The Arena

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
Career Path To Congress
Posted November 12, 2014 by Nathanael Ferguson

Ever wonder what your Representative or Senator did before they represented you in Congress? If you’re a Texan you no longer have to wonder. The Houston Chronicle has put together a slideshow highlighting the professional background of all 38 members of the Texas Congressional Delegation. Members of our delegation to Washington have an interesting mix of experience in private industry, professional services, and state and local government. Check out the full list here.

Read More
To Our Nation’s Veterans: Thank You
Posted November 11, 2014 by Nathanael Ferguson

Today we pause to honor and remember our nation’s war veterans. How do you properly thank those who volunteered to stand in the gap between freedom and tyranny; who chose selflessly to risk life and limb to secure and preserve liberty for their countrymen; who still bear and will forever bear the scars of their service? I don’t know. But I do know that I am deeply and eternally grateful to our veterans.

To all of our nation’s war veterans from all of us at Texas Public Policy Action, thank you. Thank you for serving, for standing in the gap, for having the courage to face the worst that humanity has to offer in order to preserve for future generations the best that humanity has to offer. Contrary to the cynics who say we no longer have heroes, I point to you and say that we have heroes in abundance. Thank you!

Read More
Exposing Government Waste In Texas
Posted November 06, 2014 by Nathanael Ferguson

Gov Waste contest logo greenThe federal government gets plenty of well-deserved flack for its wasteful spending habits. Some of the crazy projects the federal government spends your tax dollars on would make a drunken sailor blush. Try this on for size: The United States Centers For Disease Control gave $181,406 of your hard earned dollars to The University of Kentucky to study the impact of cocaine on the sex drive of Japanese quail.

Wait, what? That can’t be real.

Oh but it is. It’s all too real and you can read all about it at the linked article here.

Federal spending priorities have become a sad joke and we Texans aren’t shy in joining in the laughter. But here’s the thing we don’t usually acknowledge; we’ve got spending problems of our own. This shouldn’t come as a big shock. We’re a big state with lots of layers of government, too many taxing authorities, and too many special interests to count. It’s not just state government in on the overspending action; it’s counties, cities, school districts, community colleges, MUD districts, hospital districts…..the list goes on. There are too many possible sources of wasteful spending ...

Read More
A Time For Choosing
Posted October 27, 2014 by Nathanael Ferguson

Today marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most memorable political speeches of modern times; Ronald Reagan’s “A Time For Choosing” delivered in support of 1964 Republican presidential nominee, Barry Goldwater. Check out the embedded clip to watch the most famous “Rendezvous with Destiny” portion of the speech. It’s amazing that all these years later the speech is still poignant, compelling, inspiring, and relevant.

In case you can’t watch the video, read this selected portion:

You and I know and do not believe that life is so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery. If nothing in life is worth dying for, when did this begin — just in the face of this enemy? Or should Moses have told the children of Israel to live in slavery under the pharaohs? Should Christ have refused the cross? Should the patriots at Concord Bridge have thrown down their guns and refused to fire the shot heard ’round the world? The martyrs of history were not fools, and our honored dead who gave their lives to stop the advance of the Nazis didn’t ...

Read More
Keeping The Wolves Away
Posted October 03, 2014 by Nathanael Ferguson

Harris County man uses hunting rifle to repel home invasion: 

“The incident happened about 4:30 a.m. in the 23000 block of Botkins near Bauer in the Hockley area, said Deputy Thomas Gilliland, a spokesman for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

Gilliland said a woman was cooking breakfast when two men armed with guns burst through the front door of the single-wide mobile home. A 36-year-old man who lives in the residence grabbed a rifle and exchanged gunfire with the suspects.”

Read the whole thing at the Houston Chronicle here.

Read More
TPPA Announces Contest to Expose Government Waste
Posted September 03, 2014 by Nathanael Ferguson
TPPA_VECTOR (lightly distressed)Texas Public Policy Action Announces Contest to Expose Government Waste – Competition allows public to highlight examples of egregious government waste in Texas

AUSTIN – Texas Public Policy Action today announced the Texas Government Waste Contest, an open competition to allow members of the public to identify and describe examples of egregious and frivolous government waste at all levels of government in Texas.  The contest runs from September 3 to October 24, 2014, with winners announced by November 14, 2014.

“Even in Texas there is an incredible amount of wasteful spending, political favoritism, and crony capitalism.  This contest will help to expose waste and cronyism,” said TPPA Executive Director Nathanael Ferguson. “By creating a compendium of government waste we will arm taxpayers with the information they need to focus elected officials on solving problems and working to affect change.”

Contestants will submit stories of a wasteful spending item or program in either a written essay or in an original creative video.  Winners in each of the two categories will be awarded cash prizes, $4,000 for first place, $2,000 for second place, and $1,000 for third place. All entries will be included in the ...

Read More
New Laws Take Effect
Posted September 02, 2014 by Nathanael Ferguson

A number of new laws in Texas became effective September 1st. Check out this ABC 13 Eyewitness News article for more details.

Read More
Maryland: Where The First Amendment Does Not Apply
Posted by Nathanael Ferguson

In what The Atlantic aptly describes as a “Soviet Style Punishment” Maryland school teacher and novelist, Patrick McLaw was arrested, his home and school searched by police, was suspended from his job, and has been forced to undergo an “emergency medical evaluation” because of a novel he wrote. Again, to be clear, this happened in Maryland, USA. Government officials did not like the content of the teacher’s novel – which is by definition a fictional story – and consequently totally turned his life upside down using the brute force of the state. He is currently at an undisclosed location and unable to travel, whatever that means. The press, by and large, seem rather unconcerned about whether Mr. McLaw is in fact under arrest or whether the First Amendment still applies in Maryland. 

One wonders if the state’s central committee has already moved to strip Mr. McLaw of his party membership and booked him on the next train to the Gulag. One also hopes law enforcement officials in Texas would have better sense than this… 

Read More