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Americans Will Continue to Pay Taxes on Hygiene Products

By Ava Motes

A “hygiene tax removal” bill that was proposed on Saturday has been defeated by seven votes to two, ultimately leaving the current 6.25% sales tax placed on hygiene products in effect.

“Sanitation and hygiene is a basic human necessity,” said Chloe McBride, author of Bill Proposal 28. “It is a shame that poorer people cannot afford the things critical to their health.”

McBride’s argument against inhibiting taxation has been around for decades, calling to mind American grievances dating back to the Revolutionary War. Debate over the taxation of hygiene products in particular came