Welcome to the official campaign web site ofFebrurary 23, 2014
CANDIDATE FOR TEXAS HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
REPUBLICAN PRIMARY ELECTION
MARCH 4, 2014 (early voting February 18-28, 2014)
WHY I AM A CANDIDATE
After years of writing letters to my elected representatives in the Texas Legislature and making trips to Austin, Texas to talk with legislators seeking to improve the laws we live under, too often without success, I've decided to ask you and the other voters of District 53 (counties of Bandera, Crockett, Edwards, Kerr, Kimble, Llano, Mason, Medina, Menard, Real, Schleicher, and Sutton) to make me your State Representative so I can introduce legislation that will make needed changes in Texas law. I am posting my proposals here so you can decide if you support what I will try to accomplish if I am elected.
SHOULD YOU VOTE FOR THE BEST POLITICIAN MONEY CAN BUY
or A CANDIDATE WHOSE LOYALTY IS ONLY TO THE VOTERS?
But first, a word about campaign financing: When I decided to become a candidate for the Texas House of Representatives, District 53, I thought state representative was not a high enough office to attract big business or special interest money. I was wrong: Three of the five candidates in this Republican primary election have accepted such campaign contributions. One accepted a campaign loan of $200,000. You need not take my word for this: You can go to the Texas Ethics Commission web site, click on "Search Campaign Finance and Lobby Reports" (second link on the left side, below "Home") and look at the campaign finance reports us candidates are required to file. The candidates are myself Wayne Ramsay, Tink Nathan, Karen Harris, Andrew Murr, and Rob Henneke. The purpose of requiring candidates to disclose this information, and the purpose of posting it on the Internet, is to let voters can know who is behind the candidates. You'll find myself and Tink Nathan are the only candidates of the five who have not accepted business or special interest money.
The corrupting influence of big money in politics has been a problem for a long time. It is the reason for enactment of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, and the reason for opposition to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the Citizens United case, and why President Barack Obama berated the 9 justices of the Supreme Court to their faces in his State of the Union speech in 2010. Big Business and Special Interest groups have a First Amendment right to inundate the election process with huge amounts of money, but voters have a right to reject candidates who accept such funds and the political indebtedness and influence that comes with them. If we voters refuse to vote for Big Business and Special Interest funded candidates, this corruption of our democratic process will whither away.
I have neither sought nor accepted Big Business or Special Interest campaign contributions. If it is important to you for your representative in the Texas House of Representatives to be free of Special Interest influence, you should consider voting for me, Wayne Ramsay, on March 4th (or early voting February 18-28).
Now for my proposals:
JUSTICE FOR TEXAS TAXPAYERS
My first proposals to members of the Texas Legislature concerned poorly written provisions in the Texas Property Code.
Texas Property Code §23.54(a) says "A person claiming that his land is eligible for appraisal under this subchapter must file a valid application with the chief appraiser." What if there is more than one owner? Must all apply, or must only one apply? If property is owned jointly by husband and wife, may the wife be deprived of agricultural evaluation of the property if the application is made only by her husband, or vice-versa? Few would think so. What if the joint ownership is by mother and son? In one case, only the mother applied, and the son's joint ownership interest was assessed at a much higher tax value for the same property. Legislators didn't think about situations where property has more than one owner.
Texas Property Code §23.54 says agricultural assessment continues into following years "unless the ownership of the property changes". Would a husband as an individual conveying property to himself and his wife as tenants in common constitute a change of ownership requiring a new application? What if a parent gives a child a small undivided interest in a large piece of property as an estate planning measure but retains the vast majority of ownership interest? Has there been a change of ownership requiring a new application?
These provisions are interpreted differently in different appraisal districts across the State and even within a single appraisal district depending who is making the determination.
Under current law, taxpayers are barred from disputing assessments of appraised value 30 days after the mailing of a notice, whether or not they actually received the notice, or the amount of property tax owed if the disputed amount is not paid by February 1, apparently even if the assessor or tax collector mails the bill to an incorrect address, and the taxpayer doesn't receive the tax bill within the 30 days or before the February 1 deadline.
The Texas Property Code should be amended to let taxpayers dispute assessments or tax owed when they did not receive actual or fair notice of the assessment or of the tax owed. I made these proposals to Rep. Doug Miller and Sen. Carlos Uresti when my county, Bandera, was in their districts, but neither introduced legislation to make these changes. If I am elected, I will.
JUSTICE FOR TEXAS DRIVERS
Another concern I have is the Texas Tollways system sending Texans bills for driving on roads that were not clearly marked as toll roads. Texans have been billed for hundreds of dollars for driving on toll roads they couldn't tell at the time were toll roads. It happened to me when I drove to Austin to meet with members of the Texas Legislature. One Bandera man told me he was billed for hundreds of dollars by Texas Tollways for driving that occurred before he moved to Texas and that it took about 35 phone calls to get it corrected. It's usually a minor annoyance but for some people has been a significant and unfair expense.
