The Texas Progressive Alliance hopes you all have voted or will be voting soon as it brings you this week’s blog roundup.
This week at McBlogger, we take a look at the increasingly desperate campaign being run by Todd Staples. On Friday they attempted to eavesdrop on a conference call line if that tell you much. You simply won’t believe the rest…
Letters From Texas spent most of the week pointing to Republican efforts to scapegoat and alienate minorities, first pointing out both Parties’ failure to communicate effectively with Hispanic voters, then pointing out Republicans’ blatant attempts to prevent them from voting, and showing that they’d planned to do it in Texas too. Most shocking, however, was the release of a photo of the most disturbing political sign in Texas.
The news of the week in Harris County spread all across the country: well-fed Caucasian conservatives are going places they’ve never gone before — minority early voting polling locations — and doing their damndest to keep as few of ‘those people’ from casting a ballot as possible. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs kept the story up to date.
WCNews at Eye On Williamson shows the choice for governor comes down to this very simple issue, We must end Perry’s unprecedented time as governor – he’s been in office too long.
Public Citizen is getting into the fray over early voting and intimidation activities across the state, with a press release and conference Monday afternoon in Houston with the League of Women Voters and a blog over at TexasVox. Keep watching for more coverage as this story continues to develop.
Len Hart at BlueBloggin looks at A Party of Panic and Depression, the Republican world of economics, death and destruction, K-Street and war. The administration of Ronald Reagan ushered in a depression of some two years. A depression of some two years, a contraction of the economy, a transfer of wealth upward to the upper quintile, the nation’s richest 20 percent. A windfall of this nature is not stimulus to invest but, rather, to transfer the gains offshore.
Lightseeker reports that , according to a recent Gallup Poll, Latinos, Asians, Native Americans…basically our non-white/non-black population…are going to vote for the Republicans in this election by a 52%-42% margin. Turns out that polling on this mid-term election has some serious problems. There is more at The Polls are Off and Nobody Knows by How Much!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Rick Perry refused to show up for the gubernatorial debate October 3rd because he wants Bill White to release tax records from back in the Clinton days. He seems to forget that Bill White as mayor of Houston released his tax records but Rick wants him to go back even further. Sounds like Perry is scared to me.
Along with this you also have every Republican running for office refusing to answer questioners sent to them by most if not organizations in Texas. Are they scared if they actually say where they stand on issues that the people of Texas will turn against them? Seems that way to me.
The Republicans running for State Board of Education refused to attend a debate held by League of Women Voters- a nonpartisan organization that has been involved in Texas elections for decades. On the other hand, The Democratic Candidates are willing to attend a debate where the panel is completely comprised of Republicans. It seems Judy Jennings and Rebecca Bell-Metereau are more concerned with education in Texas than their opponents.
“Judy Jennings and Rebecca Bell-Metereau are happy to debate their opponents and face voters any time, anywhere, unlike either of their opponents. There is no stronger evidence of this than the Democrats’ willingness to enthusiastically participate in a debate at which Bill Hammond, one of Texas’ leading Republicans, is among the moderators. The other two moderators have voted in Republican primary elections as well, leaving little doubt that the Republican SBOE candidates are only playing because they’ve stacked the deck.
“Despite the fact that the Republican SBOE candidates are simply exploiting this opportunity to claim that they are also willing to debate, Jennings and Bell-Metereau are nonetheless enthusiastic about the opportunity. They trust that the organizers and moderators will run a fair and enlightening event.
“Contrast that to the Republican SBOE candidates, who ducked a debate sponsored by the well-respected League of Women Voters, and treated as a joke another one sponsored by LULAC, an organization with more than 75 years of proud non-partisan achievement.
“Jennings and Bell-Metereau are more than happy to debate, even if it means participating in a Republican debate. Here’s hoping the two seemingly shy Republican opponents show up ready to admit to their extremist views, even to the Republican allies packing the room.”Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
The Texas Progressive Alliance salutes the Houston Texans for vanquishing their nemesis the Colts in the season opener as it brings you this week’s blog roundup.
