FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 25, 2014
A monthly column from Sen. Robert Nichols
Fall brings the hope of cooler weather, the changing of the leaves, time with family and one of my favorite fall traditions…hunting season. Whether you are into archery, rifles, ducks or deer, East Texas has something for everyone.
Here are five things happening around your state:
1. November 4th Election
The deadline to register to vote in the upcoming election is Monday, October 6th. All voters will be required to show photo identification when they visit the polls beginning with early voting, October 20th-31st.
With the exception of a U.S. citizenship certificate, the identification must be current or have expired no more than 60 days before it is presented at a polling location. Voters can use IDs that don't match the name on their voter registration exactly, but they will be required to sign an affidavit stating they are the same person.
Some of the approved forms of identification include:
- Texas driver license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
- Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS
- Texas personal identification card issued by DPS
- Texas concealed handgun license issued by DPS
- United States military identification card containing the person's photograph
- United States citizenship certificate containing the person's photograph
- United States passport
This photo ID requirement is for voters casting a ballot in person, not by mail. Voters age 65 and older, or those with a disability may vote by mail
If you have not registered to vote or have questions about your registration, I encourage you to go to www.votetexas.gov or call 1.800.252.VOTE (8683) before the October 6th deadline.
2. Proposition 1
This November, Texans will have the opportunity to make a critical investment in our state’s economic future by supporting Proposition 1. This measure will provide much needed funding for our aging and congested transportation system, which is a core function of state government.
Proposition 1 will authorize annual deposits, generated by oil and gas production, to be constitutionally dedicated to the highway fund for construction and maintenance of the state’s non tolled roads and bridges, without raising fees or taxes. I strongly endorse Proposition 1 as part of the overall transportation funding solution. I am hopeful you will join me in supporting this critical initiative on November 4th.
3. Privacy Laws in Texas
The recent Texas Court of Appeals case of Ford v. State prompted questions in the Texas Senate State Affairs Committee hearing held this month regarding electronic privacy. Testimony centered on the appropriate balance between protecting Texans’ privacy, and ensuring law enforcement has the tools to investigate and prosecute crime.
During the 83rd Regular Session, House Bill 2268 was passed to require law enforcement to obtain a warrant in order to access certain electronic information. The ruling in Ford v. State suggests warrants, which were required by HB 2268, are not required for cell-phone location data, but are still required to access the content of private emails and other data. As technology continues to play an ever-present role in Texans’ lives, we should be mindful about what information we choose to make publicly available, whether by choice or by law.
4. Senate Transportation Committee
The Texas Senate Committee on Transportation recently met to discuss the state's efforts to protect taxpayers from uninsured motorists and make recommendations to improve compliance of maintaining motor vehicle liability insurance and registration.
The TexasSure database helps in this effort by connecting every registered vehicle in the state by its license plate, vehicle identification number, and liability insurance policy. That means Texas local law enforcement officers, DPS Texas Highway Patrol and all county tax assessor-collectors can immediately access the database and verify if you are driving without insurance. As of June 2014, TexasSure had mailed 4.7 million uninsured notices in total. TexasSure unmatched vehicles has dropped from approximately 24% in 2009 to its current rate of 14.4%.
5. Commemorating Texas' History
To ensure the history of our state is preserved for generations to come, the Texas Historical Commission (THC) oversees the states historical markers. These commemorate the history and architecture of houses and buildings, military sites, events which changed the course of local and state history and honor individuals who made lasting contributions to our state and local communities.
The THC is currently accepting applications for subject markers, Historic Texas Cemetery Markers, and Recorded Texas Historic Landmark markers. The applications are due by November 15, 2014. If you would like to see a site in your county or community preserved please contact the THC's History Programs Division at 512-463-5853 for more information.