Texas Takes a Baby Step Toward Election Integrity

This article is a repost and was originally published on July 19, 2021 by Capital Research Center.

Following the lead of several other states in the wake of the 2020 election (and the public distrust of elections that ensued), Texas passed its own legislation restricting the use of private money in elections.

According to research conducted by Capital Research Center, the Center for Technology and Civic Life (CTCL) gave $33.5 million to Texas county election offices across 117 different counties. Election administrators in these counties applied for CTCL grants and used the money for COVID-19 safety measures including drive-thru voting, mail voting sorting assets, polling place rental expenses, labor expenses and hazard pay, personal protective equipment, and voter education and outreach.

The most money (over $15 million) was granted to Dallas County, and the smallest amount was just over $47,000 given to Maverick County. Our own Bexar County received $1.9 million from CTCL. While CTCL claims the money was purely for COVID-19 relief for elections offices, Public Interest Legal Foundation tracked the 14 counties with the most significant donations from CTCL and found that blue-leaning counties received far more COVID-19 aid than red-leaning counties. Public Interest Legal Foundation also found that the total amount of money granted by CTCL in Texas could be over $36 million.

CTCL-funded counties gave President Joe Biden 69 percent of his Texas votes and former President Donald Trump only 25 percent of his votes. Of the $33 million to $36 million donated to various Texas counties, counties that voted for Trump received about $0.55 per capita from CTCL, while counties that voted for Biden received an average of $3.22 per capita.

In addition to the $350 million Mark Zuckerberg donated to CTCL, the nonprofit is also funded by left-leaning funding organizations like the Democracy Fund, Knight Foundation, and Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

Governor Greg Abbott signed HB 2283 on June 12, 2021. The bill prohibits the joint elections commission, county elections commissions, and county elections boards from accepting private donations of $1,000 or greater without the written consent of the secretary of state. Before giving consent, the secretary of state must get the unanimous approval of the governor, lieutenant governor, and the speaker of the house of representatives. Donations less than $1,000 need only the written consent of the “relevant political subdivision.” While HB 2283 decreases the influence of private funding on elections, it does not fully ban private funding in elections altogether. Six other states have already passed laws fully banning “Zuck Bucks,” so why is Texas holding back?

With as much private money as flowed into Texas during the last election, it is not surprising that a bill like HB 2283 passed. The surprise is that Texas passed one of the weakest bills banning private funding in elections.

HB 2283 limits the amount of money that groups like CTCL can donate to Texas counties. It is a fine solution while those in power in Texas are staunchly opposed to private funding in elections. However, if Texas is one day run by politicians who support private funding in elections, HB 2283 will do little to protect Texas elections.

When compared with bills passed in other states, Texas’s HB 2283 falls short. Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, North Dakota, and Tennessee all passed laws fully banning private funding in elections. Unlike Texas, these states left no loopholes for future administrations and election officials to abuse.

HB 2283 falls short not only of the standard set by other states but also of expectations the Republican Party of Texas (RPT) created for the 2021 session. In 2020, RPT established election integrity reform as a top priority for the 2021 legislative session. The omnibus bill (SB 7/HB 6) of election reforms did not get through both the Senate and the House before the end of the 2021 session. As a small consolation prize, Texans must satisfy themselves with HB 2283 among several other smaller bills that touch on election integrity.

Admittedly, HB 2283 is a first step, a response to the 2020 election rather than a means to protect future elections. While public scrutiny into CTCL’s influence over the 2020 election may prevent it from interfering in future elections, it is probably too weak to prevent other organizations from doing the same in 2022 or 2024.

A second bill (HB 3) has since become the focus of a political circus, with Texas House Democrats fleeing the state to prevent the quorum required to vote on legislation.

Constitutional Carry Passes Texas House

On April 15 at 5:46 pm, Constitutional Carry passed the Texas House of Representatives. After nearly eight hours of debate, HB 1927 by Matt Schafer passed in a record vote of 84 to 56. The vote was mostly along party lines, though some Democrats voted in favor. The bill has yet to pass in the Senate.

HB 1927 creates what is known as “Constitutional carry” or “permitless carry” by allowing gun owners over the age of 21, who are not otherwise prohibited, to carry the weapons they are already legally allowed to own. Constitutional carry is based on the part of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution stating that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Opponents of the bill claim that it is far too extreme and that it would cause more shootings by allowing potentially unstable individuals to carry firearms.

House members proposed and discussed 21 amendments on the bill, with proponents attempting to perfect the bill while opponents tried to weaken it. Democrats in the House raised over a dozen points of order on these amendments in a coordinated attempt to delay the passage of the bill. A point of order is a claim that someone has broken a rule of the House, and it requires house business to pause so the matter can be investigated.

Pro-Life Bills in the 87th Texas Legislature

There have been several bills introduced in the 87th Texas legislature that take steps towards protecting unborn children. These bills accomplish a wide rance of things, from holding abortion providers and physicians accountable for taking advantage of women, expanding informed consent, providing personhood rights to unvorn children, and outright banning some or all abortions (these bills are specially marked with a **). Here is a comprehensive list of all the pro-life bills introduced this session.

HB 42 (Swanson) – This bill potects women from losing their health coverage if they refuse to get an abortion, regardless of whether the abortion was recommended by a physician.

** HB 44 (Swanson) – This bill creates criminal and civil penalties (2nd degree felonies for the first offense, 1st degree felony with other related offenses, and a $30,000 fee for each violation) to be brought against a physician who: 

  • aborts third-trimester unborn children,
  • performs abortions without themselves determining the post-fertilization age of the unborn child, or performs an abortion knowing that age is over 20 weeks,
  • performs partial-birth or dismemberment abortions.

Swanson’s HB 92 could create only the $30,000 fine, and her HB 2855 would create only the criminal penalty.

** HB 69 (Toth)- This bill would ban abortion after 12 weeks post-fertilization, lowering it from the 20-week ban that currently exists.

** HB 1165 (Slawson) – Known as “The Heartbeat Bill”, HB 1165 requires that physicians test for a fetal heartbeat, and prohibits the performance of abortion after a heartbeat can be detected.

HB 1171 (Sanford) – This bill would require the appointment of a willing attorney to represent an unborn child in a courtproceeding to authorize a minor to obtain an abortion.

