Texas Young Republicans represent the entire spectrum of the Republican Party. Many Republican organizations attract only certain segments within the party. Among these are the Tea Party wing, the liberty wing, the moderate wing. The Texas Young Republicans pull from all of those groups and find a way to work together.
Sometimes finding agreement on specific policy can be tough. While we agree on all or most of the principles of the party, there can be a lot of differences on how to enact those principles into policy. The one area where there tends to be overwhelming support and like-mindedness is criminal justice reform. These policies tend to find the greatest support from a broad segment of our membership.
That is why this year, numerous Texas Young Republicans have chosen to lead the way by sponsoring a slate of planks for the Republican Party of Texas Platform. We hope to work with the Party to create a segment in the platform to tackle these issues and work with the legislature to enact them into law.
In total, 16 suggested planks were submitted by Texas Young Republicans across the state at their precinct conventions after the primary. Some passed the entire packet while others picked certain planks to submit to the RPT Convention. These planks are currently being evaluated in the platform process.
- Protect citizen’s location data by requiring a warrant based on probable cause for governments to request access except in the case of an immediate, life threatening situation.
- Abolish the Texas Driver Responsibility Program.
- Call for the disclosure of how much military grade material local law enforcement receives and require a local governing body to approve requests made for such material.
- Civil penalty for small amounts of marijuana.
- Expand the Texas Compassionate Use Act for medical cannabis and reduce excessive licensing fees for dispensaries.
- Eliminate Civil Asset Forfeiture and replace it with Criminal Asset Forfeiture.
- Eliminate arrests for non-jailable offenses.
- Ensure proper data is used concerning risk when considering a defendant’s pre-trial release.
- Raise the age of criminal responsibility from 17 to 18 years old.
- Require written or recorded consent before searching a person or vehicle and inform them they may decline the search.
- Expand “use of force reporting” for police departments.
- Close private prisons and consolidate the current inmate populations.
- Close the five remaining youth prison facilities and move to a system following the model Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker initiated.
- Reclassify possession of very small quantities of addictive drugs from a felony to a Class A misdemeanor and use some of the savings to support increased access to drug treatment.
- Properly fund public defenders.
- End debtor’s prison in Texas.
The planks and the reasoning behind them can be viewed here.
The Texas Young Republicans look forward to continuing to push these ideas for reform with the Republican Party of Texas. If all of these ideas were placed into law we would see our prison population cut in half. Tax payers would save millions and we would all be a little safer. We are proud to be a part of a big tent party where ideas start at the bottom from people like us. Whether it is through platform changes, events like our Millennial Caucus at the Republican Party of Texas convention in June, or just one on one conversations, we are proud to shape the future of the GOP.
Written by Jason Vaughn, Texas Young Republican SREC Liaison.
Chairman, Texas Young Republican Federation