RSS Feed http://freedomfortexas.com This is an RSS Feed en Wed, 25 Nov 2020 19:27:01 +0000 Wed, 25 Nov 2020 19:27:01 +0000 5 http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/freedom-caucus-to-texas-historical-commission-allow-all-texans-to-weigh-in-on-the-alamo-cenotaph Freedom Caucus to Texas Historical Commission: Allow All Texans to Weigh in on the Alamo Cenotaph! http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/freedom-caucus-to-texas-historical-commission-allow-all-texans-to-weigh-in-on-the-alamo-cenotaph <p>Fellow Texan,</p><p>In May, we wrote to the Texas Historical Commission to ask them not to move the Alamo Cenotaph. We emphasized that hardly any Texan alive today can remember the Alamo without a Cenotaph—placed where it now stands—and we referenced several pieces of historical material evidencing the intent and rationale behind placing it on its current position. Before it was even built, it was the most important proejct of the 1935 plan to celebrate a cenntennial of Texas history, and we relayed our concerns that serious damage to the Cenotaph will be risked should it be moved.&nbsp;</p><p>Now, the Texas Historical Commission plans to meet virtually on September 22nd to decide the fate of the Alamo Cenotaph. This virtual hearing will prevent millions who lack access to broadband from registering their passionate opposition. Indeed, over two million Texans lack availability to high-speed internet, and among rural areas, 31 percent do not have access.&nbsp; Rushing this decision through could leave a horrible stain on our state’s history, and as we are only 125 days from the beginning of the 87th Legislative Session, we asked Texas Historical Commission Chairman John Nau to delay this hearing until an in-person meeting can be safely attended by all concerned Texans and the Texas Legislature can weigh in.&nbsp; You can read our letter to Chairman Nau by clicking <a href="https://freedomfortexas.com/uploads/blog/086d43ea44eb35717ff90d32ff820341a50fdb63.pdf" rel="nofollow">here</a>.</p><p>We'll keep you updated on this situation as it unfolds.</p><p>For Texas,<br><img class="fr-fil fr-dib" alt="Image title" src="/uploads/blog/a822a4fbc5fe589b53b6519b1c109eaf93021c3c.png" width="300">Rep. Mayes Middleton<br>Chairman, Texas Freedom Caucus</p> Fri, 11 Sep 2020 05:00:00 +0000 http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/clarifying-guidelines-on-hydroxychloroquine Clarifying Guidelines on Hydroxychloroquine http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/clarifying-guidelines-on-hydroxychloroquine <p>Fellow Texan,<br><br><!--StartFragment-->Doctors and patients that seek hydroxychloroquine as a COVID treatment must have access, and&nbsp;every Texan deserves an honest assessment of the potential risks and benefits that is free of the hyper-politicized sentiments we have seen on the drug over the last few months. Although hydroxycholoroquine is completely allowed to be prescribed in Texas, there is confusion on the guidelines surrounding it. We&nbsp;have asked the Texas State Board of Pharmacy to make clear to physicians that HCQ is allowed in Texas and that there will be no disciplinary measures taken against physicians if they prescribe the drug. The truth of the matter is hydroxychloroquine has long been used and even encouraged among people of different ages, health conditions, and other factors.&nbsp;If this drug can be safely used to prevent malaria over many decades, it can safely be used to prevent COVID-19 as well—which will not just help the vulnerable, but <em>every</em> Texan, as we slowly but surely get back to work.&nbsp;<a class="fr-file" href="/uploads/blog/960bb6493de7510c49ee5e6a4c0bd1b5fa9c8cfb.pdf">Please click here to read&nbsp;our letter to the Pharmacy Board in full.</a><br><br>As always, we appreciate you thoughts and feedback as we continue to draft legislation for the upcoming legislative session. Please always feel free to reach out to us.<br><br>Sincerely,<br><img alt="Image title" class="fr-fin fr-dii" src="/uploads/blog/401036b65647f7f99fd0f99cde0a86f16b3bff36.jpg" width="300"></p><p>State Representative Mayes Middleton<br>Chairman, Texas Freedom Caucus</p><p><br></p> Wed, 26 Aug 2020 05:00:00 +0000 http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/allow-faith-leaders-into-nursing-homes-and-other-long-term-care-facilities Allow faith leaders into nursing homes and other long-term care facilities! http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/allow-faith-leaders-into-nursing-homes-and-other-long-term-care-facilities <!--StartFragment--><p>Fellow Texan,<br><br>The members of the Texas Freedom Caucus believe that denying basic religious services is&nbsp;an unacceptable violation of your rights under God and Texas law.&nbsp; We sent a letter this week&nbsp;to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services thanking them for cautiously opening nursing homes and other long-term care facilities to families for visitation, but also asking them to extend this policy&nbsp;to clergy and other members of the religious community.&nbsp; You can read that letter by clicking&nbsp;<a data-cke-saved-href="https://freedomfortexas.com/uploads/blog/3fbc13809b979a85f695f2be81896b7ab2d39204.pdf" href="https://freedomfortexas.com/uploads/blog/3fbc13809b979a85f695f2be81896b7ab2d39204.pdf" rel="nofollow" style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); font-size: 0.9rem; font-weight: lighter;">here.</a>&nbsp;<br><br>Many of these neighbors of ours rely on their faith and have not had access to their faith leaders in months, and we believe this must change.&nbsp;We will monitor the situation and keep you updated. Thank you.</p><p>Sincerely,</p><p><img alt="Image title" class="fr-dii fr-fin" data-cke-saved-src="https://freedomfortexas.com/uploads/blog/d6b9497430f3cfe392f5bd424299954f588bf125.png" src="https://freedomfortexas.com/uploads/blog/d6b9497430f3cfe392f5bd424299954f588bf125.png" width="300"><br>Rep. Mayes Middleton<br>Chairman, Texas Freedom Caucus</p><!--EndFragment--> Tue, 18 Aug 2020 05:00:00 +0000 http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/letter-to-commissioner-bush-enforce-the-open-beaches-act Letter to Commissioner Bush: Enforce the Open Beaches Act! http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/letter-to-commissioner-bush-enforce-the-open-beaches-act <p>Fellow Texan,</p><p>We take Texas law and the Texas Constitution seriously. Over the 4th of July weekend, Texans were barred of their constitutional right to open beaches when local governments ordered them closed. We wanted you to see the letter we wrote to Commissioner Bush in response to make sure that the Open Beaches Act is enforced over the upcoming Labor Day weekend.&nbsp;<a class="fr-file" href="/uploads/blog/c4cbd0cb9d51e870000cabe596c95b1bc0bb61f4.pdf">You can see our letter by clicking here.</a></p><p>As the legislative session in January 2021 continues to near, you will hear more frequently from us on different policy proposals. Please watch out for these posts and remember that your input on these items is invaluable to us. We look forward to hearing from you!</p><p>Sincerely,</p><p><img alt="Image title" class="fr-fin fr-dii" src="/uploads/blog/d6b9497430f3cfe392f5bd424299954f588bf125.png" width="300"></p><p>Rep. Mayes Middleton<br>Chairman, Texas Freedom Caucus</p><p><br></p> Fri, 31 Jul 2020 05:00:00 +0000 http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/letter-to-governor-abbott-stop-government-overreach-limit-executive-power Letter to Governor Abbott: Stop Government Overreach & Limit Executive Power http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/letter-to-governor-abbott-stop-government-overreach-limit-executive-power <p>Fellow Texans,</p><p><span data-offset-key="b89sp-0-0"><span data-text="true"><!--StartFragment-->The health and safety of our fellow Texans facing the COVID-19 pandemic is unquestionably a matter of the highest priority. Actions must be taken to address the threat. However, actions pressed with the force of law need input from those elected to write laws. </span></span></p><p><span data-offset-key="b89sp-0-0"><span data-text="true">Over the course of the last four months, Governor Abbott has issued more than twenty executive orders under the Texas Disaster Act of 1975. We do not believe, however, that the Disaster Act was written to address a disaster of the magnitude or crisis of the length COVID-19 has turned out to be. That's why we're</span></span><span data-offset-key="b89sp-2-0"><span data-text="true">&nbsp;calling on Governor Greg Abbott today to help us stop government overreach and limit executive power by reforming the Texas Disaster Act of 1975. </span></span></p><p><span data-offset-key="b89sp-2-0"><span data-text="true">One popular proposal is to allow for a time limit on gubernatorial disaster declarations—for example, if a major disaster affecting a large part of the state exceeds a certain number of days, the Legislature must be called into session to address further actions. Another is to prohibit state agencies from suspending or revoking business or professional licenses due to a disaster declaration. These are the solutions for which our constituents have been asking, and we will always be happy to advocate on their behalf.</span></span></p><p><a href="https://freedomfortexas.com/uploads/blog/d55819a32e8040a7d09d92cc19a5152335b57a26.pdf" rel="nofollow">Please click here to our full letter to Governor Abbott.</a>&nbsp;</p><p><span data-offset-key="b89sp-2-0"><span data-text="true">For Texas,</span></span></p><p><img alt="Image title" class="fr-fin fr-dii" src="/uploads/blog/e0631490e97f6a43c4ea48c84402275b69912b86.png" width="300"></p><p>Mayes Middleton<br>Chairman, Texas Freedom Caucus</p> Thu, 09 Jul 2020 05:00:00 +0000 http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/texas-freedom-caucus-calls-for-immediate-end-to-295-million-health-human-services-commission-contact-tracing-contract Texas Freedom Caucus Calls for Immediate End to $295 Million Health & Human Services Commission Contact-Tracing Contract http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/texas-freedom-caucus-calls-for-immediate-end-to-295-million-health-human-services-commission-contact-tracing-contract <p>AUSTIN— Members of the Texas Freedom Caucus called for an immediate end to the controversial, $295 million contact-tracing contract that the State of Texas entered into with MTX Group, Inc. last month. “We share the grave concerns of our constituents about the MTX contract from both fiscal responsibility and privacy standpoints, and call for its immediate cancellation,” said Rep. Mayes Middleton, chair of the caucus. “This is an enormous amount of money to be spent by the Health and Human Services Commission, and the Legislature has had no say in it. Even though it’s voluntary, there is potential for abuse when the state collects that much data from citizens and the information, once collected, could easily fall into the wrong hands.”</p><p> </p><p>Rep. Matt Schaefer, vice-chair of the caucus, also commented: “Old-fashioned, locally accountable contact tracing has worked well in my community. It’s voluntary, narrowly tailored to only people in close contact with COVID 19, and actually provides access to help for people who need it. Most importantly we have local accountability and close fiscal oversight. Reimbursement flowing from the state has been coming to local public health efforts in a timely manner. The MTX contract presents too many concerns about overspending, lack of local knowledge, and oversight for privacy and constitutional issues.”</p><p> </p><p>“We discussed the issue and came to the conclusion that the privacy concerns we had were alone reason enough to void the contract,” said Rep. Matt Krause, secretary/treasurer of the caucus. “There’s just too many questions and concerns. Contact-tracing for deadly diseases is nothing new, but the scale that this contract allows for it is much bigger than anything we’ve ever seen in the past. Such a massive collection and centralized storage of data on our citizens gives enormous power to whomever has access to it, and that power could largely go unchecked. This contract seems to provide us with many more questions than answers, and that’s not good for our republican form of government. The contract should be ended at once.”