2012 Dem Party Platform Resolutions

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Progressive members of the State Democratic Executive Committee are working to move the 2012 TDP platform to a more progressive stance on issues of importance to Texans and Americans in general. We have found that the party rules include the following language:

D State Convention

5 Officers and Committees

(d) Temporary Resolutions Committees

(9) Any resolution that considers an idea or policy that should be considered for inclusion in the Party Platform shall be referred by the Temporary Resolutions Committee to the Permanent Platform Committee of the State Convention.

We have therefore written 6 resolutions specifically to require that they be sent to the Permanent Platform Committee at the state convention. We encourage you, dear reader, to take the time to print them and bring them with you to your county or senate district convention and urge their passage. Then if you're elected as a delegate to the state convention we would ask that you or a progressive associate in your Senate District caucus run for the Platform Committee so that these important issues will have supporters on the committee. Please look below for these special resolutions.

Resolution Calling For The Abolition of the Death Penalty To Be Added To The 2012 Texas Democratic Party Platform

WHEREAS the death penalty has been documented to cost three times more than life without the possibility of parole, and, in fact, a Dallas Morning News study indicates that approximately $2.4 million is spent for a death penalty case vs. about $750,000 for life in prison; and

WHEREAS the death penalty carries a high risk of executing an innocent person and, in fact, 138 innocent people have been released from death rows across the country due to evidence of their wrongful conviction, including 12 in Texas; and

WHEREAS there is mounting evidence that Texas has already executed an innocent person (strong evidence exists in at least four cases, and the Cameron Todd Willingham case has received much attention from the Texas Forensic Science Commission and from the media); and

WHEREAS other states are increasingly turning away from the death penalty as evidenced by the legislatures in New Jersey (2007), New Mexico (2009), and Illinois (2011) repealing the death penalty and the Supreme Court of New York ruling it unconstitutional; and

WHEREAS despite gains achieved since the Jim Crow era, the contemporary application of the death penalty in Texas continues a tradition of state sanctioned theft of freedom and life in a manner that discriminates by race and ethnicity; and

WHEREAS 66% of Texas Death Row inmates are non-white; and

WHEREAS juries and prosecutors across the nation and in Texas are opting against death in favor of life in prison without parole, resulting in a 70% decline in death sentences since 2003, and in 2010, Texas juries approved new death sentences in only 8 instances, which is the lowest number since the death penalty was reinstated in 1974; and

WHEREAS Texas is the only state where a judge or state attorney general can set an execution date before the appeals process is exhausted;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the following language be included in the Capital Punishment subsection of the Public Safety Section of the 2012 Texas Democratic Party Platform:

Texas Democrats call for the passage of legislation that would abolish the death penalty in this state and replace it with the punishment of life in prison without parole.

Respectfully submitted,

Signature:________________________

Printed Name:_____________________

Precinct No. __ of ____________ County, Texas

Adopted by the County/Senatorial District Convention in Senatorial District #_____ of ________ County, Texas on April 21, 2012.

_________________________

Convention Secretary

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  1. Legalize Marijuana
    RESOLUTION TO ADD PLANK ON LEGALIZING MARIJUANA TO THE 2012 TEXAS DEMOCRATIC PARTY PLATFORM

    WHEREAS in the United States more than 858,000 individuals were arrested for marijuana violations in 2009 — far more than the total number of arrestees for all violent crimes combined, including murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault; and

    WHEREAS the societal costs of propagandizing against marijuana and marijuana law reform, funding anti-marijuana 'science', interdicting marijuana, eradicating domestically grown marijuana and industrial hemp, law enforcement, prosecuting and incarcerating marijuana smokers costs U.S. taxpayers in excess of $12 billion annually; and

    WHEREAS since 1965, 85% of the arrests for marijuana have been for possession only; and

