Category: Viewpoints

Bills Take Aim at License Points Program

A controversial program that fines Texas drivers would face major reforms or even total elimination under two bills considered at Wednesday’s Senate Transportation Committee.  The Driver Responsibility Program was created in 2003 as a way to cover part of a budget shortfall that year, but critics say it’s putting a massive financial burden on Texas drivers.  The program assigns “points” to drivers based on the number of traffic violations, which stay with the driver for two to three years, depending on the severity of the offense.  These points accumulate with additional violations and once a person has six points, they have to pay a yearly $100 surcharge, and $25 more for every point above that.   It also assesses surcharges upon conviction of some offenses, like an extra $250 fine in the case of a conviction for driving without insurance.  “Paying these surcharges along with the litany of other costs can become an impossible task,” said Edgewood Senator Bob Hall, who cited figures stating that 1.2 million Texans have had their license suspended because they can’t pay the program’s fines. Though the project is widely derided by the public and elected officials, it provides millions of dollars to support trauma care in the state, $55 million in 2015 alone.   The committee considered a proposal to eliminate it entirely, SB 90 by Hall, who says the state needs to find a...

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The effect of the proposed High Speed Rail on our land and family

Dear Editor, My name is Ann Mosher. My parents, L.D. and Mary Ann Wilson, Mexia, Texas, own land which foreign investors threaten to condemn and take away from us through eminent domain in order to build a High Speed Rail. Most economists have said the project cannot be built nor operate without taxpayer subsidy. The purpose I’ve written this however, is to give the reader my perspective on this situation and how it will affect my family. My parents own approximately 55 acres near Personville in Limestone County. Their land is part of a larger parcel of land that has, over the years, been divided amongst our extended family. This land was settled by our ancestors back in the mid-1850s. They lived there and worked the land; tending crops and cattle to support their family. My grandmother and her sister and brother were later born on this property. Although no one lives there anymore, my father and brother still tend the land, continuously making improvements. It is now a place where our family, many generations later and scattered all over Texas, meet to camp and spend quality time together. The site of the original homestead is where my daughter and I pitch our tent, sleeping just a few feet away from where our ancestors slept over 160 years ago. We find pieces of brick, bits of glass and pottery,...

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Dear Editor: Animal Cruelty

Dear Editor, Keiko and James Holland deserve jail time, not a slap on the hand.  If these people have been in the small dog-breeding business for 24 years and the animals that were rescued are any indication of how they’ve run their business, a court cost of $211.00 is repulsive. If a 4×4 cage was good enough for those dogs, then an 8×10 should be sufficient for the Hollands.  For Mr. Holland to challenge the vet’s medical findings is delusional. A reimbursement fee to the Humane Society of North Texas of $23,126.00 is a start.  I just hope the Hollands actually pay it, even though I think a prison term of 2 years would have been appropriate. The reason animal cruelty reigns supreme in the state of Texas is because there is no serious jail time.  And, County Sheriff Jeremy Shipley’s statement, “I hope this is a warning for residents in Freestone County that animal cruelty will not be tolerated,” is devoid of serious consequences. I wonder how many other animals suffered and died over the last 24 years while under Keiko and James Holland’s “concentration camp.” There are not enough adjectives to describe what I think and feel and the Hollands. Nanette Piotrowski Fairfield,...

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In Praise of Pragmatism

by Lee H. Hamilton As you watch the healthcare proceedings on Capitol Hill, imagine what things might be like if we lived in more functional political times. In particular, what if Congress were run by pragmatists? It would not change the issues at hand. On the one side, you’d have the Republican majority in Congress, which for the most part believes that the healthcare system should be left to the private sector. On the other side would be Democrats who, to varying degrees, see an important role for government to play. What would change would be how the two sides reconciled their differences. Rather than maneuver the proceedings for political gain or worry first about their political bases, they’d be dead-set on a healthcare overhaul that improved the system and was politically sustainable. I don’t think our system can work without such an approach to our problems — healthcare and everything else. So what do I mean by “pragmatism”? At heart it’s a mindset, a preference for a practical, workable solution to problems. It recognizes the diversity of our country and the need for compromise, negotiation, dialogue, and consultation in order to reconcile conflicting interests and viewpoints. Pragmatists ask themselves how they can best navigate the differences, factions, and political frictions inherent in any substantive issue so that everyone can leave the table having achieved some gain. Let’s be...

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