Texas Voter ID Law and the 2016 Election

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans said the [Texas Voter ID] law violates the Voting Rights Act.

On July 20, a federal appeals court found a Texas voter-identification law discriminates against blacks and Hispanics, and ordered that temporary remedies be put in place by the November election. Source: Wall Street Journal.

This is the same 5th Circuit Court that I wrote about last year (and the year before last) allowed Texas to keep the law because it was too close to elections to change it. Apparently, a couple weeks makes the difference in being too close to an election. The election is now 109 days away.

The lower court hasn’t fixed it in 2 years, so I don’t see them doing much with it now. They may follow the Wisconsin example and accept affidavits from affected voters who swear they can’t get a photo ID.

You’re hearing it here first: I predict someone will go to Mexico and “collect” a lot of signed affidavits from people that are unable to get government IDs. That’s right up there with the dead voting.

Yeah, there’s no room for fraud in an affidavit system.

Declaration of Independence

This 4th of July, as you’re munching on hot dogs and drinking ice-cold beer, take a moment to remember the reason for the season.

I think we should read the Declaration of Independence on July 4th like we read the Bible on December 25th. The same truths apply to today’s government as they did in 1776. The people and the politicians should always remember, “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” And “…whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government….”

Maybe Gary, Jill, Donald and Hillary should read it twice.

Texas GOP Votes On Secession [UPDATED]

TxSecede On Wednesday [May 11, 2016], the Platform Committee of the Republican Party of Texas voted to put a Texas independence resolution up for a vote at this week’s GOP convention, according to a press release from the pro-secession Texas Nationalist Movement. The resolution calls for allowing voters to decide whether the Lone Star State should become an independent nation….It’s very unlikely to win. Then again, that’s what people said about Donald Trump. Source: motherjones.com

With Donald Trump being the presumptive nominee of the GOP for the 2016 election – and Hillary Clinton is presumptive nominee of Dems – Texans, and Washington, might take this vote more seriously.

Texas did it before. Maybe this time it will stick. Secede-y’all-later folks!

UPDATE 5/16/2016:

As predicted, the committee voted down language of Texas secession. It wasn’t without a fight though. The secessionists and nationalists made their voices heard.

After much parliamentary wrangling and motions and counter-motions, the delegates voted to approve language about the federal government’s having “impaired our right of local self-government,” but voted down the language on Texas secession. Source: texasobserver.org

The latest political talking point (a distraction if you ask me) is the rights of transgendered individuals to use public bathrooms of the sex they identify with. Obama has threatened to revoke federal funding for public schools if states don’t support this idea in schools. The Texas GOP wasn’t having it.

“We urge the enactment of legislation addressing individuals’ use of bathrooms, showers and locker rooms that correspond with their biologically determined sex,” the document stated. Source: texastribune.org

The 2016 Primary Election in Texas

The date for the 2016 Primary election in Texas is March 1. Early voting is February 16 – 26.

Here’s a look at who’s on the ballot in Brazos County, Texas.

Asterisk (*) indicates incumbent. Strikethrough indicates withdrawn/drop-out.

President/Vice President

  • Martin J. O’Malley (D)
  • Star Locke (D)
  • Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente (D)
  • Bernie Sanders (D)
  • Calvis L. Hawes (D)
  • Willie L. Wilson (D)
  • Keith Judd (D)
  • Hillary Clinton (D)
  • Lincoln Chafee (D)
  • Lawrence Lessig (D)
  • Jim Webb (D)

U.S. House of Representatives (District 17)

  • Bill Flores (R)*
  • Ralph Patterson (R)
  • Kaleb Sims (R)
  • William Matta (D)

Texas House of Representatives (District 14)

  • John Raney (R)*
  • Jess Fields (R)

Texas Supreme Court

Place 3

  • Debra Lehrmann (R)
  • Michael Massengale (R)
  • Mike Westergren (D)

Place 5

  • Rick Green (R)
  • Paul Green (R)
  • Dori Contreras Garza (D)

Place 9

  • Eva Guzman (R)
  • Joe Pool (R)
  • Savannah Robinson (D)

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

Place 2

  • Mary Lou Keel (R)
  • Chris Oldner (R)
  • Ray Wheless (R)
  • Lawrence “Larry” Meyers (D)

