Monday, April 29, 2013

The 'No Birth Certificate' Bill Scare

A Texas bill that would allegedly end the requirement for producing a birth certificate to get a state ID or drivers license was left dead in committee. However, some "favorable substitutions" performed CPR on the bill. The committee is now reconsidering the revised version.

Several conservatives in Texas received emails recently meant to alarm them over HB 3206. Those emails contained some interesting articles regarding illegals driving in the US.

HB 3206 is a comprehensive bill concerning motor vehicle laws in Texas. It covers several topics, including what proof of identification is required to obtain a state ID or Drivers license.

relating to the public safety by ensuring all drivers in the state of Texas are licensed pursuant to state law and to encourage all drivers to stop and render aid at the scene of an accident, to prevent the abandonment of the scene of an accident, and to prevent uninsured use of a motor vehicle; relating further to the security of the state that all inhabitants are identifiable.

The "ID Bill" strikes this portion from current Texas law:
 (d 1)     Unless the information has been previously provided to the department, the department shall require each applicant for an original, renewal, or duplicate personal identification certificate to furnish to the department: 
             (1)     proof of the applicant's United States citizenship; or 
             (2)  documentation described by Subsection (f 2).

 However, it would, for example, add the following:

             (1)  for an applicant who is a citizen, national, or legal permanent resident of the United States or a refugee or asylee lawfully admitted into the United States: 
                   (A)  expires on a date specified by the department if the applicant is younger than 60 years of age; or 
                   (B)  does not expire if the applicant is 60 years of age or older; or 
             (2)  for an applicant not described by Subdivision (1), expires on: 
                   (A)the earlier of: 
                         (i)a date specified by the department; or 
                         (ii)  the expiration date of the applicant's authorized stay in the United States; or 
                   (B)  the first anniversary of the date of issuance, if there is no definite expiration date for the applicant's authorized stay in the United States[, except that a except that a certificate issued to a person 60 years of age or older does not expire] . 
       (f 2)  An applicant who is not a citizen of the United States must present to the department documentation issued by the appropriate United States agency that authorizes the applicant to be in the United States.

Reading through the whole bill, available here, will bring further examples of how the bill could actually close loopholes and better regulate the issuance of state identification and drivers licenses.

The chief concern regarding the bill is the new electronic voter registration bills the Texas 83rd legislature is considering. The new voter registration law, if passed, will allow Texas citizens to register to vote online using their state identification or drivers license number.

The alarm is that not requiring proof of citizenship will lead to illegal immigrants acquiring state-issued identification that would legitimize their residency and allow them to vote illegally. Currently, those who have identification have acquired it through forgery and identity theft.

The bill allows for other forms of proof of residency than a birth certificate. The bill contained provisions for registered, legal immigrants or foreigners in Texas on student or other visas for an extended period of time to acquire restricted drivers licenses. These licenses would expire when the visa terminated. In order to renew, the individuals would have to present proof of the extension or naturalization. If they could not do so, their license or ID card would be expired.

The bill makes it more difficult for non-citizens to get state IDs or DLs without proof of visitation or immigration status. It also places stricter record-keeping requirements on Texas Department of Public Safety and Secretary of State administrators.  Those agencies as well as the State Department of Transportation must maintain accurate and timely records of the immigration and citizenship status of each ID card and DL applicant, to include those denied such applications.

In essence, the bill would have helped reform immigration problems where those immigrating legally get trapped in bureaucratic red tape. In those particular cases, some legal immigrants become "illegal" when those visas run out and they are not informed. Under this bill, they would have that date on their ID card.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Not Quite Campus Carry in Texas

"Campus Carry" is one of the major policy changes Second Amendment advocates in Texas wish to see.

However, the latest Campus Carry bill's status is "left pending in committee", meaning a congressional committee reviewing the law refuses to bring the bill to a floor vote.

As a seeming compromise, Senator Glenn Hegar (R-18-Katy, TX) introduced SB 1907.

Senate Bill 1907 falls just short of allowing citizens with concealed carry permits to carry firearms on college campuses. Instead, it allows for those with licenses to store their legally owned and carried firearms and ammunition in their privately owned vehicles on and around campus grounds.

The bill mandates for colleges, both public and private, to allow citizens with carry permits to leave their weapons locked in their vehicles while attending classes or attending to business on campus. It further mandates that campuses provide secure parking locations where licensed citizens may do so.

SB 1907 mirrors policy changes Texas enacted in regards to employers who ban weapons at workplaces. That code, already enacted, mandates that companies whose policies forbid employees from being armed at work to store their firearms in their vehicles in secure parking locations provided by the employers. It also mandates that employers provide those parking facilities that provide adequate security to prevent theft of the vehicles and the firearms.

       Sec. 52.061.  RESTRICTION ON PROHIBITING EMPLOYEE ACCESS TO OR STORAGE OF FIREARM OR AMMUNITION. A public or private employer may not prohibit an employee who holds a license to carry a concealed handgun under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, who otherwise lawfully possesses a firearm, or who lawfully possesses ammunition from transporting or storing a firearm or ammunition the employee is authorized by law to possess in a locked, privately owned motor vehicle in a parking lot, parking garage, or other parking area the employer provides for employees.

In effect, SB 1907 just extends that same provision to college campuses.

      (b)  An institution of higher education or private or independent institution of higher education in this state may not adopt or enforce any rule, regulation, or other provision prohibiting a student enrolled at that institution who holds a license to carry a concealed handgun under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, from transporting or storing a handgun of the same category the student is licensed to carry or ammunition for that handgun in a locked, privately owned motor vehicle or a motor vehicle leased by the student: 
             (1)  on a street or driveway located on the campus of the institution; or
             (2)  in a parking lot, parking garage, or other parking area located on the campus of the institution.

The bill will allow for students and faculty to protect themselves while traveling to and from campus. However, it still does not provide security and self-defense capabilities for students moving to or from their vehicles to classes.

Especially in regards to evening classes, this restriction will still leave students and faculty vulnerable on campus. An attacker can still prey upon them in the parking garages or other places on campus. The firearms will be locked in the cars, unavailable for the citizens to use to protect themselves.

In 2006 alone, there were an estimated 673,000 rapes on college campuses. Only 12% of them were actually reported. An estimated 20% of female college students are victims of rape or attempted rape each year. 11.7% of male college students are victims of rape or attempted rape.

That is just rapes. the statistics do not account for the other violent crimes such as assault, attempted murder, manslaughter, or armed robbery. These occur on campuses where, in most of the US, law abiding citizens are denied their second amendment rights.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Texas Space Bill Enhances Private Industry

Photo Courtesy of the Texas Office of the Governor, Public Domain
The Texas Space Bill, set for a House floor vote on Monday, April 29, 2013, will facilitate private space exploration.

