Hurricane Harvey Relief

Millions of Texans have been devastated by the effects of Hurricane Harvey. Many have lost everything and countless Texans are struggling to salvage what they can of their homes and possessions. The City of Austin and other organizations are welcoming evacuees from the Texas Gulf Coast. Let’s make sure they are well cared for!

Donate Supplies for Recovery

Liberty Coalition for Disaster Relief logo
Clean-up materials are in short supply in the area, but we can help! There are two Austin area locations where you can drop-off supplies that will be delivered on Monday to those in need. Please consider donating supplies to evacuees and those recovering from Hurricane Harvey today! TAG’s Heather Fazio will be personally delivering all donations to Gulf Coast communities. Read more on Facebook here.

Thank you for your leadership, Texas NORML!

Texas NORML logo
Texas NORML hosted the Hurricane Harvey Food Drive at Flamingo Cantina (515 E. 6th Street, Austin, Texas 78701) on Wednesday, September 6 from 8 PM to 10:30 PM.

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  • Written by Michael Cargill

San Marcos Official Ends Fluoridation on Nov. 12th, 2015

The City of San Marcos announced that today, Nov. 12th, industrial waste will no longer be added to the water supply, and that their water will drop to natural fluoride levels within 3 days.

san marcos fluoridation

San Marcos Officially Announces End of Fluoridation


“At the request of the City of San Marcos, the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA), operator of the City of San Marcos Water Treatment Plant (WTP), will terminate the practice of adding fluoride to the drinking water treated at the plant. Fluoride addition is planned to stop Nov. 12 and fluoride levels will drop to natural levels within a few days throughout the City distribution system.”

Our victory extends to Kyle and Buda as well.

“The San Marcos WTP also supplies water to other municipalities and water utilities through its I-35 pipeline. GBRA officials have notified those customers, including Kyle, Buda, Sunfield, Goforth S.U.D., and Monarch of the fluoride changes precipitated by the San Marcos vote.”

Official Announcement: http://www.ci.san-marcos.tx.us/index.aspx?recordid=3739&page=102

From Justin Arman, TAG ED., “I wanted to personally thank the City of San Marcos for working expeditiously to transition to a Clean Water City as well as yielding to this new charter amendment without any funny business. I also wanted to thank Sam Brannon for his watchful eye making sure the City delivered on its requirements.”

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Press Release: Austin Groups Sponsor Film Screening

***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***

What: Austin Groups Sponsor Film Screening to Increase Awareness of Police Militarization

When: Nov. 9th, 2015

Where: 6:30pm Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar 1120 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, Texas 78704

Contact: Justin Arman, Texans for Accountable Government Executive Director – C. 830-730-8065  – E. justin.arman@tagtexas.org

November 9th, 2015

Texans for Accountable Government

 

Austin Groups Sponsor Film Screening to Increase Awareness of Police Militarization

 

Austin, TX: This evening, Texans for Accountable Government (TAG), a multi-partisan Political Action Committee based in Central Texas, has partnered with America’s Future Foundation, to host a sold-out special screening plus Q&A panel of the SXSW award winning film, Peace Officer. This film follows a former law enforcement officer as he investigates the shooting death of his nephew, as well as the growing phenomenon of violent, no-knock SWAT raids and government immunity laws gone amok in the War on Drugs. Law enforcement agencies are routinely armed with military surplus weapons and equipment, and there are federal incentives to use what they are given. All of this has led to a 15,000% increase in SWAT team raids in the United States since the late 1970’s. [from: http://www.peaceofficerfilm.com/about/]

 

Immediately following the screening, there will be a Q&A panel with the filmmakers, Austin City Councilman and Chair of Public Safety Don Zimmerman, Texas ACLU Political Director Matt Simpson, and Lakeway Police Chief Todd Radford, who was the first Chief of Police in Texas to equip his officers with body cameras.

 

“We sent special invites to APD, Austin City Council, elected officials, think tanks, policy makers, activists, and community leaders, to this event. Film has the ability to bring us together, put our political differences aside, and share a common experience,” Justin Arman, Exec. Dir. of Texans for Accountable Government. Arman continues, “There isn’t a day without a victim of police brutality – whether accidental or not – and this problem has grown to a point where systemic reform is necessary. With an understanding of the history of law enforcement, and a genuine desire to examine our present condition, we can start asking the right questions and have the courage to arrive at conclusions that may contradict decades old policy.”

 

“With a video surfacing on Nov. 6th of Austin Police Officers beating and arresting alleged jaywalkers, this film screening could not be more timely.  We hope to foster conversation between Austin residents and law enforcement so that we can all work together for a safer community, instead of pitting police officers against peaceful Austinites.” Said TAG Steering Committee member, Carly Rose Jackson.

 

Peace Officer will be shown at 6:30 p.m. at Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar.

 

https://drafthouse.com/austin/show/tag-aff-present-peace-officer

 

   ###

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TAG and AFF Host Special Screening of ‘Peace Officer’

Texans for Accountable Government and America’s Future Foundation – Austin Chapter, and Liberty on the Rocks- Austin cordially invite you to a special screening of “Peace Officer”, winner of the Grand Jury Award at SXSW 2015.

When: Monday Nov. 9th at 7:00 pm at the Alamo Drafthouse on Lamar First 50 people get free drink tickets! Doors open at 6:00 pm!

Immediately following the movie, we will host a 30 minute panel and Q+A with local officials, law enforcement and policy analysts and the “Peace Officer” filmmakers Scott Christopherson and Brad Barber.

Please purchase your tickets here: https://drafthouse.com/austin/show/tag-aff-present-peace-officer

Texans for Accountable Government Peace Officer

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We defeated the Austin Courthouse Bond

TAG worked with the Travis County Tax Payers Union to defeat the courthouse bond, with a margin of 1064 votes. Coverage here.

Congrats to Councilman Zimmerman, Bill Worsham, Leland Freeman, and the rest of the TAG team that fought hard against this.

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Ending fluoridation: Another great victory.

TAG fought hard with Fluoride Free San Marcos to end fluoridation through the Prop 1 ballot measure. We stood victorious with 61% in favor of stopping this irrational policy.

TAG stands against fluoridation on ethical grounds, “Taking an ethical stance against fluoridation is not a judgment on the efficacy of the practice itself, rather it’s a consideration of whether government should have rights that medical doctors don’t have, and whether medical treatment should be the role government at all.

“It is compatible to believe in the benefits of fluoride while being against the fluoridation of public drinking water, on the grounds that it is always an individual’s right to choose his medication. Fluoridation violates this natural right.” – Justin Arman, TAG’s Exec Dir.

ending fluoridation Texans for accountable government

Victory Party Nov. 3rd

Here’s press coverage from this great victory:

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  • Written by TAG Texas

Ethical Argument Against Fluoridation.

Texans for Accountable Government takes an ethical stance against fluoridation.

Taking an ethical stance against fluoridation is not a judgment on the efficacy of the practice itself, rather it’s a consideration of whether government should have rights that medical doctors don’t have, and whether medical treatment should be the role government at all.

It is compatible to believe in the benefits of fluoride while being against the fluoridation of public drinking water, on the grounds that it is always an individual’s right to choose his medication. Fluoridation violates this natural right.

Currently, city governments are medicating residents without their consent – if medical doctors treated patients without consent, they would lose their license and potentially face imprisonment. Outside the limited role of government to protect life, liberty, and property – what is wrong for individuals, ought to be considered bad policy for government.