HB 1173 (Noble et al.); SB 650 (Campbell et al.)- This bill prohibits a governmental entity from using taxpayer resources to provide logistical support to assist a woman seeking an abortion.

HB 1229 (Leman) – This bill requires that doctors that prescribe abortion-inducing drugs schedule a follow-up appointment not more than two weeks after the drug is administered. The purpose of this bill is to keep abortion doctors accountable, because they are not subject to the same scrutiny as other physicians.

** HB 1280 (Capriglione et al.); SB 9, SB 391 (Paxton et al.) – This bill prohibits the performance of abortion unless a physician, through the exercise of “reasonable medical judgement”, determines that the woman is in a life-threatening condition caused by her pregnancy, and the physician provides the best opportunity for the unborn child to survive. It is a 2nd degree felony, or a 1st degree felony if the child dies as a result, and a charge of $100,000 per offense.

HB 1291 (Bell, Keith); SB 573 (Springer) – This bill requires that hospitals or healthcare facilities notify each physician, nurse, and staff member that they have the right to object to direct or indirect performance of abortion, and that the hospitall or facility is prohibited from discriminating if they choose to object.

HB 1424 (Oliverson et al.) – This bill expands the rights of any hospital or healthcare facility employees to object to participating in procedures that violate their ethical, moral, or religious beliefs. This right to object would no longer be limited to just abortion.

** HB 1432 (Shaheen) – This bill would prohibit anyone from aborting an unborn child based on the race, ethnicity, or national origin of that child or woman. Physicians who violate this law would have their licenses revoked and would incur an administrative penalty.

** HB 1515 (Slawson et al.); SB 8 (Hughes et al.) – Titled the “Texas Heartbeat Act”, this lengthy bill creates the same ban as does HB 1165, after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, with several additional regulations on the abortions that remain legal. However, it also ensures that anyone aiding or abetting in the abortion faces civil liability, except for the woman on whom the abortion is performed. Notably, 50 Republicans in the House and 17 in the Senate have signed on as additional authors of co-authors of this bill.

** HB 1623 (Toth) – This bill would designate unborn children at all stages as “persons” and recognizes their unalienable rights listed in the Declaration of Independence, including the right to life.

HB 2313 (Leach); SB 802 (Paxton) – This bill requires that physicians who are going to perform an abortion on a woman must ensure that the woman recieved free pre-abortion counseling from someone who does not perform abortions. The counseling must include medically accurate information, an offer of alternative assistance, and screening for trafficking or family violence. This bill also establishes a 24-hour helpline for women seeking abortion to provide them with information about available resources.

HB 2337 (Klick); SB 394 (Lucio et al.) – This bill expands the definition of “abortion-inducing drug”, prevents the provision of those drugs via delivery service, and requres that physicians examine abortion-seeking women in person.

HB 2727 (Hefner) – This bill expands informed consent to abortion by creating a criminal offense to anyone who threatens harm to a woman in order to coerce her into abortion.

HB 2949 (King, Phil); SB 1439 (Campbell et al.) – This bill requires that any hospital employee or intern cannot be scheduled to perform or assist in an abortion unless they opt-in to do so.

HB 2976 (Cason) – This bill requires a physician who performs or induces an abortion at any point in the pregnancy to file a death certificate for the unborn child. This modifies the previous requirement that the unborn child must weigh 350 grams or be 20 weeks post-fertilization for a death certificate.

** HB 3218 (Schaefer et al.); SB 1173 (Hancock) – Known as the “Preborn Nondiscrimination Act”, This bill covers several different issues relating to abortion. It will:

  • Ensure that a pregnant woman who is told that her unborn child has a life-threatening disability is informed of available perinatal palliative care; HB 4304 (Schaefer) accomplishes this requirement
  • Prohibit all abortion in the third trimester, regardless of the viability of the child,
  • Prohibit the performance of abortion on a woman based on race, ethnicity, sex, or disability of the unborn child, or coersion into abortion based on these standards; HB 4339 (Schaefer) accomplishes this requirement 

** HB 3326 (Slaton); SB 1671 (Hall) – Known as the “Abolition of Abortion through Equal Protection for All Unborn Children Act”, this bill recognizes that from the moment of conception a child has the same rights, powers, and privileges as any other human child and fully bans abortion.

HB 3641 (Slaton) – Known as the “”Roe v. Wade Is Unconstitutional Act”, this act voids Roe v Wade and any other federal court decisions related to abortion. It finds that the US Constitution does not allow for abortion, and that Texas can make its own decisions related to abortion. 

** HB 3760 (Oliverson); SB 1647 (Perry et al.) – This bill is large in scope and accomplishes several things. First, it requires that physicians provide a greater scope of information to a pregnant woman concerning the availability of palliative care for her unborn child (HB 4304 (Schaefer) satisfies this portion). It also protects disabled children from being discriminated against and cuts off abortion at the point the child’s heartbeat can be detected.

HB 4200 (Hefner) – This bill allows home-rule municipalities to prohibit abortions.

HB 4271 (Schaefer) – This bill would prevent institutions of higher education from providing instruction on performing abortion. Those instutitions are also prohibited from assisting in litigation that would prevent the enforcement of laws relating to abortion, religious freedom, immigration, or capital punishment.

HB 4527 (King, Phil) – This bill would add one hour of instruction on the laws relating to forced abortions to the training required for police officers.

*HJR 15 (Vasut) – This resolution calls upon the US Congress to propose a constitutional amendment to prohibit abortion, euthanasia, or any other act that deprives someone of life from conception to natural death.

HJR 80 (Slawson) – This resolution proposes an amendment to the Texas Constitution clarifying that the constitution cannot be interpreted to secure or protect the right to obtain an abortion or the expenditure of public money on abortion. 

HJR 113 (Cason); SJR 25 (Hall) – This resolution proposes an amendment to the Texas Constitution recognizing that the right to life applies to all unborn children.

** HJR 158 (Bonnen) – This resolution proposes an amendment to the Texas Constitution stating that the term “citizen” applies to all unborn children and that they are granted the right to life, prohibiting all abortion.

SB 294 (Perry et al.) – This bill requires the Department of State Health Services to report the number of abortions performed in each county.

SB 1146 (Perry et al.) – This bill requires greater reporting of abortions performed outside an abortion facility

SB 1546 (Hughes) – This bill generally strengthens abortion restrictions and regulations. It also increases the standards required for abortion facilities.

