It has been a while since I submitted this column, having been actively spending the last five months in Austin, working with and testifying before the legislature to pass legislation that supports conservative values and the Republican Party platform.

I will spend today’s time covering a very few of the 7,324 pieces of legislation that were introduced and how our two representatives voted and ranked. Of those bills introduced, only 1,429 passed both the House and Senate and were sent to the governor. Slightly less than 20% managed to make it to the end.

In Texas, it is not easy to pass legislation and requires lots of hard work for our elected officials, staff, professional lobbyists and everyday citizens. As of last Friday, of those 1,429 bills, the governor had signed 508, vetoed seven and allowed 34 to become law without his signature.

For Guadalupe County, our State District 44 Rep. John Kuempel (R) is a Seguin resident. For most of us, especially the Seguin area, State Senator District 21 Judith Zaffirini (D) represents us.

For Rep. Kuempel, I will only cover 10 bills that were considered by most to be of significant importance. The first is HB1 creating the budget, he voted FOR. SB2 concerning property tax reform, he voted FOR; SB11 giving public schools the authority to mentally evaluate students, he voted FOR; SB21 raising the age of tobacco use to 21, he voted FOR; SB27 ending the use of tax dollars for abortions, he voted FOR; SB29 ending the use of tax payer money for lobbying he voted AGAINST; HB1495 requiring municipalities, counties and school districts to disclose how much tax money they spend on lobbyists he voted FOR; HB1631 ending the use of red light traffic cameras, he voted FOR; SB1640 known as a Walking Quorum, he voted For; and SB 1978, sometimes called the Religious Liberty Bill, he voted for.

I would like to say, good job, Rep Kuempel, with the exception of SB11, SB21 and SB29. At the 2018 Republican Convention, a resolution was submitted asking the legislature to end taxpayer-funded lobbying, it was passed by 97% or 7,711 of the delegates as opposed to 236 delegates. The governor and a number of high level state officials have declared that taxpayer funded lobbying is the largest danger to liberty in Texas.

This is also listed as an official plank in the RPT platform. I can guarantee that in the next legislative session, this issue will once again be the top legislative priority of the Republican Party. I have very high hopes that Rep. Kuempel will get it right next time.

On SB21, personally I don’t like or use tobacco, however, I do not believe we can legislate bad life choices. I also believe that if an 18-year-old can die for his country, can vote for elected officials, can get married, own a home, sit on a jury, then he is old enough to make his own decisions, even if I consider them bad.

As for SB11, I believe the mental health of a child is a matter of the family and their doctor and, in no case, is a duty of the public school system. The passage of SB11 is possibly the biggest mistake made by the Republican Legislature since they took control of Texas politics more than 20 years ago.

The Texas Tribune ranked Rep. Kuempel 67th out of 83 Republicans, however, I feel he was highly under-rated, and I could not be more happy knowing that he voted in favor to end forced annexation in Texas and that makes me believe that Kuempel is truly a Texas patriot.

And now, for Senator Zaffirini, again, I will only pick a few bills. On SB2, tax reform, she voted AGAINST; SB 21 moving the use of tobacco products to 21 years of age she voted FOR; SB 27 ending taxpayer funded abortions she voted AGAINST; SB29 ending taxpayer funded lobbying, she voted AGAINST; SB1978 concerning religious liberties, she voted AGAINST.

Consistently, Zaffirini voted against Conservative values and voted strictly down the Democrat Party line. A few other things Zaffirini voted against were SB1978, the right of businesses to donate to religious organizations; she voted against SB 2485 and SB 2487 protecting private business from municipal regulations concerning employ benefits and employ leave. She even voted against SB 17, which would allow a lawyer to deny service to a client based on religious beliefs.

I did try to find rankings posted by different media sources and organizations based on her voting record, but I could not find what I felt a credible source from the liberal media. It was easy to find that she had a 25% rating by The Young Conservatives of Texas, a 39% rating by the American Conservative Union, a 33% rating by the Texas Alliance for Life and a 29% rating by the NRA with only an 8% rating by the Concerned Women of America.

Next week, I will cover the passage of HB347, ending Forced Annexation for all property owner in Texas. See you then..

Terry Harper is a longtime Guadalupe County resident and lifelong conservative.

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