It is irrational to prescribe the same dose of medication for a baby as one would for a 250lb man; or the same dose to the elderly with compromised immune systems as athletes in their prime. Fluoridation is a one-size-fits-all prescription which cannot account for the vast diversity of any given population.

If one were in favor of giving government power to mass medicate their residents, then we ask where the line may be drawn between the opinions of politicians and their lobbyists, and conclusive evidence that will show benefits for every member of a population at all times?

Politicians have used tactics to side step dealing with medical ethics by calling fluoride an essential nutrient rather than a medicine:

  • Fluoride and fluoridation is intended to prevent tooth decay. Medicine is intended to prevent and treat disease – the CDC defines tooth decay as a chronic disease. It cannot be refuted that fluoride is a medicine, and that fluoridation is mass-medicating.
  • If an animal or person is deprived of an essential nutrient, death or disease follows. There is no conclusive evidence that fluoride is a nutrient, rather fluoride is an ostensible intervention to fix a problem human biology couldn’t handle on its own.

When dealing with issues of serious complexity, it is always best to turn inward and use the gift of reason. Starting from the premise of self-ownership, a simple string of inferences will guide you through the fog.

Sincerely,

Justin Arman,
Executive Director
Texans for Accountable Government

Nov. 2nd 2015 – Fluoride Free San Marcos Campaign.

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Citizens Commission on Human Rights Honors TAG

On September 26th, Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) held their annual dinner and fundraiser. TAG was recognized for our success during the legislative session and for participation in the coalition which supported Governor Abbott in his veto of SB359.

Justin Arman, TAG’s Executive Director, testified with Lee Spiller, policy director for CCHR, before the senate during the 84th Legislature. The two of them rallied their constituents and fought hard to educate citizens and law makers alike; but the force of the lobby and sheer money behind this bill was too great to conquer. However, Rule of Law and Governor Abbott’s constitutional knowledge prevailed; the coalition provided a detailed veto-request letter with documentation on background, the contradictory nature of the bill, and the extra-constitutionality of the bill itself. The veto was a success because we all did our part: the phone calls, the letter, the persistence, and the diversity of groups that joined together to get this done.

Justin Arman Texans for Accountable Government CCHR Award

Justin Arman receiving award on behalf of Texans for Accountable Government

This is what Justin Arman had to say about the CCHR event, “What a wonderful evening with Citizens Commission on Human Rights. Texans for Accountable Government was recognized for the work we did with CCHR and our coalition partners. I’m very inspired by this organization and it was an honor being able to speak on behalf of TAG to such a solid group of freedom fighters.”

Justin Arman Texans for Accountable Govenrment CCHR

Justin Arman spoke to CCHR about the power of single issue coalitions, looking within and employing reason to find nonviolent answers to complex issues, and leading a purpose driven life. He thanked Lee Spiller for his guidance during the legislative session.

In a facebook status update, Lee Spiller wrote, “Such a pleasure to share the stage last night with Justin Arman and our other honorees. It has been a great experience watching Justin come into his own as ED of Texans for Accountable Government. Heather Invictus Fazio cannot be an easy act to follow. We will post more pictures as they become available. In the mean time, we count ourselves lucky to have friends who truly exemplify the concept of treating others the way one would want to be treated. At root, that’s the way Liberty is supposed to work.”

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Jessica Arman Testimony – HB507 Decriminalizing Marijuana

Watch video here: http://tlchouse.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=37&clip_id=10586&entrytime=16888

Texans for Accountable Government

Testimony of Jessica Arman, Steering Committee of Texans for Accountable Government

IN SUPPORT of HB 507,

Before the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on April 8th, 2015

Thank you Chairman and members of this committee, my name is Jessica Arman and I’m testifying today in strong support of HB 507 and representing Texans for Accountable Government. More importantly, though, I am here on behalf of my family and myself as a Texas business owner, wife, and mother of four wonderful children – one of which is due very soon. It was quite difficult making my way here, so please bare with me.

I’ve come to the Capitol today because this issue matters dearly to me, and I see how much harm current marijuana laws have on good people. My heart hurts when I think of the countless young people whose lives have been derailed or ruined because of our state’s unfair and harsh penalties for marijuana possession.

I’ve never found logic in these policies, which say something like, “If someone uses a substance, let’s throw them in a cage and ruin their future.” Where in our private lives would we condemn someone to a life of misery for making choices that we don’t agree with but that don’t actually harm anyone else.

I do not use marijuana, but I am opposed to jailing those who do.

It does not make sense to arrest people for marijuana possession. We know that it’s safer than alcohol and that the real danger exists with the enforcement of the law — not using the plant.

My husband and I teach our children that maturity means that your actions lineup with your needs, and that just about anything can be harmful when you don’t exercise moderation. I believe it is the role of the parent to cultivate an open and loving relationship with their children, and to educate them, both through communication and by setting a good example, to become autonomous adults that have the ability to make responsible choices. I don’t want my children to smoke cigarettes and these are sold on every corner, however I would never defer my parental responsibilities to the State – to outlaw cigarettes – because I know that if I don’t do my job, my children will find them regardless.

My extent of participating in activism is only where I think I can make things better for my community and for my children, including the baby growing inside of me. HB 507 is a bill that honors the role of family and restores the greatest virtues espoused by the framers of this nation: liberty, self-determination, and personal responsibility.

Our family motto is “Make the world a better place because you’re in it.” This is what we live by, and I can honestly say that Representative Moody and the supporters of this bill, are trying to do just that.

Thank you for your consideration.

 

 

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Justin Arman Testimony – HB 2263 Require Warrant for Geolocation

In Summary
On the digital privacy front, Texans for Accountable Government stood with the Texas Electronic Privacy Coalition, to testify in support of HB2263, which would require local and state law enforcement to get a probable cause warrant for cell phone geo-location tracking. The first four testimonies were from our coalition, the second four included DPS and law enforcement officers. It’s completely worth watching them attempt to make a case against this bill. At the end of their testimony, Matt Simpson, of the ACLU, essentially cleaned up and demonstrated why their concerns were essentially irrelevant.

>> Watch video click here: http://tlchouse.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=37&clip_id=10586&entrytime=7418

 

Texans for Accountable Government

Testimony of Justin Arman, Ex. Dir. of Texans for Accountable Government

IN SUPPORT of HB 2263,

Before the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on April 8th, 2015

Texans for Accountable Government supports HB2263 because this bill encompasses many of the principles we stand for — limited government, accountability, transparency, and protection from government overreach. We cannot have liberty without privacy. Our privacy is sacred, and we wanted to extend our gratitude to Representative Hughes for authoring this bill and goodwill to the several members of this committee for co-authoring. I can tell you truly care about protecting your constituents.

Currently the law offers no protections for people with wireless devices who are being subjected to surveillance technology without their knowledge. The egregious surveillance programs on the federal level are common knowledge now, however there is something this legislature can do to protect its citizens at home.  

We strongly believe the law must be updated to include new technologies so people’s privacy rights — their Fourth Amendment rights — are protected.  We must have some kind of open and transparent oversight involved; a warrant with probable cause issued by a judge is an important and necessary standard that must be applied to new technologies. The reporting requirements in this bill also offers transparency and accountability.

