Give a D@mn!

Hello Collin County,

This week I have a short and quick legislative update. I cannot write this column without your participation. Democracy is not an amenity. Democracy is our work. I need you, yes even you, to watch your local city council and school board meeting every other week. Then, I need you to send in a report on that meeting. That’s it. That’s the work. Get out the vote, contact your legislators, and watch these meetings. This is a roughly 4-hour commitment every other week. If you don’t know what to do, raise your hand (send an email or call) and ask. Once you’ve got it figured out, spread it to others. We have work to do. This work cannot be done by four people. News is important, yes. But, while we are plugging into the news station worrying about what’s happening elsewhere, we are missing vital news in: Allen, Anna, *Blue Ridge, Carrollton, Celina, Dallas, **Fairview, Farmersville, Frisco, Garland, *Josephine, *Lavon, *Lowry Crossing, Lucas, McKinney, *Melissa, Murphy, *Nevada, ***New Hope, Parker, Plano, Princeton, Prosper, Richardson, *Royse City, Sachse, *Saint Paul, *Van Alstyne, *Weston, and Wylie. We are also missing news from: Allen ISD, *Anna ISD, *Bland ISD, *Blue Ridge ISD, *Celina ISD, *Community ISD, *Farmersville ISD, Frisco ISD, *Gunter ISD, *Leonard ISD, Lovejoy ISD, McKinney ISD, *Melissa ISD, Plano ISD, *Princeton ISD, Prosper ISD, Rockwall ISD, *Royce City ISD, *Trenton ISD, *Van Alstyne ISD, *Whitewright ISD, and Wylie ISD. Every one of these entities is at least partially in Collin County. We are also missing extremely important news from our Collin County Commissioners Court. We all need you. You are reading this for a reason. The Collin County Democratic Party is not at your service. We are calling you to service. Prioritize this. Make a plan to do this work for future generations. The only way we get a better world is by making one. Give a damn.

I have included links to video footage if they are available in the list of city councils, school boards, and commissioners court for the Collin County area above. If a link is not available, see the explanation below.

* These cities/school boards do not meet the minimum population requirements for recording videos of meetings online. I recognize that these are harder to cover because they require physical attendance at the meeting. If you can cover these meetings, you will get double gold stars and bragging rights that you are, in fact, a Democratic Superstar.

** Only audio recordings are available. This is also harder to cover, so you will also receive double gold stars for reports.

*** Meetings are broadcast over zoom, but not recorded. This means you can attend the meeting virtually, but you must still attend the meeting live and on time. Thus, you will also get double gold stars if you are able to cover these meetings.

Legislative Update

Most of us live in home rule cities. That means the city has a home rule charter that serves as the governing document. Per the Texas Municipal League, “A home rule city may do anything authorized by its charter that is not specifically prohibited or preempted by the Texas Constitution or state or federal law. A general law city has no charter and may only exercise those powers that are specifically granted or implied by statute.” This means that citizens of home rule cities can pass ordinances that benefit them the most. Every city has different needs, so it’s important that cities retain local control. HB 2127 aims to take away some of this local control. This bill would, with some exceptions, eliminate a city’s ability to regulate anything covered in Texas’ Agriculture Code, Business & Commerce Code, Finance Code, Insurance Code, Labor Code, Local Government Code, Natural Resources Code, Occupations Code, and Property Code. This would also eliminate any local nondiscrimination ordinances, such as Plano’s Equal Rights Ordinance. These ordinances often take protections a step further than federal or state laws by prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and military veteran status. That’s a lot of local control being handed back to the state legislature, the same state legislature that is openly trying to eliminate the LGBTQIA+ community and public education in one fell swoop. This bill was passed by the House. It’s been assigned to the Senate Business & Commerce Committee. They can be contacted here: Senate Business & Commerce Committee . We want local control. Let your Senator know to vote this bill down. Contact them here: Collin County State Senators .

Many of you will remember former Plano Precinct Chair, Chair of the Texas Democrats with Disabilities Caucus, and Founder of the Collin County Democrats with Disabilities Caucus, Kate Garrison. If HB 386 gets passed, the entire state will be able to remember her with the Kate Garrison Memorial Act. This bill would designate a curbside voting spot at every voting center in the state for people who are not able to go inside to vote. This increases access to voting for those with disabilities and ensures that the impact of Kate Garrison’s work will be felt for generations to come. Thank you to Representatives Jessica González and Mihaela Plesa for authoring this bill. HB 386 has been passed by the House and has been assigned to the Senate State Affairs Committee. Contact them here: Senate State Affairs Committee . Also make sure your senators know to vote yes on this bill once it makes it to the Senate floor. Contact them here: Collin County State Senators .

I want to keep it short this week to give you plenty of time to vote this weekend if you haven’t already. Your last chance to vote in this election is this Saturday, May 6th. Please get out the vote to ensure that we preserve public education, and don’t forget to vote all the way down the ballot for the Collin College Board candidates: Megan Wallace, Scott Coleman, and Stacey Donald. I will have more legislative updates next week. I also hope to have some news from our local city councils, school boards, and county commissioners court, but I can only do that if you send reports in. Please, we have a Democracy to keep. Give a damn.

Yours Truly,

Justin Wray Neth 682-225-4495