Bay Area Houston believes Rick Perry is the Insurance Industries bitch.
John Cornyn, best known as a rapist enabler, is busy throwing cold water on the GOP’s senate takeover chances. Just the other day, Cornyn was throwing cold water on Lisa Murkowski’s senate race. Cornyn’s just a cold, cold guy.
strong>WCNews at Eye On Williamson reminds us that in this election season the GOP candidates don’t want to talk about the most serious issues and We can’t let the GOP run and hide from the issues that matter most.
The GOP would rather climb a tree to tell a lie than stand on the ground and speak the truth. Leo Vasquez and King Street Patriots: PDiddie at Brains and Eggs is looking at YOU.
Justin at Asian American Action Fund Blog points out that Houston Chronicle reporter Chris Moran is a racist for questioning Harris County Judge candidate Gordon Quan’s lifelong residence in Harris County.
McBlogger takes a look at the debate over a Debate and concludes that it’s time to stop asking Perry to debate and instead ask him to answer for his failure.
Neil at Texas Liberal “Likes” Republican Senator John Cornyn on Facebook. Here is what people on Senator Cornyn’s Facebook page said when the Senator said he would be addressing a group of Hispanic lawyers. Many of the comments were not so encouraging.
Libby Shaw tells the tale of Rick Perry’s efforts to “spin” the unspinable – a $19 billion dollar hole in the state budget. Read the details over at TexasKaos . See her take in Watch Rick Perry spin his $18 Billion Budget Deficit.
WhosPlayin encourages voters in Lewisville ISD to vote FOR the two-cent tax increase this Tuesday.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Proposes Overhaul Of Environmental Regulatory Agency, Increasing Renewable Portfolio Standard
AUSTIN-Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Hank Gilbert unveiled a series of bold, common sense addressing energy and the environment on Wednesday in Austin.
With Lady Bird Lake and the skyline of one of America’s ten greenest cities as his backdrop, Gilbert called for a statewide plan to address global warming, energy conservation, and renewable energy as well as a complete overhaul of environmental regulation in Texas.
“Environmental regulation in Texas is a maze that the average citizen has great difficulty navigating,” Gilbert said. “Depending upon the particular problem, an average person could be bounced back and forth between the Texas Commission On Environmental Quality and the Texas Railroad Commission several times before ultimately giving up. That must end,” he said.
Gilbert outlined a plan under which environmental regulation and oversight from several state agencies including the Texas Railroad Commission are combined with those of the Texas Commission On Environmental Quality under a new agency, the Texas Environmental Commission.
“The New Texas Environmental Commission will centralize environmental regulation and natural resource and energy conservation under one umbrella. This is the kind of common sense policy we need to protect our land, air, and water,” he continued.
In addition, Gilbert called for the issuance of a statewide plan to address global warming, energy conservation, and renewable energy.
“In the early 1990s, a joint legislative committee warned our state about the threats of global warming. To date, we still have no cohesive plan to address the issue of greenhouse gasses threatening the atmosphere over Texas. It is time to stop kicking the can down the road and address the problem now,” he said.
In terms of energy, Gilbert called for an elected Commissioner to head the Public Utility Commission and for increasing the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard.
“Under current law, our state has a target of requiring electric providers to produce 10,000 mega-watts of energy from renewable sources by 2025. Already in Texas we have over 7,000 mega-watts of generation capacity coming from renewable energy. I’m calling for mandating that energy providers generate 20 percent of our state’s power from renewable energy by 2020,” Gilbert said.
Gilbert’s proposal also includes:
- Consolidating utility regulation under the Public Utility Commission of Texas. (currently natural gas regulation rests with the Texas Railroad Commission)
- Overhauling existing statutes and administrative regulations to hold polluters and regulated industries accountable to Texans.
- Incentives for increasing wind, solar, and biomass capacity.
- Raising energy efficiency standards for residential and commercial construction.
- Requiring the establishment of state energy standards for various appliances.
- Property tax incentives for homeowners who install solar panels on their homes, and eliminating the sales tax on the purchase and instillation of solar panels.
