2009 Scorecard

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By Cathie Adams, president

What an amazing and disappointing session it was! Unlike other legislative sessions, we spent more of our time stopping bad bills than passing good ones. We halted several bills that aimed to undermine the elected State Board of Education, although one bill that removed their oversight of digitalized textbooks passed. Gov. Rick Perry interceded by issuing an Executive Order to retain SBOE authority, and we will work to permanently return that authority in 2011.

The images below are snapshots of the Texas Eagle Forum Legislative Score Card. A larger image will pop up by clicking on any smaller image. Our entire publication with articles on different issues regarding how your legislators voted can be downloaded by clicking the link below:

 (approx 8mb PDF).

THE MOST CONSERVATIVE MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE & SENATE
Texas Eagle Forum is pleased to honor these Texas Legislators
as the most conservative in the 2009 Legislative Session.
We appreciate their commitment to Texas families on both social and economic issues.

    SENATORS

  • Dan Patrick (R-Houston)
  • Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls)
  • Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay)
  • Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound)
  • Tommy Williams (R-The Woodlands)

    REPRESENTATIVES

  • Charles “Doc” Anderson (R-Waco)
  • Ken Paxton (R-McKinney)
  • Wayne Christian (R-Center)
  • Jodie Laubenberg (R-Parker)
  • Randy Weber (R-Pearland)
  • Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton)
  • Joe Crabb (R-Atascocita)
  • Allen Fletcher (R-Tomball)
  • Dan Flynn (R-Van)
  • Linda Harper-Brown (R-Irving)
  • Charlie Howard (R-Sugar Land)
  • Ken Legler (R-Pasadena)
  • Larry Phillips (R-Sherman)

SENATE

#1 Judeo-Christian Beliefs on Trial I Senators failed to confirm Gov. Perry’s appointment of Shanda G. Perkins to the Board of Pardons and Paroles. Some Senators questioned her experience with Prison Fellowship Ministries. TEF supported her confirmation.

#2 Judeo-Christian Beliefs on Trial II Senators failed to confirm Gov. Perry’s appointment of Dr. Don McLeroy as chairman of the State Board of Education. Some Senators found his Christian beliefs reasons to oppose his appointment. TEF supported his confirmation.

#3 Second Amendment Senate Bill 1164 by Sens. Wentworth, Deuell, Eltife, Estes, Fraser, Harris, Hegar, Hinojosa, Lucio, D. Patrick and Williams: Would have allowed concealed handguns on college campuses. TEF supports the 2nd Amendment. The bill passed the Senate, but died on the House Calendar.

#4 “Green Jobs” Training Program Senate Bill 108 by Sen. Ellis: Establishes and funds a “green jobs” skills training program. TEF opposes creating an unscientific category for “green jobs” estimated to cost taxpayers more than $17 MILLION. The bill passed the Senate, but died on the House Calendar. It was then amended to HB 1935, passed and sent to Gov. Perry.

#5 Full-Day Pre-Kindergarten House Bill 130 sponsored by Sen. Zaffirini: Expands half-day prekindergarten to full-day pre-kindergarten, although such programs do not improve academic achievement beyond 2nd grade. TEF opposed this “nanny state” policy. Estimated to cost taxpayers more than $250 MILLION by 2014, it was vetoed by Gov. Perry.

#6 Ultrasound before Abortion Senate Bill 182 by Sen. Patrick: Would have required a sonogram before an abortion. TEF supports providing medical information before abortions in keeping with all other surgical procedures. The bill passed the Senate, but died on the House Calendar.

#7 Needle Exchange for Drug Abusers Senate Bill 188 by Sen. Deuell: Would have established a needle exchange program for drug abusers. TEF opposed the bill. It passed the Senate, but died on the House Calendar. An attempt to add it as an amendment to HB 3485 also failed.

#8 Highway Checkpoints Senate Bill 298 by Sen. Carona: Would have established highway checkpoints. TEF opposed the “papers please” anti-liberty bill. It passed the Senate, but died in a House committee.

#9 Photo ID for Voters Senate Bill 362 by Sens. Frazer and Estes: Would have required a photo ID for voters. TEF supports voter integrity. It passed the Senate, but died on the House Calendar.

