Category Archives: Texas Lege

Bigot Day at the Capitol

I guess y’all heard that the bigot circus came to the Capitol today.

Photo Credit: KERA

I’m sure this will be one of many, what, with the Muslim community doing some lobbying at the Capitol today, and Planned Parenthood having theirs soon, and Latinos and immigrant rights groups playing defense against the Republicans; the list goes on. I’m sure each lobbying day will have a coinciding Bigot Day at the Capitol like today’s. The difference from previous years is that Republican legislators (Molly White) seem to be encouraging the hate in obvious ways, instead of staffing it out (but I guess she did that, too).

In June, she took to the social network to pledge that “finding Jihadists in Texas and arresting them” and purging the state “of all Muslim, military training camps including Imam’s who promote, assist and encourage Jihad” would be among her top priorities as a legislator.

In the comments on that post, she warned her followers that “Muslims cannot be trusted no matter how peaceful they appear.”

“If they come here and convert to the American way of life I may be more willing to trust,” she continued. “When they come here to advance their way of life, Islam, then no trust there.”

And here I thought Debbie Riddle would never have competition.

I’m so looking forward to any immigration-related debates and the protestors who will show up. (Sarcasm)

Some say this kind of hate is not representative of Texas; unfortunately, when hate takes the form of Texas public policy, one cannot deny what Texas has become.




Texas Senate Hispanic Caucus Releases Agenda

From the Inbox, thanks to State Senator Jose Rodriguez, Chairman of SHC:



Austin – Leaders of the Senate Hispanic Caucus (SHC) and the Mexican-American Legislative Caucus (MALC), along with grassroots, business, and subject matter leaders from Latino/a communities across Texas, announced the results of a year-long effort to identify policy priorities in five key areas.

“Members of the Latino/a communities across Texas expressed a consensus around the areas of education, health care, economic opportunity, immigration, and civic engagement,” said Senator José Rodríguez, Chairman of the SHC. “As our state’s former demographer, Dr. Steve Murdock, has warned us for years, if we continue to ignore the needs of the Latino and other minority communities in this state, we ignore the future of Texas at our own peril.”

Hundreds of people attended the six SHC regional Latino/a summits, which took place over the course of 2014 in Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, and the Rio Grande Valley.

“It was statewide, and it was non-partisan,” said Senator Garcia, Vice Chair of the SHC. “We have heard our community, and we are taking our marching orders seriously. We are prepared to work hard on both defense and offense. I can promise you we will keep fighting to ensure our voices are heard regardless of what is to come.”

State Rep. Mary Gonzalez, on behalf of MALC, said: “Texas is at a crossroads. We can embrace our opportunity to keep Texas great into the future… This is called a Latino/a agenda, but this is really a Texas agenda.”

“The Latino/a population in the state of Texas is greater than the population of every state in our union with the exception of six. In Texas, there is no such thing as an issue that is not a Latino/a issue. For the first time, you see a unity among Latino/a organizations and elected leaders,” said Joe Cardenas of HOPE, Hispanics Organized for Political Education.

Highlights of the report, which can be found on the Senate Hispanic Caucus’ website include:

  • In the education arena, the Latino/a community overwhelmingly supported fixes to the school finance system, bilingual education programs, greater access to higher education, and ending the use of high stakes standardized testing. “The taskforce talked to 70 organizations involved in education at the federal, state and local levels, as well as to individuals in business and administration, classroom teachers and parents, and grassroots leaders. Once we went through the problems they shared with us, we came up with overarching themes. School finance was number one for everybody,” said Dr. Patricia Lopez, education taskforce co-chair. She added, “The SHC agenda gets at the heart of the problem in public education and higher education.”
  • In the area of health care, the biggest priority was improving access to care.  As Anne Dunkelberg, Associate Director at the Center for Public Policy Priorities and taskforce chair stated, “…there was really an insistence across the board that the first issue of concern was closing the coverage gap in Texas, which essentially leaves over one million uninsured U.S. citizen adults without an option for affordable coverage because they’re excluded from the A.C.A.’s marketplace and excluded by our legislature’s choices from Texas Medicaid. That’s affecting our economy by denying us an estimated $6 to $8 billion a year in additional federal health care revenue and anywhere from 200,000 to 300,000 jobs that Dr. Ray Perryman and Billy Hamilton have estimated would be created if we moved forward with closing that coverage gap.”  There was also strong support for programs and incentives to increase the number of health care providers in border and rural areas. The recommendations included the utilization of promotoras, advanced practice nurses, and physician assistants.
  • On the immigration front, there was passionate support for keeping in-state tuition for Texas Dreamers and opposition to Arizona-style local enforcement of immigration laws. There was also strong support for greater access to driver’s licenses, or permits to a lesser extent, to create safer roads for all. “We’ve worked with educators, administrators, business, and faith-based groups who say we need to capitalize on the investment we’ve made in the people who are and will continue to contribute to our state,” said MALDEF Attorney Celina Moreno, taskforce co-chair.
  • In terms of creating more economic opportunities for working Latino/a families, participants supported reforming predatory lending practices, raising wages, and incentives for college and saving programs.  As Rene Lara with AFL-CIO and taskforce co-chair said, “Texans need a pay raise, and Latino/a workers in Texas need a pay raise. It’s that simple.” Ann Baddour, Senior Policy Analyst at Texas Appleseed and taskforce co-chair, added, “When all of our communities thrive, we all thrive.” In discussing income disparity, Baddour emphasized that “businesses need mentorship and access to capital.”
  • Perhaps most importantly, discussions about civic engagement in the Latino/a community focused on more opportunities for voter registration and less obstacles to voting, including online voter registration, reducing restrictions on deputy volunteer registrars, expanding the acceptable forms of photo identification at the polls, and incorporating civic engagement and registration processes at high schools across the state. Lydia Camarillo, Vice President of Southwest Voter Registration Education Project and taskforce chair, underscored, “Voting is not only an American value, it is a right we must fight for.”

Additional background information:

During the October 2013 Latino Summit in Austin, the Senate Hispanic Caucus (SHC) and the Mexican American Legislative Caucus (MALC) assembled five taskforces in the areas of education, health care, civic engagement, immigration, and economic opportunities. During the latter half of 2014, the SHC hosted six regional summits in Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, and the Rio Grande Valley. At these regional summits, educators, community activists, students, civic leaders, and service providers were given an opportunity to provide feedback on the recommendations made by the SHC taskforces. The discussions were meaningful and added significantly to the development of a Latino/a policy agenda informed by the community.

In-State Tuition Opportunity Under Attack

Right-wing Republicans in the Texas Lege have already filed a couple of bills to virtually put an end to in-state tuition rates for 16,000 undocumented students (DREAMers) who meet certain residency requirements.

HB 360, by Rep. Mark Keough, R-The Woodlands, would require individuals to show proof of citizenship or lawful residency to apply for in-state tuition, in addition to meeting requirements outlined in the DREAM Act.


HB 209, filed by Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, eliminates certain provisions in the act under which individuals could qualify for in-state tuition, including the provision for people who graduated from high school in Texas.

Keough whines that in-state tuition is a “magnet” for immigrants.

I seriously doubt whole families are crossing treacherous territory for the express purpose of paying in-state tuition rather than international student rates. If anything, their first purpose is to establish themselves, get jobs, find housing, feed their families, etc. You know, what people do every day in Texas. Years later, after establishing residency, attending our public schools, and, yes, paying taxes, the least we can do is offer in-state tuition to these hard-working students. It’s a n0-brainer.

Obviously, there’s something else going on with these right-wingers than “saving tax dollars” and “protecting” the locals. The current rhetoric and the anti-immigrant amendment to the DHS budget passed on Wednesday to de-fund President Obama’s executive actions tell us a whole lot more.

They’re just bigots. Or else why would GOPers change their minds on a previously bipartisan measure signed by a GOPer governor?

Thankfully, President Obama has vowed to veto the federal measure if it gets to his desk. And hopefully, enough GOPers will vote against it to kill it in the Senate. (26 GOPers voted against it in the House.) Greg Abbott we’re not so sure about regarding killing the Texas DREAM Act.