Place 5

  • Sid Harle (R)
  • Steve Smith (R)
  • Scott Walker (R)
  • Brent Webster (R)
  • Betsy Johnson (D)

Place 6

  • Michael E. Keasler (R)
  • Richard Davis (R)
  • Robert Burns (D)

Texas Courts of Appeals (District 10)

Place 3

  • Al Scoggins (R)

Comptroller of Public Accounts

  • Debra Medina (R)
  • Glenn Hegar (R)*
  • Harvey Hilderbran (R)
  • Raul Torres (R)
  • Mike Collier (D)

Commissioner of the General Land Office

  • George P. Bush (R)*
  • David Watts (R)
  • John Cook (D)

Commissioner of Agriculture

  • Sid Miller (R)*
  • Eric Opiela (R)
  • J. Allen Carnes (R)
  • Joe Cotten (R)
  • Tommy Merritt (R)
  • Hugh Asa Fitzsimons III (D)
  • Jim Hogan (D)
  • Richard “Kinky” Friedman (D)

Railroad Commissioner

  • Weston Martinez (R)
  • John Greytok (R)
  • Gary Gates (R)
  • Ron Hale (R)
  • Lance N. Christian (R)
  • Wayne Christian (R)
  • Doug Jeffrey (R)
  • Lon Burnam (D)
  • Cody Garrett (D)
  • Grady Yarbrough (D)

Texas State Board of Education Member (District 8)

  • Barbara Cargill (R)*

District Courts – Brazos County

272nd District Court Judge

  • Travis Bryan III (R)*

85th District Attorney – Brazos County

  • Jarvis Parsons (R)*

Sheriff – Brazos County

  • Chris Kirk (R)*
  • Miguel C. Vasquez (R)

Tax Assessor-Collector

  • Kristeen Roe (R)*

County Commissioner Pct. 1

  • Lloyd Wassermann (R)*
  • Steve Aldrich (R)

County Commissioner Pct. 3

  • Gabriel Garcia (R)
  • Nancy Berry (R)

 Read More

Voter ID’s and Elections

8-6--8-12-forcastAs we enter the hottest days of of the year – the forecast calls for at least 7 days of 100+ F temperatures – the arguments of last year’s election and the Texas Voter ID law is starting to heat up too.

To recap, last year I wrote in Voter ID Law in Texas:

On Tuesday, October 14, the Texas GOP successfully appealed the blocked law.

The ruling by a three-judge panel of the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals allows the law to be used in the November election, despite a lower judge’s ruling that the law is unconstitutional. The 5th Circuit did not rule on the law’s merits; instead, it determined it’s too late to change the rules for the election. Source abcnews.com

They said while it may cause harm to some voters, the greater harm would come from disrupting the election statewide.

Yesterday, the same 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Texas law “runs afoul of parts of the federal Voting Right Act…”

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the 2011 Texas law runs afoul of parts of the federal Voting Rights Act – handing down the decision on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the landmark civil rights law. Source: AP.org

However, the court sent the law back to the lower courts to fix the discriminatory effects. Ken Paxton, Texas Attorney General, said the law will stand. Ironically, he’s currently under indictment for felony securities fraud. Suffice it to say, this issue isn’t finished.


First-GOP-debate-2015Speaking of things heating up, the 2016 presidential election, which is 459 days away, is getting started with the first GOP debate tonight – brought to you by (they chose 10 debaters based on the highest average of 5 polls) and broadcasted on Fox News. The 10 are Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Chris Christie and John Kasich. The number of potential GOP candidates is overwhelming – something like 39 have declared!

With all the drama, this is starting to look like a reality tv show: Survivor or Big Brother or America’s Got Talent. “Retiring” Jon Stewart said it best on his show last night, “[Fox News] will decide the next leader of the free world…WTF is going on here!”

I have a feeling this election is going to be colossal – colossally expensive, and a colossal waste of time on commercials. Hillary Clinton (don’t get me started) is going to start running ads this week. Did I mention we’re 459 days away from the election.

UPDATE:

20150820-deeznutsA surging Independent candidate, Deez Nuts, is taking the polls – and the world – by storm. A 15-year-old boy from Iowa registered as a candidate under the name Deez Nuts, and the Internet loves him. The name trended on Twitter for a day. Everybody wants to know more about him. His real name is Brady Olsen.

