Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Texas GOP backs Just Liberty petition for DPS rules improvements

The Republican Party of Texas yesterday published a Facebook post in support of Just Liberty's petition to the Texas Department of Public Safety, joining a bipartisan list of 16 groups backing proposed rules to limit arrests for Class C misdemeanors, infractions for which the maximum possible punishment is only a fine.

The measure being suggested to the Public Safety Commission (PSC) essentially implements a specific line item in the Republican Party platform to disallow such arrests except in instances of domestic violence. Under its new leadership, the Texas GOP has been more aggressive, beginning during the most recent special session, in actively promoting its platform policies in the political arena and encouraging GOP pols to adhere to them. So this endorsement continues that new pattern.

Sandra Bland's mother, who prominently campaigned for Hillary Clinton in last year's presidential campaign, is one of the signators on the Just Liberty petition. So the endorsement of the Texas GOP makes this a true, bipartisan affair - a zebra, nearly a unicorn, in the fractious and disjointed world of 21st century politics. Goes to show that it's possible to find bipartisan agreement if the goal is good policy instead of only scoring campaign points.

Just Liberty has been told by the DPS General Counsel's office that members of the PSC will be briefed on the proposal in executive session, so the only opportunity to address commissioners will be during the generic public-comment section at the beginning of the meeting.

As of this writing, nearly 4,500 Texans have sent emails to DPS Director Steve McCraw through Just Liberty's grassroots systems. (Go here to join them.) So the issue has hit a nerve and drawn remarkable bipartisan support, of which the backing of the Republican Party of Texas is the most prominent and notable example yet.

How exciting! Even though it didn't pass, you could tell at the Legislature this suggestion had uncommon legs and significant appeal across party lines. These developments continue to foster that impression. This is a change lots of people believe needs to happen regardless of political party.

MORE: See an update from the meeting and Houston Chronicle coverage.

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