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Texas Legislative Session is Half Over; Ballot Access Bill Needs Co-Sponsors

Published on March 30, 2009, by in General.

As this newspaper story points out, the Texas legislative session is now half over. Furthermore, the Texas legislature doesn’t meet in regular session in even-numbered years. The ballot access bill, HB 820, has made no headway so far this year. The sponsor asks that Texans who support the bill contact their state legislators and ask that those legislators co-sponsor the bill. The bill won’t get a hearing without more co-sponsors.

9 Responses

  1. I’m a non-Texan. Is there anyone I can donate to in order to help?

  2. Heads up Kinky Friedman, the Jewish Cowboy, state wide candidate ?????????? ——Donald Raymond Lake

  3. Danny S

    I will see if I can get my representative to cosponsor.

    How is the bill to end straight ticket voting doing?

  4. Jim Riley

    #1 It’s illegal to make campaign contributions during the legislative session.

    #2 Friedman had no trouble qualifying. He has suggested that if he seeks office again, it will be as a Democrat.

    #3 The bill to eliminate straight ticket had its hearing before the House Elections committee on Monday. The Senate version had a previous hearing.

    I doubt that it will go anywhere.

  5. *** #4: Mr. Riley, I doubt seriously that #1 wants to try to contribute to a sitting office-holder to affect HB-820 or any other legislation.

    A more direct answer is that there are no identifiable groups or persons seeking to advance HB-820 who are situated outside Rep Ortiz’s district. There’s nobody there to contribute to. Ortiz submitted the bill on behalf of a number of folks in the Corpus Christi area of his district who pressed him for its filing in this term.

    *** #2: True; Friedman has indicated that he will run as a Democrat next time out.

    *** 3: By all means, please call or e-mail the offices of your rep and senator in Austin and ask them resolutely to “co-author” HB-820. Might I also suggest that you get everyone in Texas who’ll listen to you to do the same thing?

    Right now, the bill is an orphan. If it doesn’t draw co-authors, it will not get a hearing in the Hse. Elections Committee. With no Hearing there will be no vote in that Cmte, and the bill will NOT advance. The bill will then die for this term.

    HB-820 is a radical departure from the present system of ballot access mechanics in Texas. In present form, it probably won’t pass the full House. But getting a Hearing for the bill would be a great step towards getting the conversation started about the unrealistic access procedures now in place, and the desirability of a re-write of the “separate-but-equal” regard of alternatative parties in Texas’ election code.

    For all things having to do with the Texas Legislature, in this (81st) or any past term placed on electronic record, please see the following link:

    http://www.legis.state.tx.us/

    Bill texts, office contact info, Hearing schedules, votes, and all else are nicely presented there. It’s an excellent site.

    All Texans reading this: Please help get a Hearing scheduled for HB-820 by calling Austin offices of your State Rep and/or Senator. At present, there is no companion bill set forth on the Senate side -so; please be aware of that when contacting Senate offices – know where your starting place is.

    When calling your rep, please emphasize the need for a hearing (and your desire to be heard) ahead of any opinion about the bill.

    Keep fingers crossed.

    Thanks, Richard, for this update note.

  6. Jim Riley

    #5 (#4 and #1) I have no idea what #1 wanted. But Richard Winger’s said the bill needed co-sponsors, and the first response was an offer to donate.

    #5 (#4 and #3) The question in #3 was about the straight ticket voting proposal. From the hearing, everyone was calculating what effect it would have on their particular situation.

    And realistically, the same thing will be in play with respect to HB 820. Why would a representative want to encourage a bunch of candidates who might peel a few percentage points off their vote, which could be decisive in a close election?

    The major party primaries each drew more than half a million voters in 2006. Why should a party be able able to put 150 representatives on the ballot with 500 signatures? If each house candidate could sign themselves, one family member, and one friend, they would only need 50 more signatures.

  7. Danny S

    Finally got a response from my representative. Looks like no cosponsorship…

    Dear Mr. X,

    Thank you for contacting Representative Taylor regarding House Bill 820. As a constituent, your thoughts and concerns are very important to Rep. Taylor.

    Your correspondence has been passed along to Rep. Taylor for his consideration during the current legislative session. Rep. Taylor will continue to monitor this issue and keep your correspondence on file for reference should this issue reach the House floor for a vote.

    Thank you again for contacting Rep. Taylor with your concerns. Should you have any other questions or concerns please feel free to contact him again.

    Sincerely,

    Ryan Little
    Representative Larry Taylor
    Capitol Office E2.610
    512.463.0729

  8. Texas HB-1892 will be heard today, Monday, April 20th in the Elections Committee!! This would force all Texas Parties into the primary election process. Call Elections Committee chairman Tood Smith with your opinion.

    http://www.house.state.tx.us/committees/list81/240.htm

  9. Ray Scarborough

    What has happened to the bill passed unanimously by the House to use Federal
    funds to award to State employees, teachers, and retired teachers? The sum to be $1000.00 to each. The bill has gone to the Senate where the interests of big business has trumped the plan to help the people. I for one am outraged that the quest to improve education does not include financial benefits to teachers. Can anyone address the issue of the bill in question?

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