The space bill will benefit private aeronautical engineering companies and space exploration firms operating in Texas. Texas, like Florida and Ohio, has a deep history with space exploration. Many people still quip a NASA communication, "Houston, we have a problem" dating back to the Apollo program.

Private firms, such as Raytheon, work with missile and rocket technology that is sometimes associated with spacecraft and space exploration.

In recent years, many private space exploration companies have relocated to Texas. One such example is XCOR who relocated from California to near Midland, TX. Governor Perry helped to broker the deal to move the company. The firm's move was primarily due to California's increasing taxes versus the lower costs of living and tax rates in Texas. Texas also does not have a state income tax, which further benefits any employees of the firm.

The Space Bill, HB 1791, regulates testing, flights, launches, re-entries, and landing by private craft within the state of Texas. It establishes what liabilities are incurred by any company engaged in the enterprise. It lists which ones are incurred by the state. It establishes the legal use of private and public lands contracted for these uses.

 Sec. 100A.002.  LIMITED LIABILITY. (a) Except as provided by this section [Subsection (b)], a space flight entity is not liable to any person for direct or indirect damages resulting from nuisance, or subject to any claim for abatement or other injunctive relief arising from space flight activities. 
       (b)  Except as provided by this section, a space flight entity is not liable to any person for a space flight participant injury or damages arising out of [the] space flight activities [participant injury] if the space flight participant has signed the agreement required by Section 100A.003 and given written consent as required by 51 [49] U.S.C. Section 50905 [70105].

In short, it legalizes private space exploration originating in Texas as long as it conforms to FAA regulations and federal law.

(4)  "Space flight entity" means a person who conducts space flight activities and who, to the extent required by federal law, has obtained the appropriate Federal Aviation Administration license or other authorization, including safety approval and a payload determination.  The term includes: 
                   (A)  a manufacturer or supplier of components, services, or vehicles used by the entity and reviewed by the Federal Aviation Administration as part of issuing the license or other authorization; [and
                   (B)  an employee, officer, director, owner, stockholder, member, manager, advisor, or partner of the entity, manufacturer, or supplier; and 
                   (C)  an owner or lessor of real property on which space flight activities are conducted, including a municipality, county, political subdivision, or spaceport development corporation under Section 507.001, Local Government Code, in this state with a contractual relationship with a space flight entity.

Since the federal government and NASA cancelled the Space Shuttle Project and has suspended manned spaceflights, exploration by private companies may be the future of manned space exploration.

The Space Bill puts Texas back on the map for space exploration. Furthermore, it places Texas at the forefront of privately funded (and performed) space exploration. The first manned commercial passenger spacecraft just may be launched from Texas.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Texas Truancy Bill and School Choice

A Bill passed by the Texas Senate and now making its rounds through the House combats truancy in an effort to reduce student drop-out rates.

SB 1234, if passed, would increase both the responsibilities and the powers of public school officials in preventing truancy. Violations of the new truancy legislation could result in criminal charges and class C misdemeanor fines of $100.

 SECTION 6.  Subsection (e), Section 25.094, Education Code, is amended to read as follows: 
       (e)  An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $100.

The bill amends current state law by allowing proof of a high school diploma or certified equivalent evidence requiring automatic dismissal of charges, as long as the student can do so prior to his or her 21st birthday.

             (1)  the court finds that the individual has successfully complied with the conditions imposed on the individual by the court under Article 45.054; or 
             (2)  before the individual's 21st birthday, the individual presents to the court proof that the individual has obtained a high school diploma or a high school equivalency certificate after taking a high school equivalency examination administered under Section 7.111, Education Code.

If a student accumulates 10 or more unexcused absences in a 6 month period, school officials are directed to action.

       (b)  As a truancy prevention measure under Subsection (a), a school district shall: 
             (1)  issue a warning letter to the student and the student's parent or guardian that states the number of absences of the student and explains the consequences if the student has additional absences; 
             (2)  impose:
                   (A)  a behavior contract on the student that must be signed by the student, the student's parent or guardian, and an employee of the school and that includes: 
                         (i)  a specific description of the behavior that is required or prohibited for the student; 
                         (ii)  the period for which the contract will be effective, not to exceed 45 school days after the date the contract becomes effective; and 
                         (iii)  the penalties for additional absences, including additional disciplinary action or the referral of the student to a juvenile court; and 
                   (B)  school-based community service; or 
             (3)  refer the student to counseling, community-based services, or other in-school or out-of-school services aimed at addressing the student's truancy. 
       (c)  A referral made under Subsection (b)(3) may include participation by the child's parent or guardian if necessary.

The parents and student are notified and then directed to be assigned to a state juvenile education case manager. That case manager will put the child through the "at risk of drop-out" program that includes a contract. That contract outlines penalties for any further absences as well as obligating how the student will behave. The contract is intended to be for 45 days at a time. Violations of the contract bring a $100 fine as well as referral to the juvenile court system.

 (a)  Except as provided by Subsection (a-1), [On approval of the commissioners court, city council, school district board of trustees, juvenile board, or other appropriate authority,] a county court, justice court, municipal court, school district, or juvenile probation department shall[, or other appropriate governmental entity may: 
             [(1)]  employ a case manager or agree, in accordance with Chapter 791, Government Code, with any entity listed in this subsection or another appropriate governmental entity to jointly employ a case manager to provide services in cases involving: 
             (1)  a juvenile offender who is [offenders] before a court consistent with the court's statutory powers; or 
             (2)  a student, before the student is referred to a court for a violation of Section 25.094, Education Code, who is referred to the case manager by a school administrator or designee for intervention services because the student is considered at risk of dropping out of school, if the student and the student's parent or guardian consent to the referral to the [agree in accordance with Chapter 791, Government Code, to jointly employ a] case manager.

In whole, the law appears as though it will increase graduation rates and reduce truancy. The full engrossed version of SB 1234 sent to the State House is available here.

However, there are some issues the bill does not address that may draw critical attention.

The truancy bill does not adequately address a student removed from a school by parents who desire to home-school their children. With the controversies surrounding CSCOPE in Texas and CCSSI in other states, more and more parents are seeking affordable alternatives to public education. Some parents may see this law as an infringement upon individual natural rights.

The current education law in effect is available here. Reading it over may leave some citizens believing the code outlaws home-schooling and school choice.

SB 1234 does not address or provide for student athletes. Many elementary and middle schools do not have competitive gymnastic teams. If a child were gifted in gymnastics, competed at a national or international level, and were taken from school in order to compete, the parents may find themselves under undo scrutiny under this law, even if the child were tutored during these trips.

In a vacuum, this bill could turn parents exercising their parental rights into criminals. If parents disagree with exposing their child to controversial curricula and decide to remove their child from the school, they could face a lot of red tape plus the inside of a courtroom.

There also exists potential for misuse and corruption by this law. Public schools are finding themselves more and more in competition with home-schooling, charter schools, private schools, and charter schools.

