E-News from the Office of Senator Van de Putte
I hope this e-news finds you doing well. I am writing to send you the latest update on the ongoing child-custody case concerning the Yearning for Zion Ranch in Eldorado. Additionally, you will find information on voter laws and the Texas franchise tax.
Eldorado YFZ Update
All children involved in the Eldorado case have now been moved into foster care across the state, where they receive healthy food and medical care. The Department of State Health Services says the overall health of the children is good.
The Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) will do everything possible to keep siblings together in foster care; minors with children will also be kept together. While most of the mothers who have been staying in the shelters must be separated from children as they go into foster care, plans are being devised to allow and encourage visitation. Children 12 months and younger are with their mothers in the licensed residential childcare facilities.
In addition, all foster care providers who may be caring for these children received information about how to accommodate their unique needs, including religious practices, food and clothing.
Once the children are in their new temporary homes, caseworkers will evaluate the education achievement and needs of each child. As with all children in foster care, these children will get psychiatric evaluations and receive whatever services they need to adjust to their new situation.
My colleagues and I continue to work to ensure the welfare of the children involved; and I will keep you abreast of further developments. You may also visit the Department of Family and Protective website for more information at: www.dfps.state.tx.us.
Supreme Court Ruling - Voter ID
On Monday, the Supreme Court upheld a state law in Indiana, requiring its residents to produce photo identification when voting. As you may recall similar legislation was initiated in the Texas legislature this past session, which my Democratic colleagues and I successfully blocked. In response to this ruling, Lt. Gov. Dewhurst has already announced that he looks forward to re-introducing similar legislation in Texas.
This legislation would force voters to produce multiple forms of identification, including photo ID, at polling sites before being allowed to cast a ballot. Proponents of the legislation claim that it is to prevent voter fraud, but they have failed to produce even a single case of fraud (i.e. voter impersonation) that this measure would prevent. Meanwhile, if enacted, it would create insurmountable barriers to voting for low-income and elderly voters who do not drive, and therefore do not have licenses.
I am saddened by the Supreme Court's decision; and I assure you my Democratic colleagues and I will oppose this legislation again. Legislation of this nature denies residents their absolute right to vote. If we stop fighting they will prevail. I pledge to fight for all Texans' right to vote.
Revised Texas Franchise Tax
The revised Texas franchise tax is imposed on each taxable entity in Texas (those doing business in Texas). The Texas Legislature recently made revisions, by changing the tax base and the tax rate and extending coverage to more businesses. As such, about 200,000 new entities will have to file franchise tax reports for the first time this year.
Taxpayers should have already received notices, with information needed to file franchise tax reports electronically. Forms to report the revised Texas franchise tax based on the new margin calculation are now available on the state Comptroller's website at: www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/taxforms/05-forms.html. (Taxpayers who prefer to mail their report can still take advantage of the online forms.)
Due to the complexity of the revised tax, the Comptroller's office has extended the original May 15 filing deadline by 30 days. This means the 5% penalty will be waived. The Comptroller's office advises that franchise tax reports must be submitted on the correct forms or they cannot be processed. Some outside vendors have been selling tax preparation software that does not meet the requirements of the processing system.
For more information, please visit: www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/franchise or call 1-800-251-1381.
Please don't hesitate to contact my office if you have any questions.
HOW TO CONTACT SENATOR VAN DE PUTTE
700 N. St. Mary's St. #1725
San Antonio, Texas 78205
(210) 733-6605 - fax