Texas' Political Future: Medicaid, Business & Democrats

Jan 25, 2013

Texas Matters: Governor Perry continues to say he will not expand Medicaid in Texas with federal funds as several Republican governors now say they will. A new study looks at the reality of job creators. A Beaumont attorney files a class-action lawsuit against pornography sites that host "revenge porn"; explicit photos and videos of women posted by ex-boyfriends and ex-husbands. Finally, what will it take to turn Texas Democrat blue?

Will Texas Reverse Decision, Provide Medicaid To 1.5 million?

Governor Rick Perry is adamant that Texas will not make Medicaid available to more Texans by taking part in a federal program. However, other Republican governors in Nevada and Arizona have changed their minds recently, saying they can’t ignore the billions of federal dollars they’d lose by opting out.

In Austin some lawmakers are also challenging Perry’s decision.  KERA’s Shelley Kofler takes a look at the debate beginning with a visit to the Greenville office of a senator who also uses a stethoscope, state Sen. Dr. Bob Deuell (R).

Job creators? Or business poachers?

In the current legislative session, Texas lawmakers are calling into question Governor Rick Perry’s pet funds – one of them, like the "Texas Enterprise Fund" is used to lure new businesses into this state from other states.

A report released this week by the D.C.-based research group Good Jobs First says the fund is wasting millions of dollars and is being used to "pirate" jobs from other states. The report is called "The Job Creation Shell Game" and says the funds should be focused on developing truly new jobs. Greg LeRoy is with Good Jobs First.

"It's [the Texas Enterprise Fund] a bad policy by several measures. It's really unfair to companies in the state that are already there and account for virtually all of the job creation - the startups , the expansions. There is the pay to play situation that has been documented by Texans for Public Justice there. It's not cost effective; you are putting a lot of eggs in a few corporate baskets, but the big picture is that these are tiny impacts on the state economy with a very high cost."

What to do when an ex gets revenge

"Sexting" is the act of sending sexually explicit photographs primarily between mobile phones.

A 2012 study conducted by the University of Utah Department of Psychology found that one in five American teenagers admitted to sending a sexually explicit image of themselves via cell phone. Twice as many said that they had received a "sexting" image – and of those receiving such a picture, over 25 percent said they had forwarded it on to others.

That is the world we live in now, and next on the horizon is what is called "revenge porn" when women say a former lover is posting online nude photos or video of them. Those images and other detailed information about the women are also showing up on pay-to-view porn sites.

John S. Morgan is an attorney from Beaumont and is taking on revenge porn. Morgan has filed a class-action suit for women who are victims of such practices. His lawsuit focuses on a site where ex-boyfriends and ex-husbands have posted private sexual photos of their exes without permission in retaliation for breakups.  23 women from across Texas have signed onto the suit, which will be filed in Galveston County.

"I couldn't imagine how difficult it is for these women until I met with them and heard the stories. It's unbelievable the effect it's had on their lives. They are humiliated, they are frightened, they are scared, they are harassed, most of them change all their personal habits, they become hermits, many of them are afraid to go outside, they are afraid to be recognized in grocery stores..."

Democrats launch plan to turn Texas blue

Julián and Joaquín Castro have become national spokesmen for Latino issues, shown in this screen shot from their interview with Charlie Rose.
Credit Charlie Rose Show

Since delivering the DNC’s keynote speech, San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro has become a national political figure. This past weekend he was on CBS’s "Face the Nation" along with his twin brother, Congressman Joaquín Castro.

Asked by Bob Schieffer about the political future of Texas – Mayor Castro made this prediction.

"In a couple presidential cycles you will be on election night you'll be announcing that we're calling the 38 electoral votes of Texas for the Democratic nominee for president. It's changing, it's going to become a purple state, and then a blue state because of the demographics, because of the population growth of folks from outside of Texas, and because, unfortunately, the Republican party has gone so far to the right that they're losing the business community, they are losing the middle."

That’s a bold statement given that Texas has not elected a democrat for a statewide office since 1994. Democrats have been making predictions along those lines for years, but there’s little to no growth in the Texas democratic base to back that up.

However, the national Democratic party is preparing to mount an offensive in Texas called "Battleground Texas" that will pump millions of dollars into organizing the left in the state.

Alexander Burns wrote about Battleground Texas this week for Politico.

"National Democrats have looked at Texas for a while as a state that just demographically ought to be moving their way, but if you look at the way Texas performs in elections it's really lagging behind the population change. You talk to Democratic strategists in Austin, in Washington, they say that's because so much of the Latino population in Texas that has become so potentially politically influential just isn't as engaged in elections as they could be."