Public schools may start reporting kids who are removed from their control and enrolled into an alternative program. Parents should not have to explain their decisions or choices to public schools or ask their permission in order to provide their own children the education they choose. A vindictive school administrator could easily "lose" the paperwork dis-enrolling the student and bring a bureaucratic and legal nightmare onto the student and his or her parents. 

Texas has yet to pass or enact any education reform that supports school choice. Though it will go far in reducing the drop-out rate, this bill is no exception. True education reform will not happen until school choice legislation is part of that reform.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Alleged Intelligence Breakdown In Boston Bombing

Senator Saxby Chambliss and other members of the Senate Intelligence Committee are holding closed-door hearings concerning alleged intelligence failings concerning early detection of the Boston Marathon Bombing.

The hearings and briefings center around the efforts of FBI counter-terror and counter-espionage teams and their intelligence efforts.

After every attack from some threat force, be it foreign or domestic, some people scream and point their fingers of blame at the intelligence community. Usually, those doing so have never worked in the field. It's easy to blame something you don't understand.

Most people don't understand how the intelligence community really works. First of all, the only non-military (non-Department of Defense) intelligence agency is the CIA.

Intelligence agencies are not allowed to collect on US Citizens without a warrant.

The National Security Agency is part of the DoD. Many of the analysts and collectors are uniformed military members.

The same goes for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).

The Defense Intelligence Agency, US INSCOM, and all the others are military as well.

Only the CIA is not.

The FBI does investigations and law enforcement. If a non-military US citizen is alleged to be involved with espionage, terrorism, or other acts that threaten the security of our nation, the FBI is involved in the investigation.

In investigating the Boston Marathon Bombings, the FBI and local law enforcement did an outstanding job catching the two operatives before they could escape or conduct other attacks. Nobody can begrudge their efforts and swift results.

Inter-agency cooperation with the FBI, DEA, ATF, DHS, etc. requires a certain amount of red tape. There is a bureaucracy in place for an important reason. It is there to protect the citizens of our country against tyranny. The "Patriot Act" streamlined some of those bureaucratic hoops in some circumstances. However the privacy protection and 4th Amendment safety nets are still there.

The US Army's AR380-10 details who and what US Army personnel and intelligence assets are allowed to collect on. It also dictates the channels to follow should some collection indicate a possibility a US Citizen is involved.

The other service branches have similar regulations (laws). They are all governed by Department of Defense Directive 5240.1 and DoD Instruction 5240.4. These were derived from public laws including the Privacy Act of 1974 and the Patriot Act, the 3rd and 4th Amendments, and executive orders that dictate the policies provided by them. These executive orders include EO 12333 and EO 13388

If, as a lay person, this is overwhelming and confusing, don't worry. Members of the intelligence community receive regular training (several times a year) on these regulations, laws, and policies to include supplemental training when any of them change, usually due to legislation.

We know at least one of the Tsarnaev brothers was a US Citizen. That put any investigation under the auspices of the US Attorney General. (Currently that is Eric Holder, the "godfather of Operation Fast and Furious"). Any investigations go through his office to the agency responsible for investigating. In addition, any investigation needs to include any necessary warrants before involving any of the military intelligence agencies, assets, or activities.Those requests must originate with the FBI or other Department of Justice agency.

The FBI is careful in doing much of that "intelligence collection". They were a little overzealous when investigating domestic terrorists that were part of the "Weather Underground". Because of their overstepping the laws, one terrorist, at least, could not be brought to justice. His name is William Ayers and he is a close associate of Barack Obama.

Have there been intelligence failures in the past?


Pearl Harbor was an intelligence failure. Collectors and analysts detected, assessed, and analyzed predicatively an imminent attack on Pearl Harbor. Leaders, however, pooh-poohed the assessments. So, our forces in Hawaii were caught unaware. It was a failure to push the issue. It was a failing of candor. It is still considered the greatest failure of the intelligence community.

The World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks on September 11, 2001 were a similar failure. There were some indicators. However, due to bureaucracy meant to protect US Citizens, intelligence agencies didn't adequately share their data. Because of that, the picture wasn't pieced together. The bureaucratic red tape and inter-agency rivalries got in the way. Even in the aftermath, we cannot be sure that the intelligence community would have had enough data to have predicted or prevented the attack. (Anthony Shaffer, author of Operation Dark Heart, will elude to important information that was ignored by leaders, as well).

In reality, unless we are all given some magic insight into sensitive, confidential, or classified warrants, memorandums, requests, and communications, we cannot know if there was a breakdown. Hindsight is 20/20. Evidence, data, and information mined and compiled now may not have been detected before the event. Unless you were an intelligence professional working in one of the related missions prior to the attack, there is no way you can know what was there to be detected at that time.

In the grand view of the big picture, blaming the FBI for not having the intelligence and acting on it may be perceived as advocating the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Amendments be repealed.

Some risks are still worth taking. Pattern analysis, risk management, and well-known statistics tell us that we risk our lives every time we ride (or drive) in a car and each time we take a shower. We still take those risks almost every day. The vast majority of people emerge unscathed.

The risks of falling victim to a terrorist attack are still much, much lower. Is your freedom worth taking the risk of not impinging?

Mine is. I spent 24 years risking my life to protect your freedom and liberty, sacrificing some of my own to do so. I would gladly do so again. There are many others still in service doing that every day. So if I feel your liberty and freedom are worth it, shouldn't you as well? 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

3rd Anniversary of Landmark Immigration Legislation

Three years ago Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona executed SB 1070, a controversial landmark legislation.

SB 1070 is a state-level border enforcement law in which Arizona took steps to actively enforce federal laws that federal executive policies were, in Arizona's view, failing to enforce.

Many of the more controversial portions of the law were upheld by the Supreme Court. The main part that wasn't upheld was the part that made illegally crossing the border a state-level felony.

Given the proper condition, law enforcement personnel in Arizona can, if reasonable suspicion exists, check on the immigration status of anybody arrested or detained under allegation or suspicion of any other crime.

That is contrary to what many opposed to the law stated in propaganda. People were falsely led to believe that Arizona was allowing police to stop people on the street just because they suspected somebody of being in the country illegally. That, as it turns out, is not the case. Arizona has not yet set up police checkpoints at its border such as California has.

Illegal immigration costs taxpayers in and businesses in border states an estimated $1.6 Billion a year. Here is an excerpt from a letter circulated by Gov. Brewer:

I’ve launched this fundraising drive to ensure that border security is the number one priority in America’s immigration system.  Our illegal immigration problem can’t be fixed until our southern border is finally secured.  States like Arizona simply can’t continue to afford the $1.6 billion in costs associated with illegal immigration, including the increased health care costs, education and incarceration of illegal aliens.
Please chip-in right now to help us secure our nation’s borders!  If donating by check, please make it payable to "Jan PAC" and mail to Jan PAC, P.O. Box 3798, Phoenix, AZ 85030.
Thank you for your continued support.
Jan Brewer

The state level laws had consequences. Many other states, to include Texas, a fellow border state, have passed similar laws.

