Thursday, November 29, 2012

John Steen, Secretary of State, Part 3

We've seen some of the donations our new Secretary of State, John Steen, has made over the years, but there is 1 name missing from the previous two lists:

Associated Republicans of Texas (ART)

This PAC is separated from the rest of the group simply because of some of the names involved or statements made by the group.  In fact, Steen is listed as being on ART's Board of Directors, as well as some other names that may be familiar to people.

 So who is this group that the new Secretary of State donated to and supported?

According to ART, the 82nd Legislative Session (2011) was a success.  Among the items they highlight:
  • Passed - by the largest margin in history - a state budget that reduced the cost and size of government
  • Protected the fairness of elections by requiring photo ID for voting
  • Safeguarded unborn children with a strong sonogram bill
  • Approved a fair and legal Texas House and Senate redistricting map

The success of a state budget praised by ART would be the same state budget that cut $5.4 billion from public education.  From the New York Times earlier this year:
...Texas lawmakers cut public education financing by roughly $5.4 billion to balance the state’s two-year budget during the last legislative session, with the cuts taking effect this school year and next.

The budget reductions that districts large and small have had to make have transformed school life in a host of ways — increasing class sizes, reducing services and supplies and thinning the ranks of teachers, custodians, librarians and others, school administrators said. 

Like chief executives of struggling corporations, superintendents have been cutting back on everything from paper to nurses and have had to become increasingly creative about generating revenue. They are selling advertising space on the sides of buses and on district Web sites, scaling back summer school, charging parents if their children take part in athletics or cheerleading and adding periods in the school day so fewer teachers can accommodate more students. 
The success of photo ID was struck down by a federal court.  From the Washington Post
A federal court on Thursday blocked a Texas law that would have required voters to show photo identification, ruling that the legislation would impose “strict, unforgiving burdens” on poor minority voters. 

Describing the law as the most stringent in the country, the unanimous decision by a three-judge panel marks the first time that a federal court has blocked a voter-ID law...

The panel at the U.S. District Court in Washington ruled that Texas had failed to show that the statute would not harm the voting rights of minorities in the state. In addition, the judges found that evidence indicated that the cost of obtaining a photo ID to vote would fall most heavily on African American and Hispanic voters.

Evidence submitted by Texas to prove that its law did not discriminate was “unpersuasive, invalid, or both,” David S. Tatel, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, wrote in the panel’s 56-page opinion. Voting Rights Act cases must be decided by a special panel of three federal judges.
And those "fair and legal" redistricting maps?  Again from the Washington Post:
A federal court on Tuesday threw out Texas’s redistricting plans, saying the maps drawn by the Republican-led legislature undermined the political clout of minorities who are responsible for the state’s population growth.

The three-judge special panel in Washington said Texas could not prove that plans for the state’s congressional districts and both houses of the legislature were not drawn without intentional discrimination against the state’s burgeoning Latino population. In addition, it said new district lines removed the “economic guts” from congressional districts now held by African-Americans.

 “The only explanation Texas offers for this pattern is ‘coincidence,’ ” wrote U.S. Circuit Judge Thomas B. Griffith. “But if this was coincidence, it was a striking one indeed.”
And the sonogram bill?  How does that square with ART's own press release about the Legislative Session?  According to the press release, "During the 82nd Legislative Session, elected officials passed legislation that supports core Republican principals of preserving freedom, resorting personal accountability and responsibility, strengthening families and protecting our children’s future, and strengthening our economy."

How does the sonogram bill do any of that? I thought women had the freedom to choose whether or not to have an abortion.  I thought that when a woman decides whether or not to have an abortion that she is taking personal accountability and responsibility in her decision.  How does the bill strengthen families and protect our children's future when it does nothing after birth?  And finally it strengthens the economy?

This group also endorsed numerous candidates in the 2012 election:

Michael Berlanga, running for SD 19 - Lost
Anna Campos, running for HD 119 - Lost
Stefani Carter, running for re-election, HD 102 - Won
Robert Casias, running for HD 118 - Lost
Tony Dale, running for HD 136 - Won
Sarah Davis, running for re-election, HD 134 - Won
Wayne Faircloth, running for HD 23 - Lost
John Garza, running for re-election, HD 117 - Lost
Alam Perez Jackson, running for HD 125 - Lost
Kyle Kacal, running for HD 12 - Won
Thomas Kinkaid, running for HD 74 - Lost
JM Lozano, running for re-election, HD 43 - Won
Dee Margo, running for re-election, HD 78 - Lost
Miriam Martinez, running for HD 41 - Lost
David Pineda, running for HD 144 - Lost
Bennett Ratliff, running for HD 115 - Won
Connie Scott, running for re-election, HD 34 - Lost
Kenneth Sheets, running for re-election, HD 107 - Won
Phil Stephenson, running for HD 85 - Won
Robert Thomas, running for HD 48 - Lost
Raul Torres, running for SD 20 - Lost
Jason Villalba, running for HD 114 - Lost
Dianne Williams, running for HD 149 - Lost

8 wins out of 23 races for a winning percentage of 35%.

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