Voters to weigh in on issues including public prayer, health care

2014-02-17 | The Eagle

Feb. 17--Primary voters will get to show their support at the ballot box for political positions already engrained in their party's ideology. The Democratic ballot has four propositions and the Republican ballot has six. The votes do not change the law, but serve as a way to shape party discourse.

"They act as sort of cheap polls; you're already printing up the ballots and bringing people out," said Wendy Watson, an instructor in the University of North Texas political science department. "For something like that, I think it's more about party building, especially with the mid-term elections coming up. They really want to raise awareness of certain issues they anticipate will be relevant in the fall or that they are trying to generate excitement and enthusiasm for. It's the sort of political equivalent of a pep rally."

The primary election is March 4.

The yes or no items are as follows:

Republican

Prop. 1: Texans should be free to express their religious beliefs, including prayer, in public places.

Prop. 2: Texas should support Second Amendment liberties by expanding locations where concealed handgun license-holders may legally carry.

Prop. 3: Texas should abolish the state franchise tax, also known as the margins tax, to encourage business growth.

Prop. 4: Texas recipients of taxpayer-funded public assistance should be subject to random drug testing as a condition of receiving benefits.

Prop. 5: All elected officials and their staff should be subjected to the same laws, rules, regulations and ordinances as their constituents.

Prop. 6: The Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare," should be repealed.

Democratic

Prop. 1: The United States Congress must pass immigration reform, including an earned path to citizenship for those individuals contributing to the economy and the dependents of those individuals.

Prop. 2: Congress should pass legislation raising the federal minimum wage to at least 110 percent of the federal poverty level for a family of four, without exception.

Prop. 3: The Governor and the Texas Legislature should accept federal funds, as provided in the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act of 2010, for the expansion of Medicaid to provide coverage to millions of uninsured and underinsured Texans.

Prop. 4: The Congress and the Texas Legislature should adopt legislation that expands protections against discriminations in employment, housing and public accommodations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.