 currently being strengthened.

First Amendment Tuesday: Whatever week this is

"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

Eventful First Amendment Tuesday this morning:

Tony McDonald (Empower Texans):

  • Craddick previously fired a parliamentarian.
  • Stickland's amendment is germane.
  • 10 members can appeal the ruling of the chair.
  • If they kill constitutional carry, hold them accountable.

  • HB 3704 by Drew Springer -- Bad Bill (at least in its current form)
    • Death Panels redux
    • Bill has 5 GLARING "exceptions.
  • "We're up against big medicine."
  • Tan Parker attempting to pass pro-life consensus bills.
  • Beware "caption-only" messaging bills.
  • 1 solid bill that makes it's way through the process can save 10,000 to 20,000 lives annually.

  • You can meet with members outside the House chamber.
  • "We don't know what the Supreme court is going to do on the marriage issue."
  • Bill filed yesterday on religious freedom issue.
  • HB 2801 up tomorrow in state affairs: Keep bathrooms to your birth gender.
    • Author's note: is this even an issue?!?


  • American laws for American courts pending in committee.
  • HB 1835 -- Good toll road bill.
    • Tolling existing roads is double taxation.
  • EMP protection bill hearing tomorrow.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Texas House Tesla Hearing: Cronies Gotta Crony

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

[Author's Note I: If you can stand the wretched economics, you can view the hearing here.]

[Author's Note II: We weren't originally planning on writing about this hearing; then they pissed us off.  Thus we didn't take notes.  This post is from memory.]

In a thinly disguised act of political backscratching, legacy Republicans tonight colluded with legacy auto-dealers to restrict options for Texas' automobile consumers.

HB 1653 would legalize (within numerous limits) direct to consumer automobile sales.  Commonly known as the Tesla bill, the proposed changes could help incubate the next generation of transportation solutions.  The Texas House Committee on Licencing and Administrative procedure, however, clearly telegraphed that they would rather protect middlemen from competition than allow entrepreneurs and consumers to flourish.

We knew this committee was bad news when we learned Charlie Geren was on it.  The committee chairman, Wayne Smith, got a 31 on Empower Texans scorecard last session (fifth lowest score of any Republican).  The vice chair is a Democrat from Joe Straus' home county.  The Democrat who harassed Attorney General Paxton at a restaurant two weeks ago is also on the committee.  At least Geren appeared to be sober.

The hearing opened with a Tesla representative explaining the company's current operation in Texas.  While they have the equivalent of showrooms here, they cannot conduct any part of a commercial transaction in this state.  This leads to situations where company representatives cannot discuss the price of a vehicle with customers.  This legal environment hurts Tesla's ability to serve its customers.  New local free-market think-tank, the R Street institute, joined Tesla in supporting the measure.

The opposition was a cross between Atlas Shrugged and the bar scene in Star Wars.  Predictably, Bill Hammond of the Texas Association of Business opposed the bill.  Hammond was joined by representatives from various trade associations and dealerships.  These legacy industrialists objected to an alleged "carve out" for Tesla that would be available to any competitor who chose to mimic Tesla's business model.  The opposition touted jobs they allegedly create while ignoring the deadweight loss to Texas' economy from inefficiently allocating capital.  We were particularly galled by one GM (yes, THAT GM) dealer who lectured about the rule of law and free market.  Big "charity" also got in on the act, with the Easter Seals testifying that the sky would collapse if auto dealers were forced to work for a living.

The most revealing moment of the hearing came when chairman Wayne Smith "disclosed" that one of the auto dealers testifying against the bill was a member of the same Rotary club as him. In another act of chutzpah masquerading as disclosure, Chairman Smith told the committee he was friends the spouse of another witness.  Not wanting to miss out on the action, representative Doug Miller (Straus Lieutenant) also bragged about his family's history running auto dealerships.

Barring Divine intervention, this bill is dead.  The makeup of the relevant committee guarantees it.  Nonetheless, the willingness of legacy Republicans to disregard the interests of consumers and entrepreneurs to protect legacy industrial interests remains a site to behold.


Chairman Wayne Smith: (512) 463-0733


The Trib has more here.

Will Joe Pickett preserve red-light cameras?!?

"The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed,
A refuge in times of trouble."
Psalm 9:9

Interesting development in the Senate this morning:
Red-light cameras in Dallas and many other North Texas cities would be banned under legislation approved Monday by the Senate Transportation Committee.

The bill by Sen. Bob Hall, R-Canton, would explicitly outlaw future camera programs. And it would eventually stop cities that already have such cameras from using them, though some worried that it might allow cities to keep their red-light cameras for years longer.

