Some links to start your week with, ObamaCare still looming as topic one:
Archive for the ‘Texas’ Category
Texas Attorney General and 2014 Gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott unveiled a number of “We the People” policy initiatives last night at the Northeast Tarrant Tea Party geared toward strengthening the rights of individuals against the power of the state. I was on a teleconference with Abbott Sunday in which he previewed the policies to bloggers with the caveat we’d wait until after the speech to talk about them.
The in-depth document is here.
Taken individually, some may seem like welcome, small-ball approaches to protecting individuals from various avenues of government overreach. Taken together, they constitute an interesting, possibly far-reaching template for guaranteeing individual rights, and give Abbott a serious claim to being not only a small government conservative, but one favoring individual rights over the convenience of big business as well.
The brief overview of Abbott’s proposals:
- Recognize a property right in one’s own DNA.
- Make state agencies, before selling database information, acquire the consent of any individual whose data is to be released.
- Prohibit data resale and anonymous purchasing by third parties.
- Prohibit the use of cross-referencing techniques to identify individuals whose data is used as a larger set of information in an online database.
- Require disclosure by all legislators, statewide elected officials, and gubernatorial appointees of any contract, subcontract, or paid relationship with a public entity, including the state and political subdivisions, held by those individuals or their spouses. Violation of this requirement would be a Class A Misdemeanor.
- Prohibit legislators from voting on legislation from which they may financially benefit by closing loopholes in the Texas Government Code, and providing options for both criminal and civil suit to ensure the enforcement of these provisions.
- Prohibit the use of tax dollars for the purpose of engaging a registered lobbyist to lobby on the behalf of a school district or the board or association thereof.
- Prohibit legislators and statewide elected officials who are licensed by the State Bar of Texas from earning referral fees or receiving any benefit from legal referral. Violation of this requirement would be a Class A Misdemeanor.
- Amend the Texas Election Code to require quarterly reporting of campaign financial data by legislators, statewide elected officials, and political action committees.
- Within the last 30 days before an election, impose a requirement that no funds received from a single person or entity above $5,000 may be expended by a campaign or political action committee until those funds have been reported to the Texas Ethics Commission and posted on the campaign or political action committee website.
- Allow voters in counties and municipalities the option to repeal red light camera ordinances and operations by voter-initiated referendum.
- Allow CHL holders to openly carry handguns.
- Allow CHL holders to carry weapons on campus at institutions of higher education, subject to appropriate limits, at the option of the boards of regents of public institutions of higher education, and the internal decision-making of private institutions of higher education.
- Texas should prohibit the state government from enacting a “healthcare exchange” under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
- Pass a state law providing that state resources shall not be expended and state personnel shall not be employed in enforcing or implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
No Republican is going to object to the anti-ObamaCare plank.
I predict that the red light camera plank will be profoundly popular across party lines.
The Open Carry plank is a bold Second Amendment statement on Abbott’s part, considering he’s not facing any serious primary opposition. It might also lure Wendy Davis into pumping up the volume on her opposition to gun control, which will no doubt endear her to no Texas outside he far left-wing base.
Abbott’s plank on property rights to your own DNA is the plank with the last immediate effect and possibly the most profound long-term consequences.
This is just a few preliminary impressions. I want to give the document another going-over and contemplate the implications.
Time for another roundup of Texas vs. California:
National Review is reporting that evangelical historian David Barton is considering a primary challenge to John Cornyn?
Can he take out Cornyn?
I don’t see it:
Barton strikes me as a figure that would be divisive among Republicans (much less among regular voters) for all the wrong reasons. He also strikes me as the only name floated as a possible Republican challenger to Cornyn who could actually lose to a Democrat in 2014.
Update: A day late and a dollar short. Barton announced yesterday he’s not going to run. D’oh!
ObamaCare is the failure that keeps failing.
Everyone now is clamoring about Affordable Care Act winners and losers. I am one of the losers.
My grievance is not political; all my energies are directed to enjoying life and staying alive, and I have no time for politics. For almost seven years I have fought and survived stage-4 gallbladder cancer, with a five-year survival rate of less than 2% after diagnosis. I am a determined fighter and extremely lucky. But this luck may have just run out: My affordable, lifesaving medical insurance policy has been canceled effective Dec. 31.
My choice is to get coverage through the government health exchange and lose access to my cancer doctors, or pay much more for insurance outside the exchange (the quotes average 40% to 50% more) for the privilege of starting over with an unfamiliar insurance company and impaired benefits.Countless hours searching for non-exchange plans have uncovered nothing that compares well with my existing coverage. But the greatest source of frustration is Covered California, the state’s Affordable Care Act health-insurance exchange and, by some reports, one of the best such exchanges in the country. After four weeks of researching plans on the website, talking directly to government exchange counselors, insurance companies and medical providers, my insurance broker and I are as confused as ever. Time is running out and we still don’t have a clue how to best proceed.
Two things have been essential in my fight to survive stage-4 cancer. The first are doctors and health teams in California and Texas: at the medical center of the University of California, San Diego, and its Moores Cancer Center; Stanford University’s Cancer Institute; and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
The second element essential to my fight is a United Healthcare PPO (preferred provider organization) health-insurance policy.
Since March 2007 United Healthcare has paid $1.2 million to help keep me alive, and it has never once questioned any treatment or procedure recommended by my medical team. The company pays a fair price to the doctors and hospitals, on time, and is responsive to the emergency treatment requirements of late-stage cancer. Its caring people in the claims office have been readily available to talk to me and my providers.
But in January, United Healthcare sent me a letter announcing that they were pulling out of the individual California market.
Just a reminder that tomorrow is election day. Several state constitutional amendments and local bond issues are on the ballot. Now would be a good time to find your voter registration card and look up your polling place.
OK, I’m exaggerating a bit, since the least I could possibly write is nothing. But instead of trying to cover every bill, I’m going to point you at Blue Dot Blues, where the indefatigable MJ Samuelson is covering each amendment, so at least I don’t have to write much. Go over there and keep scrolling. Empower Texas also has a handy scorecard. I may disagree on an amendment or two, but not strongly.
I do want to go ahead and urge a No vote on Proposition 6, which authorizes taking money out of the rainy day fund for various ill-defined water projects. This one is getting a big direct mail push from realtor and business PACs and is favored by Rick Perry, Joe Straus, Gregg Abbott and Wendy Davis. Opposing it is an odd coalition of fiscal conservatives and green party types, including Save Our Springs Austin. Some of what is covered is probably needed, but the rest has the smell of a construction boondoggle/slush fund. And what is needed should be allocated from the general fund, not raiding the rainy day fund.
Arlene Wohlgemuth at TPPF has a bit more.
The election is Tuesday, November 5th.
Republicans still in the Agricultural Commissioner’s race include:
And Kinky Friedman just announced he’s running again as a Democrat.
Slowly but surely I’m digging out from my post-Worldcon backlog, so I hope to do more on various statewide races soon-ish (for certain values of “soon-ish” that work out to “before the end of the year”).
would be making such a declaration…
With budget issues occupying the nation, now’s time yet again to compare Texas’ successful Red State model with California’s failing Blue State model:
We believe the State continues to face eight other significant high-risk issues: the state budget, funding for the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, funding retiree health benefits for state employees, funding for deteriorating infrastructure, ensuring a stable supply of electricity, workforce and succession planning, strengthening emergency preparedness, and providing effective oversight of the State’s information technology.