The unreliability of electronic toll road systems is illustrated by a notice I received a year or two ago from a rental car company informing me my credit card account would be billed for a one dollar ($1.00) toll and an administrative fee of $10 or so for going through a toll plaza in Florida when I was there visiting a cousin. I had the receipt for the toll with my rental car paperwork showing I'd paid the toll in cash for the specific toll plaza (Sawgrass Mills) with a date-time stamp one minute different than shown on the electronic toll record. I sent a copy of the cash receipt with my letter disputing the charge. The credit card charge for the toll and administrative fee was reversed. Unfortunately, if the erroneous electronic toll road charge is small, the time required to dispute it is usually worth more than the money saved.
A WOULD-BE CONSTITUTENT WRITES:"Wayne, I am so glad you are doing this, it is about time someone like yourself takes the incentive to get these laws changed. I have heard many horrors stories about the toll roads around Austin. In fact, my parents live about 2 hours drive from Austin and I have been dinged by rental car companies for those exact tolls. I could not agree more with you about most of the laws that currently need to be updated." - Susan C., 2/10/2014 _________________________________________________________________________
§601.123 of the Texas Motor Vehicle Safety Responsibility Act permits Texas drivers to deposit $55,000 with the County Judge of their county in lieu of purchasing motor vehicle liability insurance. However, the statute is silent about who the interest earned by that money belongs to. Even at 1% interest, $55,000 earns $550 per year. If elected, I will introduce a bill making the interest earned the property of the motorist rather than the State.
Why does Texas have laws prohibiting the purchase of alcoholic beverages on certain days or hours? Such laws are contrary to the principles of freedom we Americans say the country is all about. For further information, see this Dallas Morning News article.
It is illegal in Texas to have an open container of alcohol, such as a can of beer, in a moving motor vehicle. I think the only consequence of an open alcoholic container in a motor vehicle should be an immediate sobriety test if the police officer who makes the observation in his or her discretion believes it appropriate, with any resulting infraction or prosecution dependent on the results of the sobriety test.
FREEDOM TO DECIDE WHAT HEALTH CARE YOU WILL RECEIVE
Texas law respects a person's right to decide what health care he or she will receive with one exception: mental health care. Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code §137.008, titled "Disregard of Declaration for Mental Health Treatment" says the State may disregard decisions you made in a legal document stating the types of mental health care you wish to receive and force you to receive psychiatric treatment you decided, when you were mentally competent, you do not want. Texas has no laws forcing you to accept treatment for heart disease or cancer or other physical ailments contrary to decisions you made when you were mentally competent. I proposed to Texas legislators making mental incompetence at the time a Declaration for Mental Health Treatment was executed the only ground for overriding a person's decisions in such a document. Last year, Rep. Stephanie Klick telephoned me to say she was interested in my proposal because she is concerned about Texans being able to decide for themselves what health care they will receive. However, even she had higher priorities and ultimately decided against introducing my proposal.
If elected, I will introduce these proposals.
TOWARDS BETTER SYSTEM OF JUSTICE IN TEXAS
A Better Way of Selecting Judges
One of government's most important functions is providing a system of justice. However, as a lawyer and as a litigant I have often been disillusioned with judicial decisions, both at the trial court and appellate level. The key to a better system of justice is a better method of selecting judges.
In seven states including Texas, judges are elected in general elections just as governors, state senators, state representatives, and mayors are. In other states judges are appointed. Neither is a good way of choosing judges. General election voters are unfamiliar with judicial candidates, resulting in selection by a combination of whoever is willing to serve and what in most cases is not much better than spinning a bottle. Appointment, typically by the governor of the State, causes those with political connections, not those who are best qualified, to become judges.
I propose election by the members of the Bar (lawyers) licensed to practice where the judge presides - with provision for nonlawyers to vote in judicial elections if they go through a short qualification process to establish they have enough knowledge to cast an informed vote in a judicial election. This would result in selection of judges by the largest possible group of people who are knowledgeable about the candidates, making it the most democratic way of selecting judges by voters who have a valid basis for selection.
Ending Abusive Pretrial Discovery
It is common for lawyers to serve the opposition with pages of standard pretrial discovery questions that requires the lawyer or paralegal serving them to take only a few minutes to cut and paste from a list but which take a few hours to answer. We can end this practice by making the lawyer or litigant responsible for propounding irrelevant pretrial questions liable for the time required by the other side to answer them.
Excluding Unscientific Psychiatric and Psychological Testimony
Justice in our courts has been undermined by accepting psychiatric and psychological testimony as valid when it is not. See my essay The Myth of Psychiatric Diagnosis.
I'm the fourth generation on a ranch in Bandera, Texas, a graduate of Trinity University in San Antonio (B.A., sociology), where I was president of the Young Republicans and a Republican Precinct Chairman. I've been a delegate to many Republican conventions. I was a congressional intern for U.S. Rep. Chalmers Wylie, a Republican congressman from Ohio. I am a graduate of St. Mary's University School of Law in San Antonio and have been a member of the State Bar of Texas since 1974.
I look forward to serving you and all constituents in the 53rd Texas House of Representatives District. Please vote for me on March 4, 2014 or during early voting February 18-28.
You might be interested to know I purchased two billboards and had the below pictured messages placed on them for display during the 2012 presidential election. I've refused to rent my billboards to commercial advertisers (costing me thousands of dollars in income each year) because I think it is more important to bring my message to my fellow Americans.
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