Civil Liberties and Privacy

Resolutions for your Precinct Convention

If you vote in the Texas primary (or during early voting), be sure to come back to your individual precinct voting location (not an early voting location) for your precinct convention.

Precinct conventions start at 7:15 PM, or after the last person in line has voted, and are a great place to educate others about issues you care about, and get resolutions on them approved and sent up to the Senate District (SD) conventions and the state convention, so they'll get noticed by a lot more people.

Go to our resolutions list and pick out resolutions of interest to you -- just click on the titles of any of them. Download the pdf versions that are formatted for printing, and bring several copies of each to your precinct convention. If you want to write your own resolution on a topic we did not cover, refer to our Resolution-Writing Guidelines (see link at ) for suggestions on how to write a good resolution that is likely to be passed.

Some additional resolutions are also on the Burnt Orange Report web site -- please see these too.

If you don't vote in the primary, you are eligible to sign petitions to help get the Green Party on the ballot in Texas this year. For at least one state-wide office (Comptroller), there's no Democrat on the ballot, so this is not even a conflict for any Dem. See for details.

Restore the U.S. Constitution..

Submitted by Bill Crosier on February 29, 2008 - 5:10pm. :: |

To get a copy of this resolution formatted for printing, so you can take it with you to your precinct convention, click on the link in the Attachment box below.

WHEREAS, The United States Constitution, federal statutes and treaties are the supreme law of the United States of America, ensuring our democracy, the separation of powers and the rule of law;

HJR 6 Speech by Representative Senfronia Thompson

Submitted by Sarah Gonzales on October 11, 2006 - 3:06pm. :: | |

HJR 6 Speech by Representative Senfronia Thompson

I have been a member of this august body for three decades, and today is one of the all-time low points. We are going in the wrong direction, in the direction of hate and fear and discrimination. Members, we all know what this is about, this is the politics of divisiveness at its worst, a wedge issue that is meant to divide.

Members, this issue is a distraction from the real things we need to be working on. At the end of this session, this Legislature, this Leadership will not be able to deliver the people of Texas, fundamental and fair answers to the pressing issues of our day.

Let's look at what this amendment does not do: It does not give one Texas citizen meaningful tax relief. It does not reform or fully fund our education system. It does not restore one child to CHIP, who was cut from health insurance last session. It does not put one dime into raising Texas' Third World access to health care. It does not do one thing to care for or protect one elderly person or one child in this state. In fact, it does not even do anything to protect one marriage.

Members, this bill is about hate and fear and discrimination. I know something about hate and fear and discrimination. When I was a small girl, white folks used to talk about "protecting the institution of marriage" as well. What they meant was if people of my color tried to marry people of Mr. Chisum's color, you'd often find the people of my color hanging from a tree. That's what the white folks did back then to "protect marriage." Fifty years ago, white folks thought inter-racial marriages were a "threat to the institution of marriage."

Members, I'm a Christian and a proud Christian. I read the good book, and do my best to live by it. I have never read the verse where it says, "gay people can't marry." I have never read the verse where it says, "though shalt discriminate against those not like me." I have never read the verse where it says, "let's base our public policy on hate and fear and discrimination." Christianity to me is love and hope and faith and forgiveness-not hate and discrimination.

I have served in this body a lot of years-and I have seen a lot of promises broken. I should be up here demanding my 40 acres and a mule because that's another promise you broke. You used a wealthy white minister cloaked in the cloth to ease the stench of that form of discrimination.

So, now that blacks and women can vote, and now that blacks and women have equal rights-you turn your hatred to homosexuals- and you still use your misguided reading of the Bible to justify your hatred. You want to pass this ridiculous amendment so you can go home and bragâ?¦brag about what? Declare that you saved the people of Texas from what? Persons of the same sex cannot get married in this State now. Texas does not now recognize same-sex marriages, civil unions, religious unions, domestic partnerships, contractual arrangements or Christian blessings entered into in this State- or anywhere else on this planet Earth.

If you want to make your hateful political statements then that is one thing- the Chisum amendment does real harm. It repeals the contracts that many single people have paid thousands of dollars to purchase to obtain medical powers of attorney, powers of attorney, hospital visitation, joint ownership and support agreements. You have lost your way- this is obscene.