The Texas Legislature passed a resolution to send a bill to the US Government for reimbursement of some of the state's costs. SCR 6 bills the Obama Administration for $221,600,000.00.

Texas may soon pass a law to assist in combating human trafficking directed at smuggling children as sex slaves.

The Texas legislature also entertained two bills similar to portions of SB 1070. HB 2187 mandates that law enforcement officers check the immigration status of anybody arrested and booked for another offense. HB 2301 mandates the use of E-Verify by all employers to include government contractors in determining immigration status and eligibility.

Other states such as Georgia have enacted similar laws. These laws reportedly reduced the population of illegal immigrants (through dislocation or self-deportation) in the states that enacted such laws. This is despite a perceived reluctance of the federal government to enforce the federal laws. The state level laws in addition to the stagnate economy and poor employment market may better explain the alleged drop in illegal crossings reported by federal statistics.

The federal government and the so-called "Gang of 8" can take a few cues from the state-level laws. Much debate is echoing over a "path to citizenship", "amnesty", or some form of permanent resident status. These quibbles are putting the cart before the horse.

Any immigration reform must first start with securing the borders. That should include allowing law-abiding citizens living near the border to protect their land. That would make entering private property more hazardous to trespassing illegal immigrants.

Those "coyotes" (human traffickers), slave traders, drug smugglers, and gun runners who cross these areas are nothing less than armed invasion forces. They are known to enable terrorists to infiltrate our country as well. One of the intents of the Second Amendment is to allow free citizens to form irregular militia to guard and protect private property from armed foreign invaders.

In addition, a federal law mandating employers to use E-Verify or a similar system would make employment tougher for illegals to acquire. This would deter many from making the trip in the first place.

Enabling local law enforcement personnel to screen, arrest, and process illegal immigrants would bolster border security.

Only after putting that horse in front of the cart can any program, process, or form of immigration reform take place. Before looking at a plan to deal with  the illegals that have been in the US over 10 years and their natural born family members, legislators need to streamline the process for those wishing to immigrate legally. The visa system is broken and full of red tape. For example, the notification system regarding visa expiration or extension disapproval many times fails to inform those who lawfully entered the country of their status in a timely manner.

After streamlining and reforming the legal immigration process and securing the borders, a plan that does not include amnesty can be discussed, debated, and passed.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Texas Sex Slavery Bill

The Texas Legislature is entertaining two identical bills dealing with Sex Slavery. The bills' language addresses the issue as "sex trafficking", particularly of minor children.

HB 3407 is scheduled for House floor debate and a possible floor vote on April 24, 2013. The companion bill, SB 1520 is still stuck in the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice.

The bills do not directly alter policy or increase investigations into possible sex slavery or sex trafficking. They do, however, enact better means for identifying the victims of human trafficking for purposes of sex slavery. The information gleaned from these measures can be used to better investigate, mitigate, and combat this crime especially when minors are involved.

Primarily, the bills direct practices to identify victims of sex slavery and provide them with services meant to assist their return to society.

The full texts of the bills can be read here and here.

       (a)  In this section, "sex trafficking"  means an offense under Section 20A.02(a)(7), Penal Code. 
       (b)  The department shall evaluate the practices and screening procedures used by juvenile probation departments for the early identification of juveniles who are victims of sex trafficking for the purpose of developing a recommended set of best practices that may be used by a juvenile probation department to improve the juvenile probation department's ability to identify a juvenile who is a victim of sex trafficking.

As with many border states, Texas deals with several cases of sex slavery a year. The problem is not unidirectional. US Citizens are duped, coerced, abducted, or otherwise taken over the border. From there, they are transported to other foreign locations to serve as prostitutes, indentured concubines, and "stars" for "adult entertainment".

While adults in the US may voluntarily enter the "sex industry", particularly as dancers or adult film actors, victims of sex trafficking and sex slavery are more often than not minor children.

Minors from other countries are also smuggled into or through the US for the same purposes. Many of these minor children end up forced into prostitution or to engage in child pornography.

As with Arizona, "rape trees" in border areas are not uncommon. These are locations where a chosen victim is raped and beaten in an effort to terrorize the other victims into submission. Often, indentured servitude as prostitutes is considered part of the contract with smugglers who promise passage into the US.

The movie "The Whistle-Blower" starring Rachel Weisz depicts the story of Kathryn Bolkovac. Kathryn Bolkovac discovered a sex slavery ring in the Balkans and has since taken up the cause on a global scale. The movie "Taken" starring Liam Neeson depicts a fictitious black-ops "operator" who rescues his daughter who is abducted while visiting Europe.

Sex trafficking and slavery is not always abduction. Minors may go to parties where drugs and alcohol flow freely. They may be duped or coerced into being victims. Sometimes a charismatic predator will prey upon disenfranchised teens, convincing them to run away. Next thing they know, they are trapped in a dark world often aggravated by induced drug addiction.

A charity named "Free The Girls" assists freed sex-slaves by helping them sell braziers (donated gently used or inexpensive new) in order to develop self-esteem and a trade other than the sex industry. In some countries, particularly in Africa, braziers of any type are considered luxury items owned only by the privileged.

Other organizations including some set-up by former members of various military special operations units work to assist in increasing awareness of sex slavery as well as helping law enforcement officials combat this heinous crime.

The passage of this and better border enforcement laws in addition to an immigration reform package that makes legal immigration easier will help to combat sex slavery and sex trafficking. So does enforcing current drug, child pornography, and prostitution laws.  Despite what some may claim, drug smuggling, prostitution, and child pornography are anything but "victimless crimes".

Sunday, April 21, 2013

US Constitution vs. Alleged Terrorists

On the subject of international terrorists who are not US Citizens, the debate is relatively clear. They do not qualify for Constitutional protections. They declared a war on the US. They are subject to the Law of Land Warfare. They are military combatants. They are prisoners of war. Even as such, they receive far more humane and just treatment with a level of due process than they gave US Citizens such as Nick Berg and SSG Matthew Maupin.

When the debate comes to US citizens who conduct acts of terrorism against the US and its citizens on US Soil, the debate should be just as cut and dry.

However, some, including a couple of US Senators, have claimed otherwise. To some, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be treated like an enemy combatant regardless of his US Citizenship. Senator Graham and Senator McCain have both made statements to the effect that he should be interrogated like a POW. Tsarnaev was natruralized over a year ago and is even legally registered to vote. 

This issue comes down to our country's most foundational beliefs. The US Constitution is the supreme law of the land. It is the document that governs the government, telling it what it is allowed to do. To insure that it doesn't overstep those bounds, the Bill of Rights explicitly states many of the natural rights the base document heavily implied as the most important individual rights that no law-abiding human should ever be deprived of by any government.

