Texas Tea Party members tackle toll roads, sanctuary cities at the capitol

Tea Party Day at the State Capitol

AUSTIN - Members of the Texas Tea Party and other grassroots organizations gathered at the Capitol Monday to talk with lawmakers about bills they support. 

JoAnn Fleming, Executive Director of Grassroots America, spoke in favor of SB4 to ban so-called sanctuary cities by requiring all law enforcement honor ICE detainers. She called the House version of the bill that passed out of committee last week a "mockery". The Senate version allows law enforcement to ask anyone who is detained about their immigration status while the House version only allows people who have been arrested to be questioned.

Aaron Harris, Executive Director of Direct Action Texas, spoke in favor of SB2 to decrease the amount cities and counties can increase the property tax rate without an election from eight-percent to four-percent.

Dana Hodges, State Director of Concerned Women for America Texas, spoke in favor of religious liberty and SB6, commonly referred to as the bathroom bill. 

The Founder of Open Carry Texas, CJ Grisham, spoke in favor of HB375, a bill dubbed "constitutional carry" to allow people who legally purchase handguns to carry them openly without a CHL. 

John Seago, Legislative Director of Texas Right to Life, spoke in favor of pro-life bills, particularly SB415 which bans dismemberment abortions. 

And Terri Hall, Founder and Director of Texans Uniting for Reform & Freedom is calling on lawmakers to kill HB 2861 that would allow TxDOT to enter into public-private agreements to add toll lanes to some major Texas highways, including I-35 here in Austin.

Hall compares the variable-cost toll lanes to tax increases.

"These public-private toll roads allow elected officials to outsource the business of tax hikes to a private company that the public cannot hold accountable," said Hall.

"In fact, every one of these public-private toll roads has required our public money too. Public money for private profits equals corporate welfare," she added. 

Hall and the members of her organization believe once toll roads are paid for, they should be free to drive on. 

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