Monday, November 5, 2012

The Texas Deparment of Public Safety Digs Deep Into Pockets

Everyone can agree with me that drinking and driving is a very serious matter.  Everyone can also agree with me that the consequences for getting caught drinking and driving should not be taken lightly.  Finally, everyone can agree with me that getting caught drinking and driving is very expensive.  What many might not know is how the expense of drinking and driving puts a dent in one's wallet for many years; I should know because I have experienced this dent.

Yes, lawyer fees, probation fees, the actual fine of drinking and driving, community service, suspension of licence, and being on probation are all well deserved penalties for getting caught for drinking and driving, but I do not agree with all the money the Texas Department of Public Safety receives after penalties are paid and served.  TxDPS has a program known as the Driver Responsibility Program Surcharges.  This program is definitely a money sucker.  Basically, for the next three years after someone is convicted of a DWI offense, they must pay TxDPS $1,000-$2,500 yearly to legally be able to drive.  Now the program does allow a monthly payment plan, but if a payment is missed, the offenders driver's license goes back in suspension.

TxDPS is making a ton of money off surcharge fees, in my opinion, too much.  If someone has paid thousands and thousands of dollars in other fees from the offense and has done everything they have been asked to do, for example, 100 hours of community service, not being able to have a driver's license for many months, and serve probation for 18 months, why should they be penalized even more.  Many DWI offenders have a hard time paying these surcharge fees, so they just end up not paying them and take the risk of driving with a suspended license.  If that person gets pulled over driving, they face the risk of going back to jail and paying even more fees.

I believe TxDPS should lower the rate of the surcharge fees in half, or just simply get rid of them.  Now some might say that the law was broken and the offender deserves to pay these fees, but instead of these fees, other consequences could change.  For example, extend probation and increase community service hours.  The Texas Department of Public Safety is not hurting for money, they already get tons of money from other sources, so why should they dig deep in the pockets for three years of Texans who served there time for breaking the law? 

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Meaning of our "Safety Net" and the "47%"

The Texas blog, Big Jolly Politics, is a blog that "attempts to tell the truth, the whole truth and let the chips fall where they may."  On September 28, 2012, Ed Hubbard, a blogger for Big Jolly Politics, allows the chips to fall when he writes about the 47% of Americans that use federal programs as a safety net while living life.

Hubbard does an excellent job with comparing federal programs to the safety nets tightrope walkers use in the circus.  Basically, federal programs, such as "Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and Unemployment Insurance," were formed to help Americans out if they ever hit a huge road block in life, thus the "safety net."  Before these programs, Americans use to turn to family and friends for their safety net.

He also goes on to explain that the federal programs available allow Americans to not take any risks when life struggles come up.  This is like a tightrope walker walking the tightrope on the floor instead of off the ground.  With more and more Americans depending on these federal programs longer than attended, our government is becoming more and more in debt.

Now being an American who is using some of the federal programs as a safety net, I can personally say it is easier said than done to get the tightrope off the floor and back in the air.  This is why I semi-disagree with what Hubbard is expressing in his blog.  Even though Hubbard is right about Americans depending on federal programs too long, sometimes it is harder to rely on one's self because many of the programs are excellent, especially the ones I am using.  In my opinion, not everyone using the programs deserve to be on them, but others using them, myself included, do.  I truly believe that if Hubbard ever needed to use one of these programs as his safety net, his view would be much different.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Texas voter registration deadline is Tuesday

The 2012 presidential election is right around the corner and many Texans still have not registered to vote.  According to an editorial posted in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Friday, October 5, 2012, the deadline for Texas voter registration is Tuesday October, 9, 2012.  There has been much confusion this year about voting, such as, "voter ID laws, redistricting, the purging of voter rolls and rules for voter registration," states the author of the editorial.  Maybe this is the excuse non-registered voters are using to not register to vote.

In my opinion, the author does an excellent job clarifying in simple terms of how a Texas citizen can register to vote.  Explaining how one can register to vote, along with giving a break down on who can vote, and what documentation is accepted/needed on election day, I believe the author is trying to inform non-registered voters that there is no excuse as to why they should not register to vote.  The author is simply getting the word out that it is every one's American born duty to vote.

Monday, September 24, 2012

'Orphan states' key to control of the House

On September 22, 2012, the San Antonio Express News published the article,  'Orphan states' key to control of the House, by Richard S. Dunham.  In this article, Dunham writes about how Texas, California, New York, and Illinois are known as orphan states, which basically means the presidential candidates leave them alone unless they need money to be raised.  Even though these states are left alone, they are the key to filling the 30 empty seats up for grabs in the House.  At this time, there is a "fight for control of the House of Representatives" between the two political parties. 

Even though it seems like a no brainer that Texas would automatically assume the Republican seats in the House, times are changing.  With the changing of the majority race in Texas, the political views are also changing.  For example, Texas' 23rd district is in a tight "race in a majority-Latino district that is evenly divided along partisan line."  This just goes to show that Texas, along with all the other 'orphan states' should get more attention because times, races, and political views are changing.