Edited on 3/24/2021. *HJR 15 would call on the US congress under article V of the constitution to overturn Roe v Wade. If this petition is joined by 34 states, the convention would be required.

Cover image taken by Rebekah Wendt at the 2020 March for Life in Austin, TX

The Darsch Report: January 11 to 17

Election Fraud at Home

On Wed., Jan. 13, a San Antonio woman, Rachel Rodriguez, was arrested for election fraud, illegal voting, unlawfully assisting people voting by mail, and unlawfully possessing an official ballot, according to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Because each charge being is a felony under Texas legal code, Rodriguez could face up to 20 years in prison. 

The arrest happened after a video from Project Veritas appears to show Rodriguez engaged in vote harvesting leading up to the 2020 election. 

“Many continue to claim that there’s no such thing as election fraud. We’ve always known that such a claim is false and misleading, and today we have additional hard evidence. This is a victory for election integrity, and a strong signal that anyone who attempts to defraud the people of Texas, deprive them of their vote, or undermine the integrity of elections will be brought to justice,” said Paxton. “The shocking and blatantly illegal action documented by Project Veritas demonstrates a form of election fraud my office continually investigates and prosecutes. I am fiercely committed to ensuring the voting process is secure and fair throughout the state, and my office is prepared to assist any Texas county in combating this insidious, un-American form of fraud.”

Abortion Abolition

With the Texas legislature’s 87th session having begun on Jan. 12, we are bound to see some odd occurrences and bills enter the House and Senate. On Thursday, Jan. 14, Freshman State House Representative Bryan Slayton (R-Royse City) introduced an amendment to the House rules that would have forced the House to vote on abolishing abortion before they could take up any bills or solutions with the naming of bridges or streets. According to Slaton, the purpose of the amendment was to prioritize legal protection for unborn children.

The Amendment was voted down 41 to 99

However, following Slaton’s remarks on the Amendment, Rep. Tony Tinderholt (R-Arlington) proposed including a list of seven other conservative priorities along with abolishing abortion.

Another Covid Relief Plan

On Thurs., Jan. 14, President-Elect Joe Biden laid out another COVID-19 relief plan totaling an estimated $1.9 trillion and focusing on stimulus checks.

In the plan, more than $1 trillion would be allocated towards raising the stimulus check totals from that last relief package to $2,000 instead of $600. The plan would also allocate about $400 billion towards “pandemic response,” including expanding testing, emergency paid leave, and school funding. Additionally, another $440 billion would be allocated to small businesses, local communities, and transit systems that are struggling.

The bill targets these areas and seeks to expand the social safety net in America significantly. In Biden’s COVID-19 relief plan, unemployment benefits would be raised by $400 and along with eviction and foreclosure moratoriums and the increased SNAP benefits would last through the end of September.

However, probably the most costly for the nation would be the added proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour. The CBO estimates that such an endeavor could lift about 1 million workers to wages above the current poverty line, but it would also cost the US economy an estimated 1.3 million jobs. This comes only days before Biden said that he would bring forward “legislation his first day in office to provide a path to citizenship for… the roughly 11 million people in the U.S. illegally”.

A Texan Demonstration

On Sun., Jan. 17, a group of demonstrators, calling themselves “libertarian”, held a demonstration for a second day outside the closed-off Texas Capitol. The demonstration consisted of dozens of people, many of whom were openly carrying semiautomatic weapons, rifles, and knives, but remained peaceful through the afternoon.

Texas DPS Director Steven McCraw said in a press release before either demonstration that the “Texas Department of Public Safety is aware of armed protests planned at the Texas State Capitol this week and violent extremists who may seek to exploit constitutionally protected events to conduct criminal acts.”

Individuals at the event said they were taking the DPS Director seriously and had walked around the capitol grounds to make sure no “provocateurs” took over the event.

“The big worry was we were gonna have tons of MAGA, QAnon people here to come and disrupt it, but it hasn’t been the case,” said Stephen Hunt, who had traveled from the Abilene area to attend this event.

Hunt did not want to identify the groups involved but did mention to KXAN that he was neither a Trump nor Biden supporter in the presidential election and he hopes that “this election has proven to people we need some change in our election laws.”

Capitol Raiders in San Antonio

On Sun., Jan. 17, FBI agents raided the home of and arrested Matthew Mazzocco, a local loan officer, following his appearance at the raid on the United States Capitol Building on Jan. 6.

According to MySA, Mazzocco posted a TikTok that was later reported to the FBI, appearing to show him as part of the raid on the US capitol but instructing others not to break or vandalize anything while inside the building.

“Don’t break or vandalize anything,” Mazzocco is seen saying in the video. “We’re probably all going to get in trouble for what we’re doing at some point in time.”

Following his trip to the US capitol, CMG Financial, the company listed as Mazzocco’s employer, commented stating “This person is no longer employed by CMG Financial. Our HR team has requested that he remove CMG Financial from his profiles as he does not work here.”

The FBI has confirmed that the arrest was made Sunday and will provide public documentation regarding the case soon.

Special Agent Michelle Lee told News4SA that there is “no immediate threat to the community at this time.”

US Economy

The stock market stayed mostly flat over the week as the Dow Jones decreased to 30,814.26 on Friday, decreasing by -149.43 points, or -0.63 percent over its Jan. 11 close of 31,008.69. The S&P 500 decreased by -31.36 points or -0.83 percent on Friday. In addition, the Nasdaq decreased on Friday by -0.29 percent.

Mind Games

SB 11 and HB 18 are symptoms of a larger shift in how our culture views schools. Instead of just viewing school as a place for academic learning, we increasingly view it as a place for young adult daycare and moral growth.

The state should leave mental health to mom and dad.

This session, the Texas legislature passed Senate Bill 11 and House Bill 18 in response to the recent school shootings, specifically the shooting at Santa Fe High School located outside Houston. SB 11 establishes a number of new requirements to ensure school safety, many of which address the mental health of students. HB 18 is entirely about Texas students’ mental health, adding requirements to curriculum, employee training, and many programs and services designed to improve the mental health conditions of Texas schools.

SB 11 and HB 18 increasingly shift the responsibility of students’ mental health onto school teachers and administrators and away from parents. I believe this is a negative change for a few reasons.