#10 Undermining Juries House Bill 498 by Sen. Ellis: Establishes an “innocence commission” to “study” convictions and expires 1/1/11. TEF opposes undermining juries and the judicial system. It was sent to Gov. Perry.

#11 Contraceptives Without Parental Consent Senate Bill 592 by Sen. Van de Putte: Would have usurped parental authority concerning contraception for minor girls. TEF opposes undermining parental authority. It failed to pass the Senate.

#12 “Green” Vehicles Senate Bill 763 by Sen. Watson: Would have required state agencies to purchase low-emissions vehicles. TEF opposes the bill’s premise that carbon dioxide (the air we breathe out) is a pollutant. It passed the Senate, but died in the House committee.

#13 Socializing Medicine = Expanding CHIP Senate Bill 841 by Sen. Averitt: Would have allowed coverage of the Children’s Health Insurance Program for those 300% above the federal poverty level. TEF opposes further socialization of our medical system. The bill passed the Senate, but died on the House Calendar.

#14 New Transportation Taxes Senate Bill 855 by Sen. Carona: Would have created a new taxing ability for counties for transportation projects with voter approval. Your tax dollars paid lobbyists in Austin to advocate for raising your taxes. TEF opposes new taxes and taxpayer-funded lobbyists. SB 855 passed the Senate, but died on the House calendar. The bill was then amended to the sunset Texas Department of Transportation bill, House Bill 300. HB 300 passed the House and Senate, but the conference committee report failed to pass the House. A separate resolution failed to pass the Senate to keep TxDOT from sunsetting, thus triggering a Special Session.

#15 “Choose Life” License Plates Senate Bill 1098 by Sen. Carona: Would have created “Choose Life” license plates. TEF supported this bill. It passed the Senate, and then was amended to the Texas Department of Transportation sunset bill that died as explained in #14.

#16 Racial Profiling Senate Bill 1120 by Sen. West: Would have required law enforcement officers to gather data to determine racial profiling and provided a penalty. TEF believes race should not be an issue in upholding the law. The bill passed the Senate but died on the House Calendar.

#17 “Meet & Confer” = Unions-like Senate Bill 1687 by Sen. Hinojosa: Would have allowed Hidalgo County employees to “meet and confer” with the commissioners court regarding wages, hours and benefits. TEF opposed this “union-like” bill. It passed the Senate, but died in the House Calendars Committee.

#18 Government Control of Your Thermostat House Bill 1937 sponsored by Sen. Seliger: Amendment #1 by Sen. Watson, would allow cities to sue homeowners for energy conservation or energy efficiency improvements. TEF opposes frivolous lawsuits, and expensive and unscientific radical environmentalism. The amendment passed, but was removed before being sent to Gov. Perry.

#19 Human Trafficking House Bill 2086 sponsored by Sen. Whitmire: Amendment #2 by Sen. Williams, would place “trafficking of persons” under civil racketeering laws. TEF supported this amendment that passed. The bill was sent to Gov. Perry.

#20 Tobacco Tax Increase House Bill 2154 sponsored by Sen. Hinojosa: Amendment #1 by Sen. Seliger, would have increased the tax rate for tobacco products, other than cigars, to 75% (up from 40%) of the manufacturers’ list price. TEF opposes tax increases. The amendment failed. The bill was sent to Gov. Perry.

#21 “Environmental Services” Fee/Tax Senate Bill 2182 by Sen. Shapleigh: Creates a new “environmental services” fee for university students. TEF opposes new taxes/fees. The bill passed. It was sent to Gov. Perry.

#22 Mental Health Screening House Bill 2196 sponsored by Sen. Deuell: Establishes a workgroup to study the integration of health and behavioral health services. TEF opposes mental health screening of patients when visiting a doctor for other healthcare needs. The bill was sent to Gov. Perry.

#23 Radical “Green” Agenda Senate Bill 16 by Sen. Averitt, R-Waco: Would have implemented the radical “green” agenda that is frighteningly similar to the United Nations’ failed Kyoto Protocol, including a greenhouse gas registry. (The UN agenda is to create a global trading market for greenhouse gases. The registry is the first step in the process.) The bill passed the Senate, but died on the House Calendar.

