Tag Archives: Dan Patrick

Ashley Smith Makes THE Point About “Bathroom Bill” Debate

So there’s politics, and then there’s policy, both of which can be easily become lightning rods if infused with the right social issues.

For many in the Republican party, such a calculus has been made about many issues today.  They know that for many of their voters, there is either a serious lack of understanding about LGBT issues, or just a blatant attempt to ignore them altogether.  They also know that fearful, long disproven stereotypes are still enough to motivate a large part of their base to go and vote.  It also allows an “easy way out” of actually having to debate substantive issues, or come up with policy solutions.  Basically, inflame the base, keep them scared and they’ll pay attention to the actual job that they’re doing.

Special Session?  Did someone say BATHROOM BILL??

Sadly, it is Transgender Texans that continue to be cast as the political scapegoats of the day.  Who knows how much state leaders like Governor Abbott or Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick actually believe of all the falsehoods they spout, but it is unlikely that they care about that.  As long as their voters stay scared and uninformed, they stay in office.

With all of this in the atmosphere of the Special Session, one brave Texan set out to prove a point at the capitol, with none other than the Governor as her assistant.  Here’s more on that from Kylie Madry of the Dallas Morning News…

A transgender San Antonio woman went to Gov. Greg Abbott’s re-election campaign announcement last week with one mission: to pose for a photo with him.

Ashley Smith, 45, accomplished that and then shared the image on social media with the caption: “How will the Potty Police know I’m transgender if the Governor doesn’t?”

Soon, the post, which Smith said was intended to raise awareness about opposition to a proposed “bathroom ban,” took off and went viral.

[…]

Smith said she hoped the photo helps educate others about the transgender community. “We’re just regular folks,” she said Monday. “We’re teachers, doctors and police officers in the community.”

Her photo with the governor shows “how ridiculous this legislation is and how it can’t be enforced,” Smith said.

 

 

Ridiculous as these Bathroom Bills may be, they can still cause real harm to the Transgender community, and the overall Texas economy. Anyone that has followed similar sagas from other states would know that this is a hugely expensive mistake.

But has that ever stopped Greg Abbott or Dan Patrick in the past? If Texans ever want to end this cycle, there’s one sure fire way to do it.

Let’s  hope for no results on this movement.  And either way, Democrats need to do all they can to try and make some progress in 2018.

 

 

Citizens, Texas Business Leaders Unite to Stop SB6

If you live in Houston, this week’s news might seem a lot like awkward deja vu from 2015.  Thanks to Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, Senator Lois Kolkhorst, and other Texas Conservatives emboldened by the 2015 defeat of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance and 2016 elections, held hearings on the blatantly discriminatory Senate Bill 6.

The Lieutenant Governor has chosen to move the bill forward in the Senate despite clear opposition from Speaker Joe Straus over in the Texas House.  But despite this fact, the hearings went forward.

Throughout the day, hundreds of citizens from all across the state came to speak at the hearing on SB6, with the overwhelming majority speaking in opposition to the bill despite the committee’s best efforts to make it appear otherwise.  The groundswell of supporters simply didn’t show up.

If you ask Texas Business leaders, many of them have already decided that SB6 is bad for the bottom line.  From Keep Texas Open, here is the list of reasons that the state’s top business leaders would rather #StopSB6…

Discriminatory legislation threatens our economy. By passing SB 6 (the so-called “bathroom bill”) and other discriminatory legislation, Texas could lose billions of dollars in GDP, a critical loss of revenue that would profoundly threaten the state’s ability to fund education, transportation and other essential services. And thousands of jobs could be lost, according to the Texas Association of Business’ economic impact study.

Discriminatory legislation threatens Texas’ travel and tourism industry. Texas receives $68.7 billion in travel spending, which generates $6.2 billion in state and local taxes. Over 1 million jobs are supported by travel, 648,000 direct and 488,000 indirect. This vibrant industry, the second largest in our state, would suffer declines similar to those experienced by other states if Texas loses its reputation as a welcoming destination for all visitors.

Discriminatory legislation also creates costly operational and legal headaches. When proposed legislation creates confusion about whom an employee must serve and whom that employee can turn away, it creates operational chaos—and legal expense—for all Texas businesses. We are in business to serve everyone, and to employ talented people from all walks of life. We need Texas to reflect that commitment to inclusion.