First, I do not expect the Texas public school system to be successful in its efforts to improve the mental health of its students. Literacy is a core responsibility of schools, but as of 2017, less than half of Texas third graders read at or above the grade level standard. If our schools cannot teach most children to read, I see no reason why they will be able to successfully improve their mental health conditions, seeing as mental health is a far newer and far more complex field of study than literacy.

Second, because most students who have mental health issues do not commit school shootings, this indicates that school is not the cause of these shootings. While school safety is a problem schools should fix with measures like increasing security and drills, the mental health of students is not a problem schools should attempt to fix because mental health is an issue that can arise independently of school. Thus, we as a society should work to find the root cause of the shootings and work to improve mental health conditions in that area.

The mental health of students should always be the responsibility of their parents.

Furthermore, whether you believe those who commit school shootings are driven to do so by mental health issues combined with a lack of community, increased societal polarization, a rise in white supremacy, or something entirely different, these societal problems arise outside of school and should be fixed outside of school.

Third and most importantly, the changes made in SB 11 and HB 18 are not positive changes because mental health simply should not be the responsibility of schools, regardless of the issue of school shootings and safety. Instead, the mental health of students should always be the responsibility of their parents.

SB 11 and HB 18 are symptoms of a larger shift in how our culture views schools. Instead of just viewing school as a place for academic learning, we increasingly view it as a place for young adult daycare and moral growth.

In the mid-twentieth century, public schools in America began including sex education in their curriculum. Unlike biology, which teaches facts about the human reproductive system, sex education teaches students certain behaviors they should or should not engage in. Sex education is a form of education that should be included in a child’s moral upbringing; thus, parents should be responsibly to teaching it to their children.

The same goes for the health education taught to students starting in elementary school. It is one thing for a school to teach (likely in a biology class) the reasons why lean proteins are good nourishment for a human. It is another for a school to teach (likely in a health class) that students should eat certain foods and avoid others. While the information may be the same, the framing of the information is different. This difference is what is wrong with health education. It is assuming responsibilities which should belong to parents and which would belong to them otherwise.

One of the most popular critiques of homeschooling is that homeschooled children miss out on important socialization. This criticism is based on the idea that a main component of traditional schooling is socialization. This view of schooling is fundamentally flawed because it takes something that should happen in the home—the moral, social, and emotional development of children—and puts it in the schoolyard. Schools should be responsible for teaching academic subjects, and parents should be responsible for socializing their children.

Sex and health education and socialization are all important parts of developing a child into a rational, mature, and productive adult. However, parents have a personal relationship with their children, know their children best, and are thus best suited to ensure good sex morals and practices, healthy living, and good socialization. For these same reasons, the responsibility of ensuring good mental health conditions should be in the hands of parents, not teachers and administrators.

Before the start of my senior year of high school, my school replaced our college counselor with a therapist. I believe therapy can be beneficial for many high school students. However, I do not support the change my high school made. The college counselor had helped students navigate the tricky and complex college application process, a subject necessary for students’ advancement of academic achievement. While I missed not having a counselor to help advise me with choosing a college, I know for many other students therapy could be more helpful and necessary than college advising. That fact does not take away from the other fact that therapy is not the school’s job. The school’s job is to help students learn and succeed academically. Students who would benefit from therapy should seek therapy through a different avenue.

This is not to discount the school teachers and administrators who serve as wonderful mentors to their students and help them grow into wonderful young adults. We all can name at least one teacher or administrator who had a positive impact on a non-academic area of our lives. But such leaders make these impacts out of the goodness of their hearts, voluntarily reaching outside the bounds of their jobs.

The changes made by SB 11 and HB 18 likely will not stop school shootings. They are symptoms of a larger prevailing view that school teachers and administrators are responsible for making children into mature, socialized, healthy, rational young adults in addition to literate, academically educated young adults. Contrary to this view, we should hold parents, not schools, responsible for raising their children. This means we should encourage parents, not schools, to keep their children in a healthy mental state.

The Darsch Report: Oct. 21- 27

40 Arrested in Bexar County as Part of Nationwide Roundup

As part of a nationwide roundup, forty fugitives wanted on misdemeanor or felony family violence warrants were arrested on Wednesday. The roundup was part of the 17th Annual National Family Violence Apprehension warrant roundup in which the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office participated.

“This is the first time that the BCSO (participated) in this national warrant roundup, and (we) are proud of the success it brought in apprehending these individuals who were wanted on family violence charges,” the department stated in a news release.

During the operation, the sheriff’s office visited over 100 locations throughout the process of searching for the fugitives. Everyone was taken into custody without incident and of the forty arrested, 3 were documented gang members.

You can find a list of the fugitives arrested along with their charges here.

Father Given Say in 7-year-old Son’s Gender Transition

In Texas, father Jeff Younger has been in a desperate battle to keep the boy, 7, from undergoing a gender transition championed by the biological male’s mother. On Thursday, Oct 24th, Judge Kim Cooks ruled that both parents would have joint decision-making over all medical, dental and psychiatric care for their kids.

A ruling in favor of the mother could have allowed her to move forward with plans to potentially give the boy puberty blockers after she received a letter of recommendation from Dallas Rainbow Therapy, urging that he “receive a full psychological assessment for gender dysphoria and potentially take hormone blockers,” The Washington Examiner reported.

This comes after much controversy following the Monday ruling in which the jury ruled in favor of the mother. The ruling would have forced Younger to affirm the child’s identity by using the name “Luna,” something recommended by James’ therapists. Younger had petitioned the court for full custody of their children but was ultimately shot down.

According to the child’s mother, who works as a pediatrician, James is transgender, identifies as a girl, likes to wear dresses and goes by the name “Luna.” Younger says James is a happy boy, and he contends that a “social transition” or “medical transition” would not be in his best interest.

Republicans Storm Impeachment Hearing

On Wednesday, Oct 23rd, dozens of House Republicans stormed a closed-door meeting of the impeachment inquiry, breaking up the deposition of a top Defense Department official who was testifying about President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

The meeting was taking place in the Capitol basement where Laura Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, was set to provide private testimony. The deposition got underway after a five-hour delay. Several lawmakers said that, in response to the Republican protest on Wednesday morning, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) left the room with Cooper and postponed her interview.

“The fact that Adam Schiff won’t even let the press in — you can’t even go in and see what’s going on in that room,” Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) told reporters outside the hearing room. “Voting members of Congress are being denied access from being able to see what’s happening behind these closed doors, where they’re trying to impeach the president of the United States with a one-sided set of rules, they call the witnesses.”

