The Democratic Party

of Hood County, Texas

Why Are the Homeowners in Houston Scared?

September 1, 2017


TL/DR: HB 1774 cripples the homeowner in his fight to get fair and timely compensation for losses incurred due to “forces of nature”. Why was it passed and how can we fight against the near-corrupt system that passes such anti-citizen laws? Take a look at the action list.

The Money in Your Hometown Races

The majority of the money spent in North Texas races comes from a Cisco, Texas billionaire family and two billionaires from Midland, Texas. They donate the money to a couple of entrenched officeholders that have no opposition. Those officeholders, not needing the money, spend it on “consultants” that then use it to finance local races where the billionaires’ candidates face opponents. Because the money is spent by a “consultant,” its origins and distribution are outside of the required campaign finance reporting.

Why Do They Go to This Much Trouble?

The go to this trouble because they fear that if the voters knew that many North Texas elected officials were mostly financed by three families—outsiders to most of those districts—then those voters might smell a rat.

So what kind of rat? Let’s take the mover and shaker behind HB 1774, the revamp of insurance regulations that take effect today, September 1st, 2017. That law was championed by Texans for Lawsuit Reform. That organization is one of the entities created by Tom DeLay in 2000 that eventually resulted in his unanimous admonishment by the House Ethics committee and in the referral of criminal charges to both Federal and State prosecutors.

While Delay has since disappeared from the front pages (and Dancing with the Stars), his primary aide is still the pivot man in several of the old (and new) funding structures, including the Texans for Lawsuit Reform.

What Changes Were Wanted?

What kind of reform were these folks seeking? Lower premiums for homeowners? Lower deductibles? More timely policy payouts? Not hardly.

The law reduces the interest rate applied to delayed settlements by almost half. So the leverage the homeowner had to encourage the insurance company to make a timely settlement has been cut in half. Delaying payment is a tactic used by insurance companies to get homeowners to settle for less money, just so they can get out of the motel and get on with rebuilding.

It also reduces the likelihood that the insurance companies would have to pay the homeowner’s attorney’s fees when the homeowner had to resort to a lawsuit to receive their fair compensation. With the reduction in allowable attorney fees, it will be harder for the homeowner to get an attorney to take their case. The intent is to discourage homeowners from using our courts to seek relief.

The little guy has only two tools to use to level the playing field against big corporations: regulation and tort law. HB 1774 weakens both of those tools.

Why Doesn’t Government Work For Us?

When billionaires buy your vote through their ginormous (hidden) campaign contributions, they are not doing so to make your life easier. They do it to increase the profits of their companies.

Texas government is run for the benefit of those corporate “citizens” and to hell with our flesh-and-blood citizens. If you have to sum up what is wrong with our state and country today, that’s it.

It is being run only to benefit the wealthy.

Want to Really Drain the Swamp? Here’s What You Can Do.

  1. Find your local representatives by going to the League of Women Voters. Enter your zipcode and click on the “GET LOCAL!” button. Scroll to your state representatives, and call and write to tell them that you support the proposed Texas Ethics Commission Rule 20.56, which will increase transparency of funding and support of candidates in your county. If a local candidate is being financed by a billionaire from west Texas, it should be your right to know, regardless how many hands the money went through to get here.

  2. Support your local candidates for office (or run yourself!).

  3. Research the local candidates and write letters to the editors of the local paper. Encourage them to look into exactly who is paying to elect your county commissioner or school board trustee.

Images: source