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The Road to Freedom

Apr 15, 2015 @ 06:48:10

The Road to Freedom

By justice a king builds up the land,
but he who exacts gifts tears it down.

— Proverbs 29:4
Want to LISTEN instead of read? CLICK HERE
Before I recap what happened over the last week, I want to tell you about something that happened on Monday.

Following the road to freedom requires keeping a good conscience—buying the truth and selling it not, as Proverbs puts it. I am afraid, however, we are still on the road to serfdom. So today I made the following personal privilege speech on the enactment of SB 293 before the Texas House of Representatives:

"Mr. Speaker and members: 

I don’t wish to take much time today, but there is an issue that I cannot let go unnoticed. 

As we press forward through this legislative session, I want us to remember that each and every one of us is responsible for upholding the rule of law—not just its letter but its spirit. 

Sure, we can play games with words and effective dates, as we used to do with the clock. But who are we kidding? The Lord knows and, more and more, the people know when we violate our rules or our constitutions. 

I want to get right to the point, and pull the “Band-Aid” off quickly, not slowly and painfully. Two weeks ago we debated Senate Bill 293, which was presented to this body as a “clarification of the law” that would have NO retroactive effect. I brought multiple points of order on Section 2 of the bill that clearly requires a retroactive application, but I was overruled. I also appealed to the governor.

Last Wednesday, April 8, the governor signed Senate Bill 293 into law. That same day the City of Fort Worth submitted a letter to the comptroller’s office, requesting that a previously denied application for a NASCAR event beginning the next day should be reconsidered. 

Even though it was only a day before the event’s activities commenced, not the 45 days required by statute (See Vernon’s Civil Statutes, Article 5190.14, Section 5A, and especially b-1.), the comptroller, based upon the retroactive language of Section 2 of the bill and in keeping with its letter of March 20, approved the February 19 application RETROACTIVELY.

And what is all this for? Is it to increase the eligible reimbursement for this event from $1,007,900 to $1,824,796? Have we as leaders of this state (this house, the senate, the governor, and the comptroller), really sacrificed our oaths for $816,896, for one city and one event? Have we sold our birthright of liberty and limited government for a bowl of political pottage? I believe we have. 

We’ve played games with the rule of law, and it is obvious. We have trampled on our U.S. Constitution and the Texas Constitution that both specifically forbid ex post facto or retroactive laws. 

This is why people don't trust politicians. 

Ladies and gentlemen, when we consciously violate our oath of office or intentionally work around the plain spirit of our laws and our constitutions, we reinforce the beliefs of every cynic that we have proven our profession and all we do here is negotiate price.

May God have mercy upon us and help us." 


In case you want to share this, I have attached the speech below.
Hearings & More Hearings!
Last week, citizens from all over Texas traveled to the Capitol to continue fighting the good fight for liberty by giving testimony before committees on HB 133, HB 1037, or HB 2165

HB 133, which would repeal a tax penalty for changing the use of agricultural land, received a lot of positive testimonials in the Agriculture and Livestock Committee hearing. I look forward to seeing this bill move forward.
 
HB 1037, abolishing the Emerging Technology Fund, received positive feedback in the Texas Economic & Small Business Development Committee hearing. Many individuals expressed support for ending corporate welfare and dedicating government funds toward crucial priorities, such as securing our border. Government needs to stop meddling with the free market and start focusing on protecting the liberty and safety of citizens. Thanks to all who testified on behalf of HB 133 or HB 1037. Both bills remain in committee awaiting a vote.
 


I want to thank everyone who took time out of their busy schedules last week to testify on my bills. I especially thank Jon-Eric, Rachel, and Lleyton Johnson, Zoe Parks, Commissioner Daryl Primo, and others from HD 7 and from across the state who stayed up late to testify on HB 2165, which would repeal marijuana prohibition in Texas. We heard gut-wrenching testimony from people on both sides of the issue. It takes immense strength and courage to share your personal stories and convictions in front of a crowd of witnesses. A total of 195 people registered on the bill: 22 were against it; three were neutral; and 170 were in favor. 

Now that all of the testimonies have been heard, HB 2165 remains pending in the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. In the meantime, I encourage you to continue spreading awareness about the bill so we can help citizens gain access to the natural marijuana plant for medical treatment without creating more government. Not only will this benefit those who need it, but also it will benefit all Texans by stopping much of the drug cartel's illicit trade.

Freedom is Gaining Public Support!

The Texas Young Republicans, a group affiliated with the state GOP, are publicly backing legislative efforts to decriminalize marijuana possession. Rep. Moody's HB 507, which would reduce possession of less than an ounce of marijuana to a civil offense, has gained the most widespread support among the GOP group.