    WHEREAS marijuana is far less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco, with approximately 50,000 people dying each year from alcohol poisoning. Similarly, more than 400,000 deaths each year are attributed to tobacco smoking. By comparison, marijuana is nontoxic and cannot cause death by overdose; and

    WHEREAS according to a Gallop poll taken in 2009, 54% of Democrats polled believed marijuana should be legalized for personal use; (http://www.gallup.com/poll/123728/U.S.-Support-Legalizing-Marijuana-Reaches-New-High.aspx); and

    WHEREAS nationwide, U.S. law enforcement have arrested over 20 million American citizens for marijuana offenses since 1965, yet today marijuana is more prevalent than ever before, adolescents have easier access to marijuana than ever before, the drug is on average more potent than ever before, and there is more violence associated with the illegal marijuana trade than ever before; and

    WHEREAS marijuana prohibition abdicates the control of marijuana production and distribution to criminal entrepreneurs, such as drug cartels, street gangs, drug dealers who push additional illegal substances; and

    WHEREAS prohibition promotes disrespect for the law, and reinforces ethnic and generational divides between the public and law enforcement; and

    WHEREAS an estimated 75 percent of all marijuana arrestees are under age 30; further, Hispanics accounted for 42.7% of drug prosecutions in 2007 but comprised only 16% of the total population of the United States.

    WHEREAS there is no evidence that marijuana is a “gateway” drug leading to use of other more potent drugs; and

    WHEREAS a conviction for simple possession of marijuana permanently disqualifies an individual from receiving federal aid to attend college; and

    WHEREAS members of minority groups and low income individuals are disproportionately convicted and incarcerated for marijuana possession and use in addition to the violence and corruption those communities suffer due to prohibition.

    THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the the following language be added to the Administration of Justice subsection of the Public Safety section of the 2012 Texas Democratic Party Platform:

    ? urging the President, Attorney General and the Congress to support the passage of legislation legalizing the use of marijuana and regulating its production and sale, much as is done with alcohol and tobacco in this country.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Signature:________________________

    Printed Name:_____________________

    Precinct No. __ of ____________ County, Texas

    Adopted by the County/Senatorial District Convention in Senatorial District #_____ of ________ County, Texas on April 21, 2012.

    _________________________

    Convention Secretary

  2. Religious Freedom
    Resolution Calling For Religious Freedom through Separation of Church and State

    Be Added To The 2012 Texas Democratic Party Platform

    WHEREAS our historical and constitutionally protected Religious Freedom is under attack by ideologues claiming that the United States is a Christian nation; and

    WHEREAS 23% of United States citizens are not Christian and deserve the same rights and respect as the majority;

    THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the following language be included in the Religious Freedom Section of the 2012 Texas Democratic Party Platform:

    Texas Democrats believe government should honor every Texan's right to religious freedom, as guaranteed by the Texas and U.S. Constitutions. We believe:

    •       There should be a clear separation between the operation of church and state;

    •       Government must not inhibit the free exercise of religion, consistent with the civil rights of all Texans;

    •       Government and public institutions must not support or privilege any religion;

    •       The right of Texans to believe or not to believe should not be abridged.

    Democrats hold political views motivated by deeply held personal beliefs, many of them based on religion.  However, no party and no religious group holds the key to human ethics, morals, and values, and the Democratic party will stand for the most uplifting of these, from whatever source.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Signature:________________________

    Printed Name:_____________________

    Precinct No. __ of ____________ County, Texas

    Adopted by the County/Senatorial District Convention in Senatorial District #_____ of ________ County, Texas on April 21, 2012.

