State Capitol Highlights

Court relaxes Texas voter ID law in time for fall election

AUSTIN — Voters will have more options when presenting personal identification at the polls for the November 8 general election, Texas Secretary of State Carlos Cascos announced last week.

Pursuant to an Aug. 10 federal court order, Cascos said, if a voter is not able to obtain one of the seven forms of approved photo ID, the voter may vote by: (1) signing a declaration at the polls explaining why the voter is unable to obtain one of the seven forms of approved photo ID; and (2) providing one of various forms of supporting documentation.

Supporting documentation can be an original, certified birth certificate, a valid voter registration certificate or one of the following:

- Current utility bill;

- Bank statement;

- Government check;

- Paycheck; or

- Other government document that shows the name and address of the voter.


School’s in, so is the library

Shawn Moyers

Can you believe that school is back in session?

Backpacks, school supplies, lunch boxes and back- to-school clothes have been acquired. Also, teachers and administrators have been working diligently to have the facilities ready and lesson plans written. It's now time to move from laid back days to a busy schedule.

As students are given assignments, the library is full of resources to help complete them: books on many subjects to check out; or for use in the library, resource materials, periodicals and computers are available. Of course, if a quiet spot to work is needed, what could be better than a comfortable work space in the library.

This week's Volunteer Profile is about Shawn “Murdock” Moyers.


Gun Free Zones Safe?

Gun-free zones have become hunting preserves for Islamic terrorists and psychopathic murderers, who have declared open season on innocent civilians.

As I have articulated before, it is no surprise that terrorists and criminals seeking to commit mass murder target gun-free zones. Businesses that establish themselves as “gun-free” provide a guaranteed path of least resistance for terrorists and psychopathic murderers by ensuring that all of the law-abiding patrons in their establishment, including those licensed to carry a firearm, have surrendered their right of self-defense at the door. Ironically, there is no evidence to suggest that terrorists or psychopathic murderers have ever surrendered their ambition to kill patrons upon notice that the business had designated the premises “gun-free.”


Capitol Highlights

Parties to campus-carry lawsuit to return to court

AUSTIN — Three University of Texas professors are seeking a temporary injunction “to at least retain the option of maintaining their academic classrooms as gun-free zones when classes start again.”

In a motion filed in connection with a federal lawsuit filed July 6, the professors are asking the court to bar enforcement of the law when the UT fall semester begins Aug. 24. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a brief in opposition.

In an Aug. 4 hearing, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel ordered the university to clarify its campus-carry policy on Aug. 8 and for parties present their arguments again on Aug. 10.


Library needs support to continue to provide support

It’s been a whirlwind of a week at the library. 

This time last week we were just finding out that we needed to go to Commissioner’s Court for our funding.  We used the last couple of days of July to think and plan before we started out August with the kind of bang that no one wants to hear. 

All this week we have been asking for your support and we have been overwhelmed.  There is not a day that goes by that we do not get at least one heartfelt thanks or someone telling how much they love and appreciate the library so we should not have been surprised at how you have come through for us.  Multiple people have copied us in on their emails and every single one of them have helped motivate us to continue this fight. 

More than one of these letters has brought us to tears.  We can only hope that the commissioners listen to what you have to say. 

This year marks the 50th year anniversary of the Grand Saline Public Library. 


Cool off with a trip to the Library

Hot! Hot! Hot! It's August in Texas. Fortunately, we have things to cool us down: swimming or playing in the sprinkler, going to a movie, shopping in a mall, or, if your pocketbook is running low, come to the library.

There are lots of things to do that cost you nothing. New books come in often, so look for your favorite authors on the New Release kiosks. Or sign up to be a volunteer. You might make a difference in someone's day or make a friend for life.

This week's volunteer profile features a young man who will be a junior at Canton High School this fall. Austin Lomas will soon turn 17, which would officially classify him as a Junior Volunteer; but there is nothing junior about him. Having worked with him this summer during Summer Reading, he is willing to do whatever is asked: taking photos, handing out door-prize tickets to children, making a list of winners for the paper and moving carts of books that have been returned.


State Capitol Highlights

State rolls out revised women’s health program

AUSTIN — A women's health program is in effect and ready to deliver more care to more women statewide who are 15 to 44 years old and whose income is up to 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines.

Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, and Texas Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Charles Smith, in a joint announcement on July 25, said they expect the “new and improved” Healthy Texas Women program to serve some 300,000 women, while earlier programs served 270,000 women. Participation for minors will require parental consent.

Nelson, current chair of the state Senate Finance Committee and former chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, said the program combines and streamlines two of the state’s previous women’s health programs to provide a full range of women’s health services, including: 

- Pregnancy testing and counseling;

- Family planning;


The language of money: Know your financial vocabulary

While the financial world is full of acronyms and other terms that can be confusing, it’s important to be well versed. Below is a list of common financial terms that you’ve most likely heard, some more frequently than others, but may not understand their meaning.

401(k) Plan - A qualified retirement plan through an employer in which eligible employees can make salary deferral contributions on a post- or pre-tax basis.

Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM) - A type of mortgage with an interest rate that periodically changes. There may be an initial “teaser” rate, which will go up after a specified period. After that, the rate will adjust with an index. Usually rate and payment adjustments are made annually after the initial term.

Amortization - A schedule of paying off debt, including the principal and interest, in regular payments over a period of time.


Libraries give more than receive

Courtesy Photo Chief Collins from Grand Saline PD comes to use the library computers to send his email.

The Grand Saline Public Library is preparing to talk to the Commissioner’s Court to defend the funding that we receive each year from the county.  Over the last few years both the Van Zandt County Library and the Grand Saline Public Library have received funds from Van Zandt County. 

Last year (and the years prior) the GSPL received $10,500 while the Van Zandt County Library was budgeted $125,725 (which included $107,472 for personnel costs).  

This year the Van Community Library and the Tri-County Library in Mabank, which serve Van Zandt County patrons, are asking for funding from Van Zandt County.  We at the GSPL feel that library funding at the county level provides the libraries in our county with the means to help our citizens in ways that few realize. 

Our libraries work every day with citizens of this county and surrounding counties to help them get jobs and find the resources they need to improve their lives which in turn improve Van Zandt County.  


Name game can have winners, losers

I once worked with a woman whose first name was Dimple.  Yes, that was her given name.  I told her that I thought that was such a sweet name, and she said, "Yes, it was sweet when I was four years old."  I've also known a Lovey.  Real names, on real birth certificates.

Names are very important.  People like to be addressed by their names, not just 'hey!'  My first husband and I thought we were on the cutting edge by naming our son Joshua; it turns out there were three Joshuas in his class.


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