Redistricting Hearings This Week | A Primer

Redistricting Hearings This Week | A Primer

Redistricting Hearings Will Help
Define the 2022 Elections

What’s this redistricting thing all about?

Requirement to Redistrict
The US Constitution calls for reapportionment of congressional seats according to population from a decennial (every 10 years) census (Section 2, Article I).

Reapportionment is the reallocation of the number of seats in the US House to account for population changes. Step 1) The 435 US Congressional House seats are reallocated among the 50 states after each decennial census. Step 2) The boundaries of the individual US Congressional House districts within each state are then redrawn by the state legislature in accordance with state and federal law.

Redistricting is the revision or replacement of existing electoral districts, resulting in new districts with different geographical boundaries. The basic purpose of redistricting every 10 years is to equalize population among electoral districts after the US Census indicates population has increased or decreased over the last decade.

The Texas Constitution requires the legislature to redistrict Texas house and senate seats during its first regular session following publication of the US census (Texas Constitution Section 28, Article III). After each census, State Board of Education seats also must be redistricted to bring them into compliance with the one‐person, one‐vote requirement.

Redistricting – why should I care?

First, this process will impact who represents you in Washington DC – your US Congressman AND who represents you in Austin – your State Senator and State Representative. The redistricting process redraws district boundaries to guarantee equal voter representation through equal, or equivalent, population counts.

Second, each state’s representation in the Electoral College also is subject to change based on census population counts.

The U.S. House of Representatives has a total of 435 seats, distributed among the states according to census population figures. Texas currently has 36 U.S. Representatives in Washington DC and gained two new US Congressional seats after the 2020 census.  Remember, the U.S. Senate has 100 seats — two per state, regardless of population. For Texas, this is Cruz and Cornyn.

The Texas Legislature has a fixed number of seats in both houses — 31 in the Senate and 150 in the House. Texas’ legislative district boundaries change every 10 years, but the total number of lawmakers does not.

ALL Texas State Senators will be on the ballot running in districts with new boundaries.  Based on a drawing, half of the State Senators elected will serve a two-year term; the other half will fill regular four-year terms.

Effective Messaging = Effective Participation!

If you have concerns specific to the make-up of your US Representative, State Senatorial, and/or State Representative Districts, this is the time to speak up.

Many citizens express concern about the consistency of values and interests being represented when it comes to drawing State Senate or State House District boundaries.  This is especially true when it comes to rural vs urban or suburban vs metro – especially when it comes to transportation, water, and the court system.

Develop your talking points to fit your particular geographical or community issues.

For redistricting authorities to be able to consider a given comment, it must include two elements: a location and an instruction. For example, one of the most common kinds of comments is to suggest a city or neighborhood be kept together in a single district. Other examples of feasible instructions include a request to draw a group of smaller cities together in a single district and to use well-known boundaries such as county lines as natural borders between districts.  If your area is a fast-growing suburban area, perhaps you believe your area is best represented separate from a metro area.

Talking Points for Redistricting Hearings

Any new map should fairly represent the voting patterns of Texas.  Texas is getting two new US Congressional seats.  Simply allocating both to Democratic seats based on race is neither Constitutional nor representative of the voting patterns of Texans.   

Legislators should consider future suburban growth when drawing the maps to avoid disproportionate representation (over population) often experienced at the end of a ten-year cycle. Where discretion on population is allowed, such as State House and State Senate Districts, urban and suburban districts should be underpopulated in proportion to the median population, thus taking into account growth expected during the decade.

Communities of interest should be respected.

Testimony Examples

Please use your own words, but the top talking points are covered in these two examples from Montgomery County Republican Women; click here to read.

Senate Special Committee on Redistricting:  When & Where

From September 7-11, 2021, the Senate Special Committee on Redistricting will be taking public testimony to solicit public input on all regions of the state, with a focus on the 2020 Census data and the upcoming legislative redistricting process.

These hearings provide the public an opportunity to share details about their local communities and information they believe relevant to the redistricting process, pursuant to the August 12, 2021 release of detailed redistricting data by the US Census Bureau, which can be seen here: https://www.census.gov/.

The committee will take virtual testimony during these hearings. To view the postings and register to testify, click here. In addition, a link is available to provide the committee with your written testimony into the process.  Once you open this page, click on the Hearing Notice for the day you wish to testify to see the instructions.

Click here to see the instructions for the Tuesday, Sept. 7 hearing.

We hope this information will help you navigate the redistricting issue with a better understanding, while giving you information on how to effectively testify.

Uniting Texas Conservatives to save the Texas we love,

JoAnn Fleming
Executive Director
Grassroots America – We the People PAC

 

Act Fast Now | Punish Dems with Rule Changes

Act Fast Now | Punish Dems with Rule Changes

It’s Time for Republican
State Reps to Remember
Who They Work For –
It Sure as Heck isn’t Donkey State Reps!