#24 Tax Dollars for Substandard Housing House Bill 2833 sponsored by Sen. Shapleigh: Deals with building code standards in unincorporated areas. Amendment #2 by Sen. Lucio, would have prohibited use of tax dollars to remediate and subsidize new substandard housing. TEF opposed tabling/killing the amendment. The amendment failed. The bill was sent to Gov. Perry.

#25 Rewarding Teachers House Bill 3646 sponsored by Sen. Shapiro: Amendment #2 by Sen. Whitmire, grants an across-the-board pay raise, rather than allowing school leaders to reward teachers. TEF opposed the amendment that will cost taxpayers about $1 BILLION per year. It passed and was sent to Gov. Perry.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

#1 Tenth Amendment House Concurrent Resolution 50 by Reps. Creighton, Hughes, Berman, Gattis and Guillen: Would have affirmed that the State of Texas is sovereign under the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the U.S. Constitution, serving notice to the federal government to cease and desist certain mandates, and provided that certain federal legislation be prohibited or repealed. TEF supported HCR 50. It passed the House, but failed in the Senate.

#2 “Green Jobs” Training Programs House Bill 1935 by Reps. Villarreal, Guillen, Rodriguez, Chavez and Flores: Establishes grants for “green jobs” skills training programs. TEF opposes an unscientific category for “green jobs” training. The bill was sent to Gov. Perry.

#3 Property Taxes Based on Income, NOT Home Value HB 3983 by Rep. Rodriguez: Requires the Comptroller to conduct a study of a “circuit breaker program” to limit property taxes based on the property owner’s annual income. TEF opposes property taxation based on your income, rather than on your property value. Gov. Perry vetoed this bill.

#4 Children’s Textbook Fund House Joint Resolution 77 by Reps. D. Howard, Anchia, Eissler, Chisum and Dutton: A Constitutional Amendment to replace authority of the ELECTED State Board of Education with a new Permanent School Fund Management Council, thus removing the only constitutional authority the SBOE has to exist. It would also have transferred billions of dollars from the PSF to the available school fund. TEF opposed the bill. It failed in the Senate.

#5 Raise Property Taxes House Joint Resolution 112 by Reps. Bolton, Quintanilla, Pickett, Kleinschmidt and Kent: A Constitutional Amendment to allow county commissioners with voter approval to raise property taxes $.05 per $100 valuation. TEF opposes tax increases. It failed.

#6 Full Day Pre-kindergarten House Bill 130 by Reps. Patrick, Eissler, Anchia, Pitts and Thompson: Expands half-day pre-kindergarten to full-day pre-kindergarten, although studies prove that such programs do not enhance academic achievement beyond the 2nd grade. TEF opposed this “nanny state” policy, which was vetoed by Gov. Perry.

#7 Top 10% Rule for TX Universities Senate Bill 175 by Rep. Branch: Authorizes universities to place a 60% cap on the number of students admitted under the “top 10 percent rule.” TEF supported this bill to allow TX universities to consider other criteria in their student admissions. It was sent to Gov. Perry.

#8 Gambling Study House Concurrent Resolution 220 by Rep. Kuempel: Would have created an interim committee to study the economic impact of gambling in TX. TEF opposed the bill because the gambling industry is known for embellishing its potential impact in order to sell its vice. It passed the House, but failed in the Senate. HCR 252 would have created a study to determine why horseracing is a losing bet in TX. Gov. Perry vetoed it.

#9 Property Rights House Bill 489 by Rep. Pickett: Would have given counties and cities the authority to remove graffiti from private property at the owner’s expense. TEF opposed this infringement on property rights and the fact that there was no recourse if damage was incurred. The bill passed the House, but failed in the Senate.

#10 Undermining Juries House Bill 498 by Reps. McClendon, Thompson, Gallego, Hodge and Pierson: Establishes an “innocence commission” to “study” convictions and expires 1/1/11. TEF opposes undermining juries and the judicial system. The bill was sent to Gov. Perry.

#11 State Board of Education House Bill 710 by Reps. Rose, D. Howard, Maldonado, Cohen and Bolton: Would have placed the elected State Board of Education under Sunset Review. TEF opposed this bill that would have imposed sunset review upon the ONLY elected body in TX; instead, we trust the voters to hold the SBOE accountable. The bill failed.

