U.S. State Department travel warnings for Mexico show violent presence near Texas

April 17, 2015

The four Mexican states closest to the Texas border all have travel warnings in effect, according to a new report from the U.S. State Department.

The states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas are among several states that have been deemed dangerous in some way or another in the Mexico Travel Warning published on Monday.

Traveling to these and several others in Mexico are security threats due to organized crime groups, who have been found responsible for violent crimes such as kidnapping, carjacking, robbery and homicide.

Read More: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local/article/U-S-State-Department-releases-updated-travel-6204573.php

1,000 retired teachers rally for healthcare benefits | KVUE

April 9, 2015

AUSTIN — About 1,000 retired teachers from across the state rallied at the Texas State Capitol on Wednesday, urging legislators to continue funding their retirement benefits with $768 million.

The teachers, all members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association, reminded lawmakers why they should support educators and didn’t mind breaking the rules in the process.

“We do not normally allow applause in the [Senate] gallery,” said Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

It was permitted just this once when Senate Finance Committee Chair Jane Nelson made her announcement to a sea of red.

“Our Senate Finance Committee is recommending an increase to TRS healthcare by $770 million,” said Nelson.

“That would cover every teacher in Texas to continue having a healthcare plan,” said Sandi Lassiter, a retired teacher and principal.

Behind each red shirt was a retired teacher who’s asking legislators to support House Bill 2 and Senate Bill 1993, which would continue funding Teacher Retirement System Care, a retiree health insurance program.

Read More: http://www.kvue.com/story/news/politics/2015/04/08/1000-retired-teachers-rally-for-healthcare-benefits/25484837/

Senate Concurrent Resolution 5

March 24, 2015

WHEREAS, It is the responsibility of the federal government to fully maintain the security of the Texas-Mexico international border; and

WHEREAS, The federal government has neglected its duty to fully maintain the security of the Texas-Mexico international border; and

WHEREAS, An unprotected border facilitates drug smuggling and human trafficking and opens the door to spillover violence from criminal cartels; moreover, the ease with which members of terrorist organizations can enter the country poses a grave threat to homeland security; and

WHEREAS, The federal government’s failure to prevent illegal entry has shifted much of the responsibility to the State of Texas; consequently, budget writers must weigh the costs of border security against the expense of other state services; during the 2012-2013 fiscal biennium, Texas spent $222,068,318 on border security operations, and in the 2014-2015 fiscal biennium, $467,872,482; and

WHEREAS, The executive branch and the United States Congress have consistently delayed meaningful action on border security, forcing Texas to expend significant resources to keep the international border with Mexico secure and placing an undue burden on the state’s taxpayers; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the 84th Legislature of the State of Texas hereby express its dissatisfaction with the federal government’s inadequate efforts to secure the Texas-Mexico international border; and, be it further

RESOLVED, That the 84th Texas Legislature respectfully urge the Congress of the United States to reimburse the State of Texas in the amount of $689,940,800 for bearing the financial burden of the federal government’s responsibility to secure the Texas-Mexico international border from 2012 through 2015; and, be it further

RESOLVED, That the Texas secretary of state forward official copies of this resolution to the president of the United States, to the president of the Senate and to the speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States Congress, and to all the members of the Texas delegation to Congress with the request that this resolution be entered in the Congressional Record as a memorial to the Congress of the United States of
America.

Texas: Lieutenant Governor Patrick and Senate Republicans Take the Lead on Advancing Pro-Second Amendment Legislation in Austin!

March 20, 2015

Source: NRA Institute for Legislative Action

This week, the Texas Senate passed Senate Bill 11, sponsored by state Senator Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury), and Senate Bill 17, sponsored by state Senator Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls). Both bills were passed by a vote of 20 to 11. These landmark “campus carry” and “open carry” bills now move to the Texas House for consideration. The House Committee on Homeland Security & Public Safety held hearings this week on House Bill 937, sponsored by state Representative Allen Fletcher (R-Tomball), and House Bill 910, sponsored by state Representative Larry Phillips, the House companion campus carry and open carry bills, however neither have received formal action yet. Gun control advocates are pulling out all the stops to defeat these important bills in the House, so be on the lookout for important action items from your NRA-ILA in the coming weeks!

Senate Bill 11 removes certain restrictions in state law that prohibit law-abiding adult Concealed Handgun Licensees from protecting themselves on college and university campuses. During the years in which the Legislature has failed to pass campus carry legislation, high-profile shootings have occurred at the University of Texas at Austin and several blocks from the Texas A&M campus in College Station, and a stabbing incident in which more than a dozen people were wounded took place at Lone Star College’s Cy-Fair campus. These locations are currently classified as ‘gun-free zones,’ but in reality, they are simply places where CHLs are rendered defenseless against criminals under current law. The Senate rejected amendments to allow public universities to “opt-out” of the law and to carve out prohibited locations on campus that are not already off-limits to CHLs under state statutes.