This picture is a screen shot from the coverage of the North Carolina poll held August 20, 2015.

Texas Passes Open Carry and Campus Carry Bills

Texas passed the “Open Carry” bill (HB910) and the “Campus Carry” bill (SB11) on May 31, 2015; they’re waiting Governor Abbott’s signature.

Starting January 1, 2016, you can carry any handgun openly or concealed as long as you are licensed by Texas or a state with reciprocity. By law, the handgun must be carried in a “shoulder or belt holster.” Long arms do not require a license.

The campus carry bill is set to go into effect August 1, 2016, for four-year institutions, and August 1, 2017, for public junior colleges.

Under the current version of the bill, university presidents will establish “reasonable rules, regulations, or other provisions regarding the carrying of concealed handguns,” on campus. However, the bill clearly states that universities may not establish “general prohibitions” on concealed carry. Source: TheBatt.com

There was a lot of debate about an amendment to the open carry bill that would prevent law enforcement from stopping a person who is open carrying just because they are open carrying – to have them show their license. Proponents said it was a violation of the U.S. Fourth Amendment. Opponents said it would hinder law enforcement’s ability to do their job or keep the public safe. In the end the amendment was removed.

I can think of a catch 22 scenario where a person is forced to show their gun license: if a licensed person, who open carries, is stopped by a LEO under the suspicion that a crime is about to occur – that crime is failure to identify yourself as a gun license holder.

If the person doesn’t show their license then the LEO was right in their suspicion and they can arrest the person; they’ll search the person and find their license. If the person does show their license the LEO checks it and sends them on their way. Either way the LEO forced the person to identify.

All in all I glad the Texas legislature passed these bills. We’re living in times were force is sometimes required. There have been many instances where I said “that would have ended differently if only a (responsible) gun owner was present.” We shall see what the future holds for these laws – will the help or make things worse.

Open Carry In Texas One Step Closer

After turning back last-minute attempts to let city voters opt out, the Texas House gave final approval Monday to legislation allowing gun owners with concealed weapons licenses to carry their side arms openly.

House Bill 910, by Rep. Larry Phillips, R- Sherman, passed on third reading 101-42. Similar legislation has already passed the Senate, and Gov. Greg Abbott has promised to sign open carry legislation. Source: Texas Tribune

Back in January, I was watching SB11 and HB937, relating to concealed carry on college campuses, but thanks to lobbying by Open Carry Texas and the NRA, SB11 and HB910 seem to be doing well. Both bills would relax the concealment requirement of the Concealed Handgun License (CHL) holders.

Texas Bills related to concealed carry

There are currently 29 34 bills filed for consideration in the Texas House and Senate. Let’s see how this year plays out.