My bill, HB 2165, takes things a step further than HB 507 by removing all marijuana offenses out of Texas state statute. Although an official survey indicates that a majority of the Texas Young Republicans group would support HB 2165, they are unable to take an official position on it because the Texas Republican Party's platform does not quite support it. But are not personal responsibility, limited government, medical freedom, and individual liberty core principles of the Republican party? Would not the passage of this bill undermine the drug cartel's trade?
 
 
According to Brian Bodine, the policy director of the Texas Young Republican Federation, a majority of the Texas Young Republicans seem to align with basic liberty principles. Bodine even released a statement to The Dallas Morning News explaining why group members support the marijuana decriminalization bills, "People have different reasons, but freedom is probably the big one—and personal liberty and responsibility." 

These Young Republicans are not attempting to change the party platform; they are merely sticking to it. Liberty is not a progressive or flexible term; it holds true to its meaning at all times. We need to get back to the basics by restoring our core values of limited civil government, individual liberty, and personal responsibility. If you are not harming your neighbor, the government should leave you alone.
 

Bills Up for Public Hearings


Several bills that I introduced will be heard in committees this week.
 
Tuesday, April 14
 
HB 1200 establishes civil liability for synthetic drugs. Spice, K2, and other synthetic drugs often have caused serious bodily injuries including blindness, paralysis, and death. This bill is designed to work with HB 1199 and should be effective even if contraband laws are not effective. The bill will be heard by the Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence Committee. 
 
Wednesday, April 15
 
HB 1581 requires disclosure of artificial fluoridation of drinking water. This measure does not ban fluoridation but requires disclosure of artificial fluoridation sources, amounts, and costs. The bill will be heard by the Natural Resources Committee.

HB 3171 repeals civil asset forfeiture provisions and establishes criminal asset forfeiture in this state where criminal conviction is required to take a person's property, and innocent owners are protected.
The bill will be heard by the State Affairs Committee.

Thursday, April 16
 
HB 1582 requires disclosure of all compensation to elected officers. All governmental entities must publish all forms of compensation and reimbursements to elected officials. The bill will be heard by the General Investigating and Ethics Committee.

HB 2540 designates the Texas Ranger Glenn Elliott Memorial Highway in Gregg County on Spur 63.
The bill will be heard by the Transportation Committee.
Again, I welcome your input and covet your prayers. Thank you for the privilege of representing District 7 in the Texas House.

For Texas and liberty,
David Simpson


PS. You can follow along each week with any bills of interest by watching the process. Links to committee hearings and floor activity can be found hereBills that I have filed may be found here.


In Case You Missed It!


"A Pro-Life Defense of Marijuana Legalization" published by the Texas GOP Vote, April 10, 2015

"Texas Young Republicans Support Marijuana Decriminalization" published by the Dallas Morning News, April 10, 2015


"Simpson bills get attention this week" published by the Longview News-Journal, April 4, 2015

"Longview family seeks medical marijuana for son's seizure disorder" published by the Longview News-Journal, March 27, 2015

"Holding Marriage in HonorOp-Ed published by the Longview News-Journal, February 28, 2015

 

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The Good, the Bad, & the Budget

Apr 07, 2015 @ 09:39:41

Want to LISTEN instead of read?

Last week, the Texas House took up its 991 page budget for the 2016-17 biennium. After 17 hours of continuous debate on 399 pages of amendments, HB 1 was passed out of the House around 5:30 in the morning. Now it will be taken up by the Senate. The bill authorizes $209 billion of appropriations. The spending, however, has just begun. The bill will be re-negotiated by the conference committee. Historically, when the House and Senate get together to agree on a plan, they end up with a product larger than either body passed on its own. There also will be other large spending bills. 

Before I focus on what is lacking in the budget, I want to acknowledge some real progress. The chair of Appropriations did a much better job of being open about the budget, keeping legislators informed along the way. Also, the bill made funding more available for some essential elements of government. There is increased funding in the base bill for roads, education and border security. Even so, funding is insufficient to pay overtime of state troopers and aircraft for border security operations as requested by the Department of Public Safety. 

 

Although there is much good in the budget, I voted NO to oppose:

(1) The rapid growth of state government at approximately 10% for the second consecutive biennium, exceeding the growth of population and inflation.

(2) The inadequate funding of border security and the Department of Public Safety.

(3) An 8% expansion of corporate welfare, which now tops $1 BILLION for the biennium.
 