Anyway, this is just one of the big fights on immigration and other issues that will surely show the world that Texas will dig itself into an even deeper hole, rather than lift itself based on its diversity and deep talent pool.

Eduardo Maldonado, a 21-year-old University of North Texas psychology major, was one of the dozens of dreamers at the rally.

“I’ve been here 17 years, and I consider myself American and Texan. I grew up here. This is who I am,” Maldonado told the Observer. “I deserve the chance to attend college.”


Mike Collier for Texas Comptroller: Vote for the CPA

Mike Collier is running for Texas Comptroller–the State of Texas’ bean counter. You know when candidates say they are “uniquely” qualified for a position? Well, Mike’s a CPA. While he’ll have a great staff to back him up in Austin, we can be secure in the knowledge that when he is providing financial projections, talking about budgets and other financial stuff, he’ll actually know what he’s talking about. Check out his ad–one of my favorites of the season:

Wendy Davis’ Factual Ad About Greg Abbott

Fact:  Greg Abbott was in accident, sued, and made a bundle.

Fact:  Greg Abbott has ruled or opined against people in similar situations.

Fact:  Greg Abbott is all about limiting lawsuits, except his own.

Here’s a great ad from Wendy Davis on the two-faced nature of Greg Abbott.

GOP Explains Dan Patrick’s No-Show to Univision Debate

Funny stuff on why Patrick didn’t show to Univision debate:

“Sometimes candidates that aren’t fluent in Spanish maybe are concerned about the way that it’s translated, the way that it comes out,” [Bexar Co. GOP Chair Robert] Stovall said. “So it’s probably a good thing he didn’t show up in this case.”

Because there’s only one way to say that immigrants come to the US with “Tuberculosis, Malaria, Polio and Leprosy” or with “third-world diseases,” right, Dan?

Republican Latino outreach – You’re doing it wrong!

On the other hand…”The people need get out and vote because if they don’t vote, we will return to the past.”





Dan Patrick’s Record on Latinos

Thanks to the good folks at the Texas Democratic Party, there’s a list of comments made by Dan Patrick about Latinos and immigrants. Let’s not forget that this would be representative of an Abbott-Patrick administration if Latinos don’t show up at the polls. Is it any surprise that Patrick has refused a debate with Democrat for Lt. Governor Leticia Van de Putte at tonight’s Univision Town Hall?

Another reminder:  Watch a frank discussion about the future of Texas featuring State Senator Leticia Van de Putte on Friday, 9/12 at 6PM. Watch it online here.

Background On Dan Patrick’s History of Disrespect Towards Hispanic Community

Patrick Said Number One Problem We Are Facing Is “Silent Invasion Of The Border.” At a campaign speech in October 2006, Patrick said, “The number one problem we are facing is the silent invasion of the border. We are being overrun.” [The Texas Observer, 2/24/2006]

Patrick Said Texas Faces “Hardened Criminals, Not Illegals Here For A Job…They Threaten Your Family. They Threaten Your Life. They Threaten Your Business. They Threaten Our State.” At a January 2014 forum, Sen. Dan Patrick said the question of border security was tied to violent crimes in the U.S. He said an improved immigration policy was necessary because the state had been facing “hardened criminals we arrested from 2008 to 2012—not illegals who were here for a job … but hardened criminals—141,000 we put in our jails just in four years in Texas. They threaten your family. They threaten your life. They threaten your business. They threaten our state,” he said. [Off the Kuff, 1/21/14]

  • Chairman of Associated Republicans of Texas Said Patrick’s Rhetoric “Sounds Like Thinly Veiled Racism.” In February 2014, New York Times reported Hector De Leon, Chairman of the Associated Republicans of Texas, stated that the issue of illegal immigration “can be addressed by not engaging in rhetoric that sounds like thinly veiled racism.” [New York Times, 2/7/2014]