</p> Tue, 02 Jun 2020 05:00:00 +0000 http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/texas-accountability-project-discovers-txdot-spent-over-8-million-in-tax-dollars-for-covid-19-related-hazard-pay-while-millions-of-texans-lost-jobs-and-wages Texas Accountability Project Discovers TxDOT Spent Over $8 Million in Tax Dollars for COVID-19 Related “Hazard Pay” While Millions of Texans Lost Jobs and Wages http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/texas-accountability-project-discovers-txdot-spent-over-8-million-in-tax-dollars-for-covid-19-related-hazard-pay-while-millions-of-texans-lost-jobs-and-wages <p>The Texas Accountability Project has learned that the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has paid over $8 million to over 7,500 employees as “hazard pay” in response to COVID-19. The simple truth is that all Texans have faced heightened risk during this time. Many Texans are in jobs that require daily interaction with the public and have not received “hazard pay” sourced from the taxes paid by hard working Texans. Many families are suffering severe financial distress. The TxDOT employees receiving the payments are primarily in maintenance-related jobs, and we want to understand more about what increased risk TxDOT believes justifies these payments. Financial relief is needed for many Texas families, but “hazard pay” in this context appears to be highly improper compared to the risks incurred by people in other sectors. We will investigate to learn more.</p> Wed, 27 May 2020 05:00:00 +0000 http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/texas-freedom-caucus-to-local-governments-2020-property-tax-rates-must-be-significantly-lowered Texas Freedom Caucus to Local Governments: 2020 Property Tax Rates Must Be Significantly Lowered http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/texas-freedom-caucus-to-local-governments-2020-property-tax-rates-must-be-significantly-lowered <!--StartFragment--><p>Fellow Texan,</p><p><span open="" style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: ;"><!--StartFragment-->It is appalling that some jurisdictions are using this pandemic as an excuse to attempt tax hikes and disregard the property tax limits passed last year in Senate Bill 2.&nbsp;</span>Millions of Texans are out of work due to government-ordered shutdowns and families across our state are struggling to pay their bills. Now is the time that property taxing entities can help people by cutting their property tax rates to let them keep more of their own money in their pocket to recover. </p><p><strong><span open="" style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: ;">It is fundamentally wrong to raise taxes at this time, so w</span>e are urging all taxing entities to significantly reduce their property tax rates in 2020. </strong>See our statement urging local governments to cut property tax rates&nbsp;<a href="https://freedomfortexas.com//uploads/blog/c9d3967339b61f422c0b2ceaa81fc8fc9c0b7c65.pdf" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">here</a>. If you agree, we need you to let your cities, counties, and other local taxing entities know!&nbsp;</p><p>Instead of raising tax rates, we should be talking about substantially lowering them to save taxpayers the money they’ll rely on during their time of greatest need. This isn’t something Texans just want—it’s something they need right now. Texans need a tax break this year, and you don’t owe a penny in taxes until the rate is adopted. <strong>We encourage all Texans to join the chorus of your neighbors making their voices heard loud and clear to property taxing entities statewide to lower our 2020 tax rates!</strong></p><p>For Liberty,</p><p><img alt="Image title" class="fr-image-dropped fr-fil fr-dib" src="/uploads/blog/753f9f53726962eb61ad5c2d851dacb25d80f72b.jpg" width="229">Rep. Mayes Middleton<br>Chairman, Texas Freedom Caucus</p><!--EndFragment--> Thu, 21 May 2020 05:00:00 +0000 http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/dont-move-the-alamo-cenotaph Don't Move the Alamo Cenotaph! http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/dont-move-the-alamo-cenotaph <!--StartFragment--><p>Fellow Texan,</p><p>People the world over celebrate the sacrifices our forefathers made at the Battle of the Alamo. The battle itself ranks among the most famous in world history, comparable perhaps only to the Battle of Thermopylae, where Spartan soldiers faced similar odds. The men at the Alamo patriotically stayed to fight, not forgetting what was due to their own honor and that of their country—victory or death. Texas commemorated their lives nearly 100 years ago when the Alamo Cenotaph, or empty tomb, was placed on the battlefield grounds as a way to honor their sacrifices.<br><br>But now, under the plan to "re-imagine" the Alamo, there are efforts&nbsp;to physically move the timeless sixty-foot tall Cenotaph to a less prominent location. This not only dishonors our forefathers'&nbsp;sacrifice, but risks permanent damage to the historic memorial. <br><br><strong>It can't happen,and that's why we're&nbsp;calling on every freedom-loving Texan to join us in asking the Texas Historical Commission to DENY the permit to move the Alamo Cenotaph.</strong> Please read our letter by clicking <a href="https://freedomfortexas.com/uploads/blog/c3d8f17eb72248870a7841a7e5cd1892bde4b814.pdf" rel="nofollow">here</a>, and then contact the Texas Historical Commission&nbsp; at thc@thc.texas.gov or at (512) 463-6100 and tell them not to move Texas history!<br><br>We thank you for your continued support of liberty in Texas.<br><br>Sincerely,</p><p><img alt="Image title" class="fr-fin fr-dii" src="/uploads/blog/62ee7c6b9cfbf03d1f2b2120e433a329bb97ec3d.jpg" width="300"></p><p>Rep. Mayes Middleton<br>Chairman, Texas Freedom Caucus</p> Tue, 12 May 2020 05:00:00 +0000 http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/texas-freedom-caucus-launches-texas-accountability-project-to-help-taxpayers-root-out-wasteful-use-of-tax-dollars Texas Freedom Caucus Launches Texas Accountability Project to Help Taxpayers, Root Out Wasteful Use of Tax Dollars http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/texas-freedom-caucus-launches-texas-accountability-project-to-help-taxpayers-root-out-wasteful-use-of-tax-dollars <p>We are proud to announce the launch of the Texas Accountability Project today— an effort aimed at eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse from the state budget. We want taxpayer voices to be heard in Austin, and we want to empower them to help root out scarce taxpayer dollars from being wasted. Now more than ever, with so many Texans out of a job and businesses shut down, we must shine the harsh light of fiscal responsibility on every last tax dollar spent, and work harder than ever to limit spending to essentials. In this crisis, we can help people by minimizing tax burden on Texans and letting them keep more of their own money in their own pocket. After all, government has no money—it is all taxpayer money.</p><p>The project will consist of researching areas of the state budget, along with the individual entities that are funded by the state, and compiling reports of waste submitted by individual Texans, who can report abuse on the project’s website, coming soon at <a href="https://www.texasaccountability.org/" rel="nofollow">www.TexasAccountability.org</a>. The project will issue a report dubbed the “Texas Wastebook” before the start of the 2021 legislative session compiling egregious examples of government waste with the goal of highlighting areas that need not be funded and encouraging general practices of fiscal responsbility throghout.</p><p>All you have to do to participate is report suspected government waste. Then we can do the legislative research necessary to put a stop to it. The process is simple:</p><ol><li>You report suspected fraud, waste, or abuse through our reporting portal on the project’s website or by sending an e-mail to info@texasaccountability.org (all of which can be done anonymously).</li><li>We compile your data and properly investigate using legislative research and inquiries into the matter at hand. Many egregious examples of confirmed waste will be included in <em open="" style="font-family: ;">TheTexas Wastebook</em>, which we will publish biennially before the budget process begins.</li><li>We will distribute copies of the<em open="" style="font-family: ;">&nbsp;Wastebook</em>&nbsp;to grassroots organizations across the state and to our colleagues in the Legislature and their staff to bring awareness to the areas on which we must prioritize.</li><li>By responding to the evidence in the report coupled with pressure from citizens like yourself, the Legislature passes a slimmer budget, well within the means of the average Texan's ability to pay and one that mirrors the same decline seen in personal income across the state due to the economic downtown.</li><li>As a result of a slimmer budget, state government is forced to prioritize more effectively, leaving more resources available to essential areas in the budget.</li><li>A more efficient budget translates to a lesser tax burden on citizens and a more efficient governmental structure, after all taxpayers should keep more of their own money in their own pockets.</li></ol><p><strong>We'll need your help to get it done!</strong> To sign up for monthly e-mail updates on the project, click <a href="http://eepurl.com/g0N4Rb" rel="nofollow" style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); font-size: 0.9rem; font-weight: lighter;">here</a>, and click <a href="https://www.facebook.com/TXAccountability" rel="nofollow">here</a> to folllow us on Facebook, and <a href="https://twitter.com/TexasWastebook" rel="nofollow">here</a> for Twitter.</p><p><br></p> Thu, 07 May 2020 05:00:00 +0000 http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/texas-freedom-caucus-statement-urging-double-digit-budget-reductions-through-zero-based-budgeting Texas Freedom Caucus Statement Urging Double-Digit Budget Reductions through Zero-Based Budgeting http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/texas-freedom-caucus-statement-urging-double-digit-budget-reductions-through-zero-based-budgeting <p>The Texas economy is in a free fall. Two weeks ago, a little over 1.3 million Texans had filed a COVID-19-related unemployment claim with the Texas Workforce Commission. Today, that number exceeds 1.9 million, and it is likely that we will surpass the 2 million mark this week. Uncertainty abounds, but three things are clear: 1) the need for strict fiscal responsibility going into next legislative session; 2) the need for—at the very least—double-digit budget cuts; and 3) in order to implement those cuts, the application of the practice of “zero-based budgeting” on agency budgets.</p><p> </p><p><b>Fiscal Responsibility</b></p><p> </p><p>Taxpayer money should always be used efficiently and effectively, minimizing waste and eliminating opportunities for fraud and abuse, but this idea becomes much more concrete during an economic crisis of this magnitude. The Legislature must treat each and every dollar appropriated next biennium as having much more value than it ever did in the past. Texans hit by this crisis are having to do this with their own family budgets, and they expect the state to do the same—if not more—to take care that their tax dollars are spent on essential services and not wasteful projects.</p><p> </p><p><b>Double-Digit Budget Cuts</b></p><p><b> </b></p><p>This is not an easy truth to accept, but it must be said: state budget reductions are inevitable at this point. The state will simply not be able to, nor would we hope it be willing to, collect the revenue necessary to maintain our previous budget when nearly a fifth of the Texas workforce has filed for unemployment. Rather, we must shine a light on every aspect of state government to root out all wasteful and non-essential spending. This is as true for next budget cycle as it is during our current cycle. Although agencies have the power to spend as they regularly do until the 2019–2020 biennium ends, agencies should instead voluntarily begin to curtail their spending <i>now</i> in order to begin preparing for these major reductions.</p><p> </p><p>Texas is furthermore constitutionally required to maintain a balanced budget. This cannot happen under our current spending trajectory. <b>The taxpayers of this state cannot—and should not—sustain another $250 billion biennial budget. Consequently, all state agencies should immediately begin planning a double-digit reduction in spending over the next biennium.