Voices Empower

Texans, We Cannot Stop Now — Victory in Sight


By Donna Garner


Donna Garner

Texans, I know you are tired from this Texas legislative session because of the deliberate attacks made on conservatives’ bills, redistricting maps, and appointments.  However, we have another chance to make our case.  Gov. Perry has total control over what he puts into the “call.”  He may be ready and willing to insert our conservative agenda bills into the Special Session.

In a Special Session, the Senate no longer has to have a two-thirds majority to pass bills. The Special Session could last as long as 30 days; but if that happened, it would cost the taxpayers $1.3 Million.  If the Governor exerts the right amount of pressure, he could get the lege moving these bills in and out in a few short days, thus saving taxpayers the $1.3 Million extra dollars.

Please contact the Governor’s office and ask him to cover these issues in his call for the Special Session:

1.  Texas State Board of Education redistricting map —  We want SBOE E118 passed because that is the map that the majority of the SBOE members support.

2.  Gail Lowe, chair of the Texas State Board of Education, was not confirmed by sine die last night at midnight; therefore, she cannot be the chair for several more years.  Such a loss!  Now we need to ask Gov. Perry to appoint a strong conservative as the chair of the SBOE — someone who has led in the efforts to adopt all three of the new English / Language Arts / Reading (ELAR), Science, and Social Studies standards (TEKS).

This person also needs to be someone on whom we can depend to carry forth the conservative agenda for our 4.7 million school children.  These choices of consistent conservatives would be Terri Leo, Barbara Cargill, David Bradley, and Ken Mercer.  Charlie Garza is a strong conservative, but he is new to the Board.

3.  The following two amendments must be added back to HB 6:

(A) The restoration to our elected State Board of Education members of the authority to review and remove textbooks (i.e., instructional materials) from the commissioner’s list within 90 days after placement on the list:  The well-developed textbook adoption process that involves public hearings, public scrutiny, and SBOE members’ good judgment have served Texas well.  SBOE members have made sure the textbooks follow the adopted curriculum standards.  Hundreds of factual errors have been found in textbooks because of Texas’ textbook adoption process, and fines by publishers have been levied when the errors have not been corrected.

(B) The restoration of the power to our elected State Board of Education members of the authority to remove or approve open source materials and/or electronic textbooks from any list within 90 days of submission:  Open source materials can now be submitted by universities and could be written by liberal college professors.  We do not want our public school children to use instructional materials produced by liberal college professors without first giving our elected SBOE members the authority to scrutinize those materials and remove or approve them.

4.  HB 2923 must be passed because it would ensure that Texas has the authority over what is taught in its public schools and not the Obama administration. HB 2923 says that for Texas schools to be accredited, they must follow the state-adopted standards, curriculum requirements, and tests. Huberty’s bill also states that Texas will not participate in the national database that is going to have student-identifiable, family-intrusive data sent to the federal government.

(To read more about HB 2923 and the issue of the Obama administration’s takeover of the public schools through Common Core Standards/Race to the Top, please go to my article posted at:  “Child Abuse by the Federal Government — How and Who?”

5.  The SBOE has carefully managed the Permanent School Fund to make sure that it grows in wealth in order to pay for students’ textbooks.  The SBOE voted to send $3 Billion to the Texas Legislature because by law, the House must appropriate the funds to pay for the new textbooks.

The English/Language Arts textbooks are built upon the new-and-improved ELAR standards and will teach children phonics, explicit grammar, correct spelling/handwriting, and other important English skills.  The new ELA textbooks only cost $450 Million out of the $3 Billion sent to the lege by the SBOE.

The new ELA books are already published and are sitting on the shelves waiting for the Texas Legislature to appropriate the $450 Million (out of the $3 Billion) needed to pay for them.

Our Texas public school children would have new ELA textbooks this fall if only Gov. Perry would add this issue to the call and the lege would pass it. I have been told by experienced English teachers who believe in teaching back-to-the-basic skills that the new ELA books are the finest they have ever seen.

6.  Anti-sanctuary cities (HB 12) and E-verify (HB 1275) must be added to the call.

7.  The further defunding of Planned Parenthood needs to be added to the call.  The lege was close to a decision on this issue when a “definition” problem occurred. Surely in this Special Session that definition problem can be corrected and the bill to defund Planned Parenthood can be passed.

I must hasten to say that in the mad and stress-filled days leading up to the end of the regular legislative session last night at midnight, some of the above measures may have been passed.  However, in a Special Session, provisions can be changed in some bills; and we need to make sure that the seven priorities as stated above are added to the call.

If Gov. Perry should add these priorities to the Special Session, then we conservatives need to be ready to go to Austin to lobby heavily for the passage of all of them.

Governor’s Contact Information: (Please be respectful when you call.) 

Information and Referral Hotline [for Texas callers] : (800) 843-5789 

Citizen’s Opinion Hotline [for Texas callers] : (800) 252-9600  

Information and Referral and Opinion Hotline [for Austin, Texas and out-of-state callers] : (512) 463-1782 

Office of the Governor Main Switchboard [office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CST] : (512) 463-2000 

 Office of the Governor Fax: (512) 463-1849



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