Texas Legislature

Bills By Subject

Subject Headings: CONCEALED HANDGUNS

84th Legislature Regular Session

Report Date: 2/12/2015

HB 106 Author: Flynn
Last Action: 02/09/2015 H Referred to Homeland Security & Public Safety: Feb 9 2015 2:57PM
Caption: Relating to the authority of a person who is licensed to carry a handgun to openly carry the handgun; providing penalties.
HB 164 Author: White, James | Leach | Guillen | Bohac | Phelan
Last Action: 02/09/2015 H Referred to Homeland Security & Public Safety: Feb 9 2015 2:57PM
Caption: Relating to the authority of a person who is licensed to carry a handgun to openly carry the handgun; providing penalties.
HB 195 Author: Stickland
Last Action: 02/10/2015 H Referred to Homeland Security & Public Safety: Feb 10 2015 11:34AM
Caption: Relating to the carrying of handguns; providing for the open carrying of handguns; removing the requirement that a person who may lawfully possess handguns obtain a Concealed Handgun License in order to carry a handgun lawfully in the state of Texas, and conforming changes.
HB 198 Author: Huberty
Last Action: 02/12/2015 H Referred to Public Education: Feb 12 2015 11:31AM
Caption: Relating to the carrying of concealed handguns by certain persons attending a school board meeting.
HB 216 Author: White, James
Last Action: 02/10/2015 H Referred to Homeland Security & Public Safety: Feb 10 2015 11:34AM
Caption: Relating to the eligibility of a person for a license to carry a concealed handgun.
HB 226 Author: Guillen
Last Action: 02/12/2015 H Referred to Homeland Security & Public Safety: Feb 12 2015 11:31AM
Caption: Relating to certain offenses relating to carrying concealed handguns on property owned or leased by a governmental entity; providing a civil penalty.
HB 278 Author: Ashby | Leach
Last Action: 02/11/2015 H Referred to Homeland Security & Public Safety: Feb 11 2015 11:25AM
Caption: Relating to authorizing certain attorneys representing the state to openly carry a handgun.
HB 284 Author: Springer
Last Action: 02/11/2015 H Referred to Homeland Security & Public Safety: Feb 11 2015 11:25AM
Caption: Relating to the handgun proficiency required to obtain or renew a concealed handgun license.
HB 291 Author: Huberty | Price
Last Action: 02/11/2015 H Referred to Homeland Security & Public Safety: Feb 11 2015 11:25AM
Caption: Relating to the authority of a person who is licensed to carry a handgun to openly carry the handgun; providing penalties.
HB 308 Author: Springer
Last Action: 02/11/2015 H Referred to Homeland Security & Public Safety: Feb 11 2015 11:25AM
Caption: Relating to the places where a person may carry a handgun if the person is licensed to carry a concealed handgun.
HB 353 Author: King, Ken
Last Action: 02/12/2015 H Referred to Homeland Security & Public Safety: Feb 12 2015 11:31AM
Caption: Relating to the application of certain weapons laws to certain volunteer emergency services personnel licensed to carry a concealed handgun.
HB 415 Author: Riddle | Phillips
Last Action: 12/01/2014 H Filed
Caption: Relating to the authority of a person who is licensed to carry a handgun to openly carry the handgun; providing penalties.
HB 554 Author: Springer
Last Action: 12/18/2014 H Filed
Caption: Relating to a defense to prosecution for the offense of possessing or carrying a weapon in or into the secured area of an airport.
HB 571 Author: Pickett
Last Action: 12/22/2014 H Filed
Caption: Relating to a defense to prosecution for the offense of possessing or carrying a weapon in or into the secured area of an airport.
HB 573 Author: White, James
Last Action: 12/23/2014 H Filed
Caption: Relating to a defense to prosecution for the offense of possessing or carrying a firearm on the premises of a polling place.
HB 695 Author: Springer
Last Action: 01/14/2015 H Filed
Caption: Relating to the carrying of a concealed handgun by the holder of a concealed handgun license on hospital or nursing home premises; authorizing a penalty.
HB 805 Author: Keough
Last Action: 01/20/2015 H Filed
Caption: Relating to authorizing a license holder to carry a concealed handgun on certain premises.
HB 890 Author: Klick
Last Action: 01/23/2015 H Filed
Caption: Relating to reducing certain fees for a license to carry a concealed handgun for county jailers.
HB 910 Author: Phillips | Flynn | White, James | Riddle | Guillen
Last Action: 01/23/2015 H Filed
Caption: Relating to the authority of a person who is licensed to carry a handgun to openly carry a holstered handgun; creating a criminal offense; providing penalties.
HB 922 Author: Leach
Last Action: 01/26/2015 H Filed
Caption: Relating to the authority of a person who is licensed to carry a handgun to openly carry the handgun; creating an offense; providing penalties.
HB 937 Author: Fletcher | Burkett | Bohac | Flynn | Bell
Last Action: 01/26/2015 H Filed
Caption: Relating to the carrying of concealed handguns on the campuses of and certain other locations associated with institutions of higher education.
HB 944 Author: Kacal
Last Action: 01/26/2015 H Filed
Caption: Relating to the authority of a person who is licensed to carry a handgun to openly carry the handgun; providing penalties.
HB 1154 Author: Turner, Scott
Last Action: 02/05/2015 H Filed
Caption: Relating to the issuance of a concealed handgun license.
HB 1234 Author: Tinderholt
Last Action: 02/09/2015 H Filed
Caption: Relating to the carrying of concealed handguns by certain license holders on certain locations associated with a public or private school or educational institution.
HB 1285 Author: Simmons
Last Action: 02/10/2015 H Filed
Caption: Relating to the authority of certain personal protection officers to carry certain weapons.
HB 1376 Author: Paddie
Last Action: 02/12/2015 H Filed
Caption: Relating to the application of certain concealed handgun license laws to community supervision and corrections department officers and juvenile probation officers; reducing a fee.
SB 11 Author: Birdwell | Bettencourt | Burton | Campbell | Creighton | et al.
Last Action: 02/12/2015 S Scheduled for public hearing on . . .
Caption: Relating to the carrying of concealed handguns on the campuses of and certain other locations associated with institutions of higher education.
SB 17 Author: Estes
Last Action: 02/12/2015 S Scheduled for public hearing on . . .
Caption: Relating to the authority of a person who is licensed to carry a handgun to openly carry a holstered handgun; creating a criminal offense; providing penalties.
SB 179 Author: Perry
Last Action: 01/27/2015 S Referred to State Affairs
Caption: Relating to the handgun proficiency required to obtain or renew a concealed handgun license.
SB 273 Author: Campbell
Last Action: 01/28/2015 S Referred to State Affairs
Caption: Relating to certain offenses relating to carrying concealed handguns on property owned or leased by a governmental entity; providing a civil penalty.
SB 301 Author: Taylor, Van
Last Action: 02/02/2015 S Referred to Education
Caption: Relating to school marshals for private schools.
SB 311 Author: Campbell
Last Action: 02/02/2015 S Referred to State Affairs
Caption: Relating to certain offenses involving the carrying of concealed handguns by license holders and to defenses and exceptions to the prosecution of those offenses.
SB 342 Author: Huffines
Last Action: 02/02/2015 S Referred to State Affairs
Caption: Relating to providing for the open and concealed carrying of handguns without a license and to related offenses and penalties.
SB 346 Author: Estes
Last Action: 02/02/2015 S Referred to State Affairs
Caption: Relating to the authority of a person who is licensed to carry a handgun to openly carry a holstered handgun; creating a criminal offense; providing penalties.