</b> </p><p> </p><p>Last Friday, Comptroller Hegar announced that sales tax revenues had fallen by 9.3% in April. Aside from Federal dollars, sales tax collections comprise of over 25% of the state budget. The next largest revenue streams—motor vehicle sales/rentals and motor fuels taxes—are also sure to take a hit economically. In short, there is a massive revenue crisis on the horizon, and we do not think the state should be taken by surprise. With proper planning, Texans can weather this storm. <b>To begin this process, the Texas Freedom Caucus calls on each state agency to immediately identify a <u>minimum</u> of ten percent of non-essential expenditures to eliminate, with further reductions needed if state GDP and personal income fall by more than that amount. </b>Simply put, the Legislature must immediately begin the process of facing the same economic realities in our state budget that hard working Texans are now facing at home with their own budgets. We must make every dollar—every <i>penny</i>—count. At the very least, state government spending must adjust and be reduced to match, or even surpass, the decline in Texans’ personal income. Agencies can begin this process <u>today</u> by building their base budgets from the bottom up—a process known as “zero-based budgeting.”</p><p><b> </b></p><p><b>Zero-Based Budgeting</b></p><p> </p><p>Zero-based budgeting rejects the common budgeting mantra of “that’s how we did it last year, so that’s how we’ll do it this year,” instead requiring agencies to justify each and every dollar of taxpayer money appropriated. In essence, zero-based budgeting requires agencies to build their budget from the ground up and does away with the idea that agencies are entitled to perpetual growth. It allows the state to investigate whether certain programs should continue to be funded at their current level or even funded at all. This process is not entirely unprecedented. In 2003, the Texas Legislature found itself dealing with a massive $10 billion shortfall, but it dug itself out of that hole—without raising taxes—by implementing a zero-based budgeting strategy across all agencies.</p><p> </p><p>Zero-based budgeting is admittedly a long and arduous process for agencies to perform, but under these economic circumstances, it will be impossible for the Legislature to continue funding agencies at their current levels. Indeed, the Legislature may even have to eliminate funding for entire agencies—agencies like the Texas Racing Commission or the Texas Film Commission—in order to properly fund other agencies that many Texans are relying on for assistance, such as the Texas Workforce Commission. The best method to separate that which can be reduced from that which is essential is through this process. <b>Thus, the members of the Texas Freedom Caucus call upon all state agencies to begin the process of examining their budgets using zero-based budgeting <i>now</i> so that they have an adequate amount of time to prepare for the January 2021 legislative session.</b></p><p> </p><p>At the end of the day, we must remember that government itself does not have money—it is all taxpayer money. It is our duty as elected representatives to hold those public funds in higher regard than we do our own, and never has that been more important than it is now. This is the only way we can effectively and <i>quickly</i> revitalize the Texas economy. We look forward to working with our colleagues in the House, the Senate, and with Governor Abbott to make this a reality—our future as a state depends on it. </p> Mon, 04 May 2020 05:00:00 +0000 http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/texas-freedom-caucus-demand-letter-to-dallas-county-judge-clay-jenkins Texas Freedom Caucus Demand Letter to Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/texas-freedom-caucus-demand-letter-to-dallas-county-judge-clay-jenkins <p>Dear Fellow Texan,</p><p>Please click <a href="https://freedomfortexas.com/uploads/blog/d6b8cdb0b92456a49855bf7d77f2d7b30382c7c4.pdf" rel="nofollow">here</a> to read our letter to Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins demanding that he cease his Santa Anna-like intimidation tactics against salon owner Shelley Luther.&nbsp;<!--EndFragment--></p><p>This is Texas, and we will not accept his tyranny.</p><p>Sincerely,</p><p><img alt="Image title" class="fr-image-dropped fr-fin fr-dii" src="/uploads/blog/61003f223cd1645cd6e47f5c6091f19e0ed74d26.jpg" width="300"><br></p><p>Rep. Mayes Middleton<br>Chairman, Texas Freedom Caucus</p> Wed, 29 Apr 2020 05:00:00 +0000 http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/letter-to-governor-abbott-on-how-we-can-reopen-the-texas-economy-today Letter to Governor Abbott on How We Can Reopen the Texas Economy TODAY http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/letter-to-governor-abbott-on-how-we-can-reopen-the-texas-economy-today <p>Fellow Texan,</p><p>We know you are wanting Texas to open up immediately. Governor Abbott asked legislators for recommendations on opening up the Texas economy. Here is our letter to him outlining ways we can open up TODAY.</p><p>Please click <a href="https://freedomfortexas.com/uploads/blog/93734215221e58c7d3fe137c658a4b60dbc47d8b.pdf" rel="nofollow">here </a>to read the letter.</p><p><img alt="Image title" class="fr-image-dropped fr-fin fr-dii" src="/uploads/blog/05a7bfb82f7d5270095d4a86ca6b3e2ee820740a.png" width="300"></p><p>Mayes Middleton<br>State Representative<br>Chair, Texas Freedom Caucus</p><p><br></p> Fri, 24 Apr 2020 05:00:00 +0000 http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/texas-freedom-caucus-announces-rep-steve-toth-as-newest-member Texas Freedom Caucus Announces Rep. Steve Toth as Newest Member http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/texas-freedom-caucus-announces-rep-steve-toth-as-newest-member <!--StartFragment--><p><strong>AUSTIN</strong>—The Texas Freedom Caucus welcomed Rep. Steve Toth (R-Woodlands) as their newest member during a meeting held last Friday. The caucus now contains eleven members, all of which rank among the top fifteen conservatives in the Texas House of Representatives.</p><p>“We’re very happy to have Rep. Toth join the Texas Freedom Caucus,” said Rep. Mayes Middleton, chair of the caucus. “Steve has never been afraid to stand up for liberty, even under tremendous amounts of political pressure. That’s exactly the spirit we need next session to lead Texas out of this crisis, while liberals try to push for even bigger, more wasteful government as a response to the economic downturn. His ability to clearly and succinctly explain basic principles of conservatism will help us immensely in that fight next session.”</p><p>Representative Matt Schaefer, vice-chair of the caucus, also congratulated Toth: “Steve is solid. He has been in the trenches in the private sector&nbsp;and in the conservative movement. He loves God and he loves liberty. We are better off with Steve Toth beside us, and we are excited to have him on board.”</p><p>Representative Toth described what motivated him to join: “My mission is to boldly fight alongside all freedom-loving conservatives to revitalize personal and economic freedoms in Texas. I’m happy to join the Texas Freedom Caucus after seeing them work on many of the same goals that I have been pushing towards since the beginning of my public service in 2013. I’m grateful for their welcome and look forward to working together to help Texans recover and reopen. Let’s get to work.”</p><!--EndFragment--> Mon, 20 Apr 2020 05:00:00 +0000 http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/open-texas-back-up-for-business Open Texas Back Up for Business! http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/open-texas-back-up-for-business <p>Fellow Texan,&nbsp;<br><br>We've been listening to you closely, and we agree with so many of you that now is the time to responsibly open Texas back up for business. <strong style="font-size: 0.9rem;"><a href="https://freedomfortexas.us15.list-manage.com/track/click?u=6c5fa5251868cb50e313665d8&amp;id=e60ebe7635&amp;e=8bb18c9ed9" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Please click here</a> to read our letter to Governor Abbott. </strong><br><br>We will keep praying for you during these difficult times. God bless Texas!<br><br>Sincerely,</p><p><img alt="Image title" class="fr-image-dropped fr-fin fr-dii" src="/uploads/blog/b9ab0024e274acaa48acdfade83d92ed105edfbd.jpg" width="254"><br>Rep. Mayes Middleton<br>Chair, Texas Freedom Caucus</p> Tue, 14 Apr 2020 05:00:00 +0000 http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/coronavirus-covid-19-state-federal-resource-guide Coronavirus (COVID-19) State & Federal Resource Guide http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/coronavirus-covid-19-state-federal-resource-guide <p>Dear Texans—</p><p>The situation unfolding before us is truly historic in nature. We’re proud to see Texans rise up above it during this time of great need, and we want to make sure you have access to every resource available to help you through this. We have been monitoring the situation closely and put our resources together to compile this guide for you. </p><p><strong><a href="https://freedomfortexas.com/uploads/blog/5608c16e9db6286df9dd2fd855f9fc98a7d19c5e.pdf" rel="nofollow">***To view the guide, please click here.***</a></strong></p><p>We will update it as often as information comes in. We are praying for you and are doing everything we can in our power to get us through this. May God be with you during these difficult times.</p><p>For God, Country, and Texas,</p><p><img alt="Image title" class="fr-image-dropped fr-fin fr-dii" src="/uploads/blog/bc0d8fa033c4fc32c2561574acd70b0921086dbd.png" width="300"><br></p><p>Mayes Middleton<br>State Representative<br>Chairman, Texas Freedom Caucus</p> Fri, 27 Mar 2020 05:00:00 +0000 http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/we-must-ban-taxpayer-funded-lobbyists We Must Ban Taxpayer-Funded Lobbyists http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/we-must-ban-taxpayer-funded-lobbyists <p><i>Originally Published in the Boerne Star</i></p><p>March 10, 2020</p><p>Right now, up to $41 million per year of your tax money is being diverted to the pockets of Austin lobbyists. This is your money diverted from essential services like filling potholes, teacher pay, police, and firefighters. Instead, it is spent on lobbyists who are fighting to take even more of your tax money. Most Texans are not even aware that taxpayer-funded lobbying is occurring. Meanwhile, local governmental entities are doing everything they can to hide the practice and keep us in the dark.</p><p><strong>What are your tax dollars being spent on? </strong></p><p>Taxpayer-funded lobbyists opposed property tax relief and reform, the ban on a state income tax, bond cost transparency, election integrity, eminent domain reform, and even opposed a bill to fix the teacher retirement system pension. </p><p>A statewide poll by a respected polling company showed 91% of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents are opposed to taxpayer-funded lobbying. Yet, the practice continues. </p><p><strong>How does taxpayer-funded lobbying even happen? </strong></p><p>The practice occurs two ways: first, through associations—such as Texas Association of Counties and Texas Municipal League—that employ lobbyists, and second through local governments contracting directly with Austin lobby firms. </p><p>The Austin taxpayer-funded lobby groups are so afraid of losing their large, taxpayer-funded paychecks, that they are spreading lies and misinformation about the ban with the help of many elected officials. The same groups claim they won’t be able to communicate with legislators if they don’t have registered lobbyists. </p><p>One must ask, “If lobbyists are necessary for communication, then why don’t state legislators have lobbyists at school boards, city councils, and commissioners’ courts?” Perhaps it’s because we know we need to do the job we were elected to do—represent our constituents directly. </p><p>A ban on taxpayer-funded lobbying encourages the direct communication between local elected officials and state legislators. Local officials should be in touch with their local legislative delegation, not outsourcing this work to Austin lobby firms. </p><p>The bill banning taxpayer-funded lobbying only targeted registered lobbyists and wouldn’t have placed restrictions on local elected officials or their staff from communicating with state legislators, advocating for bills, travel expenses to Austin or use of government emails/ phones. </p><p>We must double-down on our efforts to end this immoral practice of diverting our money to the pockets of Austin lobbyists. Last session, Rep. Middleton filed the bill to ban this practice. It was sickening when taxpayer-funded lobbyists lined the Texas House Gallery and cheered when the bill failed by 18 votes. Let’s make sure this doesn’t happen again. </p><p>In last week’s Republican Primary Election, 94% of voters, over 1.8 million people, voted in favor of banning taxpayer-funded lobbying. The people have spoken, we need to listen and ban taxpayer funded lobbying.