Fireworks and more to come…

Only 5 more weeks of session… with that being said, I couldn’t miss an opportunity to mention one of the firework shows from last week. I assume everyone saw Senator Patrick asking the Senate to recall a bill from the House. Why did he take this very unusual move? The bill he wanted to recall went right to the heart of what I have been writing about; the lack of transparency in the operations of Empower Texans, Agenda Wise and Michael Quinn Sullivan. The bill he voted for and then decided (overnight) to recall requires 501(c)(4) groups that are political on nature to reveal their donors- Pretty simple, good government, transparency, Republican bill. Something Senator Patrick has espoused since he got here. So, again, why the change of heart?

It seems that Empower Texans, Michael Quinn Sullivan, Texas Public Policy Foundation all use the 501(c)(4) provision to hide their donors. As you have read in this blog, many of the positions these groups take are directly related to hidden corporate money funded into those groups. Obviously, these groups got to Senator Patrick overnight and convinced him to take this highly unusual step. It appears that these groups, who constantly call for transparency in the operations of others, don’t care a bit for it in their own case. I have made an open records request of Senator Patrick’s office of all correspondence on this bill.

This week the Lottery Commission Sunset Bill will come to the floor for debate. The Republican Party Platform has been consistent in its call for a repeal of the Texas Lottery Act. The legislature has acted in good faith this session on education funding and substantially increased the dollars flowing to public education. Additionally, there is a surplus of revenue in the treasury due to the excellent business climate in Texas, and a Rainy Day Fund that is scheduled to be full in the next two years. Studies are consistent that lotteries are a drain on the economy due to the social cost of the state run gambling operation. The pervasiveness of lottery ticket sales locations and the aggressive promotion of the lottery by the Lottery Commission make participation in buying lottery tickets a matter of course for many citizens. Lottery revenue has been stagnant for many years and contributes a pittance to the general revenue of the state.

Now is the time for Republicans to correct this problem, repeal the Lottery Act and follow the Republican platform. All conservative groups have called for the repeal of this Act which is a continual and persistent drain on the family unit. We will see if these new Republican members are here to promote legislation that will have a real impact on conservative issues or if they are here just to pull publicity stunt at the behest of Michael Quinn Sullivan and Texas Public Policy Foundation.


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