Among those are the First, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Amendment protections that are further guarded by the Second Amendment (which allows citizens to defend against such a tyranny that would attempt to take them).

If we are to deprive Tsarnaev of these rights, then authorities should storm in and arrest domestic terrorist Bill Ayers and do the same. Ayers detonated explosive devices at the US Pentagon as well as several police headquarters buildings across the US. 

If they suspend those rights of Tsarnaev, they need to do the same for convicted Speedway Bomber, Brett Kimberline, His acts were along the same line. 

Kimberline received a fair trial and was convicted. Ayers received due process and had the case against him thrown out because the FBI and other investigators violated his 4th Amendment rights. 

McVeigh was tried and convicted. He received the death penalty. 

So why not Tsarnaev?

To not give Tsarnaev due process, his constitutional protections, and his day in court is to give whatever terrorist groups he is affiliated with exactly what they want. 

They want to undermine the US Constitution. They want to prove us as hypocrites who do not obey our own laws. They want to prove our Constitution an abomination. They want us to kneel before the whims of their tyrannical "caliphate" and religious laws rather than the natural laws our Constitution is structured to protect.  

They want us to capitulate and submit.

Holding this US Citizen accountable through the very due process we hold so dear is fighting for our way of life. It is holding to the truths we hold self-evident. 

It is the right, just, honorable, and intelligent thing to do. 

To no do so is to capitulate and submit to their rules. It is to let them win.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Texas House Passes Distracted Driving Bill

On Thursday April 18, 2013 The Texas House of Representatives passed a new Distracted Driving bill. HB 63 was sent to the Senate where it is expected to pass a floor vote in the near future.

If passed, Texas will join 39 other states with bans on "texting" while driving.

Currently, Texas has limited restrictions on distracted driving. It is currently illegal for drivers to drive and operate a handheld communications device within the first 12 months of having a license.

Also, Texas bans the use of cell phones and other hand-held portable communications devices while driving in a school zone. In addition, bus drivers are banned from using these devices while any passenger under 17 is on the vehicle.

The new law will expand the ban to all drivers within the state.

The law will allow for hand-free device use. It also allows for certain special circumstances for defense against the charge. These mostly concentrate around emergency communications with police and rescue personnel. The other main exception is to operate a GPS device or similar function on a phone or tablet.

 (c)  It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (b) that:
             (1)  the operator used a handheld wireless communication device: 
                   (A)  to read, select, or enter a telephone number or name for the purpose of making a telephone call;
                   (B)  in conjunction with voice-operated technology, a push-to-talk function, or a hands-free device, as defined by Section 545.425; 
                   (C)  to navigate using a global positioning system or navigation service; 
                   (D)  to report illegal activity or summon emergency help; or 
                   (E)  to read a text-based communication: 
                         (i)  that the person reasonably believes concerns an emergency; or 
                         (ii)  that concerns an emergency regardless of the person's belief; or 

The offense will be a misdemeanor charge carrying a maximum $100 fine for a first offense.

SECTION 2.  Section 545.424, Transportation Code, is amended by adding Subsection (g) to read as follows: 
       (g)  An offense under Subsection (a) or (b) is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $100 unless it is shown on the trial of the offense that the defendant has been previously convicted at least one time of an offense under this section, in which event the offense is punishable by a fine of not more than $200.

The bill specifically states that police officers may not take possession of or handle these devices without a warrant or explicit permission of the device's owner. However, the law does allow for subpoena of records from telecommunications companies in order to prosecute the cases.

In recent years, distracted driving has become a major concern among many citizens. Some studies indicate that distracted driving has surpassed driving while impaired or driving drunk as a primary factor in collisions and injuries.

The full bill is available here.

Texas Bill To Outlaw Synthetic "Pot"

On Thursday, April 18, 2013 the Texas Senate passed a bill to outlaw synthetic "pot" and another regarding other drugs to the State House.

SB 263 will ban "Pot Pourri", "K-2", "Saliva" and other so-called synthetic marijuana substances. These items are currently legal for purchase in some tobacco shops. Many traditional cannabis users started using these synthetic substances in lieu of marijuana because of its legal status.

The bill lists 15 base compounds plus numerous variations of each. It reads like an advanced chemistry text with compound names such as Naphthoylindole, Naphthylindolecarboxamide, Naphthoylpyrrole, and Phenylacetylindole. The full bill text and complete list is available here.

relating to the designation for criminal prosecution and other purposes of certain chemicals commonly referred to as synthetic cannabinoids as controlled substances and controlled substance analogues under the Texas Controlled Substances Act. 
       SECTION 1.  Subdivisions (5) and (6), Section 481.002, Health and Safety Code, are amended to read as follows: 
             (5)  "Controlled substance" means a substance, including a drug, an adulterant, and a dilutant, listed in Schedules I through V or Penalty Group [Groups] 1, 1-A, [or] 2, 2-A, 3, or [through] 4. The term includes the aggregate weight of any mixture, solution, or other substance containing a controlled substance. 
             (6)  "Controlled substance analogue" means: 
                   (A)  a substance with a chemical structure substantially similar to the chemical structure of a controlled substance in Schedule I or II or Penalty Group 1, 1-A, [or] 2, or 2-A; or 
                   (B)  a substance specifically designed to produce an effect substantially similar to, or greater than, the effect of a controlled substance in Schedule I or II or Penalty Group 1, 1-A, [or] 2, or 2-A
       SECTION 2.  Section 481.1031, Health and Safety Code, is amended to read as follows: 
       Sec. 481.1031.  PENALTY GROUP 2-A.  Penalty Group 2-A consists of any material, compound, mixture, or preparation that contains any quantity of a synthetic chemical substance, including its salts, isomers, and salts of isomers, listed by name in this section or contained within the following structural classes defined in this section [compound that is a cannabinoid receptor agonist and mimics the pharmacological effect of naturally occurring cannabinoids, including]: 
             Naphthoylindole: any compound

Senate Bill 264 places "Ecstasy", "DMA", "MDMA", "Bath Salts" and other related drugs into Class 1-A and Class 2 penalty scales. This appears to be an effort to crack down on the production, distribution, possession, and use of these dangerous drugs. The bill passed a Senate vote on April 18, 2013 and will likely pass a House vote in the near future.

As with SB 263, SB264's text reads like an inorganic chemistry text. The full bill and the affected controlled substances can be found here.