</p> Tue, 10 Mar 2020 05:00:00 +0000 http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/texas-freedom-caucus-strongly-condemns-500000-in-proposed-spending-on-non-citizens-by-harris-county-commissioners-court Texas Freedom Caucus Strongly Condemns $500,000 in Proposed Spending on Non-Citizens by Harris County Commissioner's Court http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/texas-freedom-caucus-strongly-condemns-500000-in-proposed-spending-on-non-citizens-by-harris-county-commissioners-court <!--StartFragment--><p style="text-align: left;"><strong style="font-size: 0.9rem;">AUSTIN</strong>—The Texas Freedom Caucus strongly condemned a plan unveiled today by Harris County Commissioner Lina Hidalgo that would spend up to $500,000 in taxpayer funds on legal services for illegal immigrants in Harris County. "Putting aside the fact that the Harris County Commissioner's Court nearly voted to raise property tax rates by 8% last year, this is an insult to the taxpayers," said State Representative Mayes Middleton, chair of the caucus. "This just pours salt in the wounds of an already fed-up and over-taxed electorate. When we were in Austin last session fighting for taxpayers by passing a bill restricting local tax hikes to 3.5% per year, the Harris County Commissioner's Court sent their lobbyist to Austin to testify against the bill on the grounds that they wouldn't be able to provide essential services like police, fire, and EMS, yet here they are once again advocating for providing unnecessary, duplicative, and wasteful services at the expense of us all for the benefit of just a few."</p><p>The U.S. Customs &amp; Immigration Services website offers legal guides on its website and even provides contact information for several pro-bono legal services in Harris County, such as Catholic Charities and RAICES, both of whom specialize in representing illegal immigrants in the U.S. court system. "Taxpayers shouldn't have to pay more for services that are already being provided through charities," said Middleton. "We're definitely going to keep monitoring this situation at the state level to see if there are further protections for taxpayers that we can implement next legislative session."</p><p style="text-align: center;"><strong><!--StartFragment-->The Texas Freedom Caucus’s mission is to amplify the voice of liberty-minded, grassroots Texans who want bold action to protect life, strengthen families, defend the&nbsp;U.S. and Texas Bills of Rights, restrain government, and revitalize personal and economic freedoms in the State of Texas.</strong><br>&nbsp;<br><strong><em>For more information or for press inquiries, please contact Mike Garcia, Executive Director, at (512) 645-6978 or at info@freedomfortexas.com.</em></strong><br><!--StartFragment-->###<!--EndFragment--></p> Tue, 25 Feb 2020 06:00:00 +0000 http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/guide-to-2020-texas-republican-party-primary-ballot-propositions Guide to 2020 Texas Republican Party Primary Ballot Propositions http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/guide-to-2020-texas-republican-party-primary-ballot-propositions <p><span data-offset-key="2cd5t-0-0"><span data-text="true"><!--StartFragment-->Fellow Texans—</span></span><br><br><span data-offset-key="d4qks-0-0"><span data-text="true">Early voting for the 2020 Republican primary is underway! In addition to candidates, you'll find ten propositions on the ballot. To help you navigate those issues, we've put together a voter's guide with our recommendations.</span></span><span data-offset-key="7it42-0-0"></span></p><p>Please find our voter's guide by <a class="fr-file" href="/uploads/blog/3e4621a377bbfa34eecfcb8a252466018c86a703.pdf">clicking this link</a>. Enjoy!<br><br>Sincerely,</p><p><img alt="Image title" class="fr-image-dropped fr-fil fr-dib" src="/uploads/blog/6c3b9ca129d8f8f116a540c0f3fad0eb00ac51a5.png" width="300"><br></p><p>Mayes Middleton<br>State Representative<br>Chair, Texas Freedom Caucus</p> Tue, 18 Feb 2020 06:00:00 +0000 http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/freedom-caucus-elects-new-executive-committee-rep-middleton-to-chair Freedom Caucus Elects New Executive Committee, Rep. Middleton to Chair http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/freedom-caucus-elects-new-executive-committee-rep-middleton-to-chair <p><strong>AUSTIN</strong>—Members of the Texas Freedom Caucus unanimously elected Rep. Mayes Middleton to serve as Chairman of the Texas Freedom Caucus in a special meeting held to fill the unexpired term of Rep. Mike Lang, who recently announced his retirement from the Texas House. Members also unanimously elected Rep. Matt Schaefer to serve as Vice-Chair to fill the unexpired term of Rep. Bill Zedler, who also announced his retirement, and Rep. Matt Krause as Secretary/Treasurer.</p><p>“I’m honored and privileged to be heading up the Freedom Caucus coming into the 87<sup>th</sup> Legislative Session,” said Middleton, who is best known for championing a taxpayer-funded lobbying ban in the 86<sup>th</sup> Legislature.&nbsp; “The Freedom Caucus must stand for the values and freedom behind the original battle flag from the Battle of San Jacinto, which proudly sits in the House Chamber. Faith, family, free enterprise, fiscal responsibility, and freedom can’t just be defended—they must be advanced.&nbsp; Everything from protecting life, to defending the Second Amendment, to protecting taxpayers by slashing waste, fraud and abuse of your tax money must be on the table next session.”</p><p>Rep. Schaefer also commented: “We have work to do, and our eyes are fixed ahead to the challenges facing our state. Every Texan deserves our best effort to expand freedom and opportunity. I am proud to be a member of the Freedom Caucus. Good things are ahead!”</p><p>Rep. Krause echoed the optimism moving forward: “I’m excited to be a part of this great group of legislators and to continue to help preserve and expand freedom and liberty in our beloved State of Texas.”</p><p>“It is our duty to make the defenders of the Alamo proud,” said Middleton. “We will never back down from advancing liberty and making sure Texas never becomes like California.”</p><p align="center"><strong>The Texas Freedom Caucus’ mission is to amplify the voice of liberty-minded, grassroots Texans who want bold action to protect life, strengthen families, defend the U.S. and Texas Bills of Rights, restrain government, and revitalize personal and economic freedoms in the State of Texas.</strong></p><p align="center"><strong><em>For more information or for press inquiries, please contact Mike Garcia, Executive Director, at (512) 645-6978 or at mgarcia@freedomfortexas.com.</em></strong></p><p align="center">###</p> Wed, 15 Jan 2020 06:00:00 +0000 http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/texas-house-budget-passes Texas House Budget Passes http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/texas-house-budget-passes <p><img alt="Image title" class="fr-fil fr-dib" src="/uploads/blog/2efc924d44b5ce0b194fcf2c320bca38014c5512.jpg" title="Image title" width="300"></p><p align="center" style="text-align: left;">Texas Freedom Caucus member Representative Matt Shaheen successfully presented an amendment that guarantees a minimum of $2.7 billion to be used for property tax relief through compression of M&amp;O property tax collections while making sure that school districts do not receive less total state and local funding through the Foundation School Program.</p><p><br></p><p>The amendment is a big step that will enable Texans to realize property tax relief.&nbsp; Chairman Huberty spoke in favor of the amendment calling it “real property tax relief”.&nbsp;&nbsp; All house members voted unanimously in favor of the amendment.</p><p><br></p><p>Representative Matt Krause was also successful in securing over $95 million of funding for alternatives to abortion programs in the state.&nbsp; These programs provide support services to pregnant women and adoptive parents.&nbsp; </p><p><br></p><p>Contained in the proposed budget was $1 million for a Statewide Safe Gun Storage campaign.&nbsp; However, Representative Matt Schaefer was able to pass an amendment that ensured an anti-2<sup>nd</sup> amendment message would not be conveyed with state appropriated funds.</p><p><br></p><p>Despite serious concerns with the overall spending in the budget, the Caucus voted in support of HB1. </p><p>“HB1 is not perfect.” Caucus Chairman Mike Lang stated.&nbsp; “This vote was early in the process and will come back to the House for a final vote. We are optimistic that leadership will continue to address budget concerns as we move forward.&nbsp; The passage of these amendments from Freedom Caucus members is a step in the right direction and an act of good faith.”</p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </p><p>It is still very early in the process.&nbsp; HB1 will now have to pass the Senate and then move through conference committee before coming back to the House later in the session for final approval.</p> Thu, 28 Mar 2019 05:00:00 +0000 http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/texas-freedom-caucus-announces-new-executive-director Texas Freedom Caucus Announces New Executive Director http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/texas-freedom-caucus-announces-new-executive-director <p>The Texas Freedom Caucus announces that Teresa Beckmeyer will serve as Executive Director of the caucus.&nbsp; Teresa has served as the Director for Grassroots Engagement for the caucus since August.</p><p>Prior to working for the Texas House Freedom Caucus, Teresa was self-employed in the manufacturing industry.&nbsp; She has served in several volunteer capacities within the Republican Party including Hill Country Regional Director for the Texas Republican County Chairman’s Association and Chairman of the Mitchell County Republican Party.&nbsp; She is the former Executive Director of Lone Star Voice, an online media source and a founding member of the Texas Conservative Grassroots Coalition.</p> Tue, 26 Feb 2019 06:00:00 +0000 http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/texas-freedom-caucus-selects-new-leadership Texas Freedom Caucus Selects New Leadership http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/texas-freedom-caucus-selects-new-leadership <!--StartFragment--><p><img alt="Image title" class="fr-fil fr-dib" src="/uploads/blog/e1eeadac67a8abdac0863464922a03ae7990fd82.jpg" width="300" title="Image title"></p><p>Members of the Texas Freedom Caucus met Monday to elect those who will serve on the executive committee during the biennium. &nbsp;Representative Mike Lang will serve as Chairman. Representative Bill Zedler will serve as Vice-Chair and Representative Mayes Middleton will serve as Secretary-Treasurer.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The Texas Freedom Caucus was founded during the 85<sup>th</sup> session to promote the first principles of life, liberty and property and was successful in passing the strongest anti-sanctuary cities legislation in the US.</p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p> When asked about being elected as chairman, Rep. Lang stated, “It’s an honor that my colleagues have placed their faith in me to lead this group.&nbsp; As we go forward, the Texas Freedom Caucus will continue to be a steadfast advocate for the grassroots by promoting strong conservative legislation and will keep the focus on principles that have made this state great.”</p><p><br></p><p> The Texas Freedom Caucus is comprised of members of the Texas House who work to promote its mission to amplify the voice of liberty-minded, grassroots Texans who want bold action to protect life, strengthen families, defend the&nbsp;U.S. and Texas Bills of Rights, restrain government, and revitalize personal and economic freedoms in the State of Texas.