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Legislative Update January 2024

2024 Republican Primary Ballot Propositions Approved by the State Republican Executive Committee – December 2, 2023

 Proposition 1 Texas should eliminate all property taxes without increasing Texans’ overall tax burden. YES NO

Proposition 2 Texas should create a Border Protection Unit, and deploy additional state law enforcement and military forces, to seal the border, to use physical force to prevent illegal entry and trafficking, and to deport illegal aliens to Mexico or to their nations of origin. YES NO

Proposition 3 The Texas Legislature should require the use of E-Verify by all employers in Texas to protect jobs for legal workers by preventing the hiring of illegal aliens. YES NO

Proposition 4 The Texas Legislature should end all subsidies and public services, including in-state college tuition and enrollment in public schools, for illegal aliens. YES NO

Proposition 5 Texas urges the United States Congress not to grant any form of amnesty or a pathway to legalization for illegal aliens. YES NO

Proposition 6 The Texas Legislature should prohibit the deployment of the Texas National Guard to a foreign conflict unless Congress first formally declares war. YES NO

 Proposition 7 The Texas Legislature should establish authority within the Texas State Comptroller’s office to administer access to gold and silver through the Texas Bullion Depository for use as legal tender. YES NO

Proposition 8 The State of Texas should ensure that Texans are free to give or to withhold consent for any vaccine without coercion. YES NO

Proposition 9 The Republican Party of Texas should restrict voting in the Republican primary to only registered Republicans. YES NO

 Proposition 10 The Texas Constitution should be amended to restore authority to the Texas Attorney General to prosecute election crimes. YES NO

 Proposition 11 Texas parents and guardians should have the right to select schools, whether public or private, for their children, and the funding should follow the student. YES No

Proposition 12 The Texas Constitution should be amended to require proof of citizenship before any individual can be registered to vote. YES NO

Proposition 13 Texas should ban the sale of Texas land to citizens, governments, and entities from China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia. YES NO

Respectfully submitted, Vergel B. Cruz, Secretary Texas State Republican Executive Committee December 20, 2023

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Patrick Swipes Again at Phelan, Paxton Impeachment Attorneys to Speak, New Legislative Research Group Launched

This week — Dan Patrick reignites feud with Dade Phelan, two lead Paxton impeachment attorneys will discuss the trial, and a new policy organization tracking the Texas Legislature forms.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

(The Texan/Daniel Friend)

Over Impeachment Audit

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has spent months chastising Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) on multiple fronts, including over an audit of the costs incurred by the state for the Texas House’s impeachment of Attorney General Ken Paxton last year.

Immediately following Paxton’s acquittal, Patrick requested a financial audit of the ordeal by the state auditor. In mid-December, the House announced its costs amounted to $4.3 million — $1 million more than the original whistleblower settlement amount that Phelan has said sparked the lower chamber’s investigation.

On Tuesday, Patrick took another swing at his counterpart, even likening him to Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden’s son who’s been the subject of various sets of legal problems — and coining yet another new nickname for Phelan.

The Audit Committee is joint-chaired by myself and Dade Phelan and is made up of two members of the Senate and two members of the House. ⁰⁰Anyone can request an audit, and it’s up to the Audit Committee to approve or object to proposals. In this case, I made a request to audit…

— Office of the Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick (@LtGovTX) January 9, 2024

The closing paragraph of Patrick’s comment reads, “At this point, he is no better than Hunter Biden. Slippery Dade’s intentions are clear: hide the actual cost of the impeachment from the public. I will not let this go away. Texas taxpayers must know how much Dade’s failed political gambit cost them. Texans deserve the truth.”

Rusty Hardin and Dan Cogdell to Talk Impeachment

Attorneys Rusty Hardin and Dan Cogdell will join the Texas Association of Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists (TACTAS) for a discussion of Paxton’s impeachment trial later this month.

The event will be held in Houston on January 18 at 7 p.m.



The event’s description reads, in part, “Our distinguished speakers will share their experiences as opposing counsel in the impeachment trial in the Texas Senate involving Attorney General Ken Paxton, who was acquitted of 16 impeachment articles concerning corruption and bribery. They will provide insights into the trial’s procedural elements and the applied evidentiary rules and burdens.”

Hardin led the prosecution and Cogdell was one of two lead counsels on Paxton’s defense team. The Senate acquitted Paxton on each of the 16 articles against him back in September.