Additionally, discriminatory legislation negatively impacts our ability to recruit top talent, especially among Millennials, who overwhelmingly support non-discrimination protections and seek to live in states that reflect the diversity and inclusion they value. We are in a battle for globally competitive talent, and our ability to successfully recruit and retain our future workforce of Millennial talent is critical to our long-term economic prosperity.

Despite over 250 testimonies imploring the Senate to vote against discrimination, and the FACT that in 40 years of history where the transgender community has been protected to use restrooms of their choice a transgender person has NEVER assaulted someone else in a restroom, the hearing finally came to an end, and the Senate did as expected and moved the bill forward from committee.

But as John C. Moritz via the Corpus Christi Caller Times reports, the big show vote may not have produced the results Patrick and Kolkhorst wanted from their House colleagues.

AUSTIN – As Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick accelerated his mobilization of social conservatives to push the controversial “bathroom bill” to the Senate floor, his counterpart in the Texas House went out of his way Tuesday to show the measure faces high hurdles in the Legislature’s lower chamber.

“Clearly, I’m not a fan of the bill they are discussing,” Speaker Joe Straus told reporters behind the House chamber.

[…]

Straus, a moderate Republican now in his fifth term leading the House, attempted to illustrate his point by noting that the House Public Education Committee was getting ready to tackle the thorny topic of making adjustments to the school finance system while the Appropriations Committee continued work the state budget.

Given that the Texas Legislature only meets on a biennial basis, it’s good to know that at least one leader in Austin values the time and money used to get ACTUAL business done for the Lone Star State.  Let’s hope that commitment stays and Senate Bill 6 can be sent where it belongs…

 

If I had to guess, the first bathroom you ever used was probably a unisex bathroom.  It’s called the one IN YOUR HOUSE.  

Patrick Determined to Waste Taxpayer Time, Money On ‘SB6’ Bathroom Bill

With all of the hope and promise that 2017 brings to the state of Texas, it also brings another set of critical opportunities to accomplish the People’s Business in the 2017 Texas Legislative Session.  Per the Texas state constitution, our state legislatures meet on biennial basis for approximately half of the year. For a state more populous than the country of Australia and a GDP nearly equal to that of Russia, the work done in each cycle of the #TXLege is critical to keep the state, and the entire nation moving.

It may be a New Year, but it’s the same old Texas leadership.  So it’s of little surprise that Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick is less interested in doing the People’s Business, but would rather, umm… clog it up.

Say hello to SB6– The Texas Privacy Act.  But don’t be fooled by the appealing name… This is simply another Discriminatory ‘Bathroom Bill’ designed to target innocent Texans, especially aimed at the Transgender Community.  Lt. Gov. Patrick and others in the GOP leadership are determined to file the legislation and take it up in the Texas Senate, even after seeing that similar bills in states like Indiana and North Carolina have been met with devastating results to the state business community.  As Lauren McGaughy of the Dallas Morning News points out, there’s also one other thing that SB6 would do…

AUSTIN – Cities like Dallas and Austin will have to undo local laws that protect transgender people from discrimination if Texas passes the so-called “bathroom bill” unveiled Thursday, a proposal panned by the business community that’s wreaked havoc on other states’ economies.

[…]

The bill mirrors similar legislation passed in North Carolina and Indiana in recent years. Those laws have caused substantial political headaches for those states’ leaders – Indiana’s was later amended to include some LGBT protects and North Carolina’s failed to be repealed in a special legislative session – and both cost millions in lost business investment.

The bill, Senate Bill 6, will impact cities, public schools and state agencies and will enhance some criminal penalties.

First, if passed into law the bathroom bill would prohibit cities from passing any ordinance that applies to a private business’ bathroom, locker room and shower rules. Cities that have already passed anti-discrimination laws to allow transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity would be kept from enforcing them.

Once again, hypocrisy abounds in Austin.  After spending 8 years crowing about the Federal Government’s oppressive restrictions on our state, the Texas Big Government Overlords seem to think nothing of oppressing the will of municipal and county residents.  If passed, SB6 would be yet another unprecedented move to snatch local control from Texas citizens, from the same leaders whom preach all day against “big government overreach”.

If state government has gotten to the point where it’s monitoring Number 1 and Number 2, overreach has descended to a whole new level.

With this in mind, Texans are already organizing to fight back. Today in Houston, business leaders, political leaders and activists from across the state gathered in response to the Lieutenant Governor’s filing saying that the Texas Legislature needs to “Flush Senate Bill 6” and the hashtag #FlushSB6 was immediately trending on twitter.  Here’s a link to the full press conference, via Facebook Live.