The framers knew the sanctity of privacy, however they could not have conceived of a digital age.

HB2263 is a rational and much needed solution.

With gratitude for your consideration.

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Justin Arman Testimony – HB 2165 Repeal Marijuana Prohibition

>> Click here for Video: http://tlchouse.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=37&clip_id=10586&entrytime=16888

 

Texans for Accountable Government

Testimony of Justin Arman, Ex. Dir. of Texans for Accountable Government

IN SUPPORT of HB 2165,

Before the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on April 8th, 2015

Thank you Chairman and members of this committee, my name is Justin Arman and I’m the Executive Director of Texans for Accountable Government. We strongly support Representative Simpson’s bill which offers the greatest correction to one of the biggest mistakes the State of Texas has ever made.

The facts show that Texas is leading the charge with seventy-four thousand arrests in Texas per year for simple possession, millions of dollars of wasted resources, and countless lives moved into the prison industrial complex; you all know just how bad the War on Drugs really is. And simple logic tells us that for every dollar spent throwing nonviolent people behind bars, a dollar is diverted from defending people against actual violence.

The market demand for marijuana will exist whether it is prohibited or not, and when the State of Texas outlawed this plant, it pushed this market underground. Law abiding citizens and business owners will not do black-market business because there is no means for arbitration, so the market – which is there regardless of whether or not it’s legal – will attract cartels, muscle, and the worst of society to meet the demand.

In the time I’ve been addressing this committee, two Americans have been arrested for marijuana possession. In 2011, marijuana possession arrests exceeded arrests for all violent crimes combined.[1] And by the end of today, Texas will have spent $725,000 on the incarceration of nonviolent drug offenders.[2]

As there is now more science backing benefits of this plant than the majority of supplements and even FDA approved drugs, and with the culture changing so quickly, eventually Texas will completely liberate this plant, as well as end the War On Drugs, which is really a War On Us, a War On Texans.

We would like to extend our utmost gratitude to Representative Simpson for holding the torch for liberty even when many still think he’s a bit ahead of his time. God surely did not make a mistake that civil government needs to fix, when He created cannabis.[3]


[1] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/17/marijuana-possession-arrests_n_2490340.html

[2] Data from Martin, an emeritus professor at Rice and a senior fellow at the Baker Institute for Public Policy – http://www.houstonchronicle.com/local/gray-matters/article/Preaching-past-the-choir-6182391.php

[3] http://tribtalk.org/2015/03/02/the-christian-case-for-drug-law-reform/

 

 

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Alongside Night Preview @ Next TAG Meeting May 26th

Alongside Night is a science fiction, action novel first published in the 70’s far ahead of its time.

Michael, a local promoter, will be discussing how you can get involved promoting Alongside Night: The Movie at our next TAG Meeting on May 26th.

Alongside Night is the story of the final economic collapse of the United States as seen through the eyes of 16-year-old Elliot Vreeland, searching for his missing Nobel-laureate-economist father, and the mysterious teenage “Lorimer” whom Elliot meets in a black-market underground, whose own father might be the reason Elliot’s father is missing.

Event May 21st – Fight Against Red Light Cameras with Campaign For Liberty

Dear Texas TAG Activist,

You’ve heard about it, and now the time has come…

Campaign For Liberty is leading the fight against red light cameras both in Texas and in other states.  Now we bring the fight to central Texas.

The kickoff meeting to organize this fight will be held on Wednesday, May 21st, at 6:30 p.m.  We’ll meet @ Denny’s in Round Rock.  The address is 2700 IH 35 North, Round Rock, TX  78681.  Here is a map: http://tinyurl.com/lpaa4yr.

In this meeting, two main items are on the agenda; first, learn about a tool that helps determine which political fights are most likely to win, and second, Byron Schirmbeck (Campaign For Liberty’s Texas state coordinator) will lay out how and why to fight against red light cameras in Round Rock and across Texas.  Byron is a seasoned political operative who has successfully fought against red light cameras elsewhere in the Lone Star State.  His presentation will be a rare opportunity to learn how other cities turned back this threat to liberty.

If grass roots activists like you don’t take action, the well-connected and powerful will win by default.  Now is the time to do something positive and organized.

Come to the meeting on May 21st and find out how you can get involved in making a significant impact in central Texas politics.

If you have any questions regarding the meeting, please feel free to contact me at Texas@CampaignForLiberty.com or my personal email listed below.

I look forward to seeing you.

Please RSVP by replying to this message, and remember to bring a friend.

See you there!

In Liberty,

 

 

Allen Logue

Williamson County Coordinator

Campaign for Liberty

allenwlogue@gmail.com

campaignforliberty.org

P.S. If you find red light cameras a threat to liberty as I do, come join us May 21st and learn how we can get rid of them.

TAG Action Alert – Voter’s Rights Debate January 23rd

Whether you personally choose to vote, or don’t, virtually everyone can agree that the guaranteed right to vote without the threat of force, fraud or coercion is and must be the bedrock of any functional democracy. This right is guaranteed in the United States Constitution, further clarified in the 15th and 19th amendments (which guarantee the right to anyone regardless of race or sex, respectively) and again more strongly and explicitly protected by the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Recall that the Voting Rights Act was enacted as a response to the rampant and blatant use of intimidation, poll tests and poll taxes, and other forms of discrimination to deny blacks and other minorities the vote during the heyday of segregation in the south (and elsewhere).

A recent Supreme Court Ruling in the case of Shelby County v. Holder (June 25, 2013) struck down what is essentially the heart of the Voting Rights Act. Immediately following the decision, Texas announced that a pending Voter ID law would go into effect without further delay and that redistricting maps would no longer be subject to federal oversight or approval. The federal government, in turn, sued the state of Texas and several other states challenging these new rules. Once again, the country is embroiled in a heated debate and legal battle over state’s rights versus federal power, protection of minorities and other groups that could be denied reasonable access to the ballot box or to the electoral process, and the future of American democracy.

Given the importance of this issue to upcoming elections, including and especially the 2014 midterms and perhaps even the 2016 presidential election, The John Ben Shepperd Public Leadership Institute (University of Texas of the Permian Basin) has chosen to showcase this topic in the opening event of their upcoming 2014 Texas Leadership Forum in Austin later this week. A multi-partisan panel including four members of the Texas House of Representatives and one Libertarian county Chair will face off over the question of “Voting Process and Progress, What’s Right for Texas?”

Hays County Libertarian Party Chairman Kurt Hildebrand was invited by the JBS Institute to represent a seldom heard, and uniquely libertarian, position on the issue of voting rights. While the Democrat and Republic positions on topics such as voter ID laws and redistricting have been debated at great lengths in the media and legislatures through the years, the JBS Institute has taken a bold step in creating the environment for a true multi-partisan debate including ideas from the third major political party as well. Liberty lovers would be encouraged to attend the event and show their support for this type of inclusion in the public political discourse.

The event is Thursday, January 23rd, 7:00pm at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center, 1900 University Avenue, Austin, TX, Amphitheater 204. Tickets are available for $25 and can be found at http://votingrightstexas.eventbrite.com.

TAG’s 5th Anniversary Party!

 

>> RSVP via Facebook Event Page

Cake, Drinks, Food! Raffles, Auctions, and LIVE Bands!

We will be giving out awards to our People’s Champion and Activist of the Year! Also thanking our awesome volunteers and donors.