</p><p> &nbsp;</p><p> &nbsp;</p><p> &nbsp;</p><!--EndFragment--><p><br></p> Wed, 06 Feb 2019 06:00:00 +0000 http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/texas-freedom-caucus-welcomes-newest-member Texas Freedom Caucus Welcomes Newest Member http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/texas-freedom-caucus-welcomes-newest-member <p>Representative Mayes Middleton has become the newest member of the Texas Freedom Caucus. Middleton is the newly elected representative for House District 23 which contains Chambers and part of Galveston County. Representative Middleton, along with his wife Macy and three sons, Connor, Christian, and Matthew, live in Wallisville, Texas. Mayes is a 7th generation Chambers County resident and Texan. Mayes is President of Middleton Oil Company, an independent oil and gas company that operates wells in SouthTexas and along the Gulf Coast, and is engaged in joint exploration ventures. In addition to his work in the oil and gas industry, Mayes also runs his ranching, cattle, and farming operations. He and his wife support numberous local community organizations and faith-based charities.</p> Wed, 23 Jan 2019 06:00:00 +0000 http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/texas-freedom-caucus-members-receive-committee-assignments Texas Freedom Caucus Members Receive Committee Assignments http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/texas-freedom-caucus-members-receive-committee-assignments <p><b>Texas Freedom Caucus Members Receive Committee Assignments</b></p><p> </p><p>Today, Texas Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen announced the committee assignments for the 86<sup>th</sup> legislative session.&nbsp; Texas Freedom Caucus member assignments are as follows:</p><p> </p><p> </p><p>Kyle Biedermann-County Affairs, Land &amp; Resource Management</p><p>Briscoe Cain-Elections, International Relations &amp; Economic Development, Resolutions Calendars</p><p>Matt Krause-General Investigating, Judiciary &amp; Civil Jurisprudence, Redistricting, Transportation</p><p>Mike Lang-Homeland Security &amp; Public Safety, Natural Resources</p><p>Mayes Middleton-Elections, Local &amp; Consent Calendars, Urban Affairs</p><p>Matt Schaefer-Appropriations, Higher Education</p><p>Matt Shaheen-Vice-Chair Urban Affairs, Ways &amp; Means</p><p>Jonathan Stickland-County Affairs, Land &amp; Resource Management</p><p>Valoree Swanson-Elections, Urban Affairs</p><p>Tony Tinderholt-Vice-Chair Defense &amp; Veterans’ Affairs, Homeland Security &amp; Public Safety</p><p>Bill Zedler-Vice-Chair Criminal Jurisprudence, Public Health, Resolutions Calendars</p><p> </p><p>Prior to making the announcement to House members, Bonnen stated, “I don’t want a single member to feel apart from this House after these committee assignments are made.”&nbsp; Texas Freedom Caucus members are pleased with the assignments and look forward to working with the Speaker and other House members to pass legislation that focuses on first principles.</p> Wed, 23 Jan 2019 06:00:00 +0000 http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/statement-on-the-speaker-race Statement on the Speaker Race http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/statement-on-the-speaker-race <!--StartFragment--><p>We have talked with many of our colleagues about the interesting developments in the Speaker’s race. We look forward to continuing conversations with candidates about their vision for the Texas House. The Texas Freedom Caucus has not taken any public position on a Speaker candidate, and for the foreseeable future we will remain in a listening mode. We look forward to the Republican Caucus meeting on December 1st when the entire Republican Caucus meets to fulfill our commitment to choose a Republican nominee for Speaker.</p><!--EndFragment--> Wed, 31 Oct 2018 05:00:00 +0000 http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/gov-abbott-and-school-safety Gov. Abbott and School Safety http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/gov-abbott-and-school-safety <p style="margin: 0px 0px 6px; display: block; font-family: system-ui, -apple-system, system-ui, ">Today, members of the Texas Freedom Caucus were privileged to meet with Gov. Abbott to discuss his proposals for school safety. He is leading, listening, and proactively engaging citizens across the State of Texas on this matter of great importance. We shared specific and in-depth concerns regarding changes to gun storage laws, and other measures affecting gun ownership. It is clear that Gov. Abbott shares our goal of protecting the Second Amendment right of Texans to keep and bear arms in their homes in a manner that allows them to utilize firearms for all lawful purposes.</p><p><br></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 6px; display: block; font-family: system-ui, -apple-system, system-ui, ">We are thankful for his commitment to work with us throughout the lawmaking process to ensure our mutual goals are met. Gov. Abbott’s proposals are spurring important conversations about parenting, mental health, and school safety. We look forward to working with him in the months ahead.</p> Thu, 07 Jun 2018 05:00:00 +0000 http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/process-for-speaker-nominee-selection-house-gop-meeting-dec-1st Process for Speaker Nominee Selection; House GOP meeting Dec 1st http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/process-for-speaker-nominee-selection-house-gop-meeting-dec-1st <p>Republican leaders should first be chosen by Republicans, among Republicans. But there is no process in place for us to choose a candidate for Speaker of the House from among Republicans. That can change on Friday, Dec 1st when we meet to vote on a bylaw change that will ensure that a caucus vote to select our Speaker nominee takes place before the next legislative session begins in 2019. We prefer that the Speaker nominee vote in caucus be conducted by secret ballot as called for by the Republican Party platform, and in keeping with the way all Texans vote for elected officials. The subsequent vote before the full House membership to officially elect the Speaker must always be done openly and publicly as required by the Texas Constitution. &nbsp;We need maximum participation at the Dec 1st meeting, and we urge all of our Republican House colleagues to attend.</p> Mon, 27 Nov 2017 06:00:00 +0000 http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/process-needed-by-which-republican-caucus-chooses-nominee-for-speaker-call-for-a-caucus-meeting-to-discuss-andor-adopt-procedure-for-nominee-selection Process Needed by Which Republican Caucus Chooses Nominee for Speaker; Call for a Caucus Meeting to Discuss and/or Adopt Procedure for Nominee Selection http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/process-needed-by-which-republican-caucus-chooses-nominee-for-speaker-call-for-a-caucus-meeting-to-discuss-andor-adopt-procedure-for-nominee-selection <p>3 August 2017</p><p><br></p><p> To: Representative Tan Parker<br> Chairman, Texas House Republican Caucus&nbsp;</p><p><br></p><p>Re: Process Needed by Which Republican Caucus Chooses Nominee for Speaker;&nbsp;</p><p>Call for a Caucus Meeting to Discuss and/or Adopt Procedure for Nominee Selection</p><p><br></p><p>Chairman Parker,</p><p>A Republican Speaker of the House should first win the confidence of a majority of his or her fellow Republicans. To do so, Republicans should determine their candidate for Speaker in a called meeting of the House Republican Caucus before the 86<sup>th</sup> Legislature convenes in 2019. Such a meeting is called for in the Republican Party Platform.</p><p><strong>Before we select a person, we need to select a procedure.</strong></p><p>In order for Republicans to choose their nominee for Speaker, we need a procedure in place to guide that process. However, no procedure for selecting our Speaker nominee with proper order has been adopted by the Republican Caucus. Such a procedure is critical to successfully choosing a nominee, and must be put in place well in advance of a meeting where nominees are considered.</p><p><strong>Therefore,we respectfully call upon you to schedule a meeting of the House Republican Caucus for the sole purpose of discussing and/or adopting a procedure to determine our nominee for Speaker of the House</strong>.&nbsp;</p><p>Since members are in Austin for the Special Session, we believe holding a meeting before the end of the session on August 16<sup>th</sup> would ensure maximum participation.&nbsp;</p><p>Pursuant to Article VI, Section 6.03 to the House Republican Caucus bylaws, we the undersigned respectfully request that you call a meeting of the House Republican Caucus for the purpose of discussion and/or adopting a procedure to determine our nominee for Speaker.</p><p><br></p><p><img alt="Image title" class="fr-fin fr-dib" src="/uploads/blog/5de73c5dc906add0508d9304b7a4141762b0babd.jpg" width="66%"></p><p><br></p> Thu, 03 Aug 2017 05:00:00 +0000 http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/hiring-executive-director-for-texas-freedom-caucus HIRING EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR for TEXAS FREEDOM CAUCUS http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/hiring-executive-director-for-texas-freedom-caucus <p>Do you believe that Texas must expand liberty for its citizens and be a better model for the rest of the country? Here is an opportunity to fully engage in that mission. </p><p>The newly formed Texas Freedom Caucus, established in February 2017, is seeking an Executive Director to help shape strategy, develop policy goals, communicate our message, manage day-to- day operations and further our mission to:</p><ul><li>Amplify the voice of liberty-minded, grassroots Texans who want bold action to</li><li>Protect life, strengthen families, defend the U.S. and Texas Bills of Rights, restrain government, and</li><li>Revitalize personal and economic freedoms in the State of Texas.</li></ul><p><strong>The Executive Director will be someone who can contribute in the following ways:</strong></p><ul><li>Develop strategy and policy</li><li>Grassroots and coalition outreach</li><li>Logistics and event planning</li><li>Communications and media relations</li><li>Fundraising</li><li>Organizational management</li></ul><p><strong>What does the ideal candidate look like?</strong></p><ul><li>Liberty-minded</li><li>A self-starter with a solid grasp of the Texas political climate (or the ability to quickly learn the priorities of Texans and the state’s political makeup)</li><li>Excellent verbal and written communication skills</li><li>The desire to work with varied individuals and coalition groups</li><li>An eye for detail and the ability to execute administrative tasks for the Caucus</li><li>The ability to manage teams while working in a fast-paced environment</li><li>Locate in Austin during legislative sessions (permanent residence in Austin not required)</li></ul><p>Is this you? If so, we want to hear from you.</p><p>Highly competitive compensation package. Past work experience, level of education and demonstrated skills will be evaluated. We will pay for the value you bring.</p><p>To apply, please email a cover letter and resume to info@freedomfortexas.com (Please use the subject line: <strong>Freedom Caucus ED Applicant</strong>.)</p><p>Read our mission statement and get more info at www.freedomfortexas.com</p> Thu, 27 Jul 2017 05:00:00 +0000 http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/tfc-abbott-must-call-special-session TFC: Abbott Must Call Special Session http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/tfc-abbott-must-call-special-session <h1 align="center"><strong>Abbott Must Call a Special Session</strong></h1><p> <br> Vitally important, yet unfinished business in Austin compels the Texas Freedom Caucus to call upon Governor Abbott to call a special session of the Legislature to address at least three critical issues not passed in the regular session:</p><ul type="disc"> <li style="color:#202020;mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;margin-left:0in;line-height:150%;mso-list:l0 level1 lfo1;tab-stops: list .5in;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%">Property tax reform that includes a credible rollback election provision,</li> <li style="color:#202020;mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;margin-left:0in;line-height:150%;mso-list:l0 level1 lfo1;tab-stops: list .5in;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%">Privacy protections for women and girls in changing rooms, showers, and restrooms in public schools as well as other public settings. Also a law that protects private businesses if they choose not to allow men into women’s changing rooms and bathrooms, and</li> <li style="color:#202020;mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;margin-left:0in;line-height:150%;mso-list:l0 level1 lfo1;tab-stops: list .5in;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%">Agency sunset reviews, including the Texas Medical Board.