Nice job, Michael Quinn Sullivan and Trey Trainor!
November 28, 2016by Tony McDonald
According to attorneys involved in litigation against the agency, the Texas Ethics Commission agreed to an order today that will soon result in the commission being stripped of nearly all of its statutory authority.
“The TEC signed its own death warrant today,” said Trey Trainor, an attorney representing Empower Texans in litigation with the TEC. “In order to avoid giving depositions and paying twenty to thirty thousand dollars in attorneys’ fees, the agency has agreed to an order that will soon unravel all of its power.”
In Travis County District Court today, the Texas Ethics Commission responded to a motion filed by Empower Texans seeking an award of attorney’s fees under a state law that allows citizens to recover the fees when they are the subject of a frivolous enforcement action.
The TEC argued that the law, which is applicable to state agencies in the executive branch of government, did not apply because the commission is a part of the legislative branch. A district judge agreed and dismissed the fees motion.
But lawyers familiar with the case say the judge’s ruling will soon result in the TEC being stripped of all of the executive powers granted to it by state statute. In other words, the TEC as it operates today will soon cease to exist.
In 1991, voters created the Texas Ethics Commission, giving it the constitutional duty to set legislative salaries and per diem. The language creating the agency was placed in Article III, Section 24, of the Texas Constitution, a section dealing primarily with legislative salaries.
But the legislature subsequently adopted statutes granting the TEC executive powers to enforce state campaign finance and lobby laws.
The Texas Constitution in Article II enshrines the principle of separation of powers. Under that article, agencies in the legislative branch are prohibited from exercising executive powers, such as the enforcement and administration of state laws, unless those powers are expressly granted by the constitution.
The Court’s ruling that the TEC is, in fact, located in the legislative branch means that all statutes granting executive branch functions to the agency must be struck down. Functions such as enforcing state campaign finance and lobby laws will need to be relocated to the executive branch. One possible home is the Office of the Secretary of State, an executive branch office which housed the TEC’s predecessor, the Texas Ethics Advisory Commission.
Litigation in the Empower Texans case will continue and parts of Monday’s ruling will likely be taken up on appeal to the Austin Court of Appeals. However, if the courts are consistent in holding that the TEC is, in fact, a part of the legislative branch, then in about 18 months the TEC may soon be reduced to its constitutional functions of recommending legislative salary increases and setting the legislative per diem – restoring the constitutional rights of 27 million Texans.
That’s something for which every Texan can give a belated thanksgiving.
A MUST SEE: Very eloquently and boldly, Rev. Lankeit speaks to Catholics about their duty to vote and warns them of the party that does not align with the teachings of the bible — non-negotiable issues.
He also speaks so lovingly to the women who have had an abortion, their real pain, forgiveness, and his joy in bringing them back to Christ.
Back by overwhelmingly popular demand!
Very Rev. John Lankeit from the Diocese of Phoenix delivers a clear and concise homily about which political/social issues Catholics can vote on based on prudential judgement, and which issues are non-negotiable.
Multiple reports surfaced Tuesday of electronic voting machines switching straight Republican party tickets to Democratic tickets or doing away with the straight ticket altogether.
A majority of the reports were from Wood County.
KETK contacted Wood County elections officials to get an explanation of what has been going on.
Officials say the switch is due to user error and not a mechanical malfunction.
Elections officials tell KETK, citizens are going into the voting booth and choosing straight ticket voting, then hitting “ENTER.” When voters do this, the cursor shoots back to the top and, depending on how many times you’ve hit “ENTER,” it either cancels out the vote or switches to a straight ticket of the opposite party. This will cause a discrepancy with your ballot and you will need to speak with an elections administrator.
Voters need to be aware, after hitting “STRAIGHT TICKET,” whether it be Republican or Democrat, you must then tap the “NEXT” button or use the dial to take you all the way to the end of the voting process to submit your ballot.
If you are in the voting booth and have questions about equipment and/or rules, please get the attention of the elections administrator.