Finally, my vote was to protest the budget process, which is more or less pre-determined prior to session, often obscure, and much like a shell game. The worst part is yet to come. Late in the session changes will be made by the conference committee, which legislators know violate the House rules but are often unwilling or too weary to fight. 
 
Despite all this, there is hope! But it is not in civil government (Psalm 146). It is freedom used responsibly. It is in the Lord Jesus Christ who lived a perfect life and then gave it on the cross to pay the debt of sin that we never could pay (Romans 6:23). Through Him we may be reconciled to God and enabled by grace to love Him and our neighbor.

 
Transparency in Public Debt
Many Texas communities are currently drowning in millions or even billions of dollars of debt due to the issuance of local bonds. Texas currently has one of the highest amounts of local debt per capita in the nation. Without micromanaging local entities, how do we address this issue?

One answer is to disclose to voters the long-term commitment they are making for themselves and their children when authorizing general obligation debt. To implement that disclosure I
 filed HB 134 which requires that ballots for bond proposals simply reveal how much the state or the local entity already owes, as well as how much new debt would be added. 

HB 134 received a lot of support at the Elections Committee hearing last week when my office responded to complaints that such requirements would make the ballot language lengthy with more incomprehensible legalese. We requested a committee substitute that makes it clear that all that is needed is a simple "fill in the blank" form. The financial ramifications of bonded indebtedness should be presented in plain sight, not hidden in lengthy, legal mumbo jumbo. 

 

Bills Up for Public Hearings


Several bills that I introduced will be heard in committees this week.

Wednesday, April 8th

HB 133 repeals a tax penalty for simply changing the use of agricultural land. Currently, if you change the usage of agriculturally appraised land, you must pay a tax equivalent to the developed rate for the previous five years plus a 7% annually compounded interest penalty. With HB 133 taxation would not be retroactive. It would be based on actual usage, not a fictitious use or intention. This bill will be heard by the  Agriculture & Livestock Committee.

HB 2165 repeals marijuana prohibition from all Texas statutes to help those who desire access to the natural plant for treatment of seizures, PTSD, and acute and chronic pain. It is a limited government, personal responsibility, and individual liberty approach. It does not expand government, nor does it create a registry of users. It enables responsible people to use the plant for good. People who abuse the plant may well need help, but we should not send them to prison unless they harm their neighbor. This bill will be heard by the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee.
 
Thursday, April 9th

HB 1037 abolishes the Emerging Technology Fund and transfers the remaining balance to General Revenue to be used for DPS Border Security Operations. This bill will be heard by the Economic and Small Business Development Committee

If you come to testify at the hearings, please stop by E2.502 if you have time or need a place to rest or wait. 

Liberty and Justice For ALL
 
When I draft legislation, my main focus is to protect liberty, to seek justice for those who have been wronged, and to pry government's hands off of our lives so we can enjoy and be responsible for our own God-given freedom. 

As you watch my bills go before committee, and as we vote on hundreds of bills, please remember that we must replace fear with facts and trust individuals with freedom until they harm their neighbor. 
Fulfilling the oath to uphold the Constitution is not easy, but it's the right thing to do. It's not about protecting government; it's about protecting and restoring liberty and justice for ALL Texans. 

Again, I welcome your input and covet your prayers. Thank you for the privilege of representing District 7 in the Texas House.


For Texas and liberty,
David Simpson


PS. You can follow along each week with any bills of interest by watching the process. Links to committee hearings and floor activity can be found hereBills that I have filed may be found here.
 
Left: Emily Nicholson is the office administrator who assists me by greeting all visitors, answering phone calls, analyzing legislation, and schedules interviews and meetings with constituents and their representatives.

While in college, Emily participated in the national government leadership program, Patriot Academy, and mentored fellow students in conservative principles of government. She is also a former music teacher who enjoys playing the piano, violin, and Krav Maga training (an Israeli martial art). 
 

In Case You Missed It!


"Simpson bills get attention this week" published by the Longview News-Journal, April 4, 2015

"Longview family seeks medical marijuana for son's seizure disorder" published by the Longview News-Journal, March 27, 2015
 
"The Christian case for drug law reform" Op-Ed published by The Texas Tribune, March 2, 2015

"A Conservative Christian's Case for Legal Marijuana" published by The New York Times, March 3, 2015

"Holding Marriage in HonorOp-Ed published by the Longview News-Journal, February 28, 2015

 

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Retroactive Crony Capitalism

Apr 01, 2015 @ 10:05:19

 

Trampling the Texas Constitution for
Retroactive Crony Capitalism
Want to LISTEN instead of read? Click here.
The Texas Legislature took another step to expand corporate welfare in Texas by trampling on the Constitution. The House just passed SB 293 (HB 900) to retroactively expand the site selection organizations for the Major Events Trust Fund (METF) for ESPN, NASCAR, and UFC. 