</li> </ul><p>Governor Abbott should also consider matters related to ethics reform, public school finance, and school choice in a special session. <br> <br> It is time to finish the business we were elected to complete.</p><p align="center"><a href="http://freedomfortexas.us15.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=6c5fa5251868cb50e313665d8&amp;id=9d0a3bfb20&amp;e=20e0d0e033" target="_blank">www.freedomfortexas.com</a></p><p><br></p><p> </p><p style="text-align: center;"><strong><u>FREEDOM CAUCUS MEMBERS:</u></strong></p><p style="text-align: center;"> Rep. Kyle Biedermann Rep. Briscoe Cain Rep. Matt Krause</p><p style="text-align: center;"> Rep. Mike Lang Rep. Jeff Leach Rep. Matt Rinaldi</p><p style="text-align: center;"> Rep. Matt Schaefer Rep. Matt Shaheen Rep. Jonathan Stickland</p><p style="text-align: center;"> Rep. Valoree Swanson Rep. Tony Tinderholt Rep. Bill Zedler </p> Wed, 31 May 2017 05:00:00 +0000 http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/spending-restraint-draws-a-qualified-yes-to-the-budget Spending Restraint Draws a Qualified ‘Yes’ to the Budget http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/spending-restraint-draws-a-qualified-yes-to-the-budget <h1 align="center"><strong>Spending Restraint Draws a Qualified</strong><br> <strong>‘Yes’ to the Budget</strong></h1><p> </p><p>Government spending must not outgrow the people it serves. But for decades the consistent pattern has been for spending in Austin to grow too much, too fast. That pattern broke in 2015, however the initial proposed House budget in 2017 again spent too much money by looting the state’s savings account for $2.5 billion to pay for ordinary items when there was no compelling reason to do so. The Texas Freedom Caucus strongly opposed that budget proposal. <br> <br> We voted yes on the final Texas budget because it returns us to a rare place in budget history: meaningful restraint in state spending relative to population growth and inflation. This was our top budget priority.<br> <br> The simple truth is that there are bad, and even ugly, aspects to this budget. And we must call it like it is. We fought against corporate welfare and crony capitalism when the budget was debated and amended on the House floor. Temporary wins were erased in the final budget despite our best efforts. We still don’t have the votes to eliminate the portions of the budget that violate core conservative principles. We will tell the truth about your money and keep fighting. At the same time, we will be honest about the positive aspects of the budget and the progress that has been made.<br> <br> THE GOOD:</p><ul type="disc"> <li style="color:#202020;mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;margin-left:0in;line-height:150%;mso-list:l1 level1 lfo1;tab-stops: list .5in;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%">“All funds” and “all state funds” are kept below population and inflation growth by ~$2 billion</li> <li style="color:#202020;mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;margin-left:0in;line-height:150%;mso-list:l1 level1 lfo1;tab-stops: list .5in;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%">Most pro-life budget in Texas history; including defunding Planned Parenthood and its affiliates</li> <li style="color:#202020;mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;margin-left:0in;line-height:150%;mso-list:l1 level1 lfo1;tab-stops: list .5in;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%">Teachers retirement and healthcare programs received much needed additional funds</li> <li style="color:#202020;mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;margin-left:0in;line-height:150%;mso-list:l1 level1 lfo1;tab-stops: list .5in;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%">Border security funding is maintained despite opposition by some Republicans and Democrats</li> <li style="color:#202020;mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;margin-left:0in;line-height:150%;mso-list:l1 level1 lfo1;tab-stops: list .5in;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%">Education spending adequately meets enrollment growth, and (unlike the initial House budget) does not skip or defer payments to the Foundation School Program</li> </ul><p> <br> THE BAD: </p><ul type="disc"> <li style="color:#202020;mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;margin-left:0in;line-height:150%;mso-list:l2 level1 lfo2;tab-stops: list .5in;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%">Utilizes $900 million from the Rainy Day Fund for long-term capital expenditures</li> <li style="color:#202020;mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;margin-left:0in;line-height:150%;mso-list:l2 level1 lfo2;tab-stops: list .5in;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%">Accounts for $1.8 billion in highway funds by delaying the start of a new stream of payments by one month</li> <li style="color:#202020;mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;margin-left:0in;line-height:150%;mso-list:l2 level1 lfo2;tab-stops: list .5in;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%">No meaningful tax relief</li> </ul><p> <br> THE UGLY: </p><ul type="disc"> <li style="color:#202020;mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;margin-left:0in;line-height:150%;mso-list:l0 level1 lfo3;tab-stops: list .5in;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%">Corporate welfare programs are maintained, including the film-subsidy program and the Texas Enterprise Fund</li> <li style="color:#202020;mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;margin-left:0in;line-height:150%;mso-list:l0 level1 lfo3;tab-stops: list .5in;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%">The 900+ page budget was printed and available for members and the public to view only about 36 hours prior to the final vote</li> </ul><p align="center"><a href="http://www.freedomfortexas.com" target="_blank">www.freedomfortexas.com</a></p><p> </p><p style="text-align: center;"><strong><u>FREEDOM CAUCUS MEMBERS:</u></strong></p><p style="text-align: center;"> Rep. Kyle Biedermann Rep. Briscoe Cain Rep. Matt Krause</p><p style="text-align: center;"> Rep. Mike Lang Rep. Jeff Leach Rep. Matt Rinaldi</p><p style="text-align: center;"> Rep. Matt Schaefer Rep. Matt Shaheen Rep. Jonathan Stickland</p><p style="text-align: center;"> Rep. Valoree Swanson Rep. Tony Tinderholt Rep. Bill Zedler </p> Sat, 27 May 2017 05:00:00 +0000 http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/freedom-fivefifteen Freedom Five/Fifteen http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/freedom-fivefifteen <p>The Texas Freedom Caucus' Priority Bills</p><p>Downloadable version here:&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<a class="fr-file" href="/uploads/blog/69d04ff22b4010ebdd228ca26fa39b7a5abc0546.docx">Freedom 5 and 15.docx</a></p><p><br></p><p><br></p><p align="center"><b>Freedom Caucus – Priority Legislation</b></p><p align="center"><b>“Freedom Five”</b></p><p align="center"><b>Priorities 1-5</b></p><p align="center"><b> </b></p><table width="711" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" border="0"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="width:202.5pt;background:#2F75B5;padding:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; height:.2in" width="270"> <p align="center">Priority</p> </td> <td style="width:65.7pt;background:#2F75B5;padding:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; height:.2in" width="88"> <p align="center">Bill</p> </td> <td style="width:73.0pt;background:#2F75B5;padding:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; height:.2in" width="97"> <p align="center">Author</p> </td> <td style="width:192.0pt;background:#2F75B5;padding:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; height:.2in" width="256"> <p align="center">Status</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="270"> <p>Dismemberment Abortion Ban</p> </td> <td width="88"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/pdf/HB00844I.pdf#navpanes=0">HB 844</a></u></p> </td> <td width="97"> <p>Rep. Klick</p> </td> <td width="256"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=85R&amp;Bill=HB844">Referred to House State Affairs (History)</a></u></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="270"> <p>Constitutional Carry </p> </td> <td width="88"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/pdf/HB00375I.pdf#navpanes=0">HB 375</a></u></p> </td> <td width="97"> <p>Rep. Stickland </p> </td> <td width="256"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=85R&amp;Bill=HB375">Pending in Homeland Security (History)</a></u></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="270" valign="bottom"> <p>&nbsp;</p> </td> <td width="88"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/pdf/HB01911I.pdf#navpanes=0">HB 1911</a></u></p> </td> <td width="97"> <p>Rep. White</p> </td> <td width="256"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=85R&amp;Bill=HB1911">Pending in Calendars (History) Updated</a></u></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="270"> <p>Women's Privacy</p> </td> <td width="88"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/pdf/SB00006E.pdf#navpanes=0">SB 6</a></u></p> </td> <td width="97"> <p>Sen. Kolkhorst</p> </td> <td width="256"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=85R&amp;Bill=SB6">Received in House from Senate (History)</a></u></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="270"> <p>&nbsp;</p> </td> <td width="88"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/pdf/HB01362I.pdf#navpanes=0">HB 1362</a></u></p> </td> <td width="97"> <p>Rep. Shaheen</p> </td> <td width="256"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=85R&amp;Bill=HB1362">Referred to State Affairs (History)</a></u></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="270"> <p>Property Tax Reform</p> </td> <td width="88"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/pdf/HB00015I.pdf#navpanes=0">HB 15</a></u></p> </td> <td width="97"> <p>Rep. D. Bonnen&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </p> </td> <td width="256"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=85R&amp;Bill=HB15">Referred to Ways &amp; Means (History)</a></u></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="270"> <p>Sanctuary Cities Ban with strong enforcement</p> </td> <td width="88"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/pdf/SB00004E.pdf#navpanes=0">SB 4</a></u></p> </td> <td width="97"> <p>Sen. Perry</p> </td> <td width="256"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=85R&amp;Bill=SB4">Passed House; to Conference (History)</a></u></p> </td> </tr> </tbody></table><p align="center"><b> </b></p><p><b> </b></p><p><b> </b></p><p><b> </b></p><p><b> </b></p><p><b> </b></p><p><b> </b></p><p><b> </b></p><p><b> </b></p><p><b> </b></p><p><b> </b></p><p><b> </b></p><p align="center"><b>Freedom Caucus – Priority Legislation</b></p><p align="center"><b>&nbsp;“Freedom Fifteen”</b></p><p align="center"><b>Priorities 6-15</b></p><table width="760" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" border="0"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="width:165.0pt;background:#2F75B5;padding:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; height:.2in" width="220"> <p align="center">Priority</p> </td> <td style="width:82.0pt;background:#2F75B5;padding:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; height:.2in" width="109"> <p align="center">Bill</p> </td> <td style="width:102.9pt;background:#2F75B5;padding:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; height:.2in" width="137"> <p align="center">Author</p> </td> <td style="width:220.0pt;background:#2F75B5;padding:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; height:.2in" width="293"> <p align="center">Status</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td rowspan="2" width="220"> <p>Religious Liberty/First Amendment Protections</p> </td> <td width="109"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/pdf/HB01923I.pdf#navpanes=0">HB 1923</a></u></p> </td> <td width="137"> <p>Rep. Krause</p> </td> <td width="293"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=85R&amp;Bill=HB1923">Referred to House State Affairs (History)</a></u></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="109"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/pdf/SB00893I.pdf#navpanes=0">SB 893</a></u></p> </td> <td width="137"> <p>Sen. Hughes </p> </td> <td width="293"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=85R&amp;Bill=SB893">Referred to Senate State Affairs(History)</a></u></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="220"> <p>Conservative Budget</p> </td> <td width="109"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/pdf/SB00001H.pdf#navpanes=0">SB 1</a></u></p> </td> <td width="137"> <p>Sen. Nelson</p> </td> <td width="293"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=85R&amp;Bill=SB1">House appoints Conf. Comm.