Texas is ever grateful to our Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton!
AG Paxton: Arrest of Backpage.com CEO Shows Texas Doesn’t Tolerate Human Trafficking
Thursday, October 6, 2016 – Austin
In his office’s continued effort to combat human trafficking, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton today announced the arrest of Carl Ferrer, the CEO of Backpage.com, a notorious adult website that generates millions of dollars annually from its classified sex ads.
Ferrer, 55, was taken into custody this afternoon on a California arrest warrant after he arrived in Houston on a flight from Amsterdam. A lengthy joint investigation by the offices of the Texas and California attorneys general uncovered evidence that adult and child sex trafficking victims were forced into prostitution through escort ads that appeared repeatedly on Backpage.
“Making money off the backs of innocent human beings by allowing them to be exploited for modern-day slavery is not acceptable in Texas,” Attorney General Paxton said. “I intend to use every resource my office has to make sure those who profit from the exploitation and trafficking of persons are held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
Nearly three dozen members of the Texas Attorney General’s Law Enforcement Unit participated in Ferrer’s arrest and the execution of a search warrant on the Dallas headquarters of Backpage, which is considered the largest advertiser of adult escort services in the United States.
Last January, Attorney General Paxton launched his office’s Human Trafficking and Transnational/Organized Crime (HTTOC) unit, which works closely with prosecutors around the state to bring human traffickers to justice. Recently, HTTOC helped the Nueces County district attorney’s office secure a 40-year sentence for the trafficker of a 15-year-old victim.
Decision Comes After Requests By Texas For Federal Government To Ensure Refugees Pose No Security Threat
The State of Texas today sent a letter to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) giving official notice of its intention to withdraw from the federal refugee resettlement program should ORR not unconditionally approve Texas’ state plan by September 30th. Today’s letter comes after ORR’s unwillingness to approve Texas’ updated state refugee plan, which would require national security officials to ensure that refugees do not pose a security threat to Texas. As required by ORR, Texas’ withdrawal from the refugee resettlement program will be effective 120 days after the September 30th deadline, on January 31st, 2017.
Governor Greg Abbott issued the following statement on Texas’ intention to withdraw from the refugee resettlement program:
“The federal government’s refugee settlement program is riddled with serious problems that pose a threat to our nation. The Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Director of National Intelligence have repeatedly declared their inability to fully screen refugees from terrorist-based nations. Even with the inability to properly vet refugees from Syria and countries known to be supporters or propagators of terrorism, President Obama is now ineptly proposing a dramatic increase in the number of refugees to be resettled in the U.S.
“Empathy must be balanced with security. Texas has done more than its fair share in aiding refugees, accepting more refugees than any other state between October 2015 and March 2016. While many refugees pose no danger, some pose grave danger, like the Iraqi refugee with ties to ISIS who was arrested earlier this year after he plotted to set off bombs at two malls in Houston.
“Despite multiple requests by the State of Texas, the federal government lacks the capability or the will to distinguish the dangerous from the harmless, and Texas will not be an accomplice to such dereliction of duty to the American people. Therefore, Texas will withdraw from the refugee resettlement program. I strongly urge the federal government to completely overhaul a broken and flawed refugee program that increasingly risks American lives.”
A copy of the letter from Texas’ State Refugee Coordinator can be found here.
Pardon me while I get something off my chest.
Why do Conservatives keep ‘eating our own’? Progressives and Democrats are the ones that benefit from it. Why help the other side?
So, your guy or girl did something you do not like. You can either complain about it or you can use the disappointment for the betterment of the cause.
Texas Conservatives especially!
You’re going to try to unseat the most Conservative Lt. Governor Texas has had? A Democrat or a Progressive would be better? The delegate issue was not Patrick’s doing. It was the RNC. And what about those out of the 155 Texas delegates that didn’t sign a petition? It’s more theirs and the RNC’s fault than it is Patrick’s in my view.
