The Arena

Texas Action Hiring Policy Analysts
Posted October 03, 2016 by Nathanael Ferguson

Primary_forLightBackgroundLiberty-minded job seekers: Texas Action is hiring policy analysts for the 2017 session of the Texas Legislature. The positions are full time temporary positions based in Austin, Texas starting in December of this year and running through the end of May 2017. Click here for details about the positions and how to apply.

Read More
Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!
Posted April 21, 2016 by Nathanael Ferguson

Today we celebrate the anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto; the decisive battle which led to Texas independence. On that day the Texian army under the command of General Sam Houston fought Santa Anna’s army under the rallying cries of “Remember the Alamo!” and “Remember Goliad!”. The Texians won the battle, captured Santa Anna, and secured independence for the Republic of Texas. May their memory always be cherished by Texans everywhere!


Read More
Free At Last
Posted February 24, 2016 by Nathanael Ferguson

The Federalist reports today that a Texas appeals court has thrown out the felony corruption indictment against former governor Rick Perry. The indictment was widely viewed to be a frivolous political persecution rather than a legitimate prosecution of the former governor. While it is good that the case has been thrown out, it never should have been allowed to fester in the court system for nearly two years. The linked article from the Federalist sums up the stakes well:

“Had he been convicted, Perry could have faced up to 109 years in prison for the heinous crimes of explaining why he planned to veto a bill and then vetoing it.”

While legitimate cases of political corruption and abuse of power should be investigated and prosecuted, the judicial system should never be used to carry out vendettas against political opponents. It was obvious to everyone who bothered to spend even a few moments reviewing the facts that this was an obvious case of the latter.

Now that Governor Perry’s legal woes are over, who will be called to account for the frivolous prosecution which cost millions of dollars to ...

Read More
Lawful Open Carry Starts January 1, 2016
Posted December 31, 2015 by Nathanael Ferguson

In 2015 the Texas Legislature passed a slate of new bills expanding statutory recognition of 2nd Amendment rights. Most notably, lawmakers passed open carry and campus carry into law. In a nutshell, a Concealed Handgun License is now effectively a License to Carry. License holders will be able to open carry wherever they are permitted to carry concealed, with some exceptions. The campus carry provisions allow limited concealed carry on higher education campuses, again with some exceptions.

The Texas Department of Public Safety has a helpful rundown on all of the changes to handgun carry laws here. While open carry and campus carry are perhaps the most notable changes, there are several other important changes to handgun laws in Texas which will also become law on January 1. Before carrying a handgun in 2016, concealed or otherwise, it would be wise to visit the TxDPS site for a quick refresher.

Read More
Time And Time Again
Posted November 02, 2015 by Nathanael Ferguson

For no good reason at all we collectively changed our clocks back one hour this weekend. If you’re still adjusting to having the sun rise and set an hour earlier than you are accustomed to and wondering why in the world this clock adjustment is foisted upon us every fall and spring, welcome to the club! The Texas Legislature had an opportunity to put an end to the madness in the form of Rep. Dan Flynn’s HB 150 which we encouraged the legislature to pass. In what may have been the lengthiest bill analysis we published during the 84th Texas Legislature, our analyst Gregory Weeks made what can only be considered an iron clad case for abolishing Daylight Savings Time. Unfortunately, the legislature remained unconvinced. Perhaps Rep. Flynn will resurrect his legislation in 2017. We would most certainly support it again. Our full analysis of HB 150 is republished below for your enjoyment.

HB 150 is one of the best bills being considered by the legislature this session as daylight savings time (DST) is a highly problematic and duplicitous practice. Hopefully Texas, by following the paths taken by six other U.S. states and territories, can ...

Read More
Sine Die
Posted June 01, 2015 by Nathanael Ferguson

Sine Die: The term is bandied about with reckless abandon this time of odd-numbered years in Austin. People in and around the Capitol know what it means while the rest of the world looks on with a blank stare.

