ALLEN, TX – After working with local grassroots leaders throughout the interim on bipartisan, commonsense measures to encourage voter participation, Senator Van Taylor this week signed two such bills at the Republican Coalition of Collin County Christmas party.
"Anne and I are incredibly humbled by the trust and confidence placed in our efforts to represent the people of Collin and Dallas counties in the Texas Senate," stated Taylor. "I have always maintained that the best legislative ideas come directly from the people I serve and that is certainly the case with these bills. I am thankful to everyone who worked with me to draft these commonsense solutions to increase participation in the political process."
The first bill, SB 375, the Grassroots Involvement Act, encourages voter participation in the convention process by asserting that the distribution of strictly informational literature, as to the details of local party conventions at primary polling locations, does not equate to electioneering. This is a bipartisan measure to promote civil engagement without endangering the important safeguards that keep the voting booth free of campaign material.
A version of this bill (H.B. 3902, 84R) was filed last session by Democrat Representative Hubert Vo of Houston.
Speaking on the Grassroots Involvement Act Taylor stated, "Government works best when the people are engaged and change is influenced from the ground up. All too often people don’t participate in local conventions simply because they do not have the details on when and where to meet. Let's face it, people are busy and this is a commonsense, bipartisan solution to help disseminate information to voters on how they can become more involved in the policy decisions facing our state and nation."
The second bill, SB 374, The Candidate Filing Safety Net Act, extends the time frame for a political candidate to withdraw their name from the ballot from 24 hours to 72 hours. Since candidates are sometimes removed from a ballot due to clerical error, a 72 hour cushion offers county parties adequate time to confirm a candidate's eligibility and contact the candidate if there is an error so they amend their paperwork rather than being disqualified. Further, if an error is not caught in time, ineligible candidates' names may appear on a ballot, confusing voters and potentially creating unnecessary runoff elections, wasting voter's time and taxpayer's dollars. This occurrence disproportionately affects down ballot candidates who have never before filled out a filing form.
Addressing the Candidate Filing Safety Net Act Taylor stated, "It takes thoughtful deliberation for a candidate to place their name on the ballot and we should be encouraging participation in all forms of government. This change would allow county parties adequate time to contact a candidate who has an issue with their filing forms so they make the necessary adjustments rather than being disqualified for a simple clerical error."
A seventh generation Texan, local small businessman, and decorated Marine Officer, Van Taylor serves the majority of Collin County and a portion of Dallas County in the Texas Senate where he is widely recognized as a conservative leader. Taylor serves as Vice-Chairman of both the Nominations Committee and the Sunset Advisory Commission. He is also as a member of the Education, Health and Human Services, and Transportation Committees as well as the interim Committee on Property Tax Reform and Relief. Van and his wife, Anne, married after his return from Iraq and are the proud parents of three young girls. Van and his family reside in Plano near the land his great-grandfather farmed during the Great Depression.