High Court: Prayer is upholding a part of nation’s fabric

Finally, some substantial rain at your State Capitol, as well as in our back yard. A mid-May cold snap and its rain clouds brought temporary relief to much of our drought-covered state, but I don’t expect the good times to last. Rain or shine, as we move into Summer, I encourage you and your family to stop by our Capitol Office if you are in the Austin area. You’re welcome any time, but if you call a few days in advance we can help set up tours and other activities during your visit.

The Right to Pray
The Supreme Court ruled earlier this month in the case of Greece v. Galloway that a city council in New York is not in violation of anyone’s First Amendment rights when it opens meetings with a Christian prayer. Rather, the court ruled, the council is simply upholding and honoring something that is part of our nation’s fabric. This is a critical ruling, as it establishes what those waging war on religion have tried to denounce: that America was indeed founded and fostered as a religious, and decidedly-Christian, nation. And even though this decision involved a city council in New York, it will most certainly set precedent that will strengthen the religious rights and freedoms for all of us here in East Texas as well.

Historic Impeachment possible
The House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations, in a 7-1 vote this past week, approved a motion saying that there is ground on which to impeach University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall, who has been accused of abusing his authority while investigating the UT administration. As we have noted before, this would be a historic decision, as no unelected official (Hall was appointed by the Governor) in Texas has ever been successfully impeached. The committee members have made it clear that they expect the UT System to take some sort of action to resolve the matter “in house.” However, should no resolution take place, the committee plans to meet again later this month to discuss drafting articles of impeachment, which in turn could then be sent to the entire House of Representatives for consideration and a possible vote.  Should a vote for impeachment occur and prevail, the matter would then move to the Texas Senate.

Interim Charrges: House Committee on Culture, Recreation, Tourism
Continuing our rundown of the 2014 interim charges for House Committees, this week we’ll look at Culture, Recreation and Tourism. The members of this committee have been charged with developing a long-term plan to incorporate land that has been donated or sold to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department into our state park system. The Committee will also be evaluating the Texas Film Commission and the Texas Music Office to determine their effectiveness in our state’s economic development. An additional charge for committee members is examining the viability of the state’s Fishing License Buyback program.
And finally, the committee will also study the economic impact of cultural, recreational and tourism grants provided by the state. These include any economic development grants related to those industries, as well as courthouse restoration and historic district revitalization.

As always my staff and I are available during the week at 936-634-2762 and 512-463-0508.