- Giving businesses a franchise tax deduction for the cost of solar and wind energy systems designed to power their businesses.
- Giving homeowners and businesses property tax exemptions for the appraised value of solar, wind, or biomass energy systems.
- Retooling the Texas Enterprise Fund to focus on bringing green jobs to Texas.
- Retooling the Texas Emerging Technology Fund to focus on helping develop new green energy and environmentally sound technologies.
- Requiring all existing coal power plants to adopt cleaner technologies by 2017.
- Adopting strict standards for mercury and other pollutants from existing power plants and factories.
- A moratorium on permits for new coal power plants unless their emissions are captured and stored.
- Requiring cement production plants to reduce mercury emissions by 80 percent by 2014.
- Strict standards for underground disposal wells (commonly called injection wells).
- Mandatory use of purification technology for drilling waste to be disposed of through injection wells by 2020.
- A Surface Owner Protection Act.
- A constitutional amendment requiring all revenues generated by the Sporting Goods Sales Tax as well as other user fees and taxes presently dedicated to the park system to be so allocated.
- $150 million be allotted for the acquisition and development of new state parks and for the addition of land to existing state parks.
“We must protect our natural resources and significantly reduce pollution Texas’ carbon footprint. It’s time to go green, Texas,” Gilbert concluded.
Go Green, Texas
BY THE NUMBERS
Texas is the worst air polluter in the nation\. (SOURCE: Congressional Quarterly’s State Fact Finder 2007)
Texas releases more volatile organic compounds into the air than any other state in the country. (SOURCE: ScoreCard.org)
Texas releases more toxic chemicals into water than any other state in the nation. (SOURCE: ScoreCard.org)
Texas ranks fifth in the nation in terms of toxic chemicals released into the air. (SOURCE: ScoreCard.org)
Texas releases more cancer-causing carcinogens into the air than any other state in the U.S. (SOURCE: ScoreCard.org)
Texas ranks seventh out of the fifty states in terms of the number of cancer-causing carcinogens released into water. (SOURCE: ScoreCard.org)
Texas ranks second among the fifty states in the amount of hazardous waste generated and first in carbon dioxide emissions. (SOURCE: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency [LINK])
LAGGING BEHIND ON REDUCING OUR CARBON FOOTPRINT
In 1991, the Join Select Committee on Toxic Air Emissions and the Greenhouse Effect recommended, among other things, that the Legislature develop a plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and facilitating energy conservation. (SOURCE: Report to the 72nd Legislature of the Joint Select Committee on Toxic Air Emissions and the Greenhouse Effect [LINK]). To date, the state has no such plans.
Texas coal power plants are among the dirtiest in the nation:
TXU’s Martin Lake Power Plant ranks first in the nation in terms of mercury pollution by pound. TXU’s Monticello, Big Brown, and AEP’s H.W. Pirkey plants rank 4th, 6th, and 7th respectively. (SOURCE: Dirty Kilowatts: America’s Most Polluting Power Plants, Environmental Integrity Project [LINK])
TXU’s Big Brown plant ranks 13th in the nation in terms of SO2 pollution by ton. (SOURCE: Dirty Kilowatts: America’s Most Polluting Power Plants, Environmental Integrity Project [LINK])
If existing Texas coal-fired power plants were required to meet federal New Source Performance Standards, emissions would be reduced as follows:
|Annual emissions from Texas|
|coal-fired power plants (tons)||125,481||500,676||33,972|
|Reduction to meet the federal|
|new source standards (tons)||-53,000||-392,893||-23,408|
(SOURCE: Policy Options For Clean Air and Sustainable Energy In Texas, Texas Business For Clean Air. [LINK])
Most Texas coal power now emit several times above the EPA limits of various pollutants. However, they have been “grandfathered” because of their age. Requiring all existing plants to comply with current limits could reduce SO2 emissions by nearly 80% and yield significant reductions in NOx and PM. (SOURCE: Policy Options For Clean Air and Sustainable Energy In Texas, Texas Business For Clean Air. [LINK])
RENEWABLE PORTFOLIO STANDARD
About Texas’ Renewable Portfolio Standard: Texas first RPS was created as part of electric utility deregulation (Senate Bill 7) in 1999. It mandated that electricity providers collectively generate 2,000 MW of additional renewable energy by 2009. In 2005, the Texas Legislature increased the RPS to 5,880 MW by 2015 with a target of 10,000 MW in 2025. (SOURCE: State Energy Conservation Office, [LINK])
Texas’ Renewable Portfolio Standard contains far less ambitious targets than those set by other sates. (SOURCE: Policy Options For Clean Air and Sustainable Energy In Texas, Texas Business For Clean Air. [LINK])
By contrast, other states have much more ambitious standards:
New York: 24% by 2013; California: 20% by 2010; 33% by 2020; Maine: 40% by 2017 (SOURCE: Database of State Incentives For Renewables & Efficiency, North Carolina Solar Center, North Carolina State University [LINK])
Ozone levels in all major Texas urban areas exceed the EPA’s 75 ppb 8-hour Ozone Average Standard. (Texas Commission On Environmental Quality).