    _________________________

    Convention Secretary

  3. Reproductive Rights
    Resolution Calling For a Clear Position on Women's Reproductive Rights

    Be Added To The 2012 Texas Democratic Party Platform

    WHEREAS a woman's right to control her own body is under attack; and

    WHEREAS abstinence only sex education is a proven failure especially here in Texas where it has been tried longer and supported by more public funds than anywhere else; and

    WHEREAS extremist groups are attempting to only define life as commencing at the joining of an egg and sperm; and

    WHEREAS many joined egg and sperm don't implant in the uterine wall and thus result in a spontaneous miscarriage; and

    WHEREAS women's access to contraception is under attack;

    THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the following language be included in the Choice and Family Planning Section of the 2012 Texas Democratic Party Platform:

    Texas Democrats support targeted efforts to reduce high teen pregnancy rates, including the provision of evidence based, accurate and effective, age-appropriate sex education programs with abstinence and contraception components, to reduce the rate of sexually transmitted illnesses, unintended pregnancies.

    The product of a joined egg and sperm has no independent status, standing, entitlements or rights that would usurp or supersede in any way the rights, status, standing and decisions of the mother or woman which are paramount.

    The right of a woman to acquire contraception through her health insurance provider may not be impinged or abridged by an employer for any reason nor can she be terminated or subjected to any form of harassment or retaliation by her employer related to any health care choices.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Signature:________________________

    Printed Name:_____________________

    Precinct No. __ of ____________ County, Texas

    Adopted by the County/Senatorial District Convention in Senatorial District #_____ of ________ County, Texas on April 21, 2012.

    _________________________

    Convention Secretary

  4. Marriage Equality
    RESOLUTION TO ADD MARRIAGE EQUALITY PLANK TO TEXAS DEMOCRATIC PARTY PLATFORM

    WHEREAS, we believe every Texan has the right to participate fully and equally in society and enjoy its benefits and freedoms; and

    WHEREAS, in 1996 the Republican-dominated Congress passed and President Clinton signed into law the federal Defense of Marriage Act (1 U.S.C. Section 7 and 28 U.S.C. Section 1738C) (hereinafter “DOMA”) that defines marriage as the legal union between one man and one woman and bars a state from being required to recognize a same-sex relationship considered a marriage in another state; and

    WHEREAS, after a federal court in Massachusetts ruled that DOMA is unconstitutional, the Obama administration announced on February 23, 2011 that the U.S. Justice Department would no longer defend DOMA in federal court; and

    WHEREAS, delegates at the 2010 Texas Democratic Convention in Corpus Christi voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution calling for the repeal of DOMA; and

    WHEREAS, in 2003 the Republican-dominated state legislature passed and Governor Perry signed into law the Texas Defense of Marriage Act (also known as “Texas DOMA” which is codified as Section 6.204 of the Texas Family Code) prohibiting the recognition of same-sex marriages and civil unions from other states as valid in the State of Texas; and

    WHEREAS, Republican state legislators pushed for and Texas voters approved an amendment to the Texas Constitution on November 8, 2005  banning legal recognition of same-sex marriages and civil unions, also known as the “Texas Constitutional Marriage Amendment”; and

    WHEREAS, the Texas Constitution Bill of Rights in Article I Section 3 states “all free men, when they form a social compact, have equal rights, and no man, or set of men, is entitled to exclusive separate public emoluments, or privileges, but in consideration of public services”; and

    WHEREAS, the Texas Constitutional Marriage Amendment appears as Article I, Section 32 of the Texas Constitution Bill of Rights and undermines Article I, Section 3 of the Bill of Rights by denying equal rights to a specific group of Texans; and

    WHEREAS, protecting vulnerable members of our state from unwarranted discrimination is fully consistent with the goals, aspirations and values of the Texas Democratic Party and Texans in general; and

    WHEREAS, Article IV Section 1 of the United States Constitution specifies the duty of states to respect the “public acts, records, and judicial proceedings” of other states; and

    WHEREAS, Eight states, including Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington and the District of Columbia have now legalized same-sex marriage; and

    WHEREAS, recent polls show that same-sex marriage is now supported by a majority of Americans and in 2010 a University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll showed that 63% of Texans now support some form of legal recognition for same-sex couples, either marriage or civil unions, thereby demonstrating a major shift in public opinion on this subject among Americans, and Texans in particular, since the Texas Constitutional Marriage Amendment was adopted in 2005; and