Or a Senator, that knows a particular piece of legislation does not have a prayer this next term, and thus doesn’t have your issue on her top 5? Does that mean the world is coming to an end? I suppose Wendy Davis would be better?
So Cruz didn’t endorse Trump. So what. Reagan did not endorse Ford. You seriously only vote for a Republican candidate based on wh0 Senator Cruz or say Senator Cornyn endorse?
So, some up north do not care about the blatant murder of unborn babies or other social issues. TEXANS DO!
We all have our reasons for being involved. Though, on the most part, those that truly seek to help the cause want a better future for our kids, right?
Progressives are copying what you say to voters. Yes, their promises are lies but the reality is they simply do not care. Whatever they have to do to win. They have no principles nor moral compass. Progressives know that principles and morals matter to you! But, we all know this, right?
So, why aren’t we calling them out for their lies? Why are we getting bogged down on one issue and talking trash about the folks a large number of Conservatives worked their tail off getting into office? Since when did we become ok with splintering and being a 1 issue voter?
Please. Please. Please. STOP EATING YOUR OWN! Focus. Keep your eye on the big picture.
We simply have too much to do to keep getting lost in the weeds.
CORRECTED: Ruling in Favor of School and State Rights, Federal Court Stops Enforcement of Obama Public Schools Bathroom Directive Nationwide
AUSTIN – Late yesterday, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor’s issued a nationwide injunction prohibiting the Obama administration from enforcing its bathroom directives against public schools across the country. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton represents a 13-state coalition in the federal court lawsuit in the Northern District of Texas challenging the Obama administration’s unlawful federal directive that schools allow students to use whatever bathrooms and other intimate facilities they prefer. Attorney General Paxton released the following statement after the court’s ruling in favor of the Texas-led coalition:
“We are pleased that the court ruled against the Obama Administration’s latest illegal federal overreach. This President is attempting to rewrite the laws enacted by the elected representatives of the people, and is threatening to take away federal funding from schools to force them to conform. That cannot be allowed to continue, which is why we took action to protect States and School Districts, who are charged under state law to establish a safe and disciplined environment conducive to student learning.”
The court prevented the federal government from relying on its flawed, unlawful guidance documents to schools and employers in an injunction that is effective nationwide.
To view a copy of the opinion click here:
by JONAH GOLDBERG July 21, 2016
I find it nothing short of hilarious how so many seasoned political journalists (including many of my colleagues — and betters — at Fox) are visibly shocked and appalled by what Cruz did last night. Ever since I was a kid, the political press — left, right and center — has whined that there’s no drama at conventions any more. It’s all scripted. It’s just an infomercial. It’s just such a shame.
Well here comes Ted Cruz providing exactly the sort of drama they yearned for and many of these same voices are aghast at Ted Cruz’s effrontery. The word has gone out across the land: This is an outrage! Not since Caligula appointed his horse to the Roman senate has a political figure showed such contempt for decorum and the solemnity of politics! Last night and this morning, across the news channels, I’ve watched many people I respect -– and a great many more I don’t — talk about what a sore loser Cruz is.
There are two things to say about that. First, many of these people are willingly buying into Manafort’s stagecraft. The Trump team knew about the speech beforehand. The outrage on the floor may have ended up being genuine, but it started out manufactured. I understand that Chris Christie will spew whatever fake outrage his masters instruct, like a trained seal barking for another herring. But I don’t see why so many supposedly seasoned political observers are volunteering for service.
Second, what the hell are people talking about? This is part of the corruption of Trump. He called Ted Cruz a liar every day and in every way for months (it used to be considered a breach in decorum to straight up call an opponent a liar, never mind use it as a nickname). The insults against his wife, the cavalier birtherism, the disgusting JFK-assassination theories about his dad: These things are known. And yet the big conversation of the day is Ted Cruz’s un-sportsmanlike behavior? For real? But forget Cruz for a moment. For over a year, Trump has degraded politics in some of the most vile ways. His respect for the Republican party as the home of conservatism is on par with Napoleon’s respect for churches when he converted them into stables.
