With Christmas celebrations on the brink of extinction in Texas, the Texas House intervened yesterday by passing the “Merry Christmas bill” to ensure public schools remain a welcome place for Jesus Santa.

Santa’s attorney — and lobbyist for the religious-right group Texas Values — was at the Capitol to whip votes and remind us all of the true meaning of Christmas. Check out this Twitter post from Jim Henson of the Texas Politics Project:

RT @kathygranttx: Every day is Christmas & every night is New Year’s Eve at the #txlege twitter.com/KathyGrantTx/s…

— Jim Henson (@jamesrhenson) May 9, 2013

The bill now awaits a vote in the Senate.… Read More

The head of a Houston-area Tea Party group appears to have been dabbling in extremist right-wing politics for some time and has shared the political stage with various far-right activist and elected leaders in Texas.

According to a report in the Texas Tribune, James Ives, president of the Greater Fort Bend County Tea Party, served as recently as 2003 as director of propaganda for the American Fascist Party. From the Tribune:

Ives and his wife have been active Tea Partiers since the political movement began in 2009. Ives spoke about “American exceptionalism” at a 2010 “Back to Basics” rally at the state Capitol, shared billing on a live 2011 radio broadcast with prominent conservative activists Michael Quinn Sullivan and Jonathan Saenz, and in 2012 hosted a U.S. Senate forum for Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and the man who would later defeat him, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. As recently as July, he was listed on the website of Houston radio station KSEV — [Houston state Sen. Dan] Patrick’s station — as a regular contributor.

Sullivan, head of Empower Texans/Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, is so far to the political right that he thinks current Republican leaders in the Texas House are too liberal.… Read More

UPDATE: The Pflugerville ISD Board of Trustees refused Thursday night to rescind a new policy providing access to health insurance benefits for unmarried domestic partners of district employees. After hearing public testimony, the board voted 5-1 to uphold the policy. It goes into effect on January 1. From an Austin American-Statesman report:

“We’ve worked really hard in this district to teach our students that every person has value and deserves to be treated with dignity,” said Trustee Carol Fletcher, prior to the vote. “It means everyone. There are no exceptions to our policy. This is just good business.”

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For anti-gay groups, it’s not enough that the Texas Constitution bars same-sex couples from getting married. They also want to crush any effort to treat gay and lesbian families with even a shred of dignity. So religious-right activists are trying to bully the Pflugerville Independent School District Board of Trustees into reversing a decision to make health insurance available to the unmarried partners of district employees.

Trustees for the Austin-area school district will meet tonight (Thursday, December 13) to consider the issue. This follows weeks of agitating by religious-right groups like Focus on… Read More

Free Market Foundation Liberty Institute Texas Values, a far-right group from Plano that opposes separation of church and state and equal rights for gay families, has been caught — again — playing loose with the facts.

In a television interview on November 19, Jonathan Saenz — the lawyer/lobbyist who heads Texas Values — claimed that a proposed bill by state Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, would lead all future birth certificates in Texas to drop the words “mother” and “father.” But on Friday PolitiFact Texas exposed that claim as a distortion of the truth.

The legislation, House Bill 201, actually refers to information on supplementary birth certificates — certificates used in adoption cases. The proposed change is designed to allow same-gender parents to list both of their names on the supplementary certificate for their adopted child. The PolitiFact story notes that under current law, one adoptive parent in a same-sex relationship “must choose to be designated as the father, in the case of a male couple, or the mother, in the case of a female couple, and the other parent is not listed on the resulting birth certificate.” That requirement has been in place since 1997. HB… Read More

Texas Freedom Network

@SIECUS @kmillertfn @TXCapTonight This campaign for medically accurate, comprehensive and inclusive #SexEducation will stretch into next year when the TX State Board of Education is scheduled to make a decision. Find the TFN and SEICUS recs and ways to get involved at: tfn.org/sex-ed #TeachTheTruth pic.twitter.com/eoMv…