    WHEREAS, more than 175 mayors from 32 states, including the mayors of several major cities in Texas, have signed a petition in support of marriage equality; and

    WHEREAS, President Obama has called for the repeal of DOMA and a bill, entitled the Respect for Marriage Act, has been introduced in Congress to do just that;

    THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the following plank be included in the Security For Families section of the 2012 Texas Democratic Party Platform:

    MARRIAGE EQUALITY

    Texas Democrats support the full inclusion of all families in the life of our state, with equal respect, responsibility, and protection under the law, including the freedom to marry. Government has no business putting barriers in the path of people seeking to care for their family members, particularly in challenging economic times. We support the Respect for Marriage Act and the repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, the Texas Defense of Marriage Act and the Texas Constitutional Marriage Amendment  and oppose other attempts to deny the freedom to marry to loving and committed same-sex couples.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Signature:________________________

    Printed Name:_____________________

    Precinct No. __ of ____________ County, Texas

    Adopted by the County/Senatorial District Convention in Senatorial District #_____ of ________ County, Texas on April 21, 2012.

    _________________________

    Convention Secretary

  5. Reverse Citizens United
    Resolution Calling For Reversal of the Citizens United Decision Equating Money with Speech be

    Added to the 2012 Texas Democratic Party Platform

    WHEREAS the vast majority of Americans believe that special-interest money buys legislative results and only the rich can run for elected office; and

    WHEREAS the Supreme Court, in its Citizens United ruling of 2010, greatly exacerbated this problem by rejecting decades of settled election law precedent to suddenly 'discover' first amendment “rights” for corporations and thus obfuscating the distinction between natural persons and corporations; and

    WHEREAS this decision led directly to the fourfold increase in independent spending in 2010 over the previous mid-term campaign season; and

    WHEREAS a majority of Americans believe that their voices cannot be heard through the din of the current cacophony of monied special interests and thus have chosen not to participate in any form of political expression, including voting; and

    WHEREAS the current movement that supports public policy solutions aimed at curbing excessive corporate influence and restoring greater balance to our political process may dissipate if it is not joined by established political entities; and

    WHEREAS the Texas Democratic Party has long advocated for measures that help to ensure that all voices, not just the loud ones, are heard;

    THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the following language be included in the Protecting Democracy and Restoring Public Trust section of the 2012 Texas Democratic Party Platform:

    Texas Democrats reject the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United v FEC and call for amending the U.S. Constitution to firmly establish that money is not speech and can thus be regulated, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Signature:________________________

    Printed Name:_____________________

    Precinct No. __ of ____________ County, Texas

    Adopted by the County/Senatorial District Convention in Senatorial District #_____ of ________ County, Texas on April 21, 2012.

    _________________________

    Convention Secretary

  6. Update: Reverse Citizens United
    Resolution Calling For Reversal of the Citizens United Decision Equating Money with Speech be

    Added to the 2012 Texas Democratic Party Platform

    WHEREAS the vast majority of Americans believe that special-interest money buys legislative results and only the rich can run for elected office; and

    WHEREAS the Supreme Court, in its Citizens United ruling of 2010, greatly exacerbated this problem by rejecting decades of settled election law precedent to suddenly 'discover' first amendment “rights” for corporations and thus obfuscating the distinction between natural persons and corporations; and

    WHEREAS this decision led directly to the fourfold increase in independent spending in 2010 over the previous mid-term campaign season; and

    WHEREAS a majority of Americans believe that their voices cannot be heard through the din of the current cacophony of monied special interests and thus have chosen not to participate in any form of political expression, including voting; and

    WHEREAS the current movement that supports public policy solutions aimed at curbing excessive corporate influence and restoring greater balance to our political process may dissipate if it is not joined by established political entities; and

