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Your Turn: Nov. 25

November 24, 2018

Mexico pays, right?Re: “GOP may face last chance to fulfill Trump’s promise,” front page, Nov. 12:This headline caught my attention. It was in reference to Congress funding the wall. All I have to say is, FAKE NEWS!I distinctly heard Donald Trump state that Mexico was going to pay for the wall. Anyone else remember that? Unless Trump lied, which I doubt he would, I suggest we wait until Mexico ponies up.If anything, GOP leaders need to call Mexico’s president, request payment in full and not waste any more time or money on this issue.Ed BakunasSetting the toneI think all reporters should be polite, especially White House reporters. I also think the president sets the tone by example.Perhaps President Donald Trump has not accepted that he is a public servant. I realize this phrase is anathema to such an entitled human, but the fact still remains.Sarah Huckabee Sanders or Kellyanne Conway, please explain both the term “public servant” and the word “fact” to him. It will undoubtedly take several attempts for any of you to “get it.”Valerie OverstreetJudges too powerfulTechnically speaking, we have three coequal branches of government. However, it appears the judicial branch is a little more equal than the legislative and executive branches.Seemingly every time President Donald Trump issues an executive order, some liberal judge issues a stay, based on opinions, that is overturned when said ruling is appealed.However, the issue remains that the judicial branch has the authority to bring the executive, and the legislative branch for that matter, to a screeching halt based often not on law but rather on self-righteousness and personal opinion.It would be far more equal for the affected parties to tell the judiciary to take a hike, let the legal process play itself out through the appellate process, and then let the chips fall where they may.The judiciary is filled with liberal wannabes seeking their 15 minutes of fame while the country is held hostage to their self-aggrandizement.Legislature and executive branches, tell the judiciary to go jump in the lake!David Saenz, FredericksburgPolling flawDoesn’t anyone see the 800-pound gorilla in the room here? As Bexar County Elections Administrator Jacquelyn Callanen seemingly stated in court, she cannot force the precincts to inventory and count the provisional ballots prior to them being counted at the central office.Hypothetically, if I were a poll worker and I place 10,000 provisional ballots in a bag to be delivered and counted at a central location, I would insist that two independent reviewers — in this case a Democrat and Republican polling official — verify the number of ballots placed in the bag, along with an officially signed affidavit by both election officials attesting that 10,0000 ballots were, in fact, placed in the bag to be securely delivered to the central office for verification.When the ballots arrive at the elections office, a clerk counts the ballots and ensures that the amount in the affidavit matches the number of provisional ballots in the delivery bag. In the security world, this procedure is known as the “chain of custody.”Historically and presently, Texas ranks as one of the lowest in voter participation. According to a 2016 survey, conducted by Northern Illinois University and titled “Cost of Voting in the American States,” Texas ranks fourth most difficult when it comes to voting convenance. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 included Texas as one of the Deep South states that fell under this law due to historically egregious voting discrimination. In 2013, the Supreme Court struck down a portion of the Voting Rights Act, claiming that voter suppression no longer exists. Changes to voting laws and procedures in Texas no longer required preclearance by federal officials.Fast-forward to the 2018 Congressional District 23 seat held by Republican Will Hurd, and challenged by Gina Ortiz Jones, and its lack of checks and balances. Callanen testified to state District Judge Stephani Walsh that she often does not receive a list of provisional voters from all precincts. This is a quintessential failure of voting security, which has the capability of malfeasance if not properly monitored. Not only is this an issue for my 23rd Congressional District, but other districts as well.Can someone say, “Houston, we’ve got a problem!”Rogelio Jimenez Jr., Van OrmyDid the right thingFollowing up on my commentary (“Board has a weapon to fight opioid crisis — approve it, Another View, Oct. 22), Texas is moving in the right direction in helping people struggling with opioid addiction.The state’s Medicaid Drug Utilization Review Board should be commended for recommending that three medication-assisted treatments to fight opioid dependency — Zubsolv, Bunavail and Vivitrol — receive preferred status in the Medicaid program.This decision will give Medicaid recipients access to medications that effectively and safely reduce opioid cravings and ease withdrawal symptoms. Most patients with private health insurance already have this access.The state’s overall goal should be open access to medication-assisted treatments. The Legislature can further expand and codify that access next year by passing a law that ensures Texans have access to the treatments they need, when and where they need them.Dr. Thomas R. Kosten, professor, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston

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