Many members of the House Freedom Caucus joined the protest including GOP Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Bradley Byrne (Ala.), and Chip Roy (Tex.). 

Congressmen Roy expressed frustration during the meeting, telling House Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah Cummings (MD-7) “that we ought to be able to see the transcripts.”

“I ended up ultimately relenting after a while and making noise to try to make the point,” he said. “Again, not trying to be disrespectful. They’re in the majority. They can set the process, but this ought to be more transparent.”

ISIS Leader Now Dead

On Sunday, Oct 27th, President Donald Trump announced to the nation that the Caliph of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, died in a U.S.-led raid in northwestern Syria.

President Trump said that al-Baghdadi, who was 48 years old, killed himself and his three children, detonating a suicide vest in a tunnel while pursued by U.S. troops. Commenting on live footage of the raid, Trump remarked that the leader of ISIS “died like a dog. He died like a coward. The world is a much safer place.”

Considered Islamic State’s inspirational leader, al-Baghdadi was responsible for its reign of terror as it amassed territory across Iraq and Syria in recent years. The group has displaced tens of thousands of people and perpetrated widespread barbarism, including rapes and video-recorded beheadings.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said Baghdadi’s death created an opportunity to refocus U.S. strategy in Syria around reducing the U.S.’s presence, putting Kurds in control of oil resources and “building up the lives of people in the region.”

“This is a game changer in the war on terror,” Graham said. “The war is by no means over, but the caliphate is dead and the leader of the caliphate is dead, and that’s a big deal.”

However, not everyone is as happy as Trump of the death of al-Baghdadi. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California or other Democratic leaders in Congress are upset that Trump didn’t notify them of the raid but instead chose to tell key House Republicans as well as Russia.

“The House must be briefed on this raid, which the Russians but not top Congressional Leadership were notified of in advance, and on the Administration’s overall strategy in the region,” she stated.

Trump stated that he did not notify Democrats in Congress of the operation because of concerns of possible leaks.

California Residents Suffer Blackouts, Fires

In California, rolling blackouts have become the new norm for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of residents for the past week.

The state’s largest utility, Pacific Gas and Electric Corp., or PG&E, began shutting off electricity to nearly a half-million people Wednesday afternoon, the second massive blackout in two weeks. It said hot, dry winds and low humidity were creating a high risk of sparks and “rapid wildfire spread” from its long-neglected power lines.

Now with the Kincade fire that started Wednesday night, continuing to burn in Sonoma County, north of San Francisco, millions of Californians are without power and 180,000 people have been ordered to evacuate from its path.

“We are deploying every resource available and are coordinating with numerous agencies as we continue to respond to these fires,” Governor Gavin Newsom said, noting that more than 3,000 firefighters were battling the Kincade fire alone.

On Friday, the governor also lashed out at the utility company over what he called years of greed and mismanagement that brought about the crisis.

“That greed has precipitated in a lack of intentionality and focus on hardening their grid, undergrounding their transmission lines,” Newsom said at a news conference. “They simply did not do their job.”

Texas House Speaker Won’t Seek Reelection

On Tuesday, Oct 22nd, first-term Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen announced that he will not be seeking reelection to the lower chamber in 2020.

“After much prayer, consultation, and thoughtful consideration with my family, it is clear that I can no longer seek re-election as State Representative of District 25, and subsequently, as Speaker of the House,” Bonnen said in a statement. His statement included a list of 43 House Republicans, a majority of the House GOP Caucus, who the speaker said “have made clear that it is in the best interest of both myself and the House to move on.”

Bonnen’s political future was first called into question last month when activist Michael Quinn Sullivan, head of the conservative publication Empower Texans, alleged that Bonnen suggested that Empower Texans go after a list of 10 House Republicans and told Sullivan his group could have media access to the lower chamber in 2021. Bonnen also disparaged multiple Democrats, calling one “vile” and another “a piece of shit,” and said his goal for the next legislative session is to make it the worst “in the history of the legislature for cities and counties.”

To wash away any uncertainly over the meeting, Sullivan released his secret recording of that June 12 meeting last week, largely confirming his descriptions. Since then a growing number of House Republicans had either called for the speaker’s resignation or pulled support for the speaker.

After the speaker’s announcement Tuesday, Sullivan tweeted that Bonnen “could have behaved ethically” — but “instead chose lies, deceit, dishonor, and ruin.”

“He has gone from 3rd constitutional officer in Texas to a cautionary tale,” Sullivan wrote.

The Darsch Report: March 25 – 31

US Marshall Arrested in San Antonio

On Saturday, March 30, US Marshal Reynaldo Chavera was charged with drug possession following an arrest Saturday morning outside a San Antonio strip club. Bexar County booking records show he has been charged with possession of less than one gram of a controlled substance under “penalty group one” of the Texas Controlled Substances Act.

San Antonio police officers arrested Chavera around 5:30 am Saturday at XTC Cabaret near San Antonio International Airport after security workers detained him when he refused to leave the club. Officers then identified Chavera as a U.S. Marshal and found that he had narcotics in his possession.

U.S. Marshals Service spokesman Christopher Bozeman said the agency is aware of Chavera’s arrest and ”takes seriously any allegation of misconduct by its employees which do not reflect our core values of justice, integrity, and service.”

Possession of less than one gram of a controlled substance in that category is a state jail felony punishable by a maximum two-year prison sentence.

Attorney General and Chick-Fil-A

On Thursday, March 28, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that he would launch an investigation into whether the city of San Antonio’s rejection of Chick-fil-A from its airport violates state law.

The San Antonio city council excluded the business from the airport after a ThinkProgress report claimed they support anti-LGBTQ+ organizations.

“The Constitution’s protection of religious liberty is somehow even better than Chick-fil-A’s chicken,” Paxton wrote in a letter to San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “Unfortunately, I have serious concerns that both are under assault at the San Antonio airport.”

Paxton said he is also encouraging Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao to look into whether the city broke any federal law or regulation.

“I trust the City will fully cooperate with my investigation into this matter and will abide by relevant federal and state laws in the future,” he wrote.

“The City’s Attorney’s Office is reviewing the letter. I am withholding comment until we have had adequate time to analyze it,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg stated.

Paxton also told San Antonio officials that he asked U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to investigate whether the city’s actions violated federal law and regulations prohibiting religious discrimination by federal grant recipients.