Here is a short excerpt:

SECTION 2.  Section 481.1021, Health and Safety Code, is amended to read as follows: 
       Sec. 481.1021.  PENALTY GROUP 1-A. (a)  Penalty Group 1-A consists of: 
             (1)  lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), including its salts, isomers, and salts of isomers; and 
             (2)  compounds structurally derived from 2,5-dimethoxyphenethylamine by substitution at the 1-amino nitrogen atom with a benzyl substituent, including: 
                   (A)  compounds further modified by:
                         (i)  substitution in the phenethylamine ring at the 4- position to any extent (including alkyl, alkoxy, alkylenedioxy, haloalkyl, or halide substituents); or 
                         (ii)  substitution in the benzyl ring to any extent (including alkyl, alkoxy, alkylenedioxy, haloalkyl, or halide substituents); and 
                   (B)  by example, compounds such as:
                         4-Bromo-2,5-dimethoxy-N-(2-methoxybenzyl) phenethylamine (trade or other names: 25B-NBOMe, 2C-B-NBOMe); 
                         4-Chloro-2,5-dimethoxy-N-(2-methoxybenzyl) phenethylamine (trade or other names: 25C-NBOMe, 2C-C-NBOMe); 
                         2,5-Dimethoxy-4-methyl-N-(2-methoxybenzyl) phenethylamine (trade or other names: 25D-NBOMe, 2C-D-NBOMe); 
                         4-Ethyl-2,5-dimethoxy-N-(2-methoxybenzyl) phenethylamine (trade or other names: 25E-NBOMe, 2C-E-NBOMe);

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

San Antonio Area Proposes New Schools

Judson Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas proposes a bond referendum to build two new schools.

The construction will cost taxpayers $83 million dollars.

One proposed school is Coppergate Elementary on an 18 acre lot near Anderson Loop (1604) and Thornton Lane. The new facility should decrease the student to teacher ratios at both Converse Elementary and Salinas Elementary. The starting enrollment is estimated near 560 students.

The second facility is a new high school near the intersection of Evans Road and Nacogdoches Road.  Upon opening, the school will enroll an estimated 850 students, freshmen and sophomores only. The second year of operation will extend to juniors as approximately 400 new freshmen enroll. The third year will expand to a four year high school, anticipating a freshmen class of 350 more.

New facilities with reduced teacher to student ratios should enhance student learning as long as parents still have input and oversight on transparent curricula.

Early voting on the bond referendum starts Monday April, 29, 2013 extending through May 7, 2013. The actual election day is May 11, 2013.

Parents and district residents should take a closer look at the proposal pamphlets circulating around the district. The merits of the expansion are obvious. The means of budgeting and allocating funds, however, may seem misleading.

The proposal claims the $83 million dollars will not come from raising any tax rates on ad valorum or property taxes.

San Antonio already voted to raise sales tax rates as part of Mayor Fidel Julian Castro's Pre-KSA sales tax increase.

The funds come from refinancing the public debt the school district already owes. In essence, they are not raising any funds or revenues to pay for the projects. They are borrowing the money. They are increasing the per capita public debt burden upon the tax payers. In essence, this means taxpayers will pay much more in the long run.

The refinancing will be at a lower interest rate. The refinancing itself is a good idea. However, fiscal responsibility would lean towards using the amount saved on interest payments instead to pay down the principle.

Refinancing usually means paying off a current loan, including interest and penalties, with a new loan at a lower interest rate. Using this method to "pay for" new properties isn't really a refinance proposal. Instead, it turns into a second mortgage in order to pay for the expansion.

The bond proposal is worded to sound as though the money will magically appear at no cost to taxpayers. A logical examination makes it appear more to be a "buy now, pay (a lot) later" payment plan. Those plans always seem to slow individual prosperity when done by a single family. In fact, the federal Dodd-Frank housing loan Act that enabled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac used a similar strategy that caused the housing market to collapse.

The bond proposal only covers the construction and maintenance of the new facilities. It does not cover payroll costs for educators, faculty, or administrative staff.

San Antonio is already one of the cities in America with the highest per capita public debt. It would seem that responsible, ethical, and reasonable politicians and citizens would look first to pay down that debt before borrowing money we have no real plan to repay.

That is the real question posed before taxpayers.It comes down to cost-benefit analysis. Each voter in the district needs to be asking "how much will this cost me, in aggregate, over the next ten years". Another way of phrasing that same question would be "What is my share of the mortgage?".

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Politicizing A Tragic Terrorist Attack

News reports concerning the terrorist bombing of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013 contain speculation, finger pointing, and other potentially misleading assessments.

What we know is that there were two improvised explosive devices constructed of pressure cookers, ball bearings, ans explosives of some sort.

We know that federal authorities detained a person of interest. That person of interest is a Saudi Arabian national. They executed a warrant on his residence and removed some items that may or may not be evidence. Current reports indicate that he may not have been involved at all, but just another victim.

We know that, at the time of writing this, 3 people were killed and over 150 wounded including 17 critically.

We do not know if there was a group involved.

We cannot logically assume that it was a TEA Party member. the evidence we have at this point doesn't support such an assumption at this time.

We also cannot logically assume that it was a left-wing domestic group such as many members of Anonymous or the so-called "Occupy Movement".

However, given what we do know now, we can make a tentative guess that it may possibly have been somebody affiliated with Al Qaeda or another such group. But we are not sure.

Yet left-wing propaganda spin doctors have alleged it was the work of somebody who opposes increased taxation.

The symbolism doesn't match. Yes, the attack was on "tax day". But it was not on some entity like the IRS. It was an attack on free Americans participating in a sporting event.

The symbolism of the attack taking place on Massachusetts' "Patriots Day" does merit left-wing symbolism. But it also meets criteria for Al Qaeda's symbolism.

However, in all the attempts to discover "who" was responsible, a few politicians have emphatically stated they will aggressively investigate "why" the attack took place.


It can be important to the motive behind the attack, which will assist in any prosecution.

However the question also seeks to "not let a good disaster go to waste" that leftist activists take political advantage of on a regular basis. It's one of Alinsky's tactics, after all. It is also one that blames the victim.

Questioning "why" the attack took place seeks to blame the dead, the injured, and the targets for being victims instead of placing full responsibility and blame upon the armed aggressor.

The runners and spectators were not actively engaged in hostilities against a foreign power. At the moment they were attacked, they were non-combatants. One of the dead was an 8 year old boy. It is highly doubtful that the boy conducted any form of aggressive action against any group.

Yet, Barack Obama and his cronies seek to blame that 8 year old boy for being attacked by a monster.

He blames the gun for the murders Adam Lanza committed at Sandy Hook Elementary.

He blames New York City for being in the path of Hurricane Sandy.

Now he blames the victims of a terrorist attack for being attacked.

That is why he wants us to find out "why" the attack occurred. It is so he can blame our culture for inviting the attack. Next he will demand a ban marathons so that marathons can no longer be bombed by a terrorist.

In the aftermath, when people demand to know why intelligence activities didn't prevent the attack, he will blame it on Congress and taxpaying conservatives. He will do so by blaming the "sequester" cuts that he proposed and supported int he bill that legislated them. The very bill he happily signed and executed.

