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Posts published in September 2004

READER SURVEY: Listening Post by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison

Today marks the start of Senator Hutchison’s annual Listening Post survey of our readers. The first of three survey columns, this Capitol Comment is about domestic priorities. Respondents can answer using the email or postal mail information below.

In Washington I’m always speaking out on behalf of the Lone Star State – whether it’s delivering a speech on the Senate floor, asking questions at a committee hearing, or casting a roll call vote on legislation.

Now it’s the time for you to speak out. Every August I distribute an annual “Listening Post” to ask Texans about a variety of issues facing our nation. In this first of three surveys, I focus on key domestic agenda items. In the following weeks, surveys will concentrate on international affairs and homeland security. Last year I was overwhelmed by the response, and I hope to hear from even more of you this year. To submit your answers, use the contact information listed at the end of this column.

Later this year, I will distribute the results of the survey in Capitol Comment columns. I appreciate your participation and look forward to your views.

Survey Part I – Domestic Agenda

1. Unfortunately Congress has yet to adopt a comprehensive national energy policy. However, I am still hopeful we can pass one this year.

In your opinion, what should be our top energy priorities? (Choose all that apply.)

____ Allow for more domestic oil and gas exploration to reduce our dependence on the Middle East and other foreign countries
____ Lower gasoline consumption by raising mandatory standards for fuel efficiency in cars, trucks and sport-utility vehicles (SUVs)
____ Provide tax incentives for renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind and hydroelectric power Additional comments:
_____________________________________________________

2. Congress is attempting to reconcile the House and Senate passed versions of the six-year transportation reauthorization legislation. Texas always has been the single largest “donor state,” sending more than five billion dollars in gasoline taxes to build roads in other states since 1956. Which of the following do you think Congress should do to better meet Texas transportation needs? (Choose all that apply.)

___ Ensure Texas a higher rate of return on gasoline taxes sent to Washington for highway construction. Currently our state receives 90.5 cents on every dollar in taxes paid, with the rest going to pay for roads in other states
___ Raise gasoline taxes, which currently stand at 18.5 cents per gallon
___ Increase federal funding for light-rail and other mass transit options
___ Encourage alternative financing, such as new highway tolls
Additional comments:
_____________________________________________________

3. At the end of this year, key provisions of the tax relief enacted in 2003 will expire and, in 2011, all tax cuts enacted in recent years will disappear unless Congress acts. Which of the following would you like to see Congress pass this year to prevent a tax increase? (Choose all that apply.)

___ Extend marriage penalty relief into next year (double standard deduction and 10% bracket for married couples)
___ Maintain lower marginal rates for all brackets next year
___ Ensure increased child tax credit remains in effect next year
___ Eliminate the death tax
Additional comments:
_____________________________________________________

4. Over the past 18 months, a minority group of Senators have obstructed action on several common sense liability reform bills. Which of the following proposals would you like to see Congress approve? (Choose all that apply.)

___ In medical liability cases limit attorneys’ fees, limit non-economic damages to $250,000, and cap punitive damages at twice the economic damages (or $250,000, whichever is greater) to alleviate skyrocketing insurance premiums that are forcing doctors to avoid fields such as Obstetrics-Gynecology (OB -GYN) or close practices altogether.
___ Prohibit lawsuits against firearms manufacturers or dealers for a user’s unlawful use of weapons or ammunition.
___ Establish an industry-financed Asbestos Injury Claims Resolution Fund to compensate asbestos victims on a no-fault basis to ensure the truly sick receive adequate compensation, and bring a close to asbestos related lawsuits that cause bankruptcies and loss of jobs.
Additional comments:
_____________________________________________________

Please visit my website and submit your answers online at
hutchison.senate.gov/survey1.htm

Or send via email at:
capitolcomments@hutchison.senate.gov

Or submit via mail to:

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison
SURVEY
961 Federal Building
300 East Eighth Street
Austin, TX 78701

New Olympic event: the red wasp shuffle

Have you been watching the Olympics? They needed me in them to set a new record for short distance running like I did yesterday.

Me and the Four Dog were in the dry bottoms of Day Lake early yesterday. As I was climbing the ladder to get on the porch I heard a sudden buzz of wings, then it felt like a .22 got me on my left shoulder. Dad gum red wasp had put a stinger in me; to the bone it felt like. I literally flew across the deck trying to out run the burning pain on my back. I still heard the buzz and slapped at myself while yanking off the shirt as I flung it in the air shooing off the wasp.

I would have given a pretty nickel to have some of momma’s snuff to dab on my back.

After I cooled down a bit, I raised the lid on the Old Smokey. Eight red wasps looked at me from a nest on the grill. I dropped the lid and hollered at Four, “Let’s go!” I was in the cabin in a flash.