Today, you are playing to the lowest common denominator- you are putting aside the real issues of substance that we need to address so that you can instead play on the public's fears and prejudices to deceive and manipulate voters into thinking that we have done something important.

I realize that gay rights are not the same as civil rights-but I can guarantee you we are going in the wrong direction. I can not hide my skin color. In fact, in most of the South, people as pink as Rep. Wayne Smith were still Black by law if they had a great grandparent who was African. I was unable to attend an integrated and equally funded school until I got my Master of Laws degree. There were separate and unequal facilities
for nearly everything.

I got second-hand textbooks even worse than the kind you're trying to pass off on every public school student next year. I had to ride to school on the back of the bus. I had to quench my thirst from filthy coloreds-only drinking fountains. I had to enter restaurants from the kitchen door. I was banned from entering most public accommodations, even from serving on a jury.

I had to live with the fear that getting too uppity could get you killed --- or worse. I know what third-class citizenship feels like. In my first term, one of my colleagues walked up and down this aisle muttering about how Nigras should be back in the field picking cotton instead of picking out committees.

So, I have to wonder about Rep. Chisum's 3/5 of a person amendment. Some of you folks hid behind your Bible then, too, to justify your cultural prejudices, your denial of liberty, and your gunpoint robbery of human dignity.

We have worked hard at putting our prejudices against homosexuals in law. We have denied them basic job protections. We have denied them and their children freedom from bullying and harassment at school. We have tried to criminalize their very existence.

But, we have also absolved them of all family duties and responsibilities: to care for and support their spouses and children, to count their family's assets in determining public assistance, to obtain health insurance for dependents, to make end-of-life or necessary medical decisions for their life partners---sometimes even to visit in the hospital, even to defend our own country. And then, we can stand on our two hind legs and proclaim, "See, I told you homosexual families are unstable." And nearly every one of you on this Floor has a homosexual in their extended families.

Some of you have shunned and isolated these family members. Some of you, even some of the joint coauthors, have embraced them within your own family for the essence of Christianity is love. Yet,you are now poised to constitutionalize discrimination against a particular class of people.

I thought we would be debating real issues: education, health care for kids, teacher's health insurance, health care for the elderly, protecting survivors of sexual assault, protecting the pensions of seniors in nursing homes. I thought we would be debating economic development, property tax relief, protecting seniors pensions and stem cell research, to save lives of Texans who are waiting for a more abundant life. Instead we are wasting this body's time with this political stunt that is nothing more than constitutionalizing discrimination. The prejudices exhibited by members of this body disgust me.

Last week, Republicans used a political wedge issue to pull kids-sweet little vulnerable kids- out of the homes of loving parents and put them back in a state orphanage just because those parents are gay. That's disgusting. Today, we are telling homosexuals that just like people of my ilk, when I was a small child, they too are second class citizens. I have listened to all the arguments. I have listened to all of the crap.

Mr. Chisum, is a person who I consider my good friend and revere. But, I want you to know that this  amendment are blowing smoke to fuel the hell-fire flames of bigotry. You are trying to protect your constituents from danger. This amendment is a CYB amendment for you to go home and talk about.

Know your rights - What to do if you're stopped by the police

Submitted by C. Lee Taylor on September 23, 2006 - 12:23pm. :: |

"Know your rights" PDF document to print and keep as reference in your wallet in the event you are stopped by the police.


  1. Print document.
  2. Holding paper in landscape position with print side up,  fold left to right along vertical dotted-line.

Personal Privacy Protection - OLD

Submitted by Bill Crosier on February 28, 2006 - 3:33pm. :: | |

To get a copy of this resolution formatted for printing, so you can take it with you to your precinct convention, click on the link in the Attachment box below.