Is Joe Biden Getting #MeToo-ed?

On Friday, March 29, former Nevada Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor Lucy Flores wrote an essay in The Cut alleging that Joe Biden acted inappropriately with her and made her feel “uneasy, gross, and confused”.

“As I was taking deep breaths and preparing myself to make my case to the crowd, I felt two hands on my shoulders. I froze… I felt him get closer to me from behind. He leaned further in and inhaled my hair. I was mortified… He proceeded to plant a big slow kiss on the back of my head,” Flores wrote.

She says she was more than relieved when her name was called and she was able to get away from Biden.

Even though Biden had come to Nevada to help Flores win her election, she claims his behavior was unprofessional. “He stopped treating me like a peer the moment he touched me,” Flores stated. “Even if his behavior wasn’t violent or sexual, it was demeaning and disrespectful.”

As she points out, however, this isn’t the first time Joe Biden has gotten too close for comfort.

“Time passed and pictures started to surface of Vice President Biden getting uncomfortably close with women and young girls. Biden nuzzling the neck of the Defense secretary’s wife; Biden kissing a senator’s wife on the lips; Biden whispering in women’s ears; Biden snuggling female constituents.”

Joe Biden has brushed past the allegations. “In my many years on the campaign trail and in public life, I have offered countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support and comfort. And not once—never—did I believe I acted inappropriately. If it is suggested I did so, I will listen respectfully. But it was never my intention,” said Biden.

If betting markets are to be trusted as charts for public approval, this allegation has seriously hurt Joe Biden’s chances of becoming the 2020 Democratic nominee. On Election Betting Odds and PredictIt, Biden plummeted from the favorite Democratic contender to the fourth and third place, respectively.

US Economy

It was a good week for US stocks. The Dow Jones increased to 25,928.68 on Friday, increasing by +426.36 points, or +1.67 percent over its March 22 close of 25,502.32. The S&P 500 increased by +33.69 points or +1.20 percent on Friday. In addition, the Nasdaq increased on Friday by +0.70 percent. With this, the stock market has overall erased the losses it suffered the previous week.

There are signs of a global economic slowdown on the horizon but if President Trump can get a favorable trade deal with China in the coming weeks then it should at least delay the slowdown as tariffs between the two largest economies are lowered.

California Magazine Ban Unconstitutional

On Friday, March 29, San Diego-based U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez ruled that California’s ban on the possession of magazines able to hold more than 10 rounds at a time is unconstitutional citing home invasions where a woman used the extra bullets in her weapon to kill an attacker while in two other cases women without additional ammunition ran out of bullets.

“Individual liberty and freedom are not outmoded concepts,” Benitez wrote as he declared the law to be unconstitutional.

California’s 2000 law and its 2016 removal of a provision made the buying, selling, and possession of magazines that can carry more than 10 rounds illegal. The California arm of the National Rifle Association sued and Benitez sided with the group’s argument that banning the magazines infringes on the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

Chuck Michel, an attorney for the NRA and the California Rifle & Pistol Association, said that the ruling may even go so far as to strike down the entire ban.

“We’re still digesting the opinion but it appears to us that he struck down both the latest ban on possessing by those who are grandfathered in, but also said that everyone has a right to acquire one,” Michel said.

Attorney General Xavier Becerra came out against the ruling. “[My office] is committed to defending California’s common sense gun laws,” Becerra said.

This ruling is a big win for gun owners throughout California. With Trump having appointed over 90 judges since the start of his presidency, this ruling could carry shockwaves across the US and act as precedent against other similar bills in the US.

Texas House Budget Bill

In the night between March 27 and 28, the Texas State House voted 149-0 to advance a budget that grows the size of government by nearly 16 percent and provides little property tax relief.

Despite many Republican lawmakers campaigning on property tax relief and adding an amendment that would slow the growth of government spending, most of the amendments were either heavily changed or surrendered in exchange for Democratic votes on other amendments, such as those proposed by State Reps. Jonathan Stickland (R–Bedford), Briscoe Cain (R–Deer Park), Matt Krause (R–Fort Worth), and Matt Schaefer (R–Tyler).

Not every bill that was cut dealt with property tax relief. According to Capitol sources, freshman State Rep. Mayes Middleton (R–Wallisville) agreed to discard his amendment, which would prevent illegal aliens from receiving state dollars set aside for Hurricane Harvey assistance, in exchange for lawmakers moving his bill to ban taxpayer-funded lobbying forward in the process.

Property tax relief is perhaps the most vital issue for Texas residents but, as it currently stands, it is in the hands of the State Senate to determine the bill’s fate.

Greenland’s Jakobshavn Glacier

In a bit of good news, a NASA study released on Monday in Nature Geoscience found that Greenland’s Jakobshavn Glacier is actually growing.

From 2003 to 2016 the Jakobshavn glacier was one of the fasting shrinking glaciers in the world and in 2016 its thickness had diminished by about 500 feet and was retreating by about 1.8 miles annually.

However, between 2016 and 2017 the glacier began to grow in thickness again. Between 2016 and 2017 parts of the glacier grew in thickness by anywhere between 65.6 to 98.4 feet (20 meters to 30 meters).

A natural cyclical cooling of North Atlantic waters likely caused the glacier to reverse course, according to the study’s lead author Ala Khazendar, a NASA glaciologist on the Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) project. Khazendar and colleagues say this coincides with a flip of the North Atlantic Oscillation, a natural cycle of cooling and warming of parts of the ocean.

The water in Disko Bay, where Jakobshavn hits the ocean, cooled by about 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit between 2014 and 2016, study authors said.

Hopefully, with the cooling of the Northern Atlantic Ocean, the Jakobshavn glacier will begin to advance back into Disko Bay and erase the losses it suffered over the past 20 years.

The Darsch Report: Mar. 4 – 10

San Antonio Activist Found Guilty of Disorderly Conduct

On Tuesday Mar. 5, Jesus Padilla, also known as “Mexican Padilla” on Youtube, was convicted on three counts of disorderly conduct and issued a fine of $1,713.

Padilla is a member of the “First Amendment Auditors,” which records police and government workers to test the limits of First Amendment freedoms.

The case involved a confrontation that occurred last year on April 27 at the SAPD central substation.