The election for the 2013-2014 Steering Committee.

Come out and celebrate a BIG FIVE YEARS of TAG!

This party is our largest fundraising event! Please come out!

If you would like to donate an item for silent auction please contact Katie at 318-617-8292 cell/text ok. or at contact@tagtexas.org

Thanks!

CALL TO ACTION! Mental Health Veto Editorial

Mental Health Veto Editorial
Texas Legislature Parties Like It’s 1938
Inadvertently Passes Modern Nuremberg Laws

VETO SB 460 and HB 3793!!!

In the final days of the 83rd Texas Legislature, mental health advocates used a last minute amendment process to amend SB 460 and HB 3793 with a set of mental health requirements that will potentially circumvent parental rights, drastically increase labeling and drugging of children, and lead to new gun control measures in Texas.

In a nutshell, the 1938 Nuremberg laws of Nazi Germany redefined a specific group of people, then outlined the legal way to systematically take their rights away. Most legislators don’t realize what they have done and their ignorance of history and arrogance has led them to pass prolific mental health legislation that will be used to take certain rights away from EVERY citizen!

Under Nuremberg laws, Jews were officially defined and identified. Much like people today being labeled with mental disorders (defined and identified through “early mental health intervention and prevention” schemes), Jews could be legally segregated socially, politically, and economically from other German citizens and then subjected to a separate set of laws that only applied to them. Mental health advocates have been working overtime to create a separate set of laws that apply to citizens deemed “mentally ill.” The Nuremberg laws eventually led to Jews being subjected to further humiliation and “easy detection” by forcing them to sew a yellow star onto their clothing as well as the “J” mark on their documentation papers.

Mental Health labeling could be the next “yellow star” applied to any citizen if they are labeled “mentally ill,” regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, or socio-economic status. Unlike the yellow star during the Holocaust, this yellow star knows no boundaries. With modern technology, the government no longer needs people to sew stars on their clothing – mental health registries and electronic medical “passports” as they are sometimes called – will suffice. In the future, laws could be passed to denote which disorder a person is labeled with on their driver’s license, for instance. A police officer or mental health deputy (yes these already exist) could easily see what “yellow star” a person has by looking at their license or passport – “D” for depression, “S” for schizophrenia, “B” for bipolar “P” for post-traumatic stress disorder and so on – so that the officer can quickly assess the “risk of harm” a person might pose to themselves or others and then apply the separate mental health law to them.

In the wake of several school shootings, there is already national talk of mental health registries in order to limit the supposedly mentally ill from purchasing guns. Mental health commitment procedures already exist and are being expanded. With the passing of this new set of mental health laws in Texas, the door to mental health screening, citizen tracking, and constitutional abuses was thrown wide open – all under the guise of protecting and helping the innocent.

Specifically, SB 460 requires mental health training for ALL teachers and school personnel and expands the power of local school health advisory boards (SHACs) to include mental health curriculum in regular health classes without permission from parents. The boards will also recommend mental health policies, procedures, and strategies to school districts. Besides being an unfunded mandate to schools and parents being left out of the process while their children are indoctrinated with mental health information provided and funded by pharmaceutical companies, there is also a provision in SB 460 that allows a huge conflict of interest to be added to the boards.

Local mental health providers and substance abuse treatment providers who have a financial interest in getting kids into their treatment programs will be added to the school health advisory boards. This conflict of interest allows drug companies who fund the local treatment providers to have a direct line to children in public schools! And by teaching children the “signs and symptoms” of mental health problems in their health classes, children will be taught to “self-identify” their own mental health problems – circumventing the important parental consent to screening step that exists to protect children from harm and keeps parents in control.

HB 3793 was heavily amended to include mental health legislation that was not passed out of the public health committee and allow teachers to complete a program called “mental health first aid” as part of their continuing education. This program is being touted nationally as part of President Obama’s gun control measures in the wake of the Connecticut incident. In January, Connecticut introduced its own mental health screening measure for all children, SB 374, that would require ALL school children, including home schooled children, to receive comprehensive behavioral health assessments – public school children at grades 6, 8, 10, and 12 and each home-schooled child at ages 12, 14, and 17. If this law passes, verification forms would be sent to the State Board of Education to verify that each child received the assessment! Let the tracking begin . . .

One of the goals of Texas SB 3793 is to “maximize the number of children who have direct contact with an individual who has successfully completed a mental health first aid training program” and the local mental health authority is required to keep track of the number of employees and contractors of the authority, educators, and non-educators trained in the program. Mental health first aid goes beyond the walls of intervening with people a person knows. It actually trains people to be the mental health “stasi” and intervene with total strangers concerning their mental health! An example was given in public testimony about a woman questioning the mental health of a complete stranger because she she appeared distressed and was surrounded by books about depression – thus the need in the bill to dismiss any liability for a person “who in good faith attempts to assist an individual experiencing a mental health crisis.”

Both Texas bills are filled with overbearing, overstepping, and overprotecting mental health stipulations that will change the face of the Texas mental health forever and lead to more labeling, drugging, and profits for drug companies.

Here is a sample of the kinds of limitations and separate laws people labeled “mentally ill” are currently facing:

Labeled CHILDREN:
• Forced drugging
• Forced psychiatric hospitalization
• Forced inpatient or outpatient medication monitoring and compliance
• Child Protective Services involvement if a parent disagrees with diagnosis or treatment of their child (medical neglect)
• Termination of their own parental rights when they grow up due to their own “long-term” mental illness
• Deemed in need of special education by schools
• Barred from military service

Labeled ADULTS:
• Gun control
• Mental health registries
• Forced commitment laws
• Forced outpatient medication compliance and monitoring
• Forced inpatient hospital commitment and drugging
• Termination of parental rights due to “long-term” mental illness
• Child Protective Services involvement if a parent disagrees with diagnosis or treatment of their child (medical neglect)

Ironically, the NRA is leading the charge against mentally labeled people in a very “We aren’t Jews” kind of way and pushing for more mental health laws and restrictions in an effort to avert gun control. But their misguided effort will lead to MORE people prohibited from owning guns, not less! Stick up for the currently labeled people before it’s too late and you or your children recieve the label too!

Citizens have the power NOW to stop this dangerous and expansive mental health legislation that has gotten out of hand and will effect ALL people in some way in the future, whether or not they are labeled yet. Don’t let the government force a yellow star on you, your children, your friends, your family members, or strangers . . .

Call Governor Perry’s office and DEMAND a veto of SB 460 and HB 3793. CALL his Opinion Line 512-463-1782 and tell him what you think of their yellow star!

Support Smart Meter Opt-Out in the Texas Senate

From Dr. Laura Pressley:

Grassroots help needed in sending emails to all the Texas State Senators to support a bill to be heard on the Floor this week. SB241 will provide every Texan with the right to Opt Out and not have an automated electric meter (which emits high RF and Microwave radiation) on their home.

Please consider doing a copy and paste of all the State Senators emails (below) and request them to support SB241. See sample note below….

Please include your address, too. Thanks for considering sending emails! 🙂

———————————————————————————————————————-

Dear Senator,

Please support Texas Senator Carona’s Smart Meter Opt Out Bill, SB241.

There are serious health concerns with regard to the use of advanced, automated, radiative electric meters vs the standard analog non-radiative meters. See Bioinitiative.org. The advanced meters emit high frequency RF and Microwave radiation and many children and adults who are medically sensitive experience headaches, sleeplessness, and electrical skin sensations when exposed in their homes.