Texas leads the nation in total CO2 emissions with 652 million metric tons of CO2,
representing 11% of CO2 emissions nationwide. (Energy Information Administration, U.S. Department of Energy. [LINK])
If Texas were a country, it would rank seventh ahead of Canada and United Kingdom in total CO2 emissions. (SOURCE: Policy Options For Clean Air and Sustainable Energy In Texas, Texas Business For Clean Air. [LINK])
Seventeen water bodies in Texas are classified as “impaired” due to high levels of mercury concentrations in fish by the Texas Department of State Health Services. (Texas Commission On Environmental Quality.)
POTENTIAL IMPACTS OF GLOBAL WARMING ON TEXAS
Potential impacts of climate change in Texas include: rising sea level, loss of coastal wetlands, erosion of beaches, saltwater contamination of drinking water, and decreased longevity of low-lying roads, causeways, and bridges. (SOURCE: Policy Options For Clean Air and Sustainable Energy In Texas, Texas Business For Clean Air. [LINK])
Texas leads the nation in total electricity consumption, with 343 TWh of electricity
sales in 2006. (SOURCE: Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy/U.S. Department of Energy)
Per-capita, Texans consume more electricity than the national average (Figure 11) and more than twice the rate of some other states, such as New York, California, and Hawaii. (SOURCE: Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy/U.S. Department of Energy)
Net electricity generation, by fuel, for 2007 was as follows for Texas: Coal, 37.4%; Wind, 2.9%; Nuclear, 13.4%; Other, 0.4%; Hydroelectric, 0.4%; Natural Gas, 45.5%. (SOURCE: Policy Options For Clean Air and Sustainable Energy In Texas, Texas Business For Clean Air. [LINK])
ERCOT manages the electricity market and brings electric power to 21 million customers in Texas, which account for 85% of the state’s electric load and 75% of the Texas land area. ERCOT oversees 78,000 MW of power generation capacity in Texas. [SOURCE: Electric Reliability Council of Texas]Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
More Legislators Favoring Plans Similar To Democratic Gov. Candidate Show His Plan Will Work
AUSTIN-Any naysayers who still doubt that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Hank Gilbert’s transportation funding plan is the best solution for Texas should look no farther than recent statements made by Democratic and Republican lawmakers.
“Recent statements by lawmakers from both sides of the aisle show that our plan is the common-sense plan,” Gilbert said. “Our plan will work, and the fact that lawmakers are discussing similar plans shows that I’m the only candidate in this race who can address Texas’ transportation needs head-on, with an honest solution,” Gilbert continued.
On Tuesday, members of the House and Senate’s transportation committees meeting in El Paso suggested that an increase in the gas tax was a viable alternative for transportation funding.
“State Senators John Carona and Dan Patrick-two Republicans, one who fought with me to stop the Trans-Texas Corridor and another who is ideologically my polar opposite in almost every other way-are talking about raising the gas tax being the best solution to the problems we are facing today,” Gilbert continued.