    WHEREAS the Texas Democratic Party has long advocated for measures that help to ensure that all voices, not just the loud ones, are heard;

    THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the following language be included in the Protecting Democracy and Restoring Public Trust section of the 2012 Texas Democratic Party Platform:

    Texas Democrats reject the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United v FEC and call for amending the U.S. Constitution to firmly establish that money is not speech and can thus be regulated, and that only human beings, not corporations or similar entities, are entitled to constitutionally protected rights.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Signature:________________________

    Printed Name:_____________________

    Precinct No. __ of ____________ County, Texas

    Adopted by the County/Senatorial District Convention in Senatorial District #_____ of ________ County, Texas on April 21, 2012.

    _________________________

    Convention Secretary

  7. Update: Repeal the Death Penalty
    Resolution Calling For The Abolition of the Death Penalty To Be Added To The 2012 Texas Democratic Party Platform

    WHEREAS the death penalty has been documented to cost three times more than life without the possibility of parole, and, in fact, a Dallas Morning News study indicates that approximately $2.4 million is spent for a death penalty case vs. about $750,000 for life in prison; and

    WHEREAS the death penalty carries a high risk of executing an innocent person and, in fact, 138 innocent people have been released from death rows across the country due to evidence of their wrongful conviction, including 12 in Texas; and

    WHEREAS there is mounting evidence that Texas has already executed an innocent person (strong evidence exists in at least four cases, and the Cameron Todd Willingham case has received much attention from the Texas Forensic Science Commission and from the media); and

    WHEREAS other states are increasingly turning away from the death penalty as evidenced by the legislatures in New Jersey (2007), New Mexico (2009), and Illinois (2011) repealing the death penalty and the Supreme Court of New York ruling it unconstitutional; and

    WHEREAS despite gains achieved since the Jim Crow era, the contemporary application of the death penalty in Texas continues a tradition of state sanctioned theft of freedom and life in a manner that discriminates by race and ethnicity; and

    WHEREAS 66% of Texas Death Row inmates are non-white; and

    WHEREAS juries and prosecutors across the nation and in Texas are opting against death in favor of life in prison without parole, resulting in a 70% decline in death sentences since 2003, and in 2010, Texas juries approved new death sentences in only 8 instances, which is the lowest number since the death penalty was reinstated in 1974; and

    WHEREAS Texas is the only state where a judge or state attorney general can set an execution date before the appeals process is exhausted;

    THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the following language be included in the Capital Punishment subsection of the Public Safety Section of the 2012 Texas Democratic Party Platform:

    Texas Democrats call for the passage of legislation that would abolish the death penalty in this state and replace it with the punishment of life in prison without parole.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Signature:________________________

    Printed Name:_____________________

    Precinct No. __ of ____________ County, Texas

    Adopted by the County/Senatorial District Convention in Senatorial District #_____ of ________ County, Texas on April 21, 2012.

    _________________________

    Convention Secretary

  8. Preserve Texas Public Employee Pensions
    Resolution to Preserve Texas Public Employee Pension Systems

    Whereas, professional firefighters, police officers, municipal employees, state government employees, and teachers serve our cities and state,

    Whereas, the attacks on teachers, firefighters, nurses and other dedicated public employees in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Indiana are coming to Texas,  

    Whereas, some business interests want to end traditional pension systems as we know them and convert them to riskier 401(k)-style accounts that would benefit the financial industry, not workers,  

    Whereas, the majority of Texas public employees, including the vast majority of teachers and other school employees, work for employers that do not participate in Social Security, so that these public employees must depend instead on state and local pension funds to which these employees contribute a substantial portion of their pay,

    NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Texas Democratic Party adamantly opposes efforts to weaken or dismantle state and/or local pension systems.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Signature:________________________

    Printed Name:_____________________

    Adopted by the County/Senatorial District Convention in Senatorial District #_____ of ________ County, Texas on April 21, 2012.

    _________________________

    Convention Secretary

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