I propose we find out "who". I propose we apply due process and prosecute the monster. If found guilty, I propose we carry out a fair and just punishment and publicly execute the monster on live television.

"Why" won't bring justice. It isn't our culture that needs to change.

Texas Voter Reform Extends PEVL to Military

A new voter reform bill passed a Senate floor vote and was received by the House in the Texas State Legislature will change PEVL timelines and extend early voting to military members stationed outside the state.

The Permanent Early Voter List (PEVL) is maintained by the Texas Secretary of State's office. It lists registered voters qualified to vote early, by mail.

Military Service Members often retain voter registration in their Home of Record. A Home of Record is the residence the military member lived on the day they entered military service. Others change their state of residence later in their careers due to intentions to separate of retire to the new state once their service obligation is completed.

Many service members change their state of residence to Texas for a variety of reasons. One is that Texas has no state income tax. Others purchase land in Texas while stationed at one of the numerous military bases in the state such as Fort Hood, Fort Sam Houston, or Fort Bliss.

The new bill, if passed, would extend PEVL registration to military service members. In the past few elections, military absentee ballots have raised controversies in several states. Some states have encountered problems issuing the ballots in a timely manner. Others fail to tally the ballots before the election results are certified, leaving military absentee ballots essentially uncounted.

Changing military service members from an absentee ballot status to the PEVL will better insure their ballots are received in time and their choices are tallied in a given election.

SB 904 reduces many of the grace periods currently established for absentee and early ballots. This further decreases the opportunities for ballots to be altered or fraudulently cast. The time limits give unscrupulous individuals far less time to alter the ballots. This could assist in decreasing instances of fraudulent or altered ballots.

Here is an excerpt from the lengthy bill:

relating to the adoption of certain voting procedures and the modification of certain election deadlines, including those necessary to implement the federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act. 
       SECTION 1.  Section 101.007, Election Code, is amended by adding Subsection (d) to read as follows: 
       (d)  The secretary of state shall make a checklist or similar guidelines available for optional use by early voting clerks in processing an application and providing balloting materials under this chapter. 
       SECTION 2.  Subsection (b), Section 101.107, Election Code, is amended to read as follows: 
       (b)  A voter who receives a ballot under this subchapter must return the ballot in the same manner as required under Section 101.057 except that a voter who completes a signature sheet is not required to complete a carrier envelope. Except [and, except] as provided by Chapter 105, the voter may not return the ballot by electronic transmission. 
       SECTION 3.  Subsection (a), Section 145.092, Election Code, is amended to read as follows: 
       (a)  Except as otherwise provided by this section, a candidate may not withdraw from an election after 5 p.m. of the fifth [third] day after the deadline for filing the candidate's application for a place on the ballot. 
       SECTION 4.  Subsections (a) and (b), Section 172.054, Election Code, are amended to read as follows: 
       (a)  The deadline for filing an application for a place on the general primary election ballot is extended as provided by this section if a candidate who has made an application that complies with the applicable requirements: 
             (1)  dies on or after the fifth day before the date of the regular filing deadline and on or before the first [79th] day after the date of the regular filing deadline [before general primary election day]; 
             (2)  holds the office for which the application was made and withdraws or is declared ineligible on [or after] the date of the regular filing deadline [and on] or [before] the first [79th] day after the date of the regular filing deadline [before general primary election day]; or 
             (3)  withdraws or is declared ineligible during the period prescribed by Subdivision (2), and at the time of the withdrawal or declaration of ineligibility no other candidate has made an application that complies with the applicable requirements for the office sought by the withdrawn or ineligible candidate.
       (b)  An application for an office sought by a withdrawn, deceased, or ineligible candidate must be filed not later than 6 p.m. of the fifth day after the date of the regular filing deadline [81st day before general primary election day].  An application filed by mail with the state chair is not timely if received later than 5 p.m. of the fifth day after the date of the regular filing deadline [81st day before general primary election day]. 
       SECTION 5.  Section 172.057, Election Code, is amended to read as follows: 
       Sec. 172.057.  WITHDRAWN, DECEASED, OR INELIGIBLE CANDIDATE'S NAME OMITTED FROM GENERAL PRIMARY BALLOT.  A candidate's name shall be omitted from the general primary election ballot if the candidate withdraws, dies, or is declared ineligible on or before the first [79th] day after the date of the regular filing deadline [before general primary election day].
       SECTION 6.  Subsection (a), Section 172.058, Election Code, is amended to read as follows: 
       (a)  If a candidate who has made an application for a place on the general primary election ballot that complies with the applicable requirements dies or is declared ineligible after the first [79th] day after the date of the regular filing deadline [before general primary election day], the candidate's name shall be placed on the ballot and the votes cast for the candidate shall be counted and entered on the official election returns in the same manner as for the other candidates. 
       SECTION 7.  Subsections (a) and (c), Section 202.004, Election Code, are amended to read as follows: 
       (a)  A political party's nominee for an unexpired term must be nominated by primary election if: 
             (1)  the political party is making nominations by primary election for the general election in which the vacancy is to be filled; and
             (2)  the vacancy occurs on or before the fifth [62nd] day before the date of the regular deadline for candidates to file applications for a place on the general primary ballot [general primary election day]. 
       (c)  If the vacancy occurs after the 10th day before the date of the regular filing deadline, an application for the unexpired term must be filed not later than 6 [5] p.m. of the fifth day after the date of the regular filing deadline [15th day after the date the vacancy occurs or 5 p.m. of the 60th day before general primary election day, whichever is earlier].

Texas Law on Qualification to Instruct Armed Teachers

A Texas bill outlining the requirements to certify instructors and the minimum course requirements for arming teachers was passed by a Senate floor vote on April 15, 2013.

As reported earlier, SB 17 will face a floor vote some time this week. That bill dictates the requirement for education professionals and school employees to take a course approved by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

SB 1857 directs DPS on the minimum qualification a firearms instructor must meet in order to be certified to teach those courses. If further outlines the minimum skills and classes that are to be included in the course.

The qualifications include specialized training normally conducted at advanced levels in police academies and military training. Such topics include basic protection of students, increasing accuracy under duress, and means of denying as assailant from even entering a classroom.

The tactics and techniques direct reasonable escalations and measures to take first. They seem to emphasize the use of deadly force as an absolute last resort. Most armed law-abiding citizens as well as martial artists agree that the use of force should always be a last resort, when no other means available will reduce or mitigate the threat.