New Legislative Analysis Organization Founded

Texas Policy Research, a new organization founded to provide policy analysis and legislative updates, was launched this week by three Texas legislative veterans: Jeramy Kitchen, Vance Ginn, and Charles Blain.

Kitchen — who previously served as the executive director of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility and had other stints in and out of the Capitol, including serving as chief of staff for Reps. Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock) and Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park) — will serve as the organization’s president. 

“I look forward to working with policymakers, staff, and Texans across the state to ensure that proposed legislation making its way through the Texas legislative process is done so with a keen eye toward limited government and seeking to improve conditions for Texans across the state,” Kitchen said in a release

“The government exists to protect liberty, not infringe upon it. I have observed and participated in the legislative process firsthand and worked closely with lawmakers inside the building for many years. I believe that we can harness this insight and the everyday experiences of Texans across the state to forge public policy that is not only beneficial to current citizens but aids in the prosperity of future generations of Texans.”

Ginn, the former chief economist at the Texas Public Policy Foundation who served in the Trump administration’s budget office, will serve on the board alongside Houston’s Blain, who runs the Urban Reform Institute in the state’s largest city.

While the Legislature is in session, the organization will create floor reports with grades on pending bills and consolidate data for legislators. The group already has various legislative resources on its website, including a directory, legislative process flowcharts, a calendarcommittee breakdowns, and video archives. Their email list can be subscribed to here.

Disclosure: Unlike almost every other media outlet, The Texan is not beholden to any special interests, does not apply for any type of state or federal funding, and relies exclusively on its readers for financial support.



Harris County Commissioner Boycotts UBI-Focused Executive Session, Questions Remain on Eligibility of Illegal Immigrants

Commissioner Tom Ramsey boycotted an executive session over concern the discussion did not qualify under the Texas Open Meetings Act.


Harris County Commissioners Court. Photo by Van Williams.

envision Video!

Harris County commissioners went into a closed-door session Tuesday to discuss with the county attorney’s office aspects of a universal basic income (UBI) program that was supposed to launch on January 8 but was delayed for undisclosed reasons.

Commissioner Tom Ramsey (R-Pct. 3) objected to the executive session on grounds that the topic did not meet the criteria for private meetings with attorneys.

According to the Texas Government Code, a governmental body may not conduct a private consultation with its attorney except when seeking advice about pending or contemplated litigation or a settlement offer, or on a matter in which the “Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Board of Texas clearly conflicts” with the law.

An agenda item proposed by Commissioner Lesley Briones (D-Pct. 4) asked for the executive session “for discussion and possible action relating to eligibility for the Uplift Harris program,” and during the open session of commissioners’ court clarified that they needed to consult with the county attorney’s office over eligibility.

Approved by commissioners last summer, the pilot program will pay $500 each month to nearly 2,000 qualifying residents for 18 months using $20.5 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.

To qualify for the program, dubbed Uplift Harris, applicant families must earn below 200 percent of the federal poverty line, which is $60,000 for a household of four. Those eligible must either reside in one of 10 high-poverty ZIP codes or already participate in the county’s Accessing Coordinated Care and Empowering Self Sufficiency (ACCESS) program. Uplift Harris administrators will randomly choose recipients from a pool of qualified applicants.

Sources familiar with the matter told The Texan that the program launch was delayed due to questions about the legality of awarding the UBI funds to illegal immigrants.

Under Title IV of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, non-U.S. nationals are not eligible for most federal benefits. Since Harris County’s UBI is funded with federal ARPA dollars, the program appears to be unavailable to illegal immigrants.

The program will be administered by the nonprofit organization GiveDirectly, the same group that administered a Cook County program that reportedly offered UBI awards to illegal immigrants.

Last year, GiveDirectly had to suspend operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo after learning that staff and former employees had stolen $900,000 in a fraud scheme.

Federal law does not require nonprofit organizations to check immigration status before providing services or resources.

Ramsey refused to attend the commissioners court executive session and afterwards asked Executive Director Barbie Robinson for Harris County Public Health if the UBI funds would be given to illegal immigrants.

“Currently it does not,” replied Robinson.

Ramsey also noted that commissioners had previously approved the Uplift Harris program and questioned the need to bring the issue back to court.

“You’re satisfied that the Open Meetings Act was not violated by having an executive session,” Ramsey asked the county attorney’s office.

“Yes, Commissioner, we’re satisfied there’s no violation of the Open Meetings Act,” answered County Attorney Christian Menefee.

Violations of Texas open meetings laws are misdemeanors, but officials can escape penalty if they acted on a “written interpretation” from the attorney for the governmental body.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said she would like to make the program available to “undocumented immigrants” and attributed the idea to free market economist Milton Friedman, whom she called the “father of capitalism.”

Friedman, a self-described libertarian, promoted a “negative income tax” in which citizens whose incomes fell under a certain threshold would receive payments from the government in order to meet that threshold.

“So if it were for me, I want to make sure that everybody’s included,” said Hidalgo. “Unfortunately we won’t be able to, because this program is with federal funds, we won’t be able to offer this program to the undocumented population. What I do commit to do, again in the spirit of supporting the economic growth of our region, is to explore ways in which we can identify other funds, perhaps private funds, to where we can have a similar initiative.”

Following the meeting, Ramsey told The Texan he had opposed the program “for a reason.”

“It has potential problems on who gets selected and how funds will be distributed. Today’s private meeting was related to eligibility. It’s clear that the program was approved to spend taxpayer dollars without clearly vetting the details before its launch, and questions remain,” said Ramsey.

“We all know it’s never good when government meets behind closed doors.”

Robinson told commissioners that she hoped to have applications opened by Friday, with the first payments sent out at the beginning of March.

Disclosure: Unlike almost every other media outlet, The Texan is not beholden to any special interests, does not apply for any type of state or federal funding, and relies exclusively on its readers for financial support.

Dan Patrick: ‘Slippery Dade’ is Hiding Impeachment Costs

Patrick says House Speaker Dade Phelan is ‘no better than Hunter Biden.”

2 min read

Brandon Waltens | January 9, 2024

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is ramping up his criticism of House Speaker Dade Phelan for failing to comply with a requested audit of the cost of the chamber’s impeachment of Attorney General Ken Paxton.

An audit of both chambers’ expenses was requested after the trial by Patrick. While open records requests revealed a cost of at least $4.3 million by the House, they have so far not complied with the audit.

“The Audit Committee is joint-chaired by myself and Dade Phelan and is made up of two members of the Senate and two members of the House. Anyone can request an audit, and it’s up to the Audit Committee to approve or object to proposals. In this case, I made a request to audit all impeachment spending by the entire legislature, both the Senate and House,” Patrick told Texas Scorecard. “Per routine protocol, when audit requests are made, the State Auditor notifies both Audit Committee chairs, and if there is no objection, the State Auditor moves forward with the audit. Dade and his office were notified in writing and have never objected to the audit.”

Patrick says Phelan may be avoiding providing the numbers because they may amount to much more than currently known:

Dade has a problem because if he formally objects to the audit, he would be admitting he doesn’t want Texans to know how much of their money he frivolously spent on the impeachment, an impeachment which three of the House’s most experienced lawyers, Rep. John Smithee, R-Amarillo, Rep. Travis Clardy, R-Nacogdoges, and Rep. Harold Dutton, D-Houston, said should not have been brought forward due to the deeply flawed process.

Dade has no problem with audits of any other state agency’s spending, but when it’s the House being audited, Dade throws transparency out the window and refuses to show his total spending, claiming I have no right to ask for it. That is nonsense. Of course I do, and so do the people of Texas. Dade’s modus operandi is always to blame someone else for his failures of leadership.

The Senate turned over our impeachment costs before the State Auditor’s deadline, roughly $435,000, while Dade, who has yet to object to the audit officially, has never turned over anything. What’s he embarrassed about? What’s he hiding?

The only information the public has from the House is what the media extracted under the public information laws, which shows that the House spent nearly $4 million on some of their attorneys. No one knows how much of taxpayer money Dade spent on the sham impeachment.

If I had never asked for the audit, Dade should have released every dollar of the impeachment spending on his own. Guess what, Dade … IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO!

At this point, he is no better than Hunter Biden. Slippery Dade’s intentions are clear: hide the actual cost of the impeachment from the public. I will not let this go away. Texas taxpayers must know how much Dade’s failed political gambit cost them. Texans deserve the truth.

Phelan did not respond to a request for comment.

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