#12 FREE Filing for Federal Income Taxes House Bill 2888 by Rep. Mando Martinez: Would use federal tax dollars for a “Free File” program to prepare federal income tax returns for those who receive rental assistance and live in housing developments. TEF opposes a taxpayer-funded “Free File” program for those who probably don’t pay taxes. Gov. Perry vetoed the bill.

#13 Second Amendment Senate Bill 1237 by Rep. Heflin: Authorizes a juvenile probation officer with a proficiency certificate to carry a firearm in the course of his duties. TEF supports the 2nd Amendment. The bill was sent to Gov. Perry.

#14 Gambling Expansion House Bill 1299 by C. Turner, Ortiz, Jr. and Lucio III: Would have required the Texas Lottery Commission to operate an instant-ticket lottery game. TEF opposes gambling expansion for ANY reason. The bill passed the House, but failed in the Senate.

#15 Cockfighting House Bill 1320 by Rep. Christian: Would criminalize attendance at a cockfight. TEF supported this bill because cockfighting has been illegal in TX for more than 100 years, yet is rampant because it is too difficult to prosecute. The bill failed.

#16 Drug Testing Senate Bill 1569 by Reps. Strama, Deshotel and Harless: Amendment #13 by Rep. Strama changed the bill language to “examine the advantages and disadvantages of requiring” drug testing, rather than to REQUIRE drug testing in order to be eligible for unemployment compensation. TEF opposed the amendment that passed as part of the federal “stimulus” money for unemployment insurance. The bill was killed by a point of order.

#17 Voter Registration in High Schools House Bill 1654 by Rep. Anchia: Amendment #2 by Rep. King would have required voter registrars in high schools to represent both political parties. TEF supported the amendment that failed. The bill died in the Senate.

#18 Government Control of Your Thermostat House Bill 1937 by Rep. Villarreal: Would allow cities to assess and impose energy efficient improvements to be paid through property taxes and allowed a lien to be placed against the homeowner’s lot. TEF opposes expensive and unscientific radical environmentalism. The bill was changed to require consent of the owner and sent to Gov. Perry.

#19 Children’s Textbooks House Bill 4294 by Reps. Branch, Eissler, Strama, Oliveira and Aycock: Would give the State Board of Education “an opportunity to comment before” the textbooks, both paper and digitalized, are placed on the Commissioner’s List. TEF opposes this bill because it is the complete opposite of the present textbook adoption process where publishers have to follow definite deadlines in order to have their materials placed on the SBOE’s list. It was sent to Gov. Perry, who issued an Executive Order to retain oversight of paper and digital textbooks.

#20 “Smart Growth” = Radical Environmentalism Senate Bill 2169 by Rep. Alvarado: Establishes a “smart growth” policy work group and policy for TX. TEF opposes policies that pit governments against landowners in order to accomplish a “green agenda.” Gov. Perry vetoed the bill.

#21 Environmental Taxes/Fees Senate Bill 2182 by Rep. Naishtat: Would create a new “environmental services” fee for university students. TEF opposes new taxes/fees. The bill passed the House and Senate. It was sent to Gov. Perry.

#22 First Amendment House Bill 2511 by Reps. T. Smith, Anchia, Merritt, McCall and Strama: Would have infringed upon our First Amendment rights concerning voter guides. TEF opposed the bill. It passed the House, but failed in the Senate.

#23 Expansion of Children’s Health Insurance Program = Socialized Medicine House Bill 2962 by Reps. Coleman, Dukes, Zerwas, J. Davis and Naishtat: Would have required a buy-in option under the children’s health insurance program for families with incomes between 300% and 400% of the federal poverty level. TEF opposes further socializing our medical system. The bill passed the House, but failed in the Senate.

#24 Unsupervised Tax Dollars to Convicted Felons House Bill 3226 by Reps. Madden, Edwards, McReynolds and Christian: Would give over $4000 of unsupervised money to convicted felons recently released on parole. TEF opposed the bill even though it requires annual reports to be submitted to the Criminal Justice Legislative Oversight Committee. It was sent to Gov. Perry.

#25 New Taxes House Bill 300 by Reps. Isett, Pickett and Harper-Brown began as the TX Dept. of Transportation sunset bill, but ran into trouble after the “local option tax” was added by the Senate (see Senate vote #14). The House and Senate failed to concur with the changes and the bill failed, which triggered a future Special Session of the legislature.