In the minute-long video, Padilla and his colleges can be seen following three SWAT officers to the entrance of the station and proceeding to shout explicit language and homophobic slurs when blocked by one of the officers from exiting.

Even after exiting the building, Padilla and his group continue to curse at the officers as his colleagues press them for their names and badge numbers.

Padilla is looking to appeal the court’s decision. “As long as I’m not threatening to assault them it’s not against the law,” Padilla said. “They get paid well enough to have thick skin.”

During the trial, Padilla said San Antonio Police Chief McManus himself was there alongside the city attorneys who were representing the three SWAT officers.

McManus applauded the conviction. “It almost puts a dagger in the heart of their First Amendment excuse for insulting police officers,” he said.

“There are two distinct actions here,” he said. “If someone is stopped, and they decide to call a police officer a derogatory term, that’s one thing. But if you are aggressively and in a verbally assaultive way closing space on a police officer when they’re doing their jobs … that is totally different than just calling a police officer a name.”

Only time will tell if Padilla is able to appeal his conviction which is the first time he has gone to trial over an arrest stemming from his self-described auditing.

Texan Teachers May get a Pay Raise

On Monday, March 4, the Texas Senate passed its first piece of legislation for this session, Senate Bill 3.

The chamber unanimously passed the bipartisan bill, which would give an across-the-board pay raise of $5,000 to every teacher in Texas at a cost of nearly $4 billion. The bill was authored by State Sen. Jane Nelson (R–Flower Mound), and supported by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and every member of the Texas Senate.

While the bill was in committee last week, teacher unions came out to support the bill alongside administrators who were unhappy that they weren’t part of the bill. Although administrators were excluded, librarians were successfully added to the bill.

The bill will now move to the Texas House, where House Speaker Dennis Bonnen (R–Brazoria) and Public Education Committee Chairman Dan Huberty (R–Kingwood) have focused on supporting merit pay proposals instead.

Although SB3 is great for Texas teachers and will more than likely be passed by the House, the Texas legislature has strongly sought property tax relief as an agenda priority. Especially since local school funding comes largely from property taxes, legislators should take the $4 billion bill into account when comparing priorities.

Alabama Man Sues Abortion Clinic

In Alabama, 21-year-old Ryan Magers is suing an abortion clinic for aborting his unborn child against his wishes.

“We are suing the clinic, the manufacturer of the pill, going after the doctor and going after any professional organization the doctor is affiliated with,” attorney Brent Helms told Fox News on Thursday, adding that “if they are all held liable, it would put a dent on the profitability of abortions.”

Magers’s aborted child, “Baby Roe,” was recognized as a plaintiff in the lawsuit on Tuesday, thanks to Alabama recognizing life at conception, making it the first case of its kind.

Magers, who was 19 at the time, claims that his girlfriend, who was 16, got a medicated abortion for her 6-week old fetus at the Alabama Women’s Center for Reproductive Alternatives in Huntsville even after he had pleaded with her to not get an abortion,

“A woman can go and she can have an abortion of convenience but there’s nothing that protects the father,” Helms said.

Magers added that although the pregnancy was an accident, he “owned up to it” and eventually warmed to the idea of parenthood.

“He got excited about being a dad,” Helms said. “He started working double shifts.”

However, the main goal of this case isn’t monetary damages or a jury trial. Helms claims that it is to increase the rights of would-be fathers in Alabama.

“I’m here for the men who actually want to have their baby,” he said. “I believe every child from conception is a baby and deserves to live.”

The fact that “Baby Roe” has been added as a plaintiff and that the case hasn’t already been thrown out is a definite win for Pro-Life groups. Now we need to see how far this case goes and if it inspires other would-be potential fathers to press charges as well.


It was not a good week for US stocks, with a few gains in the stock market. The Dow Jones decreased to 25,450.24 on Friday, decreasing by -576.08 points, or -2.21 percent under its Mar 1 close of 26,026.32. The S&P 500 decreased by -60.62 points or -2.16 percent on Friday. In addition, the Nasdaq decreased on Friday by -2.46 percent.

Much of the stock market downturn can be explained by recent economic numbers in the US February jobs report and China.

The February jobs reports shows a rather disappointing net nonfarm payrolls increase of 20,000 however it is supplemented by unemployment going down from 4.0% to 3.8%, and year-over-year wages increasing 3.4%. Much of the dismal payroll numbers can be explained by workers who were affected by the government shutdown leaving part-time work to return to their normal jobs.

In China, a rather shocking report came out showing that year-over-year exports fell by 20.7% in February compared to an expected drop of 4.8 percent. Dollar-dominated imports also fell by 5.2 percent compared to economists’ expectations of 1.4 percent. This resulted in China having a positive trade balance of $4.12 billion but, it is nowhere near the expected overall trade balance to come in at $26.38 billion and January’s trade balance of $39.16 billion.

Venezuela Power Outage

In Venezuela, most of the country has been without power for days with 16 states having no power and six having partial power, an outage that has lead to the confirmed deaths of 17 people.

Juan Guaido, Venezuela’s self-declared interim president, told CNN Sunday that “Venezuela has truly collapsed already,” and accused the Maduro regime of at least 17 “murders” because of the blackout.

“There is no service in the hospitals. These were the best hospitals in the country. If we are in the capital kilometers inside Venezuela where there hasn’t been or there has been very little gasoline with periodic cuts in electricity, without basic goods, with inefficient public transportation? You can say with all responsibility that Venezuela has already collapsed.”

Maduro has blamed the United States for the blackout, telling supporters at a rally Saturday that the nation’s electric grid had been sabotaged. The United States has attributed the outage to the Maduro regime’s “incompetence.”

However, reports posted by Breaking New Live on Twitter claim that over 300 people, including over 80 newborns, have died because of a lack of access to medical care.

Until power comes back on in Venezuela and the number of dead is counted we won’t know how true these numbers are. One thing is for certain: both power and peace need to come back to the people of Venezuela.

San Antonio Founders Monument

On Saturday, March 9, a new art piece was unveiled outside the Bexar County Courthouse depicting the early founders of San Antonio.

The cast metal crew of five included a Native American man, a Franciscan friar, a Spanish soldier stationed at the Presidio, and a couple who migrated from the Canary Islands.

“We are pleased that our ancestors decided to make that treacherous journey by sea and by land,” said Mari Tamez, president of the Canary Islands Descendants Association, the driving force behind the monument’s creation. “It was a true leap of faith.”