After putting a box in the truck, I started to go back up the ladder and saw a red wasp go in a hole at the cabin’s edge, by the ladder. We sprayed that same hole last weekend and the red wasp are going back in there.

Great I thought, the wasp spray is up on the deck and I’m down here. Again! Took me a while to get up the ladder as one red wasp stood lookout. It would buzz around me a few times before I made record time getting up the ladder. For you land lubbers, a ladder is nothing more than stairs, but you get my drift. Needless to say, me and red wasp don’t geehaw. Savvy?

Speaking of gee-haw, do you know what that means? Do you know what one is? Is gee to the left or haw to the right?

Do you know what a Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle is? A Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle is two sticks. One with notches cut in it and a little propeller on one end driven in with a small tack. The other stick is used to rub up and down the stick with notches making the propeller turn. There is the 24th Annual World Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle Competition on Sept. 18 near Asheville, N.C., should you care to attend.

Fall is the time of year for festivals. The big city paper had a special edition in today’s paper that announces festivities and bazaars through December.

Here’s a unique one for you. My old cousin in Montana was telling me they are going to the “Turd Fest” this weekend. She said it is a fund raiser for one of the small towns up there. They have a band, pig roast, and games like decorating a cow pie for prizes or the chicken poop contest (numbers on a board, you pick a number and if the chicken poops on your number first you win $). She said they are really hard up for entertainment but do fairly well with it.

TxDOT releases revised design of Crosby FM2100 overpass

Start date moved to 2007

CROSBY — Plans are progressing slowly but surely on the TxDOT project to build an overpass and grade separation on FM2100 at the Union Pacific tracks.

A revised drawing showing details of the design has been released by TxDOT Design Engineer Supervisor Jorge Garcia-Duran, to the Crosby/Huffman Chamber’s committee working on the project’s design. In a letter to the Chamber, the engineer noted that TxDOT had incorporated features requested by the Chamber’s architect, Gilbert Hoffman, and the committee chaired by Velma Ellison, Larry Koslovsky, and Nancy Oliver.

This committee met with TxDOT engineers Stephen Wainaina and John Vogel in April, to forward the community’s ideas to TxDOT.

Multiple tragedies mar weekend for area residents

CROSBY-HUFFMAN — A camper drowned, a man’s foot was mangled by an explosive, and two elderly sisters were found dead from an apparent double suicide last week.

Deputies went to Love’s Marina on August 25 at about 1:46 p.m. to confer with a witness that found the body of Kenneth Donald Scott, 52, of New Caney. The witness indicated that Scott had been an overnight camper and that he had been found face down in the San Jacinto River just north of the campsite. Harris County Sheriff’s Homicide Division and the County Medical Examiner’s Office are investigating.

Deputies were called to a Huffman home at about 9:30 a.m. on August 27 where twin sisters were found dead in a garage. The sisters were sitting in a car with a flexible pipe leading from the exhaust to inside the car’s window Friday morning. Both of the sisters had been diagnosed as having a serious medical condition. One had been told that her illness was terminal and the other had been treated and was told that her illness was not terminal. The husband of one of the sisters reported seeing the twins the night before and having found them the following morning.

Crosby woman names assailant

CROSBY — A woman on August 30 heroically identified her neighbor as the man that sexually assaulted her in her home.

A man wearing a ski mask, forced open a woman’s back door and assaulted her at gunpoint late Monday night. The 24 year old woman indicated she had been asleep when the entry was made in the 17,000 block of Adlong Johnson Rd.

Early Tuesday morning, at about 12:22 a.m., the 24 year old woman reported to Harris County Sheriff’s Deputies that her neighbor, David Carl Wormington, 45, was the assailant.

Although the assailant wore a ski mask, she stated she recognized her neighbor’s voice and her neighbor had a slim build, the same as her attacker.

Deputies paid Wormington a visit and the victim was later able to identify a ski mask, the clothing that had been worn by her attacker and the pistol held during the assault as the same.

Wormington had been held at Harris County Jail on $30,000 bond. At the time of his arrest, Wormington had two outstanding warrants on traffic offenses.

High School Football: Crosby begins “Flanigan” era with close 21-20 victory

HOUSTON — A late defensive stand by the Crosby Cougars provided the extra push the team needed to open the season with a win and start off new Coach Kevin Flanigan career at Crosby on a high note.

With less than a half minute to go in the game, the Cougars defense stopped a two-point conversion attempt, securing Crosby’s 20-20 win over the St. Thomas Eagles.

One of the goals Flanigan has set for the special team was to block a kick. That goal was met early in the game when Carl Jackson blocked a St. Thomas punt. Ronnie Alexander grabbed the loose ball and returned it 32 yards for a Crosby touchdown.