Voices Empower

Straus still telling TSA lies- Agenda Wise Reports

Date posted: October 4, 2011

More great work by Weston Hicks cross posted from Agenda Wise.com 

In a recent speech to a group in Tarrant County, Joe Straus repeated discredited lies about the TSA bill, lies that were called out by the TSA bill author and champion Rep. David Simpson in his rousing speech after the bill’s defeat.

Straus repeated a lie he used at the end of the session, saying the reason the TSA bill died was that David Simpson failed to consult the Attorney General in time to address some legal concerns Straus had with the bill. This is demonstrably false. In reality, Rep. Simpson navigated every obstacle thrown at his bill with style and retained documentation, leaving leadership with no legitimate excuse with which to to defend themselves.

Straus used another excuse based on a scheme he engaged in to kill the TSA bill. Straus says, “The Senate sent me a bill and the House had no chance to amend. I just don’t do business that way.” This happened because the Senate sine died (ended the Senate’s special session) right after they sent their version of the TSA bill to the House. Being gone, the Senate couldn’t vote on an amended version of the bill.

This allows Straus to say he was held hostage by the Senate version of the bill. However, the fact there was so little time remaining, and the fact the Senate passed the bill and sine died was carefully orchestrated.

The TSA bill was added to the special session late, but by no means too late. Instead of rushing it onto the docket, many days were wasted by leisurely scheduling. When the scheduled day, a Friday, finally arrived, Joe Straus wasted it by gaveling in, taking roll, and gaveling out, ending business for the day. Wasting the Friday before the special session was to end on Wednesday was fatal for the TSA bill.


Previous Posts in this Series:

By Monday it was nearly too late, but not yet. The House passed the TSA bill, then Lt. Governor Dewhurst passed an even stronger TSA bill. Dewhurst then did his dirty deed, officially ending the special session one day early for the Senate.

By running down the shot clock to almost zero, Straus ensured there was no time to deal with the unexpected, and there are a million legislative ways to manufacture “the unexpected”.

The TSA bill was a courageous effort by David Simpson to restore dignity to commercial air travel in Texas by ending groping practices.

In truth, challenging the Obama Administration was considered horribly tacky by ruling class politicians in Austin like Straus. While young girls and old women were being humiliated in Texas airports, they were rolling their eyes that a east Texas freshman legislator was crusading in such an immodest fashion. For Straus and company, the TSA bill was a clear violation of the “we’re in this together for ourselves” culture of ruling class Republicans and Democrats nationwide.


Weston Hicks

Weston Hicks researches and writes about associations in the Texas political realm, media choices, and political strategy. Over the past year he has advised on grassroots and voter initiatives. He has a B.A. in History from the University of Texas at El Paso and a J.D. from University of Texas School of Law. He enjoys spending time with wife and three children, reading theology and political theory, and watching FC Barcelona. You can reach him at whicks@agendawise.com.

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Just Breaking – Thomas Ratliff, SBOE Member, Ineligible

Date posted: August 12, 2011

By Donna Garner

Photo Courtesy of Texas Attorney General’s website

Texas has had a great victory this morning.  The Rule of Law has been upheld by Texas Attorney Greg Abbott.  His opinion can be found at the link below; but what he has basically said is that Thomas Ratliff, a registered lobbyist who sells to clients who do business with the Texas State Board of Education and with the Texas Education Agency, is ineligible to serve on the SBOE.

The AG goes even further and states that because Ratliff is ineligible even to be on the SBOE, then Ratliff’s argument in which he says he can recuse himself from certain votes involving his clients is actually mute and void because Ratliff should not be on the SBOE in the first place.    

Now, what can be done?  Thomas Ratliff can and should be impeached if he chooses not to resign from the SBOE.  

According to Texas Government Code, Section 665.001, Impeachment Proceeding, and Section 665.004 (http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/GV/htm/GV.665.htm), if the Legislature is not in Session, a majority of the House (in this case 75 members because Rep. Fred Brown has resigned his seat) can sign a petition of impeachment.  Please read the remainder of the provisions in Section 665.001, etc. for details. 

With the Texas primaries coming on March 6, 2012, and early voting beginning on 2.21.12, the time is perfect for Texas legislative candidates to make their positions clear. Are they going to support the impeachment petition against  Thomas Ratliff and uphold the Rule of Law, or are they going to lack the courage to do the right thing. 

Below the excerpted AG’s opinion, I have posted links to various articles that give more information about Thomas Ratliff and his nefarious activities. 


Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s Notification of Opinion




Subject: Notification of Opinion (Texas Attorney General’s Office) 

Good morning: 

We issued 1 Attorney General Opinion:  

Opinion No.  GA-0876

Go to :http://www.oag.state.tx.us/opinions/opinions/50abbott/op/2011/htm/ga-0876.htm

Re: Construction of section 7.103(c), Education Code, regarding the eligibility of a registered lobbyist for membership on the State Board of Education (RQ-0948-GA)


Summary: Subsection 7.103(c), Texas Education Code, precludes certain registered lobbyists from serving on the State Board of Education (“Board”). A person who has been retained to communicate directly with the legislative or executive branch to influence legislation or administrative action in or on behalf of a profession, business, or association on a matter that pertains to or is associated or connected with any of the statutorily enumerated powers or duties of the Board is not eligible to serve on the Board. Thus, a registered lobbyist who has been paid to lobby the legislative or executive branch on a matter relating to Board business is ineligible to serve on the Board. The question of whether any person engaged in lobbying activity is ineligible under subsection 7.103(c) is a fact question that is inappropriate to an attorney general opinion. 

Absent a mechanism to cure a violation in subsection 7.103(c), we cannot advise that a member of the Board  may cure his or her ineligibility under the subsection.


8.10.11  Latest Outrage Committed by Thomas Ratliff


4.3.11 — “Thomas Ratliff’s Brazen Gall” by Donna Garner –


3.25.11 – “Who’s Behind This Mounting Pressure?”


3.15.11 — “Thomas Ratliff’s False Sense of Security” by Donna Garner




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