Mirriam Webster has this to say:

adverb si·ne die \ˌsī-ni-ˈdī(-ˌē), ˌsi-nā-ˈdē-ˌā\

Definition of SINE DIE:  without any future date being designated (as for resumption) : indefinitely <the meeting adjourned sine die>

As the legislature prepares to gavel out we salute and congratulate all of the legislators, staff, advocates, and activists who have worked through the 84th Legislative Session. Everyone involved in the process (regardless of whether or not we agree on policy) puts a tremendous amount of time, energy, effort, and passion into the legislative session. Congratulations to all; now go get some well-deserved rest!

Read More
A Unique And Moving Memorial Day Perspective
Posted May 23, 2015 by Nathanael Ferguson

Memorial Day is the time we set aside to reflect together as one grateful nation and to recognize that we are blessed to live free because others freely laid their lives down for us. Most of us, however, are unaware that tens of thousands of our fallen heroes remain buried in the soil of nations they fought to free. Over at Watchdog Arena, Carine Martinez has published a poignant article describing how one French town continues to celebrate memorial day and honor the American soldiers who died to free them.

“Every year by the end of May, two flags with red, white, and blue colors line up the streets of Suresnes, a town in the outskirts of Paris. Like two old friends standing side by side, the flags of the United States and France are there to remind inhabitants of the long friendship between the two countries. They are raised together in remembrance of what it meant, for the United States and Americans, to stand by their friend and ally, France. They are raised for Memorial Day.

“The town of Suresnes has a population of a little less than 50,000 and is located ...

Read More
Happy Texas Independence Day
Posted March 02, 2015 by Nathanael Ferguson

Today marks the 179th anniversary of the Texas Declaration of Independence. To simply declare independence was not enough to actually make it so. Independence from Mexico had to be fought for, bled for, died for, and eventually won at great cost.

As commander of the garrison that defended the Alamo, William Barret Travis wrote a number of letters informing the world of the dire situation and requesting supplies and reinforcements. His best known letter was his “Victory or Death” letter written on February 24, 1836 and addressed “To the People of Texas & All Americans in the World”.

May we all live with the courage of Travis, and may the Spirit of 1836 never recede from the heartbeat of the Lone Star State.


Commandancy of the Alamo
Bejar, Feby. 24, 1836

To the People of Texas & All Americans in the World

Fellow citizens & compatriots

I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not ...

Read More
Daily Floor Reports for the 84th Texas Legislature
Posted February 20, 2015 by Nathanael Ferguson

We are pleased to announce that during the regular session of the 84th Texas Legislature we will provide a Daily Floor Report with bill analysis and vote recommendations for bills under consideration by both the House and Senate. This is a major change from last session when our reports only considered legislation before the House.

Texas Public Policy Action launched at the beginning of the 83rd Texas Legislature with a mission to help members of the Texas House of Representatives keep up with the overwhelming number of bills they are required to vote on. Our method was simple; for every bill on the daily House calendar we provided a short analysis of what the bill would do if enacted and offered a vote recommendation connected to our Liberty Principles. The idea was to give legislators a synopsis of the bill and help them to view it through the lens of liberty with the hope that they would vote to approve liberty-advancing bills and vote to oppose bills that encroach on liberty.

The feedback from members and staff was overwhelming. Regardless of whether they agreed with our vote recommendations, most seemed to find our Floor Report ...

Read More
And…We’re Back!
Posted by Nathanael Ferguson

After a hiatus of sorts while we revamped and upgraded our website in advance of the 84th Texas Legislature, we are back in business. Most of the changes to the site have to do with the back-end functionality and all kinds of technical things I don’t really understand. The look and feel of the site to the end user will be mostly, although not entirely, unchanged.

Those who have been with us for a while will notice a few updates. We’ve streamlined the look of the blog and we’ve made it easier to submit a new job posting to our jobs bank. We’ve also cleaned up the Floor Report display layout to make the vote recommendation icons line up properly with the corresponding Liberty Principle.

You will also notice that page-loading issues have been fixed so the site now loads with lighting speed compared to the slower load times you may have noticed in the past.

We’ve also added a donate button so that defenders of liberty everywhere can quickly and easily partner with us as we work to advance liberty in Texas.

There are a couple other changes I’ll mention ...

Read More