Marriage ID passes Senate

The Chron reports on a bill that just passed the Senate last evening, which would require a photo identification in order to, wait for it, get married!

SB 1218, by Senator Donna Campbell (R-Comal), would require applicants for marriage licenses in the State of Texas to government-issued photo IDs like a driver’s license, passport or CHL. Essentially, the same requirements sought after for the infamous Voter ID acts. However, perhaps more stomach-churning than the act itself, is the complacency seen in the Democratic Senators, who lacked the will-power (or competency) to put up a fight over this. Wendy Davis and Jose Rodriguez were the only Senators to oppose this act, which prevailed in a 29-2 vote.

Is “Marriage fraud” a big issue in this state nowadays? I didn’t think so. A number of years ago, I was the Best Man at my brother’s wedding, which involved, legally speaking, witnessing the Marriage License. I completely understand what Senator Campbell means when she says the system is ripe for abuse or fraud. However, to even higher extend than with voting, there is simply no good reason for someone to falsely represent another when getting married.

The idea of how voter fraud could be possibly harmful is pretty clear to make. The main benefit and effect of voting takes place immediately, when you actually “pull the lever,” so to speak. John Smith pretending he is “John Doe” might end up casting two votes, or something like that. However, this is where the idea of “marriage fraud” falls apart. Any benefit that may be acquired through a fraudulent marriage would be predicated on the participant being an identity thief and part of a confidence scheme. The theoretical “con men” who would engage in Marriage Fraud could just as easily just create a fraudulent marriage certificate.

Then again, there is the true intention of this legislation: making everyone harder for the poor. Just like the Voter ID act, this is a thinly veiled attempt to impose burdensome regulations on the least unfortunate among us. Sadly, 9/12 Democrats ate up that garbage.

The Dallas Morning News has more.

Voter suppression bill dies

The Chron is reporting that HB 2093, a bill by Patricia Harless (R-Houston) to cut the number of early voting days from 12 to 7, is dead on arrival in the State Legislature after a contentious committee hearing.

Harless claims that it is about financial resources being saved, but given that we have financial resources to give tax breaks to the owners of big yachts, I feel like that is a bunch of malarkey. Borris Miles, never a stranger to saying things bluntly, explained what this really is. “It’s about the suppression of votes,” he said. Harless quickly responded that “The trend is definitely that  people enjoy the ability to early vote. This bill is not about limiting that.” Except, Rep. Harless, it is about limiting it. It most definitely is about limiting it.

This is a good victory for the Democrats in the legislature. We needed one recently.

In re Lampson

In re Lampson

What can I say about Nick Lampson, that hasn’t already been distorted and twisted by his opponents: Ted Poe, Tom DeLay, Pete Olson, and Randy Weber. Well, I can repeat some truths, but this isn’t about yesterday it is about tomorrow.

Lampson, a Beaumont native, is now running again to represent Beaumont, along with Galveston and Brazoria County. A recent poll shows Lampson leading 47% to 45% against his opponent, Randy Weber. Now, while this is indeed the 14th district, the same district Ron Paul currently represents, it is a very different district now. Paul’s hometown of Lake Jackson is still in the District, but the vast majority of the District, the coastal region stretching from Brazoria to Rockport, is gone. District 14 now stretches to the east.

This is a great district for Lampson, perhaps the best opportunity he has. Lampson is not a Houstonian politician, nor will he ever be, his chances for success lay outside the city limits. So if you said, “Noah, design a district in East Texas for Democrats without using any of Houston”, this is pretty much exactly what I would come up with. Jefferson County, with its heavy African-American population, is still strong for Democrats and is Lampson’s hometown. Galveston, despite heavy losses in 2010, will still be a reliable post for Democrats in a presidential year. Brazoria is a pretty strong Republican stronghold, but the want is for Lampson to cancel out the influence by strong showings in the east.

The 14th District will not vote for Obama, but depending on how well Obama does in the district could make or break Lampson, who despite doing better than the President will still be inevitably connected to his performance. Minorities and the Poor, those disproportionately affected by the Voter ID Law (which has struck today), will need to show up in droves in both Beaumont and Galveston for success. For our sake, I hope they do.