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At the 2016 Republican State Convention, the Legislative Priorities were generated in the Platform and Resolutions Committee. The SREC created a separate Committee for the 2018 Convention. The SRECs appointed one delegate from each of the 31 Senatorial Districts. The Chair of the Committee was the Republican State Vice-Chair—Amy Clark.

Starting on the Monday of Convention week in San Antonio, the Committee listened to over 41 hours of public testimony. On some topics there were invited speakers, and a plethora of delegates registered to speak for 2 minutes on their favorite issue(s). After testimony on a topic the 31 members debated what they had heard.

The chair conducted a poll of the members. The five priorities were selected by a super majority of the committee. The five, with a written description, were submitted to the full convention. A roll call vote approved them and I have included the percentage of approval by the Delegates:

1) Taxpayer-Funded Lobbying–97.03%;

Pass legislation to abolish all forms of taxpayer-funded lobbying and end the automatic payroll deduction of union dues by the government.

2) Religious Freedom and Privacy–94.36%;

Pass legislation prohibiting the violation of the rights and freedoms of individuals, organizations and businesses, to exercise their sincerely held religious beliefs by local ordinances or state laws; and pass legislation that protects the privacy and safety of women and children in multi-use facilities such as bathrooms, locker rooms and showers in all Texas schools and government buildings and oppose legislation that would undermine these privacy and safety protections.

3) Property Tax Reform–93.07%;

Abolish the Maintenance and Operation School property tax and replace it with a consumption tax or other mechanism other than income tax while broadening the tax base, eliminating the appraisal board and taxing the property at the purchased value or the free market value upon change of hands for local government funding and special district funding. School Maintenance and Operation funds shall be allocated from the state’s general fund to Texas’ Independent School Districts via an inflation-adjusted, per-student-allocation.

4) Constitutional Carry–92.81%;

Pass constitutional carry while maintaining licensing as optional for reciprocity purposes.

5) Abortion–89.21%;

Pass legislation to abolish abortion; including, but not limited to, enacting legislation that would ignore and refuse to enforce any and all federal statutes, regulations, executive orders, and court rulings, which would deprive an unborn child of the right to life, as well as enacting life-saving legislation such as PreNDA or a “heartbeat bill.”

The day that I was writing this, the United States Supreme Court made a ruling on the last half of our highest Priority by delegate vote.  However, the Texas Legislature should review the Supreme Court Ruling and if necessary, write appropriate Texas Legislation.

Jim Barnes
SD 20 Member of Legislative Priorities Committee

This is an outside commentary submitted and published with the author’s permission. If you wish to submit a commentary to Texas Scorecard, please submit your article to [email protected]

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