Texas State Senator Sylvia Garcia was quick to push back against the measure in a statement…

“All Texans want to go to the bathroom in peace, including transgender people.  That’s why it’s already illegal to enter a bathroom to harm someone and always will be.  According to the Texas Association of Business, legislation like this could flush $8.5 billion and 100,000 jobs down the toilet.  We need to focus on classrooms not bathrooms.  My district needs bills that will create jobs, not political grandstanding job killers.”

Given that Texas House Speaker Joe Straus has already indicated that a bill like SB 6 would not a priority in his chamber, grandstanding is a likely outcome for the Lieutenant Governor during the upcoming session.  But if 2015’s HERO backlash and the 2016 elections have taught any lessons at all, the first of them should be to expect the unexpected.  Any advance of such harmful legislation should be fought hard and fought now.

So there we have it… Happy New Year Texas. Let’s hope this clog gets flushed out of the Legislature quickly, so we don’t have to waste taxpayer time and money on blatant discrimination.  AGAIN.

 

Texoblogosphere: Week of October 19th

The Texas Progressive Alliance is ready to vote as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff would like to clear up some myths about sexual assault.

Libby Shaw at Texas Kaos and contributing to Daily Kos argues Governor Greg Abbott cannot claim to be pro-life when he denies federally expanded Medicaid coverage for 766,000 Texans. The Holy Ones and the Senseless Cruelty of Right Wing Dogma.

Socratic Gadfly offers up a Democratic debate related trio. First, he presents his snarky, under-the-bus debate preview. Second, he provides his take on debate winners and losers. Third, he tackles a post-debate conspiracy theory by some Sanders supporters, that anti-Semitism is behind some opposition to Sanders.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme notes Republicans choose the CEO, even if headquartered out of state, over the citizens they were elected to serve. Worker safety? Not at the expense of profits. The water you drink? The air you breathe? Even the wind. Not yours.

Nonsequiteuse, writing for Burnt Orange Report, points out that voting yes on Prop 1 in Houston isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s your patriotic duty.

With early voting starting Monday in the Houston municipal elections, PDiddie at Brains and Eggs offered his “P Slate” for progressive voters.

Neil at All People Have Value took a picture of the sun over Houston. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

Just in time for Early Voting, Texas Leftist took a moment to compile all of the TLCQ 2015 responses. Find out where Houston municipal candidates stand on less “press grabbing” issues like complete streets and Mayoral power.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Juanita reports on the #CocksNotGlocks protest at UT.

Grits for Breakfast has a suggestion for Dan Patrick if he really wants to reduce police officer deaths.

Texas Clean Air Matters would like to change the conversation about the Clean Power Plan in Texas.

Texas Watch has a Netflix recommendation for you.

The Texas Election Law Blog wonders if we are ever going to get a court order regarding 2016 legislative and Congressional boundaries.

Amy Valentine navigates her way through Amazon’s creative standards as she attempts to promote her book about her breast cancer experience for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Melissa Hudnall bemoans anatomically incorrect spider costumes and decorations.

Guadalupe

Today’s feature photo is from the Guadalupe Mountains in West Texas.  Photo credit:  Papiblogger

Texoblogosphere: Week of June 29th

The Texas Progressive Alliance is still celebrating love’s victory as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff discusses the next steps for equality advocates.

Lightseeker at Texas Kaos shares personal stories about the heartbreaking impact of overt racism. And though he has come to hate prejudice and racism with a white hot passion, Lightseeker said the time has finally arrived for sharing the truth, change and healing. Time for Truth, Change and Healing is NOW.

Lost in the earth-shaking Supreme Court developments last week was a report from a former Harris County deputy sheriff that Adrian Garcia did not tell the truth when he said he did not know about the mentally ill jail inmate in a littered, feces-filled cell over a year ago. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs says it’s a headache for the Houston mayoral contender, but shouldn’t damage his prospects… unless things take a turn for the worse.

Socratic Gadfly notes that new polling from Yale shows that people concerned about global warming are NOT a minority, even in a red state like Texas, even to the point of supporting a carbon tax, and suggests there are political activism and outreach lessons to be learned.

From WCNews at Eye on Williamson. No surprise in SCOTUS ruling on Obamacare, ACA, aka, Obamacare Subsidies Upheld By SCOTUS.

