5 Worst Ideas From Texas’ Tea Party Government
It’s no surprise that in the state that gave us personalities like Representative Ron Paul, Governor Rick Perry, and Senator Ted Cruz, legislators have proposed more than their fair share of outrageous laws. Nearly failing to extend Medicaid benefits to the state’s disadvantaged, moving to make English the state’s official language, and putting forward a constitutional referendum that would prohibit tax increases only scratch the surface in the Lone Star State..
Here are the 5 worst ideas to come from Texas’s right-wing government:
Suing The Obama Administration 25+ Times
Texas’ attorney general sure knows how to put taxpayers’ money to good use. Greg Abbott takes pride in the fact that he has sued the Obama administration more than 25 times since February, 2010. “In all, Abbott’s federal cases have cost the state more than $2.8 million,” according to a Texas newspaper. “That includes $1.5 million-plus in salaries for state employees working on the cases, nearly $250,000 in court costs and the travel expenses of attorney general’s office personnel, and roughly $1 million for outside counsel and expert witnesses.”
Abbott, who once insisted that Democrats are more of a threat than North Korea, sued the federal government and lost in cases of discriminatory voter-ID laws and gerrymandered district maps, costing the state well over $1 million in these two cases alone.
AP Photo/Eric Gay
Making It Illegal To Introduce Or Implement Any New Federal Gun Laws
Texas lawmakers took their Second Amendment paranoia to an entirely new level in April with the proposal of HB 1076. This law “would ban state agencies from enforcing any new federal gun laws, including background checks,” according to MaddowBlog. “The bill passed the Republican-led House on a largely party-line vote Monday, but legal experts say the attempt to ‘nullify’ possible future federal laws likely wouldn’t pass the scrutiny of the U.S. Supreme Court.”
Texas Republicans have given themselves full authority to ignore federal laws that place any restrictions on gun sales. The proposed law states that the American people have a right granted to them by the U.S. and Texas Constitutions to bear arms, and any law that threatens those rights—even a law instituting simple background checks—will be immediately rejected.
Placing Armed Guards In Texas Schools
While you will not see any new gun laws in Texas that limit gun purchases, Republican legislators won’t think twice about implementing laws that increase the use of guns—even in schools. Gun-loving Texas lawmakers introduced a proposal that would put “school marshals” in every one of the state’s K-12 schools.
According to the Dallas News, “Marshals will be allowed to carry a gun and their identity would only be known to the school’s head administrator and law enforcement. If working in a classroom or around children, the school marshal’s weapon will be locked away but within reach.”
Following the incident at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 20 children and six adults were killed in a school shooting, Republican lawmakers in Texas decided the best response to this was to put more guns in the hands of citizens—and to put those citizens in our children’s schools.
AP Photo/Nick Ut
Defunding Planned Parenthood
Pro-life legislators in Texas who were working to defund Planned Parenthood and close down all locations in the state suffered a minor setback when the case was taken before a Texas judge—but they overcame that obstacle when the judge ruled that the state has the authority to defund the women’s health organization simply because it advocates for abortion rights. State Republicans were even making absurd claims that Planned Parenthood was pushing teenagers to get pregnant, in an attempt to bring in steady business.
Texas lawmakers were also seeking to keep funds from the Women’s Health Program—a government program that provides low-income women with preventive care—away from Planned Parenthood. This issue was also taken to court, where the same judge voted again in their favor, despite the fact that states do not have the authority to block health providers (such as Planned Parenthood) from receiving Medicaid funds.
After a backlash from voters and a report from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission that projected a significant increase in births among low-income women, Texas Republicans have quickly worked to reverse their initial actions against Planned Parenthood and women’s health organizations statewide.
H/T: Think Progress
Rewarding Companies That Deny Contraception To Employees
Hobby Lobby, an arts and crafts supplier chain, recently sued the U.S. government over the health care law that requires they provide their employees coverage for contraceptives. Hobby Lobby president Steve Green cited his Christian values as his reason for standing against this women’s health law.
“When a business is being stressed nearly to the point of bankruptcy by punitive federal taxes, of course the state should give them relief,” Texas State Republican representative Jonathan Stickland stated. “The Obama administration’s mandate and their threats to bury Hobby Lobby with $1.3 million per day in tax penalties aren’t just unconstitutional, they’re unconscionable. It is simply appalling that any business owner should have to choose between violating their religious convictions and watching their business be strangled by the strong arm of Federal mandates and taxation.”
Stickland’s efforts through House Bill 649 to grant tax breaks to Hobby Lobby so they can cover the cost of contraception for employees would actually keep them from paying any state taxes at all. The state of Texas would lose over a million dollars in tax revenue from Hobby Lobby alone.
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez