My Christmas list for the Lege

 

Dear honorable Representatives and Senators of the 84th Legislature of the State of Texas:

These are the items I wish to see introduced in the next regular session of the Texas Legislature. Some, I have opined on or suggested in the past. For others, the idea may seem comparably novel. Some of the ideas may appear rather logical common-sense approaches, while still others rather quixotic and far fetched. All in all, I think all these ideas would greatly benefit the people of Texas. There are some ideas, such as expanding Medicaid or recognizing gay marriage, with which I obviously agree with but did not include because they are trite and not original. I will leave those suggestions to the professionals.

  • HB1: A bill to simplify out-of-county voting for public college students.” I have discussed this idea in the past with some detail. Basically, it would allow those students at the state’s largest public colleges (UT-Austin, A&M, UH and Tech) who are from the state’s largest counties (Harris, Dallas, Bexar, Travis, Tarrant, El Paso) to vote early in their home counties at special voting booths erected at their colleges. This would avert the often-uncertain and complicated absentee process for these young students, who are notoriously unreliable in their dedication to voting.
  • HB2: A bill to simplify graduation standards for public college students.” This one should be self-explanatory. The legislature rightly removed asinine core requirements for high school students, now they should do the same for college students. Sorry, UT, but it is a disgusting waste of everyone’s time that I have to take FIVE science classes in order to get a degree in Government. If we remove silly Liberal Arts mumbo jumbo, more students could graduate in as little as two years, saving lots of money and time while still providing the same grand education for degrees.
  • HB3: A bill to raise the gas tax.” I know, ‘raising taxes’ is the third rail of Texas politics, but this is just long overdue. The department of transportation does not have the money it needs to maintain the roads in this growing state. The approval of Proposition 1 last Tuesday was a good step in the right direction, but more needs to be done.
  • HB4: A bill to strengthen the Texas Open Beaches Act.” Reiterating that the beaches of the State of Texas are public parks belonging to, and exclusively to, the people. Not even erosion of the coastline may negate that fact.
  • HB5: A bill to protect the integrity of the death penalty.” This bill would increase the burden of proof for convicting someone of death-qualified capital murder from “beyond a reasonable doubt” to “beyond the shadow of a doubt.” Thus, only in cases where the people are indubitably convinced of guilt may the death penalty be applied.
  • HB6: A bill to abolish ‘environmental zones’ on Texas interstates.” Currently, a regulation exists that lowers the speed limits on Interstates from 75 to 65 in the rural areas immediately outside of Dallas and Houston. Ostensibly, this exists to lower emissions, but no convincing evidence exists that it does not. It should be done away with, and speed limits should only be lowered from 75 when the traffic data would suggest it should.
  • HB7: A bill to repeal the state’s unconstitutional sodomy statute.” This law, which criminalizes gay sex, has not been in force for more than 11 years since the US Supreme Court struck it down. But it’s still on the books, which is a terrible embarrassment for the state. Clean up the books.
  • HB8: A bill to ban corporal punishment in schools.” Most school districts in Texas already ban the barbaric practice, but some do not and still unbelievably beat students. The Legislature should rather expeditiously correct that wrong.
  • HB9: A bill to reduce drug penalties.” This bill would lessen the penalty for possession of less than 2 ounces of marijuana to a Class C Misdemeanor. It would also lessen the penalty for possession of trace amounts of cocaine to a Class A Misdemeanor.
  • HB10: A bill to eliminate the statute of limitations on reporting rape.” Wendy Davis proposed this on the campaign trail, I see no reason it should not get bipartisan support.

I might likely still add more ideas, so consider this a work in progress.

Thank You,

Noah M. Horwitz

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4 thoughts on “My Christmas list for the Lege

  1. I’m afraid you should expect only a lump of coal in your stocking.

  2. I’ll go along with 2, 5, and 9. The others are wrong for a variety of reasons.

    HB1 — College students are not entitled to greater privileges than any other class of students. In addition, denying this privilege to students from other counties is a denial of equal protection of the laws.

    HB3 — You are the second Democrat I’ve run into suggesting that the time has come to increase this regressive tax that hits the poor hardest. The other is this one, who also advocates murdering those whose politics he disagrees with. That puts you in really bad company.

    HB4 — The notion that property along the coast is not subject to the constraints of the Fifth Amendment regarding compensation of property taken for public use is disturbing.

    HB5 — The practical impact of that standard would be to negate the possibility of imposing the death penalty because one could never be sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that the actual killer was not a space alien disguised as the accused via use of a holographic projection. And that shows how absurd your proposal is.

    HB7 — No need to repeal a statute that is unconstitutional — and it should be left in place as a monument to unfettered judicial activism and the abrogation of states rights by an out-of-control judiciary that does not confine itself to its proper role.

    HB8 — Gotta disagree — because D-Hall and ISS are clearly not doing the job.

    HB10 — Why not eliminate the statute of limitations for all crimes? Why treat rape differently than other assaults? We have statutes of limitations for a reason — to ensure that the accused can reasonable defend themselves. Are you advocating other deprivations of due process for those accused of crimes, or only this one?

  3. Some of these are good ideas. But some, not so much.

    HB1: There is no reason to allow students special treatment at the polls. However, expect that a bill will be proposed to allow vote-by-mail to be requested online much more easily. Additionally, online voter registration will be back. This passed the Senate last session only to die in the house after a rebellion of some Republican Party officials. Hopefully this time it will fare better.

    HB2: The point of higher education is to create individuals who are well-rounded and have enough general knowledge to function in society. General knowledge of both government and the sciences make better individuals. The idea that we should just be graduating students as quickly as possible simply to send them to the job market misses the point of attending a four-year university.

    • Considering the arm and the leg college now costs, I think the romanticized ideal of liberal arts “well-rounded” education is just a bygone of the past. There is no reason one should have to double her debt just to have more “general knowledge.”

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