Senate Bill 17 removes the requirement that CHLs keep their handguns concealed and gives them the option of carrying them either wholly or partially visible in a belt or shoulder holster. Texas CHLs have earned this personal protection option that forty-three states currently allow after having established a 20-year record of law-abiding, responsible behavior. The Senate rejected amendments to allow localities to “opt out” of any open carry law and requirements that CHLs who choose to carry openly use law enforcement-style retention holsters.

Also this week, the Senate passed Senate Bill 273, sponsored by state Senator Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels), on a 26 to 5 vote. SB 273, if passed by the House, would complete unfinished business from last session and provide much-needed clarity for CHLs in Texas. This important legislation imposes civil fines on state agencies, cities or counties that improperly post 30.06 signs prohibiting CHLs from public property which is not off-limits to them under the Texas Penal Code. It also gives the Attorney General or local district attorney the ability to sue to collect those civil penalties if the offending agency or political subdivision failed to remove the signs after having been notified of a violation. The House companion measure, House Bill 226, sponsored by state Representative Ryan Guillen (D-Rio Grande City), was reported out of the House Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee this week and has been sent to the House Calendars Committee.

Read More: https://www.nraila.org/articles/20150319/texas-lieutenant-governor-patrick-and-senate-republicans-take-the-lead-on-advancing-pro-second-amendment-legislation-in-austin

Border Patrol Agent: We are punished for reporting illegal alien groups of more than 20

March 18, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC — A U.S. Border Patrol agent from the Rio Grande Valley Sector in Texas told lawmakers today that his fellow agents are punished for reporting illegal alien groups of more than 20. “Agents who repeatedly report groups larger than 20 face retribution. Management will either take them out of the field and assign them to processing detainees at the station or assign them to a fixed position in low volume areas as punishment,” Border Patrol agent Chris Cabrera told a Senate panel. “Needless to say Agents got the message and now stay below this 20 person threshold no matter the actual size of the group.”

Cabrera is the vice president of the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) Local 3307, a union for border agents. He testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee on behalf of NBPC.

The border agent told lawmakers that the Obama administration is misleading the American people by manipulating border security data.

Cabrera also told lawmakers that the 6 out of every 10 illegal aliens who attempt to cross the southwest border into the United States are not apprehended.

“Ask any line Agent in the field and he or she will tell you that at best we apprehend 35-40% of the illegal immigrants attempting to cross. This number is even lower for drug smugglers who are much more adept at eluding capture,” he said.

Read More: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/03/17/border-patrol-agent-we-are-punished-for-reporting-illegal-alien-groups-of-more-than-20/

Patrick presses for limit on state spending

March 11, 2015

AUSTIN – Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick threw his weight behind legislation to impose a tighter cap on state spending Tuesday, just one week after proposing to effectively relax the limit by exempting tax relief and debt retirement from its strictures.

“This will make our government more responsive to our citizens, keep us on a budget like they’re on a budget, and still meet the needs that Texans want us to address,” Patrick said as he endorsed a proposed constitutional amendment by Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills.

The seeming contradiction – which Patrick said was no contradiction at all – is another sign of the tension as the push for tax relief by Republican leaders butts heads with a desire to meet long-standing state needs and stem an increasing reliance on debt.

Hancock’s proposal would require the budget cap to be calculated based on population growth plus inflation, a standard backed by Gov. Greg Abbott. The senator suggested that would show more fiscal restraint than the current standard, which uses personal income growth.

Read More: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Patrick-presses-for-limit-on-state-spending-6126854.php

Lt. Governor Patrick Supports Senator Hancock’s Fiscal Reform Legislation

March 10, 2015

AUSTIN – Today, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick announced his support of Senator Kelly Hancock’s filing of Senate Bill 9 (SB 9) and Senate Joint Resolution 2 (SJR 2) with the following statement:

“I am pleased to support Senator Kelly Hancock’s Senate Bill 9 and Senate Joint Resolution 2 to reinforce constitutional spending limits.

“Texans have spoken clearly demanding constitutionally mandated spending limits.

“With this approach as state senator, I repeatedly filed bills to make spending limits more strict during my eight years in the state senate. Year after year my legislation was bottled up in committee.

“As Texas Lt. Governor, I intend to see final passage of this much needed legislation, SB 9 and SJR 2, during this 84th legislative session.

“This comprehensive principle to fiscal discipline is essential to limiting constitutional spending.”

The following legislation was filed today:

-SJR 2 – Hancock: Relating to the constitutional limit on the rate of growth of appropriations.

-SB 9 – Hancock: Proposing a constitutional amendment concerning the limitation on the rate of growth in appropriations

Both SB 9 and SJR 2 would change the way the Legislative Budget Board calculates the state spending limit. By adjusting the formula to population plus inflation, instead of personal income as it is set currently, it will limit state spending from growing faster than the state’s economy.