Why is the State of Texas meddling with the marketplace? Is it government’s role to promote sp
ecial businesses and events in big cities? What happened to equality before the law? 
In whose interest was it to allow this bill to move forward? 

SB 293 is especially egregious because Section 2 of the bill plainly violates Article I Section 16 of the Texas Constitution that prohibits retroactive laws. Section 2 of SB 293 indicates that it affects each event held on or after June 14, 2013. Is this to give a special reprieve to the Duck Commander 500 NASCAR race(s)? Will the Comptroller use this to bend the rules of the METF Act to consider applications for the events "retroactively" as it indicated it would in a March 20, 2015 letter to the City of Fort Worth?
 

Did we not swear an oath to uphold the Constitution? Protecting the rule of law and liberty should be our priority, NOT corporate welfare. That's why I tried to kill the bill and voted NO.
Love for Lleyton Fundraiser
On Saturday I joined Gregg County Commissioner Daryl Primo in hosting a Hamburger Social & Fundraiser to help Longview fireman, Jon-Eric Johnson, and his wife Rachel, obtain treatment for their 6-year-old son Lleyton, who has 30 or more seizures a day. Pharmaceutical drugs have not provided relief and have side effects that pose significant risk to Lleyton. 

Thanks to 130 people plus who attended, we raised over $5200 at the event to enable Jon-Eric and Rachel
 travel with Lleyton to Colorado to try a cannabis product that has been effective in reducing or eliminating seizures in other children.


Thank you, Jon-Eric and Rachel, for sharing your story and allowing us to help precious Lleyton!
 

Special thanks are due to Ken Chinn for initiating and spurring on the event, to Terry and Brandee Brown for organizing and preparing the event, to the Butcher Shop for providing the hamburgers and Kern's Bake Shop for providing the cookies, Commissioner Daryl Primo and Constable Billy Fort for cooking, and ALL who attended, donated, served, and helped promote the event.

Let's follow up now with prayer that God will bless these funds and that Lleyton's treatment with cannabis will be very effective!

If you missed the event and would like to help, you can donate at the Love for Lleyton page: http://www.gofundme.com/9c2rbw.


Other Legislative Issues of Importance


I have filed a total of 18 bills this session addressing a wide range of topics and issues currently affecting House District 7 and liberty in our state. The legislation I have filed tackles issues of accountability, transparency, repealing corporate welfare, repealing egregious retroactive tax penalties, protecting property rights, water rights, and state sovereignty. Below are five bills that I have not mentioned in previous newsletters:

HB 2540 honors Texas Ranger Glenn Elliot by naming a portion of Spur 63 in Gregg County after him.

HB 3175 creates a local provider participation fund to allow Gregg County to draw down federal funds for uncompensated care.

HB 3669 separates the salaries of district judges from the pensions of legislators so that they may be determined independently.

HB 3744 requires a geological survey to identify and disclose geological hazards of dams proposed in the State Water Plans.

HB 4026 allows Upshur County Emergency Service District to divide into two or more districts by petition and election.

Please do not hesitate to contact my office if you have any questions or concerns regarding my filed legislation. 

Setting Texas Priorities

Today the Texas Legislator will be reading, amending, and preparing the state budget for years 2016 and 2017. As we read through the 991 page budget and 399 pages of amendments, my staff and I will be working around the clock to ensure that nothing extraneous goes unnoticed while authorizing taxpayer funds. It is our duty to make sure that the fruits of Texans' labor are being used responsibly for our most important priorities and complying with policies of fiscal restraint. We are all working hard to protect liberty and to affirm that your tax dollars are used for the purpose they were dedicated and not frittered away. 

Again, I welcome your input and covet your prayers. Thank you for the privilege of representing District 7 in the Texas House.

For Texas and liberty,
David Simpson


PS. You can follow along each week with any bills of interest by watching the process. Links to committee hearings and floor activity can be found hereBills that I have filed may be found here.

In Case You Missed It!


"Longview family seeks medical marijuana for son's seizure disorder" published by the Longview News-Journal, March 27, 2015
 
"The Christian case for drug law reform" Op-Ed published by The Texas Tribune, March 2, 2015

"A Conservative Christian's Case for Legal Marijuana" published by The New York Times, March 3, 2015
 
"Medical marijuana - where does the debate stand now?" published by Medical News Today, July 24, 2014 

"Holding Marriage in HonorOp-Ed
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