Please allow Texans the choice and right to NOT be irradiated in their own homes and do not charge extra punitive fees for opting out. Additional fees would put an unfair burden on those of low income and would potentially prevent them out of opting out.

We need a bill for Texans to Opt Out of Smart Meters. Please support SB241.

Regards,
———————————————————————————————————————-

Senator Emails:
Brian.Birdwell@senate.state.tx.us
donna.campbell@senate.state.tx.us
john.carona@senate.state.tx.us
wendy.davis@senate.state.tx.us
robert.deuell@senate.state.tx.us
robert.duncan@senate.state.tx.us
rodney.ellis@senate.state.tx.us
kevin.eltife@senate.state.tx.us
craig.estes@senate.state.tx.us
troy.fraser@senate.state.tx.us
kelly.hancock@senate.state.tx.us
glenn.hegar@senate.state.tx.us
juan.hinojosa@senate.state.tx.us
joan.huffman@senate.state.tx.us
eddie.lucio@senate.state.tx.us
jane.nelson@senate.state.tx.us
robert.nichols@senate.state.tx.us
dan.patrick@senate.state.tx.us
ken.paxton@senate.state.tx.us
jose.rodriguez@senate.state.tx.us
Charles.schwertner@senate.state.tx.us
kel.seliger@senate.state.tx.us
Larry.Taylor@senate.state.tx.us
carlos.uresti@senate.state.tx.us
leticia.vandeputte@senate.state.tx.us
kirk.watson@senate.state.tx.us
Royce.west@senate.state.tx.us
john.whitmire@senate.state.tx.us
tommy.williams@senate.state.tx.us
Judith.zaffirini@senate.state.tx.us

Comments from Senator Carona, author of the bill:

To all:
On Thursday, May 2, the Senate Committee on Business and Commerce reconsidered the vote on SB 241. SB 241 allows consumers to opt-out of installation of advanced meters, or “smart meters,” by electric utilities. SB 241 passed the Committee with a vote of 5-2, and it will soon be eligible for consideration by the full Senate. I appreciate the grassroots effort supporting passage of this bill out of committee and want to thank all of you who spent your personal time working toward that goal. Advancing the bill further will be an uphill battle, but I look forward to continuing to move SB 241 through the legislative process.

State Senator John Carona

ACTION ALERT — STOP REAL ID INITIATIVE IN TEXAS

Since its inception in 2005, the federal Real ID Act has been unpopular in Texas and throughout the country for its privacy rights violations and overreaching assumed federal authority over the states to create a national ID.   Texas House Bill 3199 aims to bring Texas closer to compliance with the REAL ID Act, something none of us want to see happen.

HB3199 directs Texas DPS to collect personal information and biometric data of certain groups of Texans’ at the time of drivers license application, and to maintain this data in an electronic database.  The bill also directs Texas DPS to embed an “integrated circuit chip” (RFID chip) in these individuals’ drivers licenses and/or personal identification cards.  This RFID chip would be machine readable, allowing a person with an RFID reader and decryption savviness to gain access to this information.

While HB3199 mandates that these “secure drivers licenses” be applicable only to “applicants for the provision of state and federal government program benefits” and “first responders and other emergency personnel,” this bill is really one big incremental step to ultimately require that ALL Texas driver’s licenses contain an RFID chip, and that all Texans submit personal biometric data — all in order to obtain a simple drivers license.

HB3199 is a blatant violation of Texans’ privacy rights.  If passed, the state DPS would collect and store more of Texans’ private information than ever before in an electronic database, all of which would be accessible to DPS agents, and inevitably hackers and resourceful criminals.  Also, as per the federal REAL ID Act that HB3199 is taking its cues from, these state databases would be shared nationally between all the states’ DPS agencies, as well as internationally between foreign governments (in a stated effort to thwart terrorism through shared intelligence).

In addition, HB3199 directs Texas DPS to “set a fee for issuance of a secure drivers license in a reasonable amount necessary” to cover the costs of the RFID chip inclusion and maintenance of the electronic database.  This fee increase will place an additional cost to Texans in an already brutal economy, which is unacceptable.

Take action NOW!

The bill is scheduled to be heard on May 2, 2013, before the Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee.

When:  This Thursday, May 2, 2013
Time:  8:00am
Where:  Room E2.010

(Maps Here)
FREE Parking for 2 Hours

Please show up for the hearing on Thursday!  Come to show your support.  You may sign up to speak, or simply register your opposition to the bill.

Can’t make it to the Capitol?  Call each committee member!  Let him/her know that you were not able to attend the hearing, but that you are strongly against HB1399 because it is a violation of your privacy rights.

CALL the Committee…  9 members … 9 minutes

Rep. Joseph Pickett, Chair — (512) 463-0596
Rep. Allen Fletcher, Vice Chair — (512) 463-0661
Rep. Philip Cortez — (512) 463-0269
Rep. Tony Dale — (512) 463-0696
Rep. Dan Flynn — (512) 463-0880
Rep. Tim Kleinschmidt — (512) 463-0682
Rep. George Lavender — (512) 463-0692
Rep. Kenneth Sheets — (512) 463-0244

Rep. Joe Simmons — (512) 463-0478

Steering Committee Election – Monday, April 29, 2013

Texans for Accountable Government currently has a vacancy on our Steering Committee.  The election will occur at the TAG meeting in Austin on Monday, April 29, which starts at 7 PM. All dues-paying members are encouraged to attend in order to vote.  Please read the following paragraph to understand the responsibilities involved before nominating yourself or someone else:

Members of the Steering Committee are responsible for evaluating proposals and deciding whether certain efforts or expenditures are legitimate reasons for using TAG funds.  Understanding the goals of TAG—humanize, harmonize, localize—is of the utmost importance as an SC member in determining whether proposed activities are in line with TAG’s principles.  Members of the SC are also expected to take an active role in assisting the Executive Director with various administrative, marketing, activism, and fund-raising tasks.

If you would like to take a more active role in helping to shape the future of TAG, we welcome your nomination!  We will be accepting nominations until Friday, April 26.  Please send your nominations and questions to marissapaigestewart@gmail.com.  If you nominate someone other than yourself, please verify that the person you nominate is interested in the position.

ACTION ALERT: Protect Texas Students from RFID Tracking Devices

Representative Kolkhorst (Brenham) has introduced House Bill 101, which was heard by the Public Education Committee on March 19th. Watch public testimony offered on the bill here, starting at 2:45:30.

HB 101 will protect students from the mandatory use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) in Texas schools, allowing for local and parental control.

… school district may not require a student to use an

identification device that uses radio frequency identification

technology or similar technology to identify the student, transmit

information regarding the student, or track the location of the

student.

… school district may allow the voluntary use of a

student identification device described by Subsection (b) only if

authorized by resolution adopted by the board of trustees of the

district. A district that allows the voluntary use of a student

identification device described by Subsection (b) shall provide an

alternative method of identification for a student on the timely

written request of a student ’s parent or guardian.

… school district may not penalize a student using an alternative method of identification under Subsection (c),

including restricting or prohibiting the student from participating in school or district activities.

Here is a link to House Bill 101: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=HB101

Take a stand for the children of Texas! Coalition partners range from Eagle Forum on the “right” and the Texas ACLU on the “left.” We all agree, children should not be tracked like animals!