Neil at All People Have Value said that the 14th Amendment–cited this week by the Supreme Court to allow gay marriage–is the product of blood and sacrifice. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

Texas Leftist is still trying to recover from this weekend’s monumental Houston Pride celebration. Fair warning…What “turns up” must eventually come down..

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Scott Braddock adds up the success rate for getting bills passed for legislators who opposed Speaker Joe Straus.

Texas Watch responds to Rick Perry’s claims about his record on health care.

BEYONDBones explains why we should eat bugs. No, really.

Juanita Jean updates us on the activities of one of Dan Patricks’s citizen advisors.

The Lunch Tray says we all have a Sid Miller problem now.

The Texas Election Law Blog highlights a respected federal judge’s change of heart on voter ID.

Better Texas Blog evaluates the legislative session.

Paradise in Hell bids an un-fond farewell to the ideals of the Confederacy.

Lone Star Ma addresses some of the crazy objections that have been made to the SCOTUS same-sex marriage decision.

 

Today’s feature photo is the exterior of Bass Hall in Fort Worth, Texas, taken by L. Wayne Ashley.

Bye FeLEGEcia: A 2015 Texas Legislative Wrap-Up

Ok everyone sing it with me…

Ding Dong The Lege is Dead!  

Which Ole Lege?  The TEXAS Lege!  

Ding Dong The Texas Lege is DEAD!!

Though I guess it’s up to your point of view on just how wicked it turned out to be.

We’ll turn to Ross Ramsey of The Texas Tribune to give a proper summation…

It was clear after the 2014 elections that Texas voters were sending a conservative political cohort to Austin. It turned out that the officeholders they elected had different ideas about what that meant, and that this group — no real surprise here — could alternately quarrel and cooperate about as well as most of its predecessors.

In the process, issues that might have seemed black and white during the elections were rendered in shades of gray during the session.

It started right out of the gate: On the first day of the legislative session, a group of advocates for legalized open carry of handguns blustered into the Capitol to talk to members. They were so obnoxious about it that their bill — one of the virtual certainties coming out of the elections — didn’t pass until the final weekend 20 weeks later.

Before the session, even Democrats like Wendy Davis were in favor of open carry. After the over-enthusiastic supporters were done, even the sure bets were shaky. It finally did pass, however, along with legislation that will allow licensed Texans to carry concealed handguns on some parts of the campuses of state colleges and universities.

The $209.4 billion state budget, often a source of deep rancor and infighting, turned out to be relatively easy to put together. It helped that the year began with $17 billion uncommitted in the comptroller’s forecast of available money. The people who write political bumper stickers hate it when the superlative is “responsible,” but that word is already popping up in the news releases coming from the state’s leaders.

Of course it’s important to note that the fudge-it budget does nothing to address the state’s growing healthcare needs, still sold many schoolchildren short on their education, and barely took a bite out of the rapid declination of Texas road infrastructure.  If you’re looking for a source to classify this state budget as “responsible”, you’re not going to find it on Texas Leftist.  Choosing not to set fire to house is very different from taking steps to prevent fires from happening.

It’s fair to say that local control got torched.  The Legislature successfully eroded power from the citizens of Denton, and allowed fracking to resume in the city after banning the ability of municipalities to ban any form of extraction.  The unprecedented overreach had a special tier of irony given how most of the elected Republicans at the Capitol have built their careers on protests against sweeping big government action.

Congratulations Denton… If Governor Greg “Grab It” Abbott has his way, your votes will get swept under the rug.

Even with this terrifying result, it could have been much worse, given some of the other bills that were filed to obliterate municipal and county powers.  So as the court battles play out with Frack Free Denton, the issue of local control now comes in to question for future legislative sessions.

This is the bad news, but there were some highlights.  Texas Democrats proved an incredible force to protect much of policy that families across the state depend on.  They successfully defended an assault on in-state tuition, supported infrastructure investment, and defeated dozens of TEA-CON bills that would have eradicated local protections for LGBT citizens.  Of course on that last point, it’s important to note that a broad coalition within the state supports LGBT equality, so it’s far from a partisan cause.  One huge highlight of the 2015 session?  We now have a sense for just how broad that support is, and how successfully they can gather up resources.

So yeah… the things we learned in the 2015 Texas Legislative Session:

1) Don’t count your chickens before they’re fracked.

2) College Professors might think twice before failing their students, especially the ones packin’ heat.

3) The only Medicaid Expansion Texas can hope for is expanded lines at the E.R.

Bye FeLEGEcia… see you in 2017.