WHEREAS The Texas Democratic Party’s State Democratic Executive Committee is the general custodian of records of the Party; … WHEREAS voter registration and voting history are among the data maintained by the SECRETARY OF STATE of TEXAS and made available to the Party; … WHEREAS national and Texas Republicans are advocating the creation of a national ID for citizens and voters and highly detailed databases of personal, private information on the lives of citizens and voters; … WHEREAS there is substantial evidence provided by the Electronic Frontier Foundation of abuse and privacy “snooping” by the current Republican administration and the National Security Agency (NSA); … WHEREAS Texas Republicans have a proven history of “purging” voter rolls for purposes of eliminating “undesirable” voters from exercising their constitutional right to vote; … WHEREAS the Republican Texas Secretary of State has undertaken a project called Texas Election Administration Management (TEAM) system involving the creation of a highly detailed database of personal information on all Texas voters Due to be put into use in 2006; and … AND WHEREAS the Texas Democratic Party currently has a ‘seat’ on the Secretary of State’s TEAM committee but has not been actively involved; … NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the highest authority of the Texas Democratic Party, delegates assembled in Convention, direct the State Party Chair and the SDEC to obtain read and write access the Texas Secretary of State’s (TEAM)Texas Election Administration Management system and appoint an SDEC member to actively participate in its activities: … AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the TDP’s access to the TEAM database include the Chair appointing an SDEC DATA SECURITY BOARD of at least two SDEC members to review or draft security politics related to these and other Party voter history data to prevent data mining, unauthorized use of this personal data or its theft.

Protect Reproductive Rights..

Submitted by Bill Crosier on February 12, 2006 - 1:22pm. :: | |

To get a copy of this resolution formatted for printing, so you can take it with you to your precinct convention, click on the link in the Attachment box below.

Whereas denying the right to choose abortion will not curtail abortions but will send desperate women to dangerous, unlicensed clinics; and

Repeal Proposition Two - OLD

Submitted by Bill Crosier on February 8, 2006 - 8:50pm. ::

Note: This resolution has been incorporated into the one entitled "GLBT Rights" (Feb. 2008).

WHEREAS The Democratic Party is a party of the people, a party that respects the rights and liberties of all people, and which stands for fairness rather than hate and discrimination; and WHEREAS That only a small percentage of Texas voters cast their votes in November 2005, in the Discriminatory Anti-Gay and Lesbian Constitutional Amendment denying gays and lesbians basic constitutional rights; and WHEREAS The majority of those who did vote supported this hateful Amendment to the State Constitution; and WHEREAS Gays and lesbians should enjoy all the rights and privileges of all the other citizens in the State of Texas; and WHEREAS Members of the gay community continue to be the targets of hate crimes; and WHEREAS Sexual orientation has no bearing on the integrity and patriotism required to serve one's country; therefore, be it RESOLVED That the Democratic Party stand for the repeal of the "HATE AMENDMENT" which is depriving gay and lesbian Texans of certain fundamental rights; and be it further RESOLVED That hate crimes laws be strengthened and enforced, and be it further RESOLVED That until said Amendment is repealed, the State Legislature should enact laws to give gays and lesbians all other rights and responsibilities that heterosexual couples enjoy, and in particular the following rights: * To make medical decisions for their partners * To receive inheritances from their partners * To obtain insurance benefits through their partners * To adopt children; and be it further RESOLVED That pressure be put on the President of the United States so that openly gay, lesbian and bisexual persons be allowed to serve in the US armed services.

Flyer for MLK parades - Bush vs MLK, Impeachment

Submitted by Bill Crosier on January 17, 2006 - 3:05am. :: | | | | | |

The two flyers here (see attachments below) are the ones PAA produced for the 2006 and 2007 Martin Luther King, Jr. parades and related events in Houston.

They contrast King's ideas with Bush's policies -- on peace, diplomacy, nonviolence, racial equality, the environment, civil liberties. They explain how 3 more years of Bush in the White House will shatter King's dream of a just society, and why we should push for impeachment.

Cheney/DeLay protest report. New CNN Poll

Submitted by Sarah Gonzales on December 6, 2005 - 1:35pm. :: | | | | | | |

See below for more updates on last night's protest from John Cobarruvias of Bay Area New Democrats.  He was one of the organizers of the event.  BAND can be counted on to have a significant prescence whenever DeLay is in town, even (like last night) when the event isn't even in the Clear Lake area nor in DeLay's district.