Per SB 17, the course will be free of charge to two school employees from any school that does not employ full-time armed security or police protection on site. Schools may send additional employees for certification. But the costs of the course will be the responsibility of the district, school, or individual. This law will also apply to open-enrollment charter schools.

relating to the certification of certain qualified handgun instructors to conduct school safety training. 
       SECTION 1.  Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, is amended by adding Section 411.1901 to read as follows: 
(a)  The department shall establish a process to enable qualified handgun instructors certified under Section 411.190 to obtain an additional certification in school safety.  The process must include a school safety certification course that provides training in the following: 
             (1)  the protection of students; 
             (2)  interaction of license holders with first responders; 
             (3)  tactics for denying an intruder entry into a classroom or school facility; and 
             (4)  methods for increasing a license holder's accuracy with a handgun while under duress. 
       (b)  The school safety certification course under Subsection (a) must include not less than 15 hours and not more than 20 hours of instruction. 
       (c)  A qualified handgun instructor certified in school safety under this section may provide school safety training, including instruction in the subjects listed under Subsection (a), to employees of a school district or an open-enrollment charter school who hold a license to carry a concealed handgun issued under this subchapter. 
       (d)  The department shall establish a fee in an amount that is sufficient to cover the costs of the school safety certification under this section. 
       (e)  The department may adopt rules to administer this section.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Texas 2nd Amendment Preservation Bill

In accordance with the 10th Amendment to the US Constitution, The Texas House will to vote on a Second Amendment Preservation bill as early as Monday April 15, 2013.

With several other bills that would restore Second Amendment rights to Texas citizens left "pending" in committee, HB 928 will see its day on the House floor.

The Second Amendment Preservation bill essentially invokes the 10th Amendment of the US Constitution. That amendment states that any authority or power not explicitly granted to the federal government by the US Constitution is reserved to the states or individuals. Such a bill is nicknamed a "nullification" bill. If a majority of the states enact similar legislation or amendments to their state constitutions, ideally, the federal law becomes unenforceable.

The language of the Second Amendment Preservation bill clearly states that no state, county, or local law enforcement employee or officer will be allowed to participate in or enforce any federal law that infringes upon the Second Amendment. That is, they cannot do so unless the state has similar restrictions, laws, or regulations in the state's government or penal codes. Specified restrictions include those on magazine capacity, accessories, and firearms themselves.

relating to the enforcement of certain federal laws regulating firearms, firearm accessories, and firearm  ammunition within the State of Texas. 
       SECTION 1.  Chapter 1, Penal Code, is amended by adding 
Section 1.10 to read as follows: 
             (1)  "Firearm" has the meaning assigned by Section 46.01. 
             (2)  "Firearm accessory" means an item that is used in conjunction with or mounted on a firearm but is not essential to the basic function of a firearm. The term includes a detachable firearm magazine. 
       (b)  An agency of this state or a political subdivision of this state, and a law enforcement officer or other person employed by an agency of this state or a political subdivision of this state, may not contract with or in any other manner provide assistance to a federal agency or official with respect to the enforcement of a federal statute, order, rule, or regulation purporting to regulate a firearm, a firearm accessory, or firearm ammunition that remains exclusively within the borders of this state if the statute, order, rule, or regulation imposes a prohibition, restriction, or other regulation, such as a capacity or size limitation or a registration 
requirement, that does not exist under the laws of this state.

Other gun-related legislation that may soon see a floor vote includes SB 164. That bill will likely see a Senate floor vote this week. The bill establishes special provisions for honorably discharged military veterans. Veterans will be able to request a special code on their concealed carry licenses and other relevant identifications indicating they are a veteran. The identifier is meant to honor veterans and identify the higher level of weapons proficiency, safety, marksmanship, and use of force training veterans routinely receive as part of their military service.

Some opponents of the bill fear the identifier may later be used to justify a mass revocation of the licenses. There exist several segments of society who attempt to create fear of veterans, painting all vets as extremely psychologically disturbed and dangerous. The bill operates on the exact opposite premise, that most veterans have proven to be more responsible and safe with firearms.

relating to the issuance to veterans of specially marked licenses to carry a concealed handgun and specially marked personal identification certificates. 
       SECTION 1.  Section 411.174, Government Code, is amended by adding Subsection (b-1) to read as follows: 
       (b-1)  The application must provide space for the applicant to: 
             (1)  list any military service that may qualify the applicant to receive a license with a veteran's designation under Section 411.179(e); and
             (2)  include proof required by the department to determine the applicant's eligibility to receive that designation. 
       SECTION 2.  Section 411.179, Government Code, is amended by amending Subsection (a) and adding Subsection (e) to read as follows: 
       (a)  The department by rule shall adopt the form of the license.  A license must include: 
             (1)  a number assigned to the license holder by the department;
             (2)  a statement of the period for which the license is effective; 
             (3)  a statement of the category or categories of handguns the license holder may carry as provided by Subsection (b); 
             (4)  a color photograph of the license holder; 
             (5)  the license holder's full name, date of birth, hair and eye color, height, weight, and signature; 
             (6)  the license holder's residence address or, as provided by Subsection (d), the street address of the courthouse in which the license holder or license holder's spouse serves as a federal judge or the license holder serves as a state judge; [and
             (7)  the number of a driver's license or an identification certificate issued to the license holder by the 
department; and 
             (8)  the designation "VETERAN" if required underSubsection (e)
       (e)  In this subsection, "veteran" has the meaning assigned by Section 411.1951. The department shall include the designation "VETERAN" on the face of any original, duplicate, modified, or renewed license under this subchapter or on the reverse side of the license, as determined by the department, if the license is issued to a veteran who: 
             (1)  requests the designation; and 
             (2)  provides proof sufficient to the department of the veteran's military service and honorable discharge. 
       SECTION 3.  Section 521.101, Transportation Code, is amended by adding Subsection (l) to read as follows: 
       (l)  The application for the personal identification certificate must provide space for the applicant: 
             (1)  to voluntarily list any military service that may qualify the applicant to receive a personal identification certificate with a veteran's designation under Section 521.102; and 
             (2)  to include proof required by the department to determine the applicant's eligibility to receive that designation. 
       SECTION 4.  Subchapter E, Chapter 521, Transportation Code, is amended by adding Section 521.102 to read as follows: 
       Sec. 521.102.  DESIGNATOR ON PERSONAL IDENTIFICATION CERTIFICATE ISSUED TO VETERAN. (a) In this section, "veteran" means a person who: 
             (1)  has served in: 
                   (A)  the army, navy, air force, coast guard, or marine corps of the United States; or 
                   (B)  the Texas National Guard as defined by Section 431.001, Government Code; and 
             (2)  has been honorably discharged from the branch of the service in which the person served. 
       (b)  The department shall include the designation "VETERAN" on a personal identification certificate issued to a veteran in an available space on the face of the personal identification certificate or on the reverse side of the personal identification certificate if: 
             (1)  the veteran requests the designation; and 
             (2)  the veteran provides proof sufficient to the department of the veteran's military service and honorable discharge.

Contact your district's Senator and Representative to express your support of both of these bills as soon as possible. There is very limited time before the floor votes will occur.