Casino gambling, public prayer, redistricting, making college affordable.These are among the issues Texans will get to weigh in on when they head to the polls to cast ballots in the May 29 primaries.In addition to voting for candidates for office, Republicans and Democrats will be asked a series of issue questions to help party leaders gauge how to handle some high-profile subjects."We want to see where our voters stand and show lawmakers that Texans are paying attention to the draconian Republican policies that are negatively impacting our schools," said Rebecca Acuna, a spokeswoman for the Texas Democratic Party. "The results will give us a measurement of how our primary voters feel on these issues."Texas Republicans will weigh in on five issues; Texas Democrats on three.The issues were chosen by each party's executive committee, and while the results are nonbinding, they will likely be used in reaffirming party platforms -- or creating new planks -- as well as to potentially support new legislation next year.Some "feel that these are issues that will help increase voter participation; others feel that they are key issues on which to gauge the sense of Republican voters," said Chris Elam, a spokesman for the Republican Party of Texas. "Others feel that the issues are solidly Republican enough that an overwhelming percent of supporting votes will encourage the Legislature and Republican congressional delegation to take action upon the issue."Here's a look at the issues voters will be asked to weigh in on, as worded on the ballots:RepublicansSchool Choice: The state should fund education by allowing dollars to follow the child instead of the bureaucracy, through a program which allows parents the freedom to choose their child's school, public or private, while also saving significant taxpayer dollars.Repealing Obamacare: Congress should immediately repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (otherwise known as Obamacare) and reject the rationing of healthcare by government or the intrusion by government into the doctor-patient relationship.Public prayer: Government should be prohibited from restricting the content of public prayer.Balanced Budget/Controlling Government Growth: Out of control spending should be stopped at all levels of federal and state government through constitutional amendments limiting any increase in government spending to the combined increase of population and inflation, requiring voter approval.Redistricting: The Texas Legislature should redraw the court-imposed lines for Congress and state legislative districts in the upcoming session in order to remedy inequities.DemocratsReferendum 1: Any graduate of a Texas high school, who has lived in the state for at least three years and lived here continuously for the last year, should be eligible for in-state tuition at state supported colleges and universities and given the opportunity to earn legal status through a higher education or military service.Referendum 2: Because a college education is increasingly necessary for jobs that allow our citizens to achieve middle class lifestyles and become the entrepreneurs who create the jobs that our economy relies on, we call on the Texas Legislature to fund colleges and universities such that tuition and fees can be affordable to all Texans.Referendum 3: Should the Texas Legislature allow the people of Texas to vote to legalize casino gambling with all funds generated being used only for education?Anna M. Tinsley,817-390-7610Twitter: @annatinsley
Early voting in the May 29 primaries is 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Friday.
To see a sample ballot, go to www.tarrantcounty.com/eVote. For more information, call the Tarrant County Elections Center at 817-831-8683.