Late last month, Gilbert unveiled a bold, comprehensive transportation reform plan, “Getting Texas Moving Again,” which proposed a modest 8-cent gas tax increase followed by indexing the gas tax to the Highway Cost Index.
Legislators Offer Plans Similar To Gilbert; Agree Gas Tax Is Best Alternative
Many lawmakers in Texas agree that a gasoline tax of some form is the best option for funding Transportation infrastructure in Texas:
STATE SEN. JOHN CARONA (R-DALLAS)
“As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Transportation and Homeland Security, I can attest that the only near-term answer to the transportation funding dilemma we are facing is to raise and index the gas tax. Stopping the diversion of gas tax revenues for other legislative purposes, as is long overdue, will not alone solve the problem.” (Texas Monthly’s Burka Blog, October 21, 2009. [LINK])
STATE SEN. ELLIOT SHAPLEIGH (D-EL PASO)
“Whether it’s gas tax or local option, the result should be that we have enough money to build roads in communities like El Paso.” (Associated Press, November 12, 2009 [LINK])
STATE SEN. DAN PATRICK (R-HOUSTON)
One legislative measure Patrick said he supports is a slight increase to the state’s gas tax, and then an annual increase of one penny. (Dallas Morning News Dallas Transportation Blog, November 10, 2009. [LINK])
STATE REP. JOE PICKETT (D-EL PASO)
Pickett also said that he agrees with the essence of a new proposal that has been taking shape among transportation advocates from major metro areas. It calls for a statewide gas tax PLUS the option for counties to call elections to raise more locally. (Dallas Morning News Dallas Transportation Blog, November 10, 2009. [LINK])
[NOTE: It should be absolutely clear that indicating that Candidate Gilbert and lawmakers cited above are in general agreement on the gas tax increase implies neither that these lawmakers have endorsed Gilbert's plans or that he endorses any of their specific plans.]Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
AUSTIN-Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Hank Gilbert Tuesday said the newfound desire of Governor Rick Perry’s appointees to the Texas Forensic Science Commission to conduct their business in secret is not surprising.
“This is par for the course when it comes to this governor,” Gilbert said. “This administration has done its best to promote secrecy in every corner of Texas government,” Gilbert said.
“The flip-flopping on the issue of exactly what the Forensic Science Commission will and won’t do in secret by the governor’s hand picked head of that group before the Senate committee today shows us that, in spite of tremendous controversy over this issue, Perry and his appointees have no intention of changing their ways,” Gilbert said.
“Governor Perry’s penchant for secrecy is unprecedented. Never in modern Texas history have we had a governor who was so bent on drawing a curtain down on the business of his office and shielding the public from knowing what goes on there,” Gilbert concluded.
Gilbert pointed out that Perry’s administration was peppered with examples of attempts by Governor Perry to keep various things under wraps, and noted that Governor Perry doesn’t even follow the same procedure as his predecessor, George W. Bush, with regard to making his schedule publicly available each day.
Governor Rick Perry: More Secrets Than A Junior High Slumber Party
Governor Rick Perry’s penchant for secrecy is nothing new. The Texas Forensic Science Commission is merely the latest in a long line of secrets Perry has tried to keep from Texans. In fact, the media has noticed that Perry possesses a “gut instinct against public disclosure of the operations of government.” [Austin Chronicle, November 7, 2003, LINK]
- Perry took a secret “working trip” to the Bahamas with Grover Norquist, school voucher advocate James Leininger, and several high-ranking staff members to discuss school finance. [Austin Chronicle, February 27, 2004. LINK] The public only found out Perry was on this trip because they were spotted in the Bahamas. [Houston Chronicle, October 19, 2009, LINK]
- Governor Perry’s office deletes all email after seven days-in likely violation of state law and in an attempt to keep as much information as possible out of the public view. [Texas Observer, LINK]
- Perry has fought to keep secret budget documents showing he produces his biennial budget. [Houston Chronicle, October 19, 2009, LINK]
- Governor Perry has withheld information from public view relating to his decision-making on the Cameron Todd Willingham execution, forcing the media to sue for its release. [Houston Chronicle, October 27, 2009, LINK]
- Governor Perry has asked Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott 173 times to allow him to keep document secret, and sued his own attorney general twice to keep records private when he did not like Abbott’s ruling. [Houston Chronicle, October 19, 2009, LINK]
The Texas Progressive Alliance hopes everyone had a happy Election Day last week, and is already looking forward to the next one. Here are this week’s highlights.