Patrick Said Immigrants Are Bringing Third World Diseases With Them Such As “Tuberculosis, Malaria, Polio and Leprosy.” In February 2013, The Monitor reported Dan Patrick said of unauthorized immigrants, “‘They are bringing Third World diseases with them.’ Although Patrick cited ‘tuberculosis, malaria, polio and leprosy,’ a state epidemiologist later rebutted his statement and said there was no evidence of that.” [McAllen Monitor, 2/19/2014]

Patrick Painted Immigration In Dire Terms, ‘There Are Terrorists and Drug Runners Coming Into Texas And Sheriffs Are Being Asked To Stop Them With Only .45 On Their Hip And A Shotgun In The Trunk.’ In February 2013, The Monitor reported, “At times in his political career, Patrick has painted illegal immigration in dire terms. ‘There are terrorists and drug runners coming into Texas and the sheriffs in 15 border counties are being asked to stop them with only a .45 on their hip and a shotgun in the trunk,’ he told a Houston business group in 2006, according to the Texas Observer.” [McAllen Monitor, 2/19/2014]

Patrick Said We Are Going To Be Overrun By People Who Have No Sense Of Our History, Our Culture, Or Our Language. Dan Patrick said, “We are going to be overrun by the masses coming here. By 2050 we could have over one hundred million people with no sense of our history, no sense of our culture, no sense of our language…Your property taxes will never go down as long as a fourteen-year-old can show up at the schoolhouse and we pay…And that student is destined to drop out anyway.” [TEXAS MONTHLY, 1/2007]


6PM: Watch Leticia Van de Putte Town Hall Online

From the Inbox:

Catch the Live Stream 9/12 from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. at

letidcSan Antonio, TX — Tonight, Senator Leticia Van de Putte, Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor will keep her commitment to earn every vote and participate in a town hall with a live studio audience in San Antonio. The town hall will be hosted by Univision and Mi Familia Vota with the participation of the San Antonio Express-News, the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the University of Texas at San Antonio.

During the town hall, Leticia will take questions from journalists and voters, and will share her vision for the future with Texas’ spanish-speaking Latino community. Dan Patrick chose not to address the priorities of the statewide Latino community.

Univision Town Hall & Press Availability with Leticia Van de Putte
Who: Leticia Van de Putte
What: Town Hall – Cara a Cara con Leticia Van de Putte
Host: Antonio Guillén, Univision 41 Reporter
Panelists: Ricardo Pimentel, San Antonio Express News; Dr. Katsuo Nishikawa, Trinity University Assistant Professor; and Jesse Degollado, KSAT News Reporter
When: September 12 at 6PM – Livestreamed on
Online: We encourage Texans to follow on Twitter using the hashtags: #caraacara #vivaleticia


Twit of the Day: Dan Patrick


Dan Patrick won’t debate Leticia Van de Putte on Univision, but he’ll attack Latinos on Twitter.


Abbott to Students: You’re Not Invited!

Christina Ayala at the Trib reported today that UT-Dallas students were not invited to Greg Abbott’s press event where he unveiled a lackluster and flawed higher education plan.

UT-Dallas junior Jacob Loehr, a public affairs major, was studying in the Eugene McDermott Library on Tuesday when he saw Abbott and his entourage heading to a small suite in the library.

“Nobody was told that he was going to be on campus,” Loehr said. “Once people noticed he was there, I, along with other students, tried to get in to see the press conference, but we were rejected. They told us it was a private event and we couldn’t get in without an invitation.”

One would figure that he would have hired the Young Conservatives to do an affirmative action bake sale in support of his campaign, right?

Meanwhile, Democrat Wendy Davis has been on a tour of Texas universities this week in which she has openly spoken before student crowds about her higher education plan, as well as other issues, such as Medicaid expansion and a phased-in minimum wage raise to $10.10 per hour (which Abbott does not support and Republicans want abolished).

At UTSA, Davis spoke about Abbott’s work ethic.

“The problem with my opponent, Greg Abbott, isn’t that he doesn’t work hard. It’s that he’s working hard against you.”

Greg Abbott is all about avoiding a political reality–that Republicans have failed Texas and have continually dug a deeper grave for it. It is evident in his record as attorney general and his ads.