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What Do the Media & Texas Have in Common? (TPPF 11th Policy Orientation)

Downtown Austin

Downtown Austin, the seat of Texas politics, was swarming with legislatures, policy analyst, lobbyist, staffers, and concerned citizens. The 83rd Legislative session, beginning last Tuesday, initiated the discussions, policies, votes and bills that will determine whether the Texas Model will remain.

 Texas Senate in Session

The Texas Model – known as low taxation, limited regulation, entrepreneurial drive, and freedom – has resulted in an increase in population as more people move to the Lone Star state. Whether or not this model will continue remains dependent in large part on the decisions our representatives make and if these decisions remain committed to upholding the public’s sentiment for freedom.

The Texas Public Policy Foundation’s 11th Policy Orientation set a tone for discussions about issues facing Texans. I had the privilege of providing social media coverage during this year’s Orientation along with several other bloggers.

A policy intensive boot camp, one comes to the Orientation ready to learn the dynamics about issues ranging from media coverage and energy to school choice and federal mandates (to name a few). The three-day event started with The Movement and The Media.

The Movement and The Media Session I


Grieder & Trevino


The session began with author Erica Grieder and moderator Josh Treviño discussing Grieder’s premise in her soon-coming-book titled Big, Hot, Cheap, & Right: What America Can Learn from Texas. The book’s focus is to inform non-Texans, the rest of the nation and international audiences, on what defines Texas and how the state operates. From her perspective, Grieder explained what makes Texas “right”  in terms of low taxation, transparency, and what she considers its “uniqueness” – “intense description of American ideals.” Grieder acknowledges Texas’ growth both in population and importance on the national scene.

As far as replicating the Texas model in other states, Grieder does not consider the principles as something that will work in every other community.  Treviño provided a counter to Grieder’s closing remarks, relaying that “there is nothing about Texas that another state cannot replicate.”

Overall, Grieder’s premise for the book comes from the perspective that Texas’ voting block is conservative, socially moderate, and right of center. She described the large city governments as not particularly liberal, views the Constitution as porous, and is willing to experiment with different policies to test what works.

During the question and answer session, comments from the audience expressed that Texans value their freedom and many move here to leave states that hinder individual liberty. With an emphasis on freedom also comes the perspective that the Constitution is a stable document that does not need changing. And, as for non-liberal leaning city governments such as Austin, San Antonio, and Houston, ordinances like Austin’s bag-ban may pose a different perception.

The Movement and The Media Session II

The second discussion took place with Research fellow for The Heartland Institute and editor of The Transom, Ben Domenech and moderator Josh Treviño continuing on the media topic.

Domenech & Trevino

Domenech provided an overview on the source for mainstream media’s news. He relayed that journalists and reporters provide their stories based on personal worldviews. He also expressed that journalists tend to have a broad perspective on the topics they cover rather than an in-depth knowledge. In essence, they provide “more generalization with assumptions rather than specific expertise.” Hence, Domenech argued that journalists are more easily manipulated because they have to depend on people other than themselves for specifics. He conveyed that the journalistic culture is a close connection between journalists and politicians.

Domenech provides the following tips on assessing the media:

  • View media with skepticism. Citizens need to know the truth and speak up as well as function as fact checkers.
  • Social media has opened the door for real time information. The people will work out the difficulties.
  • Because many have not received education on the nation’s founding principles, conservatives need to take the facts/data and learn how to articulate in a way that the average person can understand.

What are your thoughts on the media and its coverage of Texas, politics and the news?



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TPPF Policy Orientation – What are the Policy Issues Facing Texas?

The Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Policy Orientation has funneled a wealth of information to the listeners regarding what policy issues are ahead for Texans. For real time updates, follow on Twitter (@hannahrbell6) or Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/axga7kk). Update coming soon on this blog!

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83rd Legislative Session Begins

To understand the inner workings of the Texas Legislature and how it executes its operations to pass laws that govern our everyday lives requires an awareness of the process and the outcome. Whether heavily involved in politics or on the fringes, realizing that what takes place in the Texas Capitol will now and in the future impact your life, makes politics important.

Today at Noon the 83rd Legislative Session begins. Convening every other year, the Texas Legislature meets for 140 days unless called into a special session (Texas House of Representatives–Frequently Asked Questions). This constitutional requirement can assume that the less time representatives spend deciding how the government will  “govern,” the more freedoms Texans maintain.

Tomorrow the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s 11th Annual Policy Orientation will also starts its conference that lays the groundwork on the issues and how to address them in a fiscally responsible manner. Liberty’s Generation Blog will live blog during this event on some of the key issues related to energy, government spending, federal assistance, school choice, immigration, media, and education. For an overview of the Orientation’s Agenda, click here.