Are you ready to take action to convince your State Representative that it’s high time for a different approach to get their “unfinished work” completed for the people of Texas?

We hope so. It is up to you to light the fire under your State Representative.

First, Let’s Catch You Up

The first FAILED Special Legislative Session ends today, Friday, Aug. 6. As you will recall, the state budget was passed by the State Senate and the House on May 26 and 27 – BEFORE the election integrity bill. This opened the door for Democrats to do what was entirely predictable and preventable – they broke quorum, leaving to kill election integrity legislation. We asked Abbott to veto the budget to keep the Dems in Austin.  He didn’t.

Assisted by Republican House Speaker Dade Phelan, the Democrats broke quorum again on July 13, the opening day of the first Special Session.  Only four of 67 Democrat State Reps. were in attendance.  While the Senate passed all the Governor’s priorities, since the House lacked a quorum, those bills die today.

Gov. Abbott announced yesterday a Second Legislative Special Session will begin this Saturday, August 7 at noon.  Yippee.

To see Abbott’s agenda for the second special session, click here. Hint: Abbott still refuses to call for saving kids from sex change mutilation surgeries and chemical treatments – poised to become a growing profitable business in Texas.

What’s this all about anyway and why should I care?

New to all of this?  Need a refresher on the unfinished work of the legislature for the 140 days of the 87th Legislative Session from January 12 through May 31?

Click here for our letter to Governor Abbott about that unfinished business. 251 political influencers from across Texas signed this letter, citing issues important to the life and liberty of Texans.

CALL TO ACTION: Demand House Rule Changes NOW

FACT:  Republican State Reps CAN and SHOULD pass rule changes for this Second Special Session and beyond!  The power of the Speaker must be decentralized, and quorum-busting antics punished.  

Any reluctance or resistance on the part of Republican State Representatives to pass strong rule changes to stop the obstruction of the work of the Texas House and halt impediments to “the consent of the governed,” should be viewed as active participation in the obstruction.

Resistant Republican State Representatives should provide PROOF that any requested changes are prohibited by the Texas Constitution by citing chapter and verse.

Anything short of a constitutional prohibition is a personal preference to continue the status quo of the dysfunctional Texas House where the Republican majority allows Democrats to run the place. And that, my friends, is the equivalent of spitting in your face. If we tolerate that, we deserve it.

Grassroots America’s Proposed Rule Changes:

Rule Change #1: In order to ensure the constitutional responsibilities of the Texas Legislature are not derailed or abandoned, the majority party SHALL enact new rules of the House within 24 hours of quorum-breaking actions.

Rule Change #2: Prohibited is the appointment of any Democrat to a Committee Chair or Vice-Chair position.

Rule Change #3: The act of breaking quorum shall penalize “absent without leave” State Reps by stripping them of chairmanships, vice chairmanships, committee memberships, AND seniority privileges.

Rule Change #4: Three (3) unexcused absences for a State Rep. stops salary, per diem, mileage reimbursement, and staff pay. Upon return, resumed payments to the State Representative – including contributions to state retirement funds – shall be reduced by 50% until the end of the current regular or special session. This reduction constitutes a built-in fine for shirking the responsibility of showing up to fulfil the oath of office.

Rule Change #5: ALL salary, per diem, mileage reimbursements, and staff pay shall revert to paper checks during a special session. All payments SHALL be picked up in-person by State Representatives – no exceptions.

Rule Change #6: During a regular session of the legislature, the House Calendars Committee SHALL – within 14 days – publicly vote to move bills to the House floor. During a special session, the House Calendars Committee SHALL – within 5 days – publicly vote to move bills to the House floor.

YOUR ACTION

TODAY & Saturday – before the special session starts Saturday at noon – call your State Representative’s Austin office and District Office. Email them. Tag them on social media.

Click here if you do not know who represents you.

Click here for contact info for your Texas State Representative. Once there, just click on your Rep’s photo to open the information.

Now, Go Get ‘Em for Liberty’s Sake!

JoAnn Fleming
Executive Director
Grassroots America – We the People PAC

Talking Points – Oppose Big Nanny State SB 10

A very bad bill will be on the Texas Senate floor later today!

You MUST ACT.
NOW!

 

Downward pressure on your State Senators from statewide Republican officials has them signing on to bills that are big Nanny State expansions that will cost all of us plenty.

SB 10 is one of those bills.  It is titled, “Relating to the creation of the Texas Mental Health Care Consortium.”

When EVERY Democrat and EVERY Republican Senator signs on to a low number bill like this, you should understand that means a whole lot of “inside ball” horse-trading has happened.  You can bet that it has NOTHING to do with your liberty or saving you money!

