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Texas 83rd Legislative Session – Following and Tracking the NEW stuff!

I love being connected to brilliant ladies like my friend Kelly Cannon. Kelly Cannon ~ Texas 83rd Legislative Session

Check out her latest post over on the Lone Star Tea Party 
 Texas 83rd Legislative Session – Following and Tracking the NEW stuff!  

After the debacle we called an election (nationally), we can’t “give up the ship” folks! No, instead, we have to turn our attention to the state-level legislation, and follow what happens with our brand-new legislature – both houses!  Most of us worked really hard getting a new freshman class in both houses, and now it’s time to watch and FOLLOW what they do!  And stay on them. Below, you’ll learn just how to do that!

The introductions of new bills, proposed constitutional amendments, and resolutions have slowly started trickling in for the upcoming 83rd Texas Legislative session.  Below, I’ve picked out a few that caught my attention.

Before I begin to cover the incoming bills, I want you to be better equipped to stay on top of this issue, as well.  It’s really easy!  For a complete method of following all of the new legislation, to personalize your searches, and track anything and everything through all phases of the legislative process, Texas has a wonderful online system to help you navigate through all of it:

Texas Legislature Online

Texas Capital

Once here, click on the “My TLO” tab at the top, and you can create lists of bills being introduced in the 83rd session.  Simply create an account (it’s free), and a password, and you’re all set.  You can search on bills with a key word, or the bill number.

Hint:  To see all of the bills being introduced at any given time/day (because the quantity grows every day), do a key-word search, using a word commonly found in all of the bills:  “relating”  Yes, this word seems to be used in the text of every bill, so far.  Haven’t seen any that do not include it, yet. If you search the bills of the 83rd legislature, this method will give you the latest and greatest list of bills being introduced!  (be sure to select the “83rd” legislature in the pull-down bar just above the search word box.)

In my account, I created three lists:  ‘Constitutional Amendments’, ‘Republicans’ & ‘Democrats’.  To make this even more easier, it helps to know the party affiliation of each legislator authoring the bills.  That’s not so easy to find on the state’s site, unfortunately, so I’ve devised a table that shows just that, for both houses (reps and senators). I also created a list of bills I want to track, by way of the “alerts” feature. This is probably the best feature I’ve found so far!  So let’s get started…

Here are some of the more interesting bills I’m tracking, along with my personal comments. (be sure to click on the bill number for the actual text):

Democrat Bills:

HB 145  Strama (D) Redistricting (Related: HJR 38)

This bill is of particular interest to me, as it totally re-vamps how we draw our state’s districts every ten years, after the census.  This task is currently performed by elected legislators/senators, as they represent their districts, per the constitution.  The bill, if passed, would side-step the constitution, and would instead create a commission of non-elected people to do this task. I can see how it would be a way to prevent “gerrymandering”, but we send these legislators to Austin to do this very thing: REPRESENT US!  The commission would be a body of unelected officials.  This would evolve into a bureaucratic nightmare, full of back-room deals, and corruption.  This bill will hopefully die in committee.

HB 164  Dutton (D) Abolishment of the Death Penalty

This is Texas.  We have an “express lane” to the death chamber.  It will never pass.

HB 169  Alanzo (D) Registration of Voters at polling places on Election day

This has voter fraud written all over it.  I can’t believe they actually introduced this!  It shouldn’t get past the committee it’ll be assigned to.

HB 216  Alvarado (D) Online Voter Registration through the website of the Sec’y of State

This is also another attempt at making it easy to commit voter fraud.  The internet?  Seriously?  Not gonna happen.

Republican Bills:

HB 149  Larson (R) Texas Liberty Preservation Act; providing penalties.

This pertains to the nullification of the NDAA act.  It also allows for the arrest of any federal agent attempting to act on this, within the state of Texas.  Love it!

HB 161  Larson (R) drug testing of certain persons seeking financial assistance benefits.

Welfare recipients would have to undergo drug testing before they can collect their benefits. This bill is long overdue.  ‘Nuff said.

HB 181  Zedler (R) prohibition of day labor (illegals)

This bill was actually introduced last session, but he is re-introducing it.  The bill would prohibit the use of laborers by government entities if they are not US citizens.  I think this is a step toward “sanctuary city” prohibition.  It’s a good first step.

HB 180  Zedler (R) Resident status of students by public institutions of higher learning

This bill further clarifies the term “resident” for the purposes of attending college.

HB 219  White (R) Reimbursement by the fed for public benefits to non-citizens

Finally!  If the federal gvmt wants to be a “nanny state” to illegal aliens, then they can foot the bills – not Texas.  I love it!

Here are just a few proposed Constitutional Amendments of interest, intended to be placed on a ballot for November, 2013, for our approval or rejection:

HJR 22  Pickett (D) Limiting Diversionary spending of fuel taxes

I recently attended a 9/12 mtg, where we listened to a very interesting talk on the abuse by our lawmakers in spending these funds on everything BUT it’s intended target: ROADS! This bill fixes that!

SJR 6  Ellis (D) Creates a Gambling Commission

If Straus is elected speaker (hopefully not!), this will be a hot-ticket bill, that he will push, no matter what!

HJR 47  Alvarado (D) Creates a Gaming Commission

The democrats hve been busy.  They already a house bill, a senate bill, AND the joint resolution!

HJR 48  White (R) Choice freedom on healthcare purchase

This is a joint resolution for a constitutional amendment, and basically nullifies obamacare!  (or at least part of it!)

HJR 43  Flynn (R) Anti-Sharia Law

The text of this bill doesn’t actually come out and SAY “anti-sharia”, but you can definitely figure it out by the wording!

HJR 42 Larson (R) Term Limits to 6 terms (12 years) reps & senators

Not real sure how I feel about this one.  I mean, when you look at this objectively, WE THE PEOPLE are soley responsible for putting our lawmakers in office, and we are certainly in control of seeing that they are replaced, if they fail to do the job we sent them there to do. And we elect them (and RE-elect them) every two years! BOTH HOUSES!  If there’s a GOOD lawmaker in office, I say keep them there for as long as they want to, and as long as they are performing the way we expect them to.  But on the other hand, maybe new blood wouldn’t be such a bad idea.  Can’t decide which is better, right now.  What are your thoughts?

HJR 38  Strama (D) Redistricting Commission

See my comments above in the Democrat section of bills.

HJR 27  Raymond (D) Legalizing “eight-liners” (Gambling)

I had to call Rep. Raymond’s office about this one.  I honestly didn’t know what an “eight-liner” was, and the text of the bill didn’t define it.  Instead, the text refered to a part of our current law on gambling, and guess what?  The definition wasn’t there either! Hmmmm… Typical democrats… I’ll get more info on this.

So there you have it.  That wasn’t so hard, was it?  Once you get the hang of it, I promise you’ll be picking up the phone, or emailing these lawmakers practically every week, just to bug them!  And they will be (at least) impressed that you are PAYING ATTENTION.  In paying attention, this also sends them a very clear message:

 “The eyes of Texas are upon YOU!” 

Knowledge is Power and together we can make the difference!!

Alice Linahan

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