&nbsp; (History)</a></u></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="220"> <p>American Law for American Courts</p> </td> <td width="109"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/pdf/HB00045I.pdf#navpanes=0">HB 45</a></u></p> </td> <td width="137"> <p>Rep. Flynn </p> </td> <td width="293"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=85R&amp;Bill=HB45">Passed House Judiciary Committee (History)</a></u></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="220"> <p>Spending Cap</p> </td> <td width="109"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/pdf/SB00009E.pdf#navpanes=0">SB 9</a></u></p> </td> <td width="137"> <p>Sen. Hancock</p> </td> <td width="293"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=85R&amp;Bill=SB9">Referred to Appropriations (History)</a></u></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="220"> <p>&nbsp; </p> </td> <td width="109"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/pdf/HB01025I.pdf#navpanes=0">HB 1025</a></u></p> </td> <td width="137"> <p>Rep. Leach</p> </td> <td width="293"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=85R&amp;Bill=HB1025">Referred to Appropriations (History)</a></u></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="220"> <p>&nbsp;</p> </td> <td width="109"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/pdf/HB00936I.pdf#navpanes=0">HB 936</a></u></p> </td> <td width="137"> <p>Rep. Schofield </p> </td> <td width="293"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=85R&amp;Bill=HB936">Referred to Appropriations (History)</a></u></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="220"> <p>No insurance coverage for abortion&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </p> </td> <td width="109"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/pdf/HB01113I.pdf#navpanes=0">HB 1113</a></u></p> </td> <td width="137"> <p>Rep. Smithee </p> </td> <td width="293"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=85R&amp;Bill=HB1113">Referred to House State Affairs (History)</a></u></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="220"> <p>Church Security Act</p> </td> <td width="109"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/pdf/HB00421I.pdf#navpanes=0">HB 421</a></u></p> </td> <td width="137"> <p>Rep. Rinaldi </p> </td> <td width="293"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=85R&amp;Bill=HB421">In Calendars Committee (History)</a></u></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="220"> <p>Uniform Election Dates </p> </td> <td width="109"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/pdf/HB01271I.pdf#navpanes=0">HB 1271</a></u></p> </td> <td width="137"> <p>Rep. Lang</p> </td> <td width="293"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=85R&amp;Bill=HB1271">Pending in Elections Committee (History)</a></u></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="220"> <p>&nbsp;</p> </td> <td width="109"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/pdf/HB02485I.pdf#navpanes=0">HB 2485</a></u></p> </td> <td width="137"> <p>Rep. Elkins</p> </td> <td width="293"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=85R&amp;Bill=HB2485">Pending in Elections Committee (History)</a></u></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="220"> <p>&nbsp;</p> </td> <td width="109"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/pdf/HB01773I.pdf#navpanes=0">HB 1773</a></u></p> </td> <td width="137"> <p>Rep. Swanson</p> </td> <td width="293"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=85R&amp;Bill=HB1773">Referred to Elections Committee (History)</a></u></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="220"> <p>&nbsp;</p> </td> <td width="109"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/pdf/HB00151I.pdf#navpanes=0">HB 151</a></u></p> </td> <td width="137"> <p>Rep. Simmons </p> </td> <td width="293"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=85R&amp;Bill=HB151">Pending in Elections Committee (History)</a></u></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="220"> <p>Toll Road Cessation</p> </td> <td width="109"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=85R&amp;Bill=SB668">SB 668</a></u></p> </td> <td width="137"> <p>Sen. Kolkhorst</p> </td> <td width="293"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=85R&amp;Bill=SB668">Referred to Senate Transportation (History)</a></u></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="220"> <p>&nbsp;</p> </td> <td width="109"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/pdf/HB01282I.pdf#navpanes=0">HB 1282</a></u></p> </td> <td width="137"> <p>Rep. Shaheen&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </p> </td> <td width="293"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=85R&amp;Bill=HB1282">Referred to House Transportation (History)</a></u></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="220"> <p>End of Life Protections</p> </td> <td width="109"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/pdf/HB02063I.pdf#navpanes=0">HB 2063</a></u></p> </td> <td width="137"> <p>Rep. Greg Bonnen&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </p> </td> <td width="293"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=85R&amp;Bill=HB2063">Pending in State Affairs (History)</a></u></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="220"> <p>Voter ID </p> </td> <td width="109"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/pdf/SB00005E.pdf#navpanes=0">SB 5</a></u></p> </td> <td width="137"> <p>Sen. Huffman</p> </td> <td width="293"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=85R&amp;Bill=SB5">Passed Sen. – Pass H. State Affairs (History)</a></u></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="220"> <p>&nbsp; </p> </td> <td width="109"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/pdf/HB02481I.pdf#navpanes=0">HB 2481</a></u></p> </td> <td width="137"> <p>Rep. Phil King </p> </td> <td width="293"> <p><u><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=85R&amp;Bill=HB2481">Pending in Elections Committee (History)</a></u></p> </td> </tr> </tbody></table><p align="center"><b> </b></p><p><br></p><p><br></p><p><br></p> Tue, 18 Apr 2017 05:00:00 +0000 http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/tfc-to-vote-no-on-budget-that-spends-texas-savings-account TFC to Vote "No" on Budget that Spends Texas' Savings Account http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/tfc-to-vote-no-on-budget-that-spends-texas-savings-account <p>The Texas Freedom Caucus opposes spending money from our state’s savings account because no compelling reason to do so has been presented.&nbsp; There is no budget crisis. We have more money overall than we had to spend in the last budget. It is not wise to take money from our Economic Stabilization Fund (aka Rainy Day fund) created in 1988 to “…offset unforeseen shortfalls in revenue” in order to pay for ordinary items that should be addressed in normal budget prioritization. </p><p> </p><p>The proposed House budget calls for spending money from the ESF for typical budget expenses such as border security, teachers’ healthcare and student financial aid. These are ordinary items that we can address with existing funds. They are not one-time expenses.&nbsp; It is worth noting the Texas Senate passed a budget 31-0 without using any money from the Rainy Day Fund.&nbsp; There is no revenue shortfall. </p><p> </p><p>We do have a greater challenge in prioritizing our spending because the Legislature and Texans chose to constitutionally dedicate more money to roads, leaving less discretionary money than we might have had otherwise. Even so, general revenue remains basically flat compared to last budget. </p><p> </p><p>We rightfully chose to prioritize spending on roads. We can prioritize other important items as well. The Texas Freedom Caucus will be voting no on a budget that spends our state’s savings account without a compelling reason to do so. </p> Wed, 05 Apr 2017 05:00:00 +0000 http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/sanctuary-cities-bill-update Sanctuary Cities Bill Update http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/sanctuary-cities-bill-update <h1>Sanctuary Cities Bill Update</h1><p><strong><em>Senate Passes SB 4 Quickly. Bill Still Languishing in House</em></strong></p><p>Governor Greg Abbott declared ending sanctuary cities in Texas as one of his emergency items for the 85th Legislature. The Senate responded by quickly passing SB 4 by Sen. Charles Perry which accomplishes that goal, but needs a stronger provision to remove government officials who refuse to comply. The Texas House received SB 4 on February 9<sup>th</sup> and the Speaker did not refer the bill to committee until nearly a month later. <br><br> Rep. Charlie Geren is sponsoring the House version of SB 4 which is being heard before the State Affairs Committee today, March 15<sup>th</sup>. Importantly the House version, like the Senate version, broadly prohibits a city from declining to cooperate with federal immigration detainer requests, and from prohibiting local law enforcement agents from inquiring as to the immigration status of detained individuals. At this point, the House sanctuary cities bill is a weaker bill than what passed the Senate.<br><br> There is one significant deficiency in both bills:</p><ul type="disc"><li style="color:#202020;mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;margin-left:0in;line-height:150%;mso-list:l0 level1 lfo1;tab-stops: list .5in;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%">Removal Provisions: Governor Abbott stated his desire that the legislation "remove from office any officer-holder who promotes sanctuary cities." Neither the House nor the Senate version adequately addresses this goal. Both versions require the office holder to be found criminally liable in order to be removed. This presents issues with burden of proof and that local DAs, often from the same political party as the offending office-holder, will be reluctant to bring criminal charges. A civil removal proceeding would present a lower burden of proof and allow the Attorney General concurrent standing to bring removal proceedings, thereby making enforcement more likely.</li></ul><p>There are some significant differences between SB 4 by Sen. Perry, and the House bill by Geren: </p><ul type="disc"><li style="color:#202020;mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;margin-left:0in;line-height:150%;mso-list:l1 level1 lfo2;tab-stops: list .5in;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%">Loss of State Grant Funds: The Senate version threatens local governments and law enforcement agencies with the loss of state grant funds if they refuse to cooperate with immigration authorities. This important disciplinary provision is not in the House version.</li><li style="color:#202020;mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;margin-left:0in;line-height:150%;mso-list:l1 level1 lfo2;tab-stops: list .5in;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%">Definition of "Sanctuary Policy": The Senate version prohibits any policy that "prohibits or discourages" the enforcement of immigration laws. The House version amends this language to prohibit any policy which "prohibits" [but not discourages] enforcement of immigration laws. The Senate language is stronger.