The Road to Hell is paved with Good Intentions.”
A Hand-book of Proverbs, Henry G. Bohn, 1855

Seven reasons we strongly oppose SB 10:

  • SB 10 infringes on the principle of limited government by creating an expensive new $100 million program that is outside the core functions of state government. 
  • SB 10 will jumpstart exponential growth of unelected bureaucracies. Taxpayer-funded universities and the dysfunctional Health & Human Services Commission will have direct authority over millions more of our tax dollars.  We all know that once they are funded to start looking for a problem, they are going to find one.  Conflicts of interest from pharmaceutical companies, special interests, and the universities themselves will be unavoidable under this structure. 
  • SB 10 duplicates what is already being done under existing authority.  Several Texas medical schools already participate in a mental health consortium that meets quarterly.  A new bureaucracy is not necessary to enable further collaboration and coordination of higher education institutions to improve access to mental health care.
  • SB 10 has a high risk of evolving into a “Red Flag” monitoring program with respect to gun ownership.  The 2018 Republican Party of Texas (RPT) Platform Plank #73 opposes red flag monitoring programs that seek to deprive someone of their right to keep and bear arms if their child is identified under mental health programs. 
  • SB 10 has the potential to make mental illness a cottage industry within our schools.  The sale or sharing of any information collected in research or counseling for any commercial purpose is an affront to the constitutional liberties of Texas children and families.  SB 10 clearly opens Pandora’s Box of unintended consequences.
  • SB 10 further endangers privacy of parents and their children.  It will erode parental authority.  Stigma attached to any child misdiagnosed or even inadvertently revealed can severely damage children and their families.  Information gathered through research or treatment should not be included in a student’s permanent file, should not be shared in a database, or released without express informed consent of the patient or guardian of the patient.  Such sensitive information should be delivered to the parent(s) or legal guardians only and destroyed after the student leaves the school or graduates.
  • SB 10 is ripe for political agendas and abuse.  Indeed, political abuse of psychiatric diagnosis is an important tool in stifling political dissent within socialist countries.  Is there any doubt – given today’s headlines – that the Democratic Left intends to push the United States into socialism?  Mental health issues are becoming the “go to” tool of choice in today’s political circles and are being used to attack gun ownership and threaten the ability of veterans with a PTSD diagnosis to retain their Second Amendment rights.    

We believe that using existing laws and programs to support children with special education conditions, including mental health conditions, can enhance childhood mental health care without creating an expensive new liberty-stealing government bureaucracy.

SB 10 is NOT right for Texas!
Texans DO NOT WANT big Nanny-state government.

Nanny State Central Planning mental health care bills are sweeping the nation.  If you don’t believe this is a threatclick here to watch this 7.5 minute video.  It will make your blood boil.

Don’t be fooled by the Fake Toll Road Reform Bill – Kill HB 1951

Don’t be fooled by the Fake Toll Road Reform Bill – Kill HB 1951

Freedom Caucus Member Matt Krause
Files Big Road Lobby Bill

Undercuts Governor Abbott & Defies TX GOP Platform

His FAKE “Toll Payer Protection Act” is Anti-Taxpayer! 

State Rep. Matt Krause, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, just filed a bill that seriously undermines Gov. Greg Abbott’s ‘No toll’ pledge by re-authorizing public private partnership toll roads.  These types of toll roads are opposed by both the Texas Republican and Texas Democratic Party platforms. In a very bizarre flip-flop, Matt Krause is now supporting the very toll road schemes he helped us kill last session.  What happened?
 
Texans for Traffic Relief – an Austin lobbying group front – is headed up by a guy who was once a leader in the Young Conservatives of Texas.  So what? He now shills for contracting and engineering special interests and has declared war on conservative grassroots activists:

The Big Road Lobby doesn’t like the promises made by Gov. Abbott and Lt. Gov. Patrick, nor the tremendous grassroots support these statewide officials have earned because they’ve stood firm on their campaign pledges for “no more toll roads.” 

This FAKE “Toll Payer Protection Act”  claims to take the tolls off a road once it’s paid for, but then allows the Transportation Commission to extend the toll every 10 years into perpetuity (forever in gov’t terms)! That’s not toll cessation – it’s toll extension! 