Contact committee members immediately to encourage their support of HB 101.

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 2910 Austin, TX 78768

Rep. Aycock, as Chairman, is the gatekeeper. Contact him first!

Representative Jimmie Aycock, Chairman
E2.708, Capitol Ext.
(254) 690-1752 AND (512) 463-0684
jimmie.aycock@house.state.tx.us

Rep. Alma Allen, Vice Chairman
E1.506, Capitol Ext.
(713) 776-0505 AND (512) 463-0744
alma.allen@house.state.tx.us

Rep. John Davis
CAP 1N.10, Capitol
(281) 333-1350 AND (512) 463-0734
John.davis@house.state.tx.us

Rep. Joe Deshotel
GN.08, Capitol
(409) 724-0788 AND (512) 463-0662
joe.deshotel@house.state.tx.us

Rep. Harold Dutton
CAP 3N.5, Capitol
(713) 692-9192 AND (512) 463-0510
harold.dutton@house.state.tx.us

Rep. Marsh Farney
E1.310, Capitol Ext.
(512) 463-0309
marsh.farney@house.state.tx.us

Rep. Dan Huberty
E2.722, Capitol Ext.
(281) 360-9410 AND (512) 463-0520
dan.huberty@house.state.tx.us

Rep. Ken King
E2.402, Capitol Ext.
(806)323-8870 AND (512) 463-0736
ken.king@house.state.tx.us

Rep. Bennet Ratliff
E2.404, Capitol Ext.
(512) 463-0468
bennet.ratliff@house.state.tx.us

Rep. Justin Rodriguez
E2.804, Capitol Ext.
(512) 463-0669
justin.rodriguez@house.state.tx.us

Rep. Mike Vallarreal
CAP 4S.6, Capitol
(210) 734-8937 AND (512) 463-0532
mike.villarreal@house.state.tx.us

 

Sample letter:

Representative ____________,

Thank you for your service on the Public Education Committee!

I write today to encourage your support of House Bill 101. Authored by Representative Kolkhorst, this bill is relating to the use of RFID technology in Texas Schools.

This bill is important to me because….

Please support HB 101!

Respectfully,

 

Your Name

Contact Information

 

Please take time to personalize your message. AGAIN, a hand written note to each committee member (in addition to a phone call and email) is a GREAT way to communicate your support of HB 101.

Thank you for TAKING ACTION!

Repeal Taxes on Precious Metal Purchases!

Rep. David Simpson’s bill (HB 78) to REPEAL all taxes on the purchase of gold/silver (and other precious metals) will be heard by the Ways & Means Committee Monday, March 11th.Hearing Notice: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/83R/schedules/pdf/C4902013031114001.PDF

TAKE ACTION!

1) Plan to show up at the Texas Capitol at 2pm* on Monday afternoon!

2) Contact all Ways & Means Committee members to encourage their support! (contact info below)

3) SPREAD THE WORD! Please share this event with anyone you think might be interested!

Rep. Harvey Hilderbran (Kerrville)
CAP GW.12
(512) 463-0536
(830) 257-2333
harvey.hilderbran@house.state.tx.us

Rep. John Otto (Dayton)
EXT E2.706
(512) 463-0570
(936) 258-8135
john.otto@house.state.tx.us

Rep. Dwayne Bohac (Houston)
CAP GS.6
(512) 463-0727
(713) 460-2800
dwayne.bohac@house.state.tx.us

Rep. Angie Button (Richardson)
EXT E2.910
(512) 463-0486
(972) 234-8980
angie.button@house.state.tx.us

Rep. Craig Eiland (Texas City)
CAP GW.5
(512) 463-0502
(800) 345-2630
craig.eiland@house.state.tx.us

Rep. Naomi Gonzalez (El Paso)
EXT E2.814
(512) 463-0622
naomi.gonzalez@house.state.tx.us

Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer (San Antonio)
CAP 4S.4
(512) 463-0616
(210) 737-7200
trey.martinezfischer@house.state.tx.us

Rep. Allan Ritter (Nederland)
CAP 1W.3
(512) 463-0706
(409) 729-3228
allan.ritter@house.state.tx.us

Rep. Mark Strama (Austin)
EXT E1.320
(512) 463-0821
(512) 463-0821
mark.strama@house.state.tx.us

*This hearing is scheduled for “2pm or upon adjournment.” This means that the hearing will happen as soon as the House floor adjourns. This can happen at anytime. It could be earlier than 2pm, but it could also start much later than 2pm.

While you wait, you can visit the committee members’ offices to express your support. Room numbers are listed above.

Maps can be found here: http://www.tspb.state.tx.us/SPB/Plan/FloorPlan/FlorPlan.htm

FREE Parking (2 hours, $2/hr after that): http://www.tspb.state.tx.us/SPB/Plan/Parking.htm

Community Forum: RFID Tracking of Students in Government Schools

For the first time since being implemented in August 2012, the “RFID Student Locator Pilot Program” will finally be vetted by parents, students, and community members.

In San Antonio’s Northside Independent School District (NISD), nearly 4,000 children have been issued “Smart ID” badges implanted with an active RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tracking device. NISD has refused to offer a public forum for parents to ask question and voice concerns, so TAG has organized one.

Presentations will be offered by a number of subject matter experts, including Dr. Katherine Albrecht- a Harvard graduate who has done extensive research on RFID, Mike Wade- (RFID manufacturer contracted with NISD), Matt Simpson with the Texas ACLU.

The second half of our event will offer attendees an opportunity to ask questions of our presenters.

All NISD board members (including Dr. Wood, Superintendent) have been invited to this event in addition to the Principals of the schools which have implemented this pilot program.

Leon Valley Community Center
6421 Evers Road
Monday, February 25th
6:30-8:30pm

Austin TAG Meeting – This Monday, February 18th

Texans for Accountable Government meets to provide a casual, friendly environment for concerned citizens to become community activists.

Generally TAG meets on the LAST Monday of the month in Austin. Because of a scheduling conflict (our RFID forum in San Antonio), the meeting has been moved up to Monday, February 18th.

Sherlock’ Pub and Grill
9012 Research Blvd.
Monday, February 18th
7-9pm

The meeting starts at 7pm, but we encourage folks to come early to network and take advantage of food/drink specials.

Agenda includes:

Texas Electronic Privacy Coalition
Voice & Exit
Legislative Update and Action Alert!
More to Come…

Our meetings are open to the public and offer a great opportunity to get involved. See you there!

(Please share this event with your like-minded friends.)

Pflugerville Residents Victorious in Fight Against Tax Increase

 

Activists now hope to spare ETJ residents from property tax increase

PFLUGERVILLE, Texas, February 6, 2013

Last night, taxpayer relief activists won a victory in their fight against doubled property taxes when Pflugerville City Council denied a petition that would include the City in a new overlay district called Emergency Services District #2A.

The petition, circulated by Pflugerville Fire Department, would have doubled the property tax rate by using a new loophole in state law that allows a second district to be created on top of the current one (ESD No. 2). However, the Council did approve the inclusion of Pflugerville’s extra-territorial jurisdiction (ETJ) in the newly proposed district, so activists will testify at the Travis County Commissioners Court on Tuesday, February 12 to spare ETJ residents from a doubled property tax burden.