</li><li style="color:#202020;mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;margin-left:0in;line-height:150%;mso-list:l1 level1 lfo2;tab-stops: list .5in;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%">Government Liability: The Senate version makes a state criminal justice agency, county, or municipality liable for damages resulting from a felony committed by an illegal immigrant who was released from custody in violation of an ICE detainer request. The House version does not include this important enforcement mechanism against governmental entities which violate the law, instead directing liability to bail bondsmen. </li><li style="color:#202020;mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;margin-left:0in;line-height:150%;mso-list:l1 level1 lfo2;tab-stops: list .5in;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%">Grant Spending: The House version asks the Governor's Criminal Justice Division to establish a grant program for local governments to assist with the costs of enforcing immigration laws, with no spending limit and little guidance on how the funds will be spent.</li><li style="color:#202020;mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;margin-left:0in;line-height:150%;mso-list:l1 level1 lfo2;tab-stops: list .5in;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%">ICE Detainer Validity: Senate Bill 4 instructs political subdivisions to presume an ICE detainment request is valid. The House version does not include this provision. </li></ul><p>The Texas Freedom Caucus will monitor the House committee discussion on SB 4, and work to ensure that this legislature finally ends sanctuary cities in Texas. We have reason to believe that House leadership will not bring the sanctuary cities bill to the House floor for a vote until after the main budget bill, which will likely happen the last week of March or early April.</p><p align="center"><a href="http://freedomfortexas.us15.list-manage.com/track/click?u=6c5fa5251868cb50e313665d8&amp;id=b4081c84d3&amp;e=20e0d0e033" target="_blank">www.freedomfortexas.com</a></p> Wed, 15 Mar 2017 05:00:00 +0000 http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/womens-privacy-act-update-senators-school-tab Women's Privacy Act Update: Senators school TAB http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/womens-privacy-act-update-senators-school-tab <!--StartFragment--><p>The Senate Committee on State Affairs this week passed SB 6, the women's privacy act, which is one of the Texas Freedom Caucus' priority issues in the House. The debate on this bill was very interesting. Watch this EPIC cross-examination by Sens. Hancock &amp; Bettencourt of falsehoods told by Chris Wallace &amp; Texas Assoc. of Business who have been fighting AGAINST the bill to protect women and little girls from being exposed to men in showers and bathrooms in public schools and other government facilities.</p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/NTeZiVIu2QM" allowfullscreen="" kwframeid="1" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe> Thu, 09 Mar 2017 06:00:00 +0000 http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/freedom-caucus-unveils-grassroots-priorities Freedom Caucus Unveils Grassroots Priorities http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/freedom-caucus-unveils-grassroots-priorities <p align="center"><em>Legislative agenda built through grassroots engagement process</em></p><p>The Texas Freedom Caucus (TFC) on Thursday unveiled its policy priorities for the 85<sup>th</sup> Session of the Texas Legislature. The priorities are the result of a deliberate grassroots engagement process that engaged conservative activists throughout the Lone Star State.</p><p>“The Texas Freedom Caucus chose these priorities because they represent the issues of concern to the ordinary Texans who work hard and pay the taxes that we spend in Austin,” said Rep. Matt Schaefer, the TFC chairman. “Our mission is to empower the grassroots through close engagement before, during and after the legislative session.”</p><p>Rep. Jeff Leach, the TFC Policy Director, said the 12 members of the caucus work together to advance the eight priority policy areas identified in the grassroots engagement process. </p><p>“Our goal is to leverage our combined resources to ensure that the voice of the grassroots is heard in the Texas legislature,” Leach said. “As members, we’re committed to turning that voice into action in the capitol building.” </p><p><br></p><p>The press conference can be viewed at the House of Representatives Website <a href="http://www.house.state.tx.us/video-audio/press-conference/" rel="nofollow">here.</a></p><p><br></p><p>The caucus priorities are available at: <a href="http://www.freedomfortexas.com/issues/">http://www.freedomfortexas.com/issues/</a></p><p><br></p><p><br></p><p align="center"><a href="http://www.freedomfortexas.com">www.freedomfortexas.com</a></p><p align="center">##</p> Thu, 02 Mar 2017 06:00:00 +0000 http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/freedom-caucus-supports-cps-reform-bills Freedom Caucus Supports CPS Reform Bills http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/freedom-caucus-supports-cps-reform-bills <p>The Texas Freedom Caucus will support legislation in the Texas House of Representatives today aimed at reforming the state’s Child Protective Services system, including HB 4 and HB 5. These bills are emergency items, and should receive expedited passage.</p><p> </p><p>“The Child Protective Services system in Texas is broken, and innocent Texas children are suffering as a result,” said Rep. Jeff Leach, the Freedom Caucus’ Policy Director. “We cannot kick this can down the road.&nbsp; Now is the time to act to structurally reform CPS, for the Texas children of today and tomorrow.”</p><p> </p><p>HB 4, by Rep. Cindy Burkett, makes it easier for children in danger to be placed in the homes of relative care-givers, noting that children placed with relatives generally have better outcomes than children placed with non-relatives.</p><p> </p><p>HB 5 by Rep. James Frank would institute a number of changes in the Department of Family and Protective Services. HB 5 will speed CPS decisions by maintaining DFPS as a stand-alone agency reporting to the Governor, consolidating all investigations of child abuse and neglect under the CPS investigation unit, while still maintaining administrative support functions in the Health and Human Services Commission to provide efficiencies. </p><p> </p><p>The Texas Freedom Caucus will also support any amendments that are aimed at further protecting Texas children, safeguarding the rights of Texas families and increasing transparency and accountability.</p><p> </p><p>“This legislation will hopefully be a first step to reforming Texas’ CPS system, but should not be the end of the discussion,” Leach said. “The Texas Freedom Caucus is committed to protecting the life and welfare of children and we will continue to fight for and support strong legislation to do just that.” </p><p> </p> Wed, 01 Mar 2017 06:00:00 +0000 http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/freedom-caucus-calls-on-tab-to-stop-misleading-texans-with-bogus-claims Freedom Caucus Calls on TAB to Stop Misleading Texans with Bogus Claims http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/freedom-caucus-calls-on-tab-to-stop-misleading-texans-with-bogus-claims <!--StartFragment--><p align="center"><em><strong>St. Edwards University says student project has been misused</strong></em></p><p>The Texas Freedom Caucus (TFC) today issued a call to the Texas Association of Business to discontinue its efforts to block women’s privacy legislation through the use of research that an Austin university said was a student project that has been misrepresented.</p><p>TAB circulated a report claiming significant economic damage to the Texas economy if the legislature were to pass legislation that protects the safety and privacy of women and little girls, but the report has now been discredited by PolitiFact Texas as “mostly false.” A policy analyst with the Heritage Foundation recently stated the “report should not be taken seriously in the ongoing public debate.” </p><p>Furthermore, TAB’s claim was based on a report produced at St. Edwards University, which now states the report should never have been used as a platform for political advocacy. In response to a recent inquiry by Rep. Matt Shaheen, the dean of the university’s school of business said the study was merely a student research project.</p><p>“This research project – limited in scope and conducted by students – was not intended to be, and should not have been used as, the platform for a political advocacy campaign,” the dean wrote in the letter to Shaheen, who serves as the TFC grassroots liaison.</p><p>Rep. Shaheen further stated, “TAB should apologize and explain to Texans why they’re supporting an extreme agenda that would violate Texans’ privacy and could expose businesses to countless new local regulations that are bad for business and bad for privacy.” </p><p>The full letter from St. Edwards University to Representative Matt Shaheen is below.</p><p><br></p><p><img class="fr-image-dropped fr-fin fr-dib" alt="Image title" src="http://i.froala.com/download/70dba3586c4671c03b32a587a972cb46233cd342.jpg?1487885830" width="688"></p><p><br></p><!--EndFragment--> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 06:00:00 +0000 http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/freedom-caucus-formed-in-the-texas-house-to-empower-grassroots-texans Freedom Caucus Formed in the Texas House To Empower Grassroots Texans http://freedomfortexas.com/blog/post/freedom-caucus-formed-in-the-texas-house-to-empower-grassroots-texans <p>The Texas Freedom Caucus was launched today in the Texas House of Representatives.&nbsp; The Texas Freedom Caucus’ mission is to amplify the voice of liberty-minded grassroots Texans who want bold action to protect life, strengthen families, defend the bill of rights, restrain government and revitalize personal and economic freedoms in Texas.</p><p> </p><p>The Texas Freedom Caucus (TFC) will be focused on first principles that are the hallmark of liberty-minded Texans.&nbsp; The policies supported by the TFC will be developed thru collaboration with grassroots leaders to identify priorities that are often dismissed in Austin.</p><p> </p><p>“Go five blocks in any direction from the Texas Capitol, and you will see what interests are hard wired into the Austin establishment,” Caucus Chairman Rep. Matt Schaefer (Tyler) said. “The mission of the Texas Freedom Caucus will be to hard wire liberty-minded grassroots into policy making in Austin.”&nbsp; </p><p> </p><p>The TFC will engage grassroots Texans on matters before session, during session, and long after session when policies are implemented at the agency level. The caucus is committed to restoring first principles – the right to life, liberty and property that are at the core of the freedom of America and the exceptionalism of Texas. The caucus will outline a set of legislative priorities after it holds a series of discussions with grassroots representatives from all across Texas. Thereafter, the TFC will support or oppose legislation in accordance with those principles.&nbsp; </p><p> </p><p>“We don’t want our priorities to be determined from Austin down, but from the grassroots up. That includes taking things like the Texas Republican Party platform seriously,” said Schaefer. “There are thousands of people too busy working and raising their families to embed themselves in the legislative process. Their voices matter too, and we want to make sure they are heard, and their efforts are multiplied.”</p><p> </p><p>The Texas Freedom Caucus will share many policy goals with other existing conservative organizations and caucuses, and it will buttress and complement rather than compete with those groups.&nbsp; The TFC will distinguish itself by providing a specific focal point for grassroots Texans interested in conservative policy-making in Austin. </p><p> </p><p>The Vice Chair of the Caucus will be Rep. Bill Zedler (Arlington). The Policy Director will be Rep. Jeff Leach (Plano), the caucus Grassroots Liaison will be Rep. Matt Shaheen (Plano) and the Secretary-Treasurer will be Rep. Tony Tinderholt (Arlington). Other members include representatives Kyle Biedermann (New Braunfels), Briscoe Cain (Houston), Matt Krause (Fort Worth), Mike Lang (Granbury), Rep. Matt Rinaldi (Irving), Jonathan Stickland (Bedford) and Valoree Swanson (Spring).&nbsp; </p><p> </p><p>James Bernsen will serve as Executive Director for the Texas Freedom Caucus.</p> Tue, 14 Feb 2017 06:00:00 +0000