The monument was first sculpted by Armando Hinojosa, a Laredo artist whose stone and bronze monument to Tejano heritage adorns the grounds of the Texas Capital. The sculpture was then cast by Stevens Art Foundry in Bulverde.

Speaking at the event, Hinojosa said Alfonso Chiscano, a local thoracic surgeon and advocate for knowledge of Canary Islander history, was the first to contact him about the sculpture. Chiscano immigrated to San Antonio from the Canary Islands in the 1970s.

Over $800,000 was raised for the monument with Bexar County commissioners approving $375,000 in County funds for the sculptures and $68,000 to build the statues’ base in October 2017 and the Canary Islands Descendants Association and supporters raising an additional $375,000.

Democrats Have Overplayed Their Hand on Abortion

The past month saw legislative victories for pro-abortion activists up and down the East Coast. Vermont, New York, and Virginia all either passed or are currently in the process of passing new sweeping abortion laws allowing abortion up until birth and possibly after in the case of Virginia.

In response, pro-life activists in states with unified Republican government have proceeded to pass or advocate heartbeat bills that ban abortion after a heartbeat is detected. 10 states are currently deliberating over these bills.

On the federal level, every Democrat in the Senate aside from Sen. Casey from Pennsylvania, Sen. Manchin from West Virginia, and Sen. Jones from Alabama voted to prevent the survivors of failed abortions who are born from being protected. This includes every Democrat in the Senate currently running for President.

I believe that the new abortion laws passed on the East Coast are a strategic blunder for Democrats in their attempt to retake the Presidency. The Trump elections, both 2016 and 2020 will be decided in the Midwest. The states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania will decide who the next President is, barring a Republican collapse in Arizona and Texas or a Democratic collapse in Minnesota and Colorado. Keep in mind that more historic blue states were in danger of being flipped in 2016 than did. Minnesota, Maine, New Hampshire, Nevada, and Colorado were all within striking distance for President Trump.

The legislative term during a divided Congress leading into a presidential election is often merely a game of chess between the leaders of the two parties to put their side in the best light going into the general election. With as polarized as the two parties are, nothing fundamentally transforming is going to come out of this congress. As we saw this year, they can barely keep the government open. Each side is trying to put the other in tricky voting situations that can be turned into attack ads in October of 2020 right before voters go to the polls.

This is where Democrats have made a strategic blunder on the abortion issue. The selling point for abortion used to be “safe legal and rare”. Now it has become “shout your abortion” and pushing the limits of the questionable science in support of abortion to its limits by demanding abortion be an option up to birth. There is no talking point on abortion that is actually a quality talking point, but safe legal and rare is as close as they get.

Now think back to the electoral map and voting behaviors. When it comes to voters, Democrats own the pro-abortion voter, these voters simply don’t have a reason to vote Republican. Regardless of which Democrat is nominated, they will win almost all of the pro-abortion votes in the United States, just like Hillary Clinton.

In politics, when you empower one group of interest voters, you upset a different group. By empowering abortion extremists inside the Democratic Party, Democrats continue to alienate the pro-life Democrats, specifically Catholic Democrats. It’s one thing to support abortion when the argument is safe legal and rare. Now, it’s a whole new ballgame.

By attempting to pacify its radical base with absurd and unnecessary expansions on abortion, Democrats could very well be gift wrapping the 2020 Presidential election for Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton didn’t lose the Midwest ‘blue wall’ in 2016 due to the lack of enthusiasm on the behalf of pro-abortion voters. She lost the Midwest because of the defection of pro-life blue collar democrats to the Donald Trump. By the posturing of the Democratic candidates currently running for President, they clearly haven’t learned from the 2016 election about the dangers of holding absurd positions on abortion. Unrestricted abortion is a line through the heart which moderate Democrats simply won’t allow to be crossed when it comes to the ballot box.

Ironically, extremism on the abortion issue by the Democratic Party could lead to it being banned, a goal shared by many conservatives including myself. Without digging too deeply into the age of Supreme Court justices, the two oldest are 85 and 80 both appointed by Democratic presidents and considered to be the leaders of the liberal wing. The current ideological split of the court is 5-4 in favor of the conservatives with Roberts being the swing vote. If both of those Supreme Court justices retire before the next Democrat president, the court could go as far as 7-2 in favor of conservatives.

If the 7-2 split is achieved, then pro-life organizations around the United States would rally to their respective state capitals to advocate for silver bullet bills designed to trigger legal challenges to Roe v. Wade. The new conservative court would likely side with the laws, throwing out Roe v. Wade and hopefully putting an end to the era of America’s second great mortal sin.

Photo from NY governor’s office. Source.

Rep. Schaefer Files PreNDA in House

On Monday, February 25, Representative Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler) filed House Bill 2434, styled the Preborn Non-Discrimination Act (PreNDA) by its proponents. The bill, and it’s Senate companion SB 1033 by Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills) would prohibit all abortions after 20 weeks except for those protecting the life of the mother, and abortions performed for reason of race, gender or disability.

In addition to protecting children before birth, PreNDA would also support pro-life medical and social services for pregnant women.

At the semiannual Republican Party of Texas (RPT) convention in San Antonio last summer, the RPT endorsed PreNDA as one of its legislative priorities. It is one of four pro-life priorities for the RPT during the 2019 Session. For the 2019 Texas Legislature, close to 9,000 Republican delegates support the bill as a priority for the Republican party.

In July 2013, the Texas Legislature passed the Preborn Pain Act, which protected children from being aborted after 20 weeks, as science has proven that babies at this stage in development can feel the pain of being aborted. However, while this act was a great step forward for the pro-life movement, it failed to protect unborn children suspected to have disabilities.

In 2015, Schaefer proposed an amendment that would have prohibited abortions on the basis that the fetus had a “severe and irreversible abnormality.” While the amendment received a majority of votes, it was stalled and later passed with significant changes.

The first coauthor on HB 2434 is freshman Rep. Jared Patterson (R-Frisco), followed by Rep. Jay Dean (R-Longview). The Senate version is jointly authored by Senators Campbell, Creighton, Hughes, Kolkhorst, Paxton, Perry, Taylor, and coauthored by Sen. Hall.

Photo: Rep. Schaefer speaking in support of Amendment 22 to Senate Bill 8, which would have been similar in effect to HB 2434. May 19, 2017.