IT’S MONDAY! We all wonder about Texas politics. It is rife with misogyny, racism, gerrymandering, voter suppression, and several other issues. Two recent actions in that state make me think that there may be a smidgen of sanity in Texas after all. First, there was a bill before the legislature that would have required the Ten Commandments to be posted in every classroom in the state, and it did not pass. This would have been obviously unconstitutional. Second, it has been reported that there is a move to impeach Ken Paxton, their criminally inclined Attorney General.
The Texas Bill, even though it failed, underscores a streak of religious fanaticism bleeding through from the conservative movement. One state, I’m sorry I can’t remember which one, has passed a bill that allows a transfer of $17,000 in public education funds to a private school if parents are sending their child there. That sounds pretty cool right, well here’s the catch. Private school tuition is frequently twice that, so who does it benefit? Poor and working-class families cannot afford to fund the balance, and what if you have multiple children in school, so they will not opt-in? Wealthy and upper-class families, for whom tuition is more affordable without subsidies, will gladly take the free money.
The fallout from this is sometimes not so obvious. The funding transfer will come directly out of local public-school budgets, causing a reduction in quality of education and may necessitate an increase in taxes to compensate. The removal of students from public education will reduce diversity and will set up a class-based education system that is essentially segregation. Whether that be race-based or economically based, it is not what American Public Education is supposed to be!
Everything the Republican Party is supporting strives to reduce individual rights and enhance corporate rights. When the American working class finally wakes up (would that be considered ‘woke’?) and busts out of the bubble of meaningless emotional issues like, critical race theory, stolen elections, the existence of gay people, etc., and see what Republicans are really doing to personal choice, respect for our system of government, environmental protections, financial and banking regulation, public education, and freedom of choice, expression, and speech, then their fantasy world will disintegrate around them. Greed, hate, and mistrust are no way to run a country.
Closer to home, State Representative Brian Smith’s latest e-newsletter led with the headline, “I Oppose Unconstitutional Gun Control Legislation.” That statement appears to be pandering to the base. HB714 expands background checks. It is hard to see how that infringes on ownership rights. HB1018 is essentially a Red Flag bill. With a court order, firearms could be removed from an individual. However, this would be a temporary situation during a mental health crisis and is a safety issue. Why do Republicans talk about mental health as an important issue, then vote against it when they have an opportunity to do something positive? HB338 places penalties on gun owners who do not report a lost or stolen firearm. Again, this does not restrict ownership and is a safety issue. Alerting the police to a dangerous weapon loose in the community would, I think, be beneficial. HB731 requires firearms to be locked when not in use. This may be inconvenient but is a safety issue and does not infringe on ownership rights. His last statement here was that these laws if passed, would prevent citizens from fighting crime in the state. One must wonder if Mr. Smith is advocating for unsanctioned vigilante justice. Write Brian (below) and let him know we are paying attention (https://repsmith.com/contact).
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