2014 Election Results, Who Represents Brazos County Texas

Refer to my earlier post about the 2014 Primary/Election for candidates of this mid-term election. This is a small list of the people that represent Brazos County Texas.

U.S. President – Next Election 2016

U.S. Senate (Texas)

U.S. House of Representatives (District 17 Texas)

Texas Senate (District 5)

Texas House of Representatives (District 14)

District Attorney – Brazos County

Read More

I Voted in the Midterm Election or The Big Yawn

And the winners are (the Republicans of course):

United States

Senator: John Cornyn

Representative (District 17): Bill Flores

Texas

Governor: Greg Abbott

Lieutenant Governor: Dan Patrick

Attorney General: Ken Paxton

Senator (District 5): Charles Schwertner

Representative (District 14): John Raney

Comptroller of Public Accounts: Glenn Hegar

Commissioner of the General Land Office: George P. Bush

Commissioner of Agriculture: Sid Miller

Railroad Commissioner: Ryan Sitton

Chief Justice, Supreme Court: Nathan Hecht

Supreme Court, Place 6: Jeff Brown

Supreme Court, Place 7: Jeff Boyd

Supreme Court, Place 8: Phil Johnson

Criminal Appeals Court Place 3: Bert Richardson

Criminal Appeals Court Place 4: Kevin Yeary

Criminal Appeals Court Place 9: David Newell

10th Court of Appeals Place 2: Rex Davis

85th District Judge: Kyle Hawthorne

361st District Judge: Steve Smith

Brazos County

County Judge: Duane Peters

County Court at Law #1: Amanda Matzke

County Court at Law #2: Jim Locke

District Clerk: Marc Hamlin

County Clerk: Karen McQueen

County Treasurer: Laura Davis

County Commissioner Precinct 4: Irma Cauley (D)

Justice of the Peace #4: Louis Garcia

Constable Precinct 4: Isaac Butler (D)

Texas Propositions

Proposition 1 – Transportation Funds: Passed

City of Bryan Propositions

Charter Amendment, Proposition 1: Passed

Charter Amendment, Proposition 2: Passed

Charter Amendment, Proposition 3: Passed

Bryan ISD

Voters in Bryan approve a $132 million bond proposal.

The money will be used to build a pair new school buildings and make improvements to every school in the district, including security and heating and air conditioning.