This is what our Executive Director has to say about HB 1951.  She gets to the heart of the matter by pointing out The Problem our Republican legislators are ignoring as they get all cuddly with the Big Road Lobby:

“We are stunned that Rep. Krause would be convinced by the Big Road Lobby to file a bill that undermines the promises made by Governor Abbott and Lt. Governor Patrick to end toll roads.  Rather than supporting a fix to TxDOT’s underlying structural management problems as cited in the 2017 Sunset Advisory Commission’s Report to the 85th Legislature (page 2), the Big Road Lobby continues to wail that there’s just not enough money.  As long as TxDOT is ‘not meeting expectations andis not prepared to effectively handle the influx of new transportation funding projected to double over the next decade,” nor has it “met key on-time or on-budget measures for several years,’ there can NEVER be enough money poured into the transportation bureaucracy!  We are deeply disappointed in Rep. Krause for filing a fake “toll payer protection” bill that undercuts taxpayers, our Governor, and Lt. Governor in order to appease the road lobby.  We call on him to reverse course, and we call on current House authors and co-authors to remove their support immediately.”  JoAnn Fleming, Executive Director, Grassroots America – We the People PAC and its premier project – the Texas Conservative Grassroots Coalition

Read the complete press release from JoAnn Fleming (Grassroots America), Julie McCarty (NE Tarrant TEA Party) & Terri Hall (TURF) and the detailed bill analysis here.

Legislative Priorities for the 140-Day Siege…

Fellow Grassroots Texans:

Texas-style liberty cannot survive if its leaders are driven by pragmatism, which divorced from principles, drives one’s decisions to be based on political expediency (AKA raw fear of losing the next political race).

The media and a myriad of political voices – on both the left and the right – proclaim conservatism on its last legs – if not completely dead in Texas.  This prognosis fits their self-focused, self-justifying narratives, which declare our demise – based solely on the results of one mid-term election. 

We got their memo; promptly filed it our circular file.

But, since some folks appear to be going all wobbly, we’re reaffirming our principle-based legislative priorities for the current Texas Legislative Session.  

Most of these priorities are ones we’ve talked about EVERY legislative session for the past FIVE sessions (you know, back when Republicans had a super majority in the House and a larger majority in the Senate?). 

Truth be told, Republicans have had trifecta rule down at the Capitol since 2003We suggest they stop listening to consultants and listen to the people who hired them at the ballot box…before they go the way of the Dodo bird and are consulted into extinction.

Grassroots America’s Legislative Priorities, simplified:

1) Pass Constitutional Carry & Kill Red Flag Petition Bills

2) End Taxpayer-Funded Lobbying

3) Pro-Life protections for every phase of human life – conception to natural death

4) Property Tax Reform and Structural Property Tax Relief

5) Religious Freedom, including right of conscience

6) Pass Citizen Transportation Protections  

7) Local Taxpayer Debt Reform

8) Border Security/Immigration Enforcement/Ending Magnets & Protection for Sanctuary Businesses & Industries

9) Pass Election Integrity and Ballot Security Reforms

10)  Save the Alamo & the Cenotaph

11) End Tax Abatements, Wind Energy Subsidies, and Other Taxpayer-funded Corporate Welfare & Make Economic Development Transparent Again

12) Ban red light cameras

13) Grid Security: Sustaining Economic Prosperity through Resilient Energy Communities

 

 

An Unapologetically Conservative Capitalist – Texas Style,

Governor Abbott’s Firearm Safety Plan will Gut Self-Defense Castle Law

Fellow Patriots,
 
We’ve spoken with several conservative legislators the last couple of days.  We are incensed that NONE of the independent gun rights groups were invited to the Abbott table and that our conservative legislators were shut out of the conversation too. When gun control advocates leave the Governor’s meeting high-fiving each other, you know there’s a reason for concern.
 
In short order, we will plan a Coalition effort with conservative legislators to stand against erosion of gun rights and to support laws already on the books that are not being enforced.  We support school safety, but we do not support criminalizing lawful gun-owners in the process.
 
The following is our initial read on Governor Abbott’s May 30, 2018 School and Firearm Safety Action Plan:
 
1) His proposal creates a de facto mandatory storage law and makes every gun owner a potential felon.

2) His proposal makes it a potential felony to store a gun in your automobile.

3) His proposal will make it a potential felony to make firearms accessible to you or your properly-trained teenagers in the case of an emergency.

4) His proposal effectively outlaws unsupervised shooting by anyone under the age of 18, regardless of training or ability.

 
We are also concerned with potential “red flag” laws that could target gun owners on an anonymous tip, allowing judges to temporarily seize an individual’s firearms if that person is considered an imminent threat. If a citizen speaks against a tax increase or a bond election, would local officials consider that citizen an imminent threat?  What about citizens who hold prayer vigils outside abortion clinics or groups who hold Tax Day rallies?  Oh, yes indeed, some officials would call that an imminent threat in a heartbeat! 
 
Other language in the plan approaches criminalization of gun owners if they fail to report a missing firearm in a specified government- mandated time frame. 
 
We will oppose any legislation that makes it harder for citizens to use their firearms for the core lawful purpose of self-defense.
 
Download and read the Abbott Plan by clicking here.
 
Download and read a first analysis by clicking here.  More will come. 
 
Stay tuned.  Our right to self-defense PRE-DATES the Second Amendment.  It is a God-given right – not a right bestowed by the government. We intend to fight to preserve it.  What about you?
 
In Liberty,