John counted 287 protestors.  I think that's a fairly accurate number, although it was difficult to count because we were spread out over such a big area, some people came late, etc.  The Houston Chronicle said police estimated about 250.

Clarifying And Protecting The Right Of The Public To Information - Donald Rumsfeld

Submitted by Sarah Gonzales on November 22, 2005 - 9:54am. ::

Statement Of The Honorable Donald Rumsfeld

JUNE 20, 1966, Page 13653

Mr. RUMSFELD: The gentleman's comments are most pertinent.  Certainly it has been the nature of Government to play down mistakes and to promote successes.  This has been the case in the past administrations.  Very likely this will be true in the future.

Preserve the Right to Choose - OLD

Submitted by Sarah Gonzales on October 13, 2005 - 6:54am. :: |

Note: This resolution has been merged with the one entitled "Preserve Reproductive Rights".

Whereas, Termination of her pregnancy is one of the most serious, dreaded and deeply personal decisions a woman may ever face; and Whereas, In our society all women and men have a right to make difficult moral decisions and personal choices; and Whereas, Women will not be equal to men if this constitutionally protected right is denied; and Whereas, Denying this right will not curtail abortions but will send desperate women to dangerous, unlicensed clinics; and Whereas, The right to choose, as established by the U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, is now threatened, and Whereas, Sex education programs, including more than "abstinence only" methods, as well as ready access to contraceptives, are fundamental in reducing unwanted pregnancies and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases; and Whereas, Organizations dealing with HIV/AIDS prevention find it difficult or impossible to comply with the "global gag order" on abortion and have lost U.S. funding for condoms which would help reduce the HIV/AIDS epidemic; therefore, be it Resolved, That candidates for U.S. Supreme Court judgeships demonstrate strong commitment to a woman's right to choose; and be it further Resolved, That sex education concerning pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS prevention, as well as international family planning and HIV/AIDS programs, include comprehensive and realistic contraceptive methods; and be it further Resolved, That abortion procedures be covered under health care programs.

Repeal the USA PATRIOT Act..

Submitted by Sarah Gonzales on October 13, 2005 - 6:53am. :: | |

To get a copy of this resolution formatted for printing, so you can take it with you to your precinct convention, click on the link in the Attachment box below.

WHEREAS, President Bush pressured Congress to pass the USA PATRIOT Act without adequate debate; and

Liberty is on your fingertips

Submitted by cyberchucktx on September 5, 2005 - 12:26pm. ::

EFF: Fighting for Bloggers' Rights

Preserve Civil Liberties and Privacy - OLD

Submitted by Sarah Gonzales on August 20, 2005 - 1:57am. ::

Note: This resolution has been replaced with a more up-to-date one, entitled "Restore the U.S. Constitution".

Whereas, The U.S. Constitution establishes and ensures democracy in this country and additional amendments and legislation have expanded civil rights and liberty guarantees; and Whereas, The American jurisprudence system is the envy of the free world with it's emphasis on due process of law; and Whereas, Recent Executive Orders of the current administration, along with the so-called USA PATRIOT Act, subvert our American justice system with military tribunals where officers sit as judge and jury with secret evidence, secret witnesses, secret verdicts and even secretly handed-down death sentences; and Whereas, The First Amendment protects controversial views and nothing is more controversial than peace when your government justifies war with lies and threatens those who protest that war; and Whereas, The Federal Bureau of Investigation has infringed upon civil liberties, as reported in the New York Times, by collecting information on anti-war demonstrators; and Whereas, Retired General Tommy Franks recently said that if the United States is hit with a weapon of mass destruction that inflicts large casualties, the Constitution will likely be discarded in favor of a military form of government; and Whereas, We should not let the actions of terrorists cause us to sacrifice our American system of justice, privacy and Constitutional rights; and Whereas, Too many Americans, especially those that are not of European, Christian ancestry, have been intimidated and excluded from our democracy, and other citizens and immigrants in this country continue to be targets of discrimination; therefore, be it Resolved, that Executive Orders, regulations, laws and departmental procedures and orders implemented during this administration that have limited our civil liberties and compromised our rights to privacy, including but not limited to the USA PATRIOT Act, be repealed and rescinded.

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