But that’s okay because he’s Trump. He’s a “winner.” And now that he’s the nominee, the Smart Set and the Mob is telling me that Cruz is the outrageous violator of norms and good manners. Let’s all look down our noses at the sore loser everybody, as we bend the knee and make every apology possible for the sorest, most ungracious winner in American history. When I watch Trump’s kitchen cabinet of yes men rise from their “Thank you, sir, may I have another?” prostrations just long enough to talk about Cruz’s self-interestedness, I have to laugh. Where’s your shinebox, Governor Christie?
Ted Cruz has never been my favorite politician. And I am not so naïve that I don’t recognize the gamble Cruz is making.
But if the choice is between forgiving Ted Cruz’s obvious political calculation to become the standard bearer of an authentic conservatism or Donald Trump’s lizard-brain narcissism where no principle or cause outranks his own glandular desire to be worshipped like a conqueror atop the carcass of conservatism, I choose Ted.
If the choice is between, say, congratulating the Boy Scoutish obedience of Mike Pence as he sells off bits and pieces of his soul like jewels from a family heirloom just to survive another day or Ted Cruz, who took the tougher road and refused to join the mewling mobs of toadies, apologists, human weathervanes, difference-splitters, and vacillators, I choose Ted.
If the choice is between suspending the rules of decorum, decency, and civility for Donald Trump as he casually badmouths his own country to the New York Times just as he secures the presidential nomination of the Republican party or accepting that we are in dark and uncharted waters and conscience must light the way, I choose Ted.
Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/438159/i-choose-ted
On July 4, 1776, the thirteen colonies claimed their independence from England, an event which eventually led to the formation of the United States. Each year on July 4th, also known as Independence Day, Americans celebrate this historic event.
Conflict between the colonies and England was already a year old when the colonies convened a Continental Congress in Philadelphia in the summer of 1776. In a June 7 session in the Pennsylvania State House (later Independence Hall), Richard Henry Lee of Virginia presented a resolution with the famous words: “Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.”
On July 1, 1776, the Continental Congress reconvened, and on the following day, the Lee Resolution for independence was adopted by 12 of the 13 colonies, New York not voting. Discussions of Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence resulted in some minor changes, but the spirit of the document was unchanged. The process of revision continued through all of July 3 and into the late afternoon of July 4, when the Declaration was officially adopted. Of the 13 colonies, nine voted in favor of the Declaration, two — Pennsylvania and South Carolina — voted No, Delaware was undecided and New York abstained. John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress, signed the Declaration of Independence. It is said that John Hancock’s signed his name “with a great flourish” so England’s “King George can read that without spectacles!”
Today, the original copy of the Declaration is housed in the National Archives in Washington, D.C., and July 4 has been designated a national holiday to commemorate the day the United States laid down its claim to be a free and independent nation.
By Erick Erickson | June 15, 2016
Wow. Up until 2012, Trump supported the assault weapons ban. He only became “pro-second amendment” when he began thinking about running for President. This year he got the NRA endorsement and he just threw them under the bus.
Banning people on the terror watch list and no fly list are terrible ideas because the second amendment is a fundamental right. The Republicans proposed a plan last year killed by Democrats that would trigger a probable cause hearing if someone was flagged, but never endorsed an outright prohibition on American citizens owning guns when it could be a government screw up.
Numerous people have been put on the no fly list, for example, who do not deserve to be there. They include former Senator Ted Kennedy and Fox News contributor Steve Hayes. Not only do people get on the list inappropriately, but it is a difficult process to get off the list.
This is a terrible idea and a flat out cave by Donald Trump. You cannot deny constitutional rights to American citizens because the government is suspicious of you. The IRS has tried with tea party groups. The Department of Homeland Security has labeled returning veterans and conservatives as suspicious. If we did what Donald Trump wants, we could all find ourselves on a watch list to deny us our second amendment rights.