Texas Matters: There are reports that the state's new voter ID law is causing problems for women at the polls whose names on their drivers license don't exactly match their voter registration card. A closer look at Prop. 5, the reverse mortgage issue on this year's statewide ballot. Also on this show: Kinky Friedman back in politics, Ted Cruz' father steps into the limelight.
Does new voter ID law disenfranchise women?
There is a U.S. Department of Justice legal challenge underway but voter ID is now in effect for Texans voting in this year's election. Like anything brand new, there are going to be glitches and for voter ID it is mismatched names on documents.
For women, this is a particularly large problem.
This week in Corpus Christi, 117th District Court Judge Sandra Watts ran into difficulties when she tried to vote in her own courthouse. Despite the circumstances, she was allowed to cast her vote.
The Texas League of Women Voters is monitoring the situation. The group has long been known as a truly non-partisan organization that works to improve greater participation in the democratic process.
Linda Krefting is the president of the League of Women Voters of Texas:
"The substantially-similar name rules that allow some variability should take care of many of those (women whose ID does not precisely match their full legal name). For example, if you currently have a Texas driver's license and you are registered to vote in Texas and all the difference is is the last name on those two and the other data match up, you should still be allowed to vote a regular ballot."
Reverse mortgage in constitutional amendments on ballot
There are some local races around the state generating interest, but for most Texans it’s all about the nine constitutional amendment propositions.
Prop. 6 is getting the most of the attention -- this is the plan that would take $2 billion from the Rainy Day Fund for water development projects.
Prop. 5 deals with reverse mortgages. Proponents say it will tighten regulations and help eliminate some fees for some reverse mortgages. The proposition does have the endorsement of most newspapers in Texas and also the AARP.
Tim Morstad is the associate state director for AARP Texas.
"Prop. 5 is for a specific type of reverse mortgage -- it's called a reverse mortgage for purchase -- and what Prop. 5 would allow if passed by the voters is a combination of two transactions. Here's the two transactions: If someone wanted to purchase a house and immediately start a reverse mortgage today they would have to do two separate transactions and the fees associated with each are in the thousands...what Prop. 5 will do is allow reverse mortgage for purchase here in Texas, which will allow that to be combined to one transaction, one set of fees that should reduce cost to the consumer."
Also on this episode of Texas Matters:
Kinky Friedman is at it again
There’s a crowded field of candidates running for the Republican nomination for agriculture commissioner, but the Democrats have just got Kinky.
Richard Samet "Kinky" Friedman is a 68-year-old humorist and sometimes politician.
Friedman last ran for agriculture commissioner in 2010, but lost the Democratic primary. He ran for governor as an independent in 2006 and came in third with 12 percent of the vote.
In some ways Friedman’s announcement is further proof of the continued disarray of the Texas Democratic Party. He is just the third candidate to announce his intention to run on the Democratic ticket after Wendy Davis for governor and Mike Collier for state comptroller.
Nevertheless, Kinky is unabashed and is running on a platform of legalizing marijuana and casino gambling.
"I believe that legalizing marijuana and taxing, regulating and cultivating it in the State of Texas would be one of the most valuable things we could do for our economy, for criminal justice, for immigration, for education -- it will play in all those casinos. And I think it's the right thing to do for Texas if we want a leadership role in America, if we want to end the war on drugs."
"After spending a month in Washington, D.C., it’s great to back in America," said Sen. Texas Cruz of Texas, where he was given a hero’s welcome by conservatives after his shutting down of the federal government and attempt to breach the debt ceiling in a failed effort to undo the Affordable Care Act.
But Cruz wasn’t in Texas long, he’s back on the road this weekend in Iowa where he’s seen as continuing his work laying the foundation for a run for the Republican Nomination for president in 2016 -- if indeed he qualifies as natural born under the constitution.
Although national polls show Cruz and the tea party losing support, it was clear from the reception that Cruz received at his stops across Texas that he’s still as popular as ever with his base.
Even his father, the Reverend Rafael Cruz, is drawing crowds of admirers.