The perennial debate over red-light cameras centers on a feature beloved by law enforcement and despised by many in the public.

A cavalcade of police officials – from Denton, Grand Prairie, Plano and elsewhere – said such cameras change driver behavior and reduce crashes. But others questioned the cameras’ actual safety impact and argued that they are just municipal revenue generators.

And though Hall and others acknowledged the law enforcement view, the committee voted 5-0 to send the bill to the full Senate.


And some Texas cities – Arlington could be next – have seen their residents vote to outlaw the cameras.

They’ve been “landslide victories of people saying, ‘Remove these cameras from our streets,” said Kelly Canon, an Arlington resident who’s helped push a May ballot proposition to ban the cameras in that city.
Not surprisingly, the bill faces a much more uncertain future in the Texas House; multiple sources told us Transportation Committee chairman (Democrat Straus Lieutenant) Joe Pickett has ZERO intention of moving the bill.

Meanwhile, a call to House transportation revealed that the committee is likely to hear a slew of red-light camera two weeks.

It's frequently said in the Texas Legislature that "delay equals death"; take from that what you will.


Representative Joe Pickett: (512) 463-0596


For the record: For Joe Straus to appoint a Democrat chairman of the transportation committee tells you everything you need to know about Joe Straus.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

#NoRePete: Sessions censors First Amendment

"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them."
Ephesians 5:11

[Author's note: We began the audio recording approximately 5 minutes after 7. To find the relevant section of the audio recording, subtract five minutes from the time listed below. Anything in the 8pm hour will appear after the 1 hour mark.]

Highland Park -- On Thursday night, we attended Congressman Pete Sessions' town-hall meeting in Dallas County.

We arrived around 6:30 for the scheduled 7pm event.  We spoke with several members of Congressman Sessions' staff.  After explaining we were with Agendawise, the Congressman's staff suggested a good location to set up our camera and that was that.

Approximately 15 minutes later, we returned with the camera and set it up without incident; we then kept to ourselves for another five minutes.

Around 6:50, we spotted Joseph Wade Miller, a personal friend who works with Heritage Action.  Joesph is a well known critic of Congressman Sessions.  This is when things got more interesting.

After we had spoken with Joseph for a couple minutes, Congressman Sessions press secretary Caroline Boothe (who had been extremely helpful a few minutes earlier) informed this author that it was "against office policy" for anyone to film the town-hall except for members of the Congressman's staff.

Think about that.  The Congressman's staff first suggested a location from which to film, then left us alone for several minutes after the camera had been setup.  They only attempted to shut down filming after they realized that this author was friends with one of their prominent critics.

In a move we shortly came to regret, we decided to play nice and not film.  While the first amendment gives us that right, we weren't in the mood to make a big deal out of it.  Also, we were uncertain if the Texas Open Meetings Act applies to Federal officials.

Shortly after the town-hall began, it became obvious why Congressman Sessions' staff didn't want his boorish, condescending behavior captured for posterity.

Sessions began the town-hall by filibustering over the alleged "student success act" they'll be voting on in D.C. next week.  Sessions attempted to brag about how the bill would consolidate dozens of Federal agencies into one but failed to make a convincing argument when challenged about eliminating the agencies under consideration.  Alice Linahan addresses the federal "student success act" here.

At 7:39, a woman asked Sessions why, given Sessions' record on funding Obamacare and amnesty, he could be trusted to reduce the Federal role in education.  Sessions responded by browbeating the woman over where she'd find funding for a couple of obscure "disability" programs.  The crowd wasn't buying it.

At 8:01, Sessions attempted to cast Bohener's re-election as speaker as old news; in an unintentionally prophetic moment, he mentioned that there would be another election in 2017.
At 8:21, local activist (and friend of this website) Ken Emmanuelson asked Sessions another question about Obamacare.  Sessions grew testy while overselling the alleged benefits of sequestration.  He even attempted to claim you couldn't defund Obamacare:
After Emmanuelson's question, Sessions was asked about the Export-Import bank; while Sessions made several excuses for the 'work' of the bank, he agreed to defer to whatever (documented Ex-Im opponent) Jeb Hensarling decides.

After an hour and a half of this rigmarole, we grew tired and hungry and had stopped paying attention when another flare-up occurred over procedural rules:
Boorish condescension is an unattractive trait in an elected official.  At his town-hall meeting Thursday night, Congressman Pete Sessions demonstrated it in abundance.  No wonder his staff didn't let us film the meeting.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Stickland Delays Shenanigans

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

We discussed the local and consent calendar on Tuesday; looks like Stickland has taken the lesson to heart:
A state lawmaker who’s been a tea party idol appeared to fire a warning shot across the bow of the Texas House leadership team on Thursday when he single-handedly sandbagged a couple of bills that had appeared to have no opposition.