TXsharon continues to report from a backyard in the Barnett Shale. Despite all the local and national press on drilling related toxins, carcinogens and neurotoxins in our air, Aruba Petroleum Refuses a Simple Step to Improve Barnett Shale Air and thereby recklessly and willfully endangers public health and safety. Read it on Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS.
refinish69 announces his endorsement for the Democratic nominee for Texas governor at Doing My Part For The Left. The progressive choice has to be Hank Gilbert with his policy issues and especially his strong stance on GLBT issues. Hank Gilbert for Texas Governor was the only choice refinish69 could make.
The Texas Cloverleaf provides an election night roundup of some of DFW’s races you never heard of, and some national ones you have.
quizas of South Texas Chisme notes that Galveston medical facilities are among those not notifying about rules for the poor, while CouldBeTrue notes South Texas Democrats join Republicans in shafting poor women. Shame on them.
BossKitty at TruthHugger Let me ‘dis’ the local Austin TV news media who gets around to breaking the Health Care Reform Bill news TWO and a half hours later. Hooray for the House Austin just lives in a bubble.
Over at BlueBloggin, nytexan takes a long look at another disgusting practice of our medical insurance industry. We Have One Twisted Health System, Living Organ Donors Beware. The organ donor’s family is never charged for donating. The family is charged for the cost of all final efforts to save your life, and those costs are sometimes misinterpreted as costs related to organ donation. Surprise for organ donors: unexpected medical bills. Austin man who gave kidney to co-worker is one of many who have faced health complications, billing problems.
Bay Area Houston says Hispanics, the largest voting block in Texas, are not voting.
WhosPlayin learned of an illegal meeting of Lewisville ISD trustees this past Thursday and Friday, and has video of trustees mentioning this blogger when discussing whether to implement video recording of trustee meetings.
Vince at Capitol Annex takes a look at an interesting story about Judge Sharon Keller of Court of Criminal Appeals that was eclipsed by the tragedy at Fort Hood.
Harris County Clerk Beverly Kaufman toes the ethical line with her active promotion of an assistant for her job, and the local media thinks that’s just fine. Get the details in PDiddie’s Brains and Eggs.
At TexasKaos, Libby Shaw has news for Cornyn and Sessions about the Republican Resurgence. As she notes:
I wouldn’t gloat too much, boys. Your job in Washington just got a lot harder. Meanwhile, back here at home, in case you boys forgot that Houston is the largest city in Texas, three progressive Democrats and one Republican ran for mayor. The Republican dude and the old white guy with boatloads of bucks lost. The run-off race is between a gay woman and an African American male.
See the rest here: I have news for John Cornyn and Pete Sessions
WCNews at Eye On Williamson reports on the local toll authority’s latest shenanigans, CTRMA to jack up tolls on 183-A, add automatic annual increases.
Neil at Texas Liberal bought Thanksgiving cards drawn by a young person with cancer who is being treated at Houston’s M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. The design Neil bought is both bleak and hopeful.
There was much rejoicing this week at Texas Vox and among the environmental community at large when it was announced that Dr. Al Armendariz was named new Region 6 Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. A Texas EPA administrator that “embodies the ‘Principles for Environmental Leadership and Real Change’”? You better believe it.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Calls For Premium Rollback, Prior Approval Of Rate Hikes, Elected Insurance Commissioner
HOUSTON-Democratic gubernatorial candidate Hank Gilbert (D-Whitehouse) called for bold and comprehensive insurance reform including a 20 percent insurance premium rollback and an elected insurance commissioner during a press conference in Houston.
“Insurance companies are putting the squeeze on Texans with high premiums while offering less coverage. We need bold, common sense reforms to protect Texas consumers and their pocketbooks,” Gilbert said.
