House Member Seeks to Conceal Critical Voting Information: Update from HB 420 Hearing

Apr 27, 2009
Topic: Update

Update-we testified against this bill. After Rep. Donna Howard said that voters usually have little information about SBOE members, it made my main point easier — her bill will give voters less information not more, which will lead to less informed voters.  Rep. Heflin tried to use my appearance in front of the committee as an opportunity to trash our voters’ guide, claiming our VG painted him as a liberal even though he claims he is not, that he is a 100% pro-lifer.  With a straight face, I said, “We don’t do any painting, we simply produce your answers to questionnaire.”  He got the point.  I asked him why he didn’t just answer our questionnaire, or fill in the comments section if he could not answer the questions yes or no, like so many other candidates do.  So, if you live in Rep. Heflin’s district, I hope you will kindly encourage him to back up his stated pro-life position and co-author and vote for HB 36, the ultrasound bill.  To his credit, he is a co-author of the Choose Life license plate bill. 

Rep. Alma Allen (D-Houston) said in the hearing that she is against the bill.  Rep. Allen is a former SBOE member herself and her son, Lawrence Allen, is now a sitting SBOE member, so her opinion counts for a lot.

I’d say this bill has reached the end of the road.

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HB 420, by Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin), bans a State Board of Education Member from indicating their political party affiliation on a voting ballot.  This excludes and conceals vital information from voters, many who don’t often get to interact with their State Board of Education.

From the House Chronicle:

“Bill author Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, says she wants to take some of the partisan politics out of State Board of Education.  ‘We don’t use partisan politics in local school boards, and it seems that it would be helpful if we got rid of some of that with the State Board,’ she says.” 

We also don’t use party affiliation for city council/mayoral elections.  Maybe next, Rep. Donna Howard will next ask for party affiliation removal for all statewide elections.  I am sure this bill has nothing to do with the fact that she holds very extreme liberal views and most of Austin is represented by the conservative SBOE member, Cynthia Dunbar, whose district extends to Houston.

This bill is up for a hearing later today in the Elections Committee.  We are opposed to this bill.

http://www.legis.state.tx.us/Committees/MembershipCmte.aspx?LegSess=81R&CmteCode=C240

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