State Rep. Jonathan Stickland – a Bedford Republican who’s been one of Speaker Joe Straus’ most outspoken critics during the past two years – knocked the measures in question off the Local, Consent and Resolutions Calendar with a procedural tactic that’s been used at times for a variety of reasons.

Stickland’s maneuvering prevented proposals that Republican State Rep. Travis Clardy of Nacogdoches and Democratic State Rep. Roland Gutierrez of San Antonio are sponsoring from sailing through the lower chamber in expedited fashion in a package that included more than two dozen other bills that hadn’t encountered any apparent obstacles up to now.

The Gutierrez proposal that Stickland temporarily derailed would ban so-called e-cigarettes from public school property. Clardy’s measure that the second-term suburban lawmaker picked off would give Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar’s office the exclusive authority to approve or to reject energy conservation contracts that state colleges and universities here have negotiated.


Stickland threw up the tactical roadblock when he spoke in opposition to the electronic smoking and energy saving contract proposals for almost 10 minutes on each of the two bills. Stickland, a hard-line conservative with libertarian leanings, based his objections to the measures on the grounds that they would intrude on personal freedom and free market protections.


While none of Stickland’s colleagues questioned the sincerity of the concerns that he raised about the proposals, the procedural power play sparked speculation on whether he was more interested in sending a message to the Straus and the lieutenants on his leadership team than actually trying to kill the measures.


Stickland was one of 19 House Republicans who attempted to overthrow Straus at the start of the regular session in January when they pitched their support to GOP State Rep. Scott Turner of Frisco in the speaker’s election instead. Stickland had contended that the legislation he’s been pushing at the Capitol this year has been bottled up in committees without hearings or votes as retribution from the Straus team for his positions in the leadership contest and battles on policy issues.
Read the whole thing here.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Senate defangs Travis County DA; House dithers on "Pre-K"

"When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice;
But when a wicked man rules, the people groan."
Proverbs 29:2

Yesterday was another revealing day in the Texas Legislature.  The Texas Senate passed another meaningful reform that serves the people of Texas.  The House, meanwhile, did what the House has done all session.

We arrived at the Capitol shortly before 11AM.  After running a few errands in the building, we entered the Senate gallery.  They were discussing Senator Huffman's bill to transfer "public corruption" away from the Travis County DA.  Kirk Watson was having a conniption fit.  He took several puerile shots at Michael Quinn Sullivan and Ken Paxton.  Senator Huffman addressed Watson's gibberish with ease.  The Senate passed the bill before 1PM.

The House, meanwhile, was emerging from slumber.  They had begun to consider HB 4, Governor Abbott's strange attempt to separate young children from their mama under the guise of "high-quality pre-K."  Jonathan Stickland called three separate points of order to whittle the bill into something manageable.  Unfortunately, Joe Straus overruled each of them.  We left while Dan Huberty was presenting his unconvincing argument for the bill.

Following the U.T. regents meeting, we received this press release from the Lt. Governor's office:

Meanwhile, the farce on the House side continued:

STATUS UPDATE: We are on the House floor debating HB 4. I've done extensive research on pre-K programs. Some studies...
Posted by Fallon For Texas on Wednesday, April 8, 2015

STATUS UPDATE: The debate on HB 4 (The Pre-K Bill)....we are negotiating to essentially fund a pilot program rather...
Posted by Fallon For Texas on Wednesday, April 8, 2015

We are in the thick of our debate on HB 4. Here are some things I have learned:- I have been assured that this is not...
Posted by Matt Krause on Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Well now I've seen it all. Rep Laubenberg had an excellent amendment to put a hard cap of $65 million/year of spending...
Posted by Fallon For Texas on Wednesday, April 8, 2015

I voted "no" on HB4 (the pre-K bill) today after Rep. Laubenberg's amendment to cap spending on the program at the...

Posted by Matt Rinaldi on Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Unfortunately, sanity failed to prevail and the measure passed.

Over the past five years, Texas voters have been clear about what they expect from their legislature.  Slowly but surely, we've replaced legislators who refused to listen.  While they haven't been perfect, the new Senate has been responsive.  The House, meanwhile, sinks deeper into the abyss of bad governance and cronyism.  More ammunition for the bloodbath of a primary season that cannot come quickly enough.