Those speaking at the Pflugerville City Council meeting last night noted how the petition of only 100 signatures represented less than 0.1% of the residents in ESD No. 2, which has a population of more than 100,000. Most petitions in Pflugerville require 20% of registered voters to get on the ballot.

One Pflugerville resident suggested how the City could keep costs low, “Other local cities have both fire and EMS under one governing organization. Have two separate commissions could result in duplicate infrastructure and headcount that is higher than needed, “ said Melody Ryan.

Those representing the ESD claimed they expected to draw more than $1 million in reserves to balance the budget for last year, though an examination of preliminary financial statements filed at the end of the fiscal year indicate that the ESD had a net income of $87,000 along with a positive net income in all recent years. Additionally, response time decreased considerably since 2006, even though no new stations were constructed.

At a time when taxpayers are tightening their belts due to a sluggish national economy and are facing a new federal tax increase at the beginning of 2013, they are now shouldering the burden of a 4.5% annual pay increase agreed upon by the ESD and the Pflugerville Professional Firefighters Association in 2010. That represents a 50% higher pay increase than Austin public safety employees.

Those defending the taxpayers’ wallets suggested additional training for current employees in Advanced Lift support certification and negotiating aid agreements with the City of Austin instead of expending money into costly and unnecessary new infrastructure. Other funding sources could include fees charged for annual fire inspections and first response EMS calls, which other ESDs currently charge, and higher property and sales tax revenue expected from growth in commercial construction.

Residents in attendance were pleased with City Council’s decision.  “The decision tonight demonstrates the importance of speaking to your leaders about the issues that are important to you so that you can make an impact.  I am pleased that City Council has protected the taxpayers from a large property tax increase and is actively searching for solutions to ensure quality service at a reasonable cost”, said Ryan.

 

 

Announcing: Monthly TAG Meetings Now in Austin and Houston!

After four years of monthly meetings in Austin, TAG has decided to branch out. With hopes of soon reaching San Antonio and DFW, Houston is the newest location for a monthly meeting. Recurring meetings will help build relationships, support activists, and empower concerned citizens to become the change they wish to see in the world!

TAG meetings in Houston will be held on the SECOND Monday of every month, at least until the end of the 2013 Legislative Session and on the last Monday of every month in Austin. Our goal is to create a casual, friendly environment for folks to get involved in the Liberty Movement. Join us…and spread the word!!

Please RSVP here, then share the event with your Houston area friends.

Texans for Accountable Government
Austin Meeting- Monday, February 18th
Sherlock’s Pub (9012 Research Blvd.)

Houston Meeting- Monday, March 11th
Location TBD

Because TAG is a trans-partisan organization, we welcome everyone interested in working to create a Free and Prosperous Texas where government is transparent, decentralized, and accountable.

See you there!!

First Day of the Texas Legislative Session, Activist Working Group

JOIN US this Tuesday, January 8th at the Texas Capitol!

TAG will be on site and set up in the Library (second floor) from noon-9pm helping grassroots activists find their legislators’ offices and learn their way around the Capitol. From 7-9pm, we’ll host our first Legislative Working Group meeting to review the basics of the legislative process and how to read bills. Bring your laptop, if possible.

Parking: http://www.tspb.state.tx.us/SPB/Plan/Parking.htm
(Free for the first 2 hours, then $2/hr and $8 for all day.)

At noon the Texas Nationalist Movement will host a rally on the North steps of the building. Many TAGsters will be joining them in the call for TEXAS INDEPENDENCE! Event Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/450708641655907/?fref=ts

After the rally, let us meet in the Legislative Library on the second floor of the Capitol. Elevators are on the North side of the building and will take you right to the Library. Heather Fazio and other TAGsters will be available with maps and a directory of new room numbers for our Legislators.

Capitol Map: http://www.tspb.state.tx.us/SPB/Plan/FloorPlan/pdf/CapitolComplex%20b&w.pdf

Second Floor Map (Library Location): http://www.tspb.state.tx.us/SPB/Plan/FloorPlan/pdf/cap%20guide2.PDF

2011 Texans for Accountable Government Legislative Victories

The 2011 Legislative Session has proven that when Texans get active, we get results!

Successfully implemented fusion center reform in Texas, defeated the legislation allowing mobile tracking devices without a warrant, pushed back against federal REAL ID law, and another win against sobriety checkpoints!

Thank you, EVERYONE who took time to testify at committee hearings, lobby our Texas legislators with phone calls and emails, and spread the word about the fight for freedom here in Texas! None of this success would have been possible without each and everyone of you!

Texans for Accountable Government Prevents Checkpoints in Texas…Again!

In 2011, Texas legislators introduced bills which would have authorized three styles of checkpoints: sobriety (HB 439, HB 531), “southbound” (HB 48, SB 288, SB 294), and driver’s license/insurance (SB 9, SB 1700). The most compelling arguments were those opposing sobriety checkpoints before the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on April 12th. Thirty-one activists attended the hearing, including Marissa Stewart and Deborah Stevens who submitted written and oral testimony providing statistics and studies which proved that establishing checkpoints does NOT decrease the number of drunken driving fatalities or arrests. TAG activists also presented alternatives, such as Square Patrol, which actually keep drunks off the road without infringing on innocent drivers’ 4th Amendment rights.

After providing testimony during both House and Senate committee hearings, some of which lasted into the early morning hours, TAGsters effectively prevented the passage of these freedom-violating law enforcement practices.

TAG Announces Major Victory in Texas Fusion Center Reform this Session!

Texans for Accountable Government, along with coalition partners Texas Motorcycle Rights Association and the Texas American Civil Liberties Union, were successful in their efforts to pass a comprehensive fusion center reform bill this session.

The bill, HB 3324, which is awaiting signature from the Governor, requires ALL fusion centers in Texas to create privacy policies which at a minimum prevent the collection of non-criminal information based solely on political, religious, or social views.  What started as a local effort to create a strong privacy policy for the Austin Regional Intelligence Center has culminated in a state law requiring that all Texas fusion centers respect the privacy and liberties of Texas citizens.

There’s still much to be done in the area of privacy and domestic surveillance in Texas but this victory represents a major first step for liberty lovers in Texas.  Big thanks to Terri Williams of TMRA, Matt Simpson and Rob Love of the ACLU, and everyone else who helped make this win possible!

The Strongest Language in the Bill:

Sec. 421.085.  PRIVACY POLICY REQUIRED.  (a)  Each fusion center operating in this state shall adopt a privacy policy providing at a minimum that, with respect to an individual or organization, the fusion center:
(1)  will not seek, collect, or retain information that is based solely on any of the following factors, as applicable to that individual or organization:(A)  religious, political, or social views or activities;
(B)  participation in a particular organization or event;  or
(C)  race, ethnicity, citizenship, place of origin, age, disability, gender, or sexual orientation;  and
(2)  will take steps to ensure that any agency that submits information to the fusion center does not submit information based solely on a factor described by Subdivision (1).
(b)  In a criminal investigation, a factor described by Subsection (a)(1) may not alone give rise to reasonable suspicion.  However, a factor described by Subsection (a)(1) may be used in connection with a specific description of a suspect in the investigation

http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/82R/senateamend/pdf/HB03324A.pdf#navpanes=0

Warrantless Mobile Tracking Devices?  Not on Our Watch!