“Insurance has an impact on the lives and pocketbooks of millions of Texans. The state mandates minimum coverage for drivers, and homeowners need it to insure their property from loss. The industry has taken advantage of Texans’ need for insurance and used that to drive prices so high that Texans are paying far to much for minimal coverage,” he said.
The economic impact insurance has on Texas consumers is a key reason Texans need a voice in selecting the Insurance Commissioner, Gilbert said.
“Texans need to elect the person who oversees this industry in Texas. The Texas Department of Insurance should work for consumers, not the insurance companies,” he continued.
In calling for a state mandated 20 percent across-the-board premium reduction for homeowners’ and auto insurance, Gilbert said that “Texans need immediate relief from skyrocketing insurance premiums.”
Gilbert also called for other common sense reforms, including mandating that any rate hikes by insurance companies get prior approval from the Texas Department of Insurance. This is not required under current law. “Insurance companies can decide they want to hike their premiums, send their lawyers down to TDI and file a notice, and immediately start charging consumers the new higher premium,” Gilbert said. “That is not common sense regulation of the industry,” he continued.
In his reform plan, Gilbert also proposed:
–Requiring insurance companies to provide detailed financial justification for rate increases including cost justification exclusive to Texas without Texas income diverted out of state. In addition, all financial justification must be transparent and lobbying expenses would not be allowed to be included in cost justifications to support rate increases.
–Requiring insurance companies to offer a minimum number of standard policies to allow consumers to make better informed decisions through being able to compare policies offering identical protections side by side.
–Banning the use of credit scoring, data mining, and pattern recognition by insurance companies.
–Mandating the end to use of any rating territories in Texas except individual counties, and setting a 15 percent limit on the amount insurers may vary premiums within a single county excluding counties to which greater variances would be justified because of weather-related risks.
–Making it illegal for an insurer to base adverse underwriting or rating decisions on consumer inquiries.
–Mandating the collection and public reporting of claim denial rates on all types of insurance policies.
–A blue-ribbon commission to reassess tort reform legislation.
–A mandatory 20 percent “good driver” on auto insurance.
–Capping deductibles for auto insurance at $500 and homeowner’s insurance at $2,500.
–Requiring homeowner’s insurance rate freezes for the disabled and persons 65 years of age and above.
Although Gilbert favors a public option at the federal level, he did propose a number of reforms relating to health insurance offered by insurance companies in Texas including improved mammography and prostate cancer screening coverage; and improved coverage for mental illness including mandating coverage for eating disorders.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )
As a political and civil rights activist, I have been excited about candidates before. The ones I have been most excited about are usually not from Texas as Texas candidates play it safe when it comes to civil rights issues. I am proud to endorse one candidate who is not playing it safe. I am personally endorsing Hank Gilbert as the Democratic nominee for Texas Governor and also as the next Governor of the great state of Texas.
Hank Gilbert has released a sweeping plan for civil rights for the GLBT community in Texas. This sweeping plan that leads towards fairer treatment of Gays. Lesbians, Bisexuals, and Transgender Texans is a step in the right direction. No longer would the GLBT community be forced to have hundreds of dollars of legal documents to try and ensure fair treatment by the law and hospitals in Texas. The community would be dealt with dignity and fairness under the law of the state. This is a great leap in the right direction for a state that believes in the strength of the individual and leaving government out of personal lives. I salute Hank Gilbert for his courage and his belief in Equal Rights for All Texans and encourage everyone to donate and volunteer for Hank Gilbert for Governor!!!
Follow me below the fold for Hank’s sweeping call for Fairness for All Texans.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 5 so far )
FORT WORTH-A short distance from where the Texas Transportation Commission was meeting in Fort Worth, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Hank Gilbert Thursday afternoon revealed his much-anticipated transportation policy.
Entitled “Getting Texas Moving Again: A Plan To Address Texas’ Transportation Needs In The 21st Century,” the proposal includes sweeping reforms such as an elected transportation commission, a modest gasoline tax increase to fund transportation infrastructure and return Texas to a pay-as-you-go system for road building, and massive internal reform for the embattled Texas Department of Transportation.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
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