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March 7: Texas Senate Update from Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick

March 7, 2015

Texas Senate Moves Quickly to Pass Priority Transportation Bills

Screenshot 2015-03-07 at 11.24.05 AM

As promised, the Texas Senate has moved quickly to address your priorities. On the 37th business day of the 84th Legislative Session the Texas Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation that will dramatically improve the roads across Texas.

As we all know, gas tax revenues have dwindled over the last few years and our roads have suffered. At the same time the state has become more dependent on toll roads and debt to build roads. Senate Bill 5 (SB 5), and Senate Joint Resolution 5 (SJR 5), move the state much closer to providing relief to our ailing infrastructure. This will also allow us to refocus on a pay-as-you-go system for our roadways and help end our reliance on debt, toll roads and diversion of existing gas tax revenues.

Congratulations to Senator Robert Nichols, Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, and the Texas Senate for their overwhelming 28-2 vote to approve SJR 5 and SB 5, which will now be considered by members of the Texas House of Representatives.

Screenshot 2015-03-07 at 11.24.23 AMEducation Legislation Announced

I am pleased to support sweeping education reform legislation filed by Education Committee Chair, Senator Larry Taylor, Senator Charles Perry and Senator Kel Seliger.

These bills represent a major first step in addressing priority education reform during this legislative session and there are more bills to follow, including “school choice.”

The legislative bills filed by Sen. Larry Taylor include:

-grading schools like students by providing an “A” through “F” accountability grade for public school campuses (Senate Bill 6),

-providing parental empowerment for removing their children from failing schools quicker; reducing from five years to two years the amount of time parents would have to wait to petition for either closing or converting a failing school to a charter school (Senate Bill 14),

-expanding the amount of online classes or digital learning (Senate Bill 894), and

-creating “opportunity school districts” to oversee the worst performing schools in Texas (Senate Bill 895).

Bills filed by Senator Charles Perry (Senate Bill 13) better prepares high school students for a work career, or college, sooner; and Senator Kel Seliger’s legislation (Senate Bill 893)

Will place a greater emphasis on classroom observation rather than student testing for determining teacher quality.

Texas Lieutenant Governor Official Website Launched

Our official website is up and running and ready to provide you with the very latest information about the work we’re doing during this legislative session.

I invite you to visit often, and to bookmark the website address, at https://www.ltgov.state.tx.us/.

You will be able to access the following:

-regular video updates about the progress we’re making during this 84th legislative session,

-locate easy navigational tools to assist you in checking out our latest press releases, news articles, legislative priorities and social media updates,

-and contact my office directly to share your thoughts and ideas.

Screenshot 2015-03-07 at 11.24.39 AM

God Bless Texas,

DPSignature200W

“Whomever wants to be a leader

among you must be your servant.”

Matthew 20:26 (NLT)

Lt. Governor Patrick Makes a Statement on Misrepresentation by Obama Administration

March 6, 2015

“I applaud today’s quick legal action by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to ask a Federal Judge to grant Discovery to Investigate what appears to be untruths, or outright lies, by the Obama Administration.

“News that tens of thousands of expanded work permits have already been issued to illegal immigrants while President Obama’s executive action, which we believe is illegal, is being contested in the courts is both outrageous and unacceptable. This contradicts the administration’s statements already provided in federal court.

“Texas will not be an idle bystander while this President refuses to follow the rule of law. We remain vigilant and will continue to do so, both in the courts and as we maintain law enforcement on our border.

“I welcome all immigrants to Texas and to the United States of America, but we stand in unison with millions of hard working men and women who agree that entry to our borders must be done legally and in accordance with the law of the land, not political agendas or expediency.

“National security starts with border security and border security begins in Texas.”

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Breitbart: 150K Texas Students Trapped in Over 200 Failing Schools, Says Lt. Governor

March 4, 2015

AUSTIN, Texas – Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick opened a press conference on education by saying that nearly 150,000 students were trapped in over two hundred schools that were failing their students and parents. His remarks came at the beginning of a conference that featured members of the Senate Education Committee and other Texas State Senators who are sponsoring education bills.

“The future of Texas depends on us – reducing the dropout rate, making sure every student is ready for a career or college,” said Governor Patrick at Tuesday’s press conference, which was attended by Breitbart Texas. “Together we are going to lead the Senate and lead the state in continuing to reform education so that every student has the opportunity to live the Texas and American Dream.”

Governor Patrick said Texas must have more than a single shot plan. He said we must have a comprehensive e education reform plan.

School choice was not covered in Tuesday’s press conference. The Lt. Governor said it would be addressed at a later date along with Pre-K proposals.

Read More: http://www.breitbart.com/texas/2015/03/03/hold-texas-education-nearly-150k-students-trapped-in-over-200-failing-schools-lt-gov-says/