Senator William introduced two bills (SB 9, SB 1694) which would have authorized the use of a mobile tracking device without a court order in the course of a criminal investigation. Both Sen. Williams and DPS Director McCraw agreed that because the FBI has the “authority” to violate our rights in such a way, the Texas Department of Public Safety should be able to do the same.

Fortunately, testimony given by TAG activists during the Transportation & Homeland Security Committee meeting on March 30th was compelling enough that: 1) SB 1694 never made it out of committee; 2) the committee introduced a substitute bill for SB 9 which excluded this offensive provision.

REAL ID Implementation: Texans vs. DPS

As it turns out the Texas Department of Public Safety has been implementing REAL ID since February 2010. This year, DPS Director McCraw came to the Texas Legislature asking for $63 MILLION in order to bring the Texas driver’s license system into compliance with all of the first 18 benchmarks of REAL ID. Senate Bill 9 would have allocated the money necessary to:

  • Purchase the equipment to collect and maintain an unprecedented amount of personal biometric information to be stored on our Texas DL AND to run innocent DL applicants through state and federal criminal databases
  • Build and staff six “mega-centers” around Texas to handle the influx of “business” due to the fact that all Texas drivers would need to come in and have their face and ALL fingerprints scanned to ensure that they were not a fugitive from justice.
  • Fund “mobile units,” presumably for DL/Ins. Checkpoints

These changes to the DL system were expected to cost nearly $75 MILLION a year (after the initial $63 MILLION), which would have been funded by an increase in fees. Not only would these changes have brought Texas into compliance with an unconstitutional federal mandate, but Williams also suggested the use dishonest fiscal policy which was deemed unacceptable by Texans.

Because of much opposition, yet another substitute bill was introduced to eliminate the provisions for fee increases. While this was a win, the House committee proposed an even more offensive way to collect money. The House substitute bill added a provision that would have authorized “southbound checkpoints.” They anticipated generating enough “revenue” through asset forfeiture that they would be able to fund the new DL system.

Senate Bill 9 made it out of committee, but fortunately it never made it to the floor for a vote.

The DPS has proven that they are a rogue agency dictating policy in Texas through the unaccountable Public Safety Commission, giving us no choice but to watch them like a hawk. Lucky for TAG, that’s exactly what we’re good at!

Originally posted on September 28th, 2011

2013 Texas Legislative Session- Jumpstart!

Happy New Year!

It’s time to effect some policy decisions…

In 2012, we spent most of our time and energy working on elections. TAG supported great candidates like Dr. Laura Pressley, Clay Dafoe, Michael Cargill, and Shaun Ireland as well as the successful effort to bring Single Member Districts to Austin! We made great strides and learned a LOT. Now it’s time to focus on statewide policy making. The 2013 Legislative Session starts on January 8th!

Our elected Representatives and Senators have already introduced HUNDREDS of bills for consideration. Surprisingly, there are a number of GOOD BILLS:

House Bill (HB) 80: relating to official oppression; creating offenses. – Rep. Simpson
* Disallows federal agents to use the color of law to violate the rights of Texas travelers. TSA NULLIFICATION!

House Bill (HB) 78: Relating to the exemption from the sales and use tax for certain coins and precious metals. – Representative Simpson
* Removes taxes from your gold/silver purchases.

HB 149: Relating to the Texas Liberty Preservation Act; providing penalties. – Rep. Larson
* Repeals the offensive provisions of NDAA — NULLIFICATION!

Senate Bill (SB) 113: Relating to the repeal of the franchise tax – Senator Estes
*”Repeal…tax”, enough said.

HB 130: Relating to honesty in state taxation. – Rep. Raymond
* “Conservatives” get away with increasing taxes via fees, assessments, fines, etc. This bill will require that they call it what it is…TAXATION!

HB 183: Relating to the prosecution of and punishment for the offense of official oppression. – Rep. Dutton
* If it is determined that a police officer uses excessive force, he can be convicted of official oppression.  POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY!

HB 185: Relating to liability of a governmental unit for personal injury and death caused by the governmental unit’s negligence. – Rep. Dutton

SB 63: Relating to consent to the immunization of certain children. – Sen. Nelson
* Allows some children to consent to immunization without their parents knowledge.

HB 101: Relating to the use of radio frequency identification technology to transmit information regarding public school students. – Rep. Kolkhorst
* Requires a school district to allow students to opt-out of an RFID program without negative consequences.

HB 102: Relating to the use of radio frequency identification technology to transmit information regarding public school students. – Rep. Kolkhorst
* Forbids Texas schools from using RFID to track students!

HB 184: Relating to the penalties for possession of one ounce or less of marihuana or a synthetic cannabinoid. – Rep. Dutton
* Marijuana decriminalization. This is a first step to abolishing the failed “War on Drugs”.

Of course there are (and will be more) BAD BILLS:

SB 64: Relating to a policy on vaccine-preventable diseases for licensed child-care facilities. – Sen. Nelson
* Forces those caring for children to be vaccinated. I bet you can guess who’s behind this one!

HB 22: Relating to the establishment of a public service requirement for undergraduate students, known as Service to Texas, at public institutions of higher education. – Rep. Martinez Fischer
* Forces students into government service.

TAKE ACTION!

1) Visit Texas Legislature Online to sign up for My TLO– you’ll receive alerts about bills and issues you’re interested in. Find a tyrannical bill? Let us know! Please submit a summary of the bill and how it violates our inherent right to live freely – we’ll get the word out!2) Call and email your new legislators. They cannot represent you if they don’t know you.

  • Find your Legislators here: http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/
  • Introduce yourself and thank them for their service. This will serve as a reminder of who they work for.
  • Encourage him/her to sign on to HB 80 (TSA Nullification) and any other bills of importance to you. AND Support SIMPSON FOR SPEAKER!
  • Remember to be polite. Also, be aware that you will likely be speaking with a staff member.This is OK.

3) JOIN US on January 8th at the Texas Capitol. TAG will be there from noon-9pm helping grassroots activists find their legislators’ offices and learn their way around the Capitol. From 7-9pm, we’ll be reviewing the basics of the legislative process and how to read bills. Bring your laptop, if possible.

4) Please Donate! TAG is an entirely volunteer organization focused on Texas issues. This means that every donation made goes MUCH FURTHER than other, nationwide Liberty groups. If you are able, please become a sustaining member with a monthly contribution of $10/month (or more!).

Thank you for your support and for doing your part to create the free and prosperous society we all deserve!

Santa Arrested by DPS

Spreading the Message of Peace and Joy: CRIME!

“On Friday afternoon, Dec. 21 – with Christmas only days away – Santa Claus stopped by the Texas Capitol to spread a little holiday cheer, asking passersby to join him in chalking inspirational notes on the driveway. What he got in return — along with his helper, ” Corey Elf” – was an arrest for ‘criminal mischief’ and ‘evading arrest.'”

Read more here.

After 31 hours Santa and his Elf were released from the Travis County Jail and are now facing Class B Misdemeanors of Criminal Mischief which carries a punishment of a fine not to exceed $2,000 and/or confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days.

This injustice was also covered by Russia Today and the Huffington Post.

This is not the first time peaceful activists have been arrested for using chalk on the sidewalks of their own Capitol. Chanda Seymour stood up to the DPS thugs in March of 2011.

Donate to Santa’s Legal Defense Fund: https://www.wepay.com/donations/freesanta