Staying informed, knowing the issues, and responding in a way that maintains principles leadership and citizen’s liberties will maintain a strong state and nation. I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them. – Thomas Jefferson 


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Texas Public Policy Foundation-Policy Orientation for Texas Legislature 2013

An interactive and policy oriented event that touches on the key public policy initiatives and issues before the Texas Legislature, the Texas Public Policy Foundation kicks off their annual conference next week in Austin, Texas. For a list of speakers and topics, see here.

I will be live blogging and tweeting (@hannahrbell6) during the event. In the next few days, I will also provide an overview on the sessions I will attend and their connection to key pieces of legislation before the 83rd Legislature. With the legislative session starting in less than a week, the TPPF Orientation will serve as a good springboard into discussing key issues that will impact Texans in the foreseeable future.


2013–Here We Come!

Several days ago, I sat down to write an inspiring 2013 blog post when I hit that wall known as writer’s block. After three drafts, the words just weren’t flowing. I read what I had scribbled down to my sister who gave me two pieces of advice–simplify and have fun!

Instead of writing the routine three paragraph post, I decided to do something different–a 2013 bucket list! So, here it goes, the 13 things I’d like to do in 2013 (not numbered by importance):

1. Read 3 autobiographies

2. Write letters to a child in an orphanage

3. Run in a 5k

4. Test drive a BMW

5. Attend a rodeo

6. Lie in a hammock and journal

7. Develop Liberty’s Generation Blog: https://libertysgeneration.wordpress.com/

8. Memorize all the U.S. Presidents & the years they governed

9. Learn how to Texas Two-Step, Square Dance & Swing Dance

10. Visit the Historic Market Square in San Antonio

11. Read a book about each of the following wars: Civil War, WWI, WWII & the Cold War

12. Go horseback riding through the snow in the Rocky Mountains

13. Inspire & encourage others to live to their full potential

What’s on your 2013 bucket list? Share your ideas below. Happy New Year!


Unprecedented—Obamacare’s New Taxing Policy

This evening, over 12,000 people joined the Americans for Prosperity-Texas TeleTownhall with Attorney General Greg Abbott to gain some clarity as well as learn the implications of the Supreme Court’s Obamacare ruling.

Three main outcomes:

  • Sets precedent to tax for inactivity. Attorney General Abbott explained that this tax hike on millions of Americans will require, through the individual mandate, for individuals to purchase a product, whether they want it or not. The Court did set guidelines on Congress’ use of the Commerce Clause and did not expand the government’s role through this particular Clause. Yet, Chief Justice Roberts turned his analysis towards imposing the mandate through taxation.
  • Law’s Medicaid provision unconstitutional. According to Attorney General Abbott, Obamacare sought to require states to expand their Medicaid systems consistent with the law or lose all funding whatsoever. The Court agreed that this violated the Constitution and that Congress could not hold states hostage. Attorney General Abbott emphasized that this is the first time the U.S. Supreme Court has reigned in the Medicaid program. As a result, this helps emphasize state sovereignty.
  • Congress’ tax authority has expanded. The ruling allows Congress to tax inactivity. If you decide not to purchase something than the government can tax you. Through the taxing power, the government can regulate what we can and cannot do as individuals. In essence, Attorney General Abbott relayed that the Court left it up to Americans to take their frustration and elect different officials:  “The American people have the opportunity to repeal the officials who have forced this on us.”

Ronald Reagan warned us that “[f]reedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” Obamacare seeks to alter American’s individual freedoms and require people to receive government oversight in daily decision-making. The Attorney General will continue to search for things in Obamacare that are unconstitutional in an effort to uphold individual freedom. Yet, the full repeal will come in November 2012 when American’s make their voices heard on Election Day.

Attorney General Abbott emphasized that this is not a time to give up but rather an opportune moment to fight for our liberty: “Everyone has the power to do something at the ballot box. Repeal Obamacare at the ballot box in November.”

Additional Information:

  • Obamacare originated as attached to HR 3590.
  • National Federation of Independent Business Et Al. v. Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Et Al. => http://t.co/0OdYHPUG


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Election Day in Texas’ Style

The buzz is in the air as friends, family, social media, the news, emails and poll standers remind us to vote.  Those who have worked tirelessly for months on end have anticipated this day when all their efforts come to an apex. It’s Election Day in Texas with the primary that will determine who moves on to the general election in November.

On the heels of Memorial Day, the reality presents itself once again that we are an exceptional nation, built on the foundation of life, liberty and the freedom to pursue happiness. Many fought and died for the opportunity we have to vote. They fought for the underlying principle that makes America work—representation based on the rule of law. As President Calvin Coolidge stated: “If the people fail to vote, a government will be developed which is not their government…. The whole system of American Government rests on the ballot box. Unless citizens perform their duties there, such a system of government is doomed to failure.”

It is with this occasion that we have the opportunity to voice who will represent us. It is the time to determine which candidate is best prepared both ideologically and with the skill set to represent the ideals for which our Founding Fathers established this nation and state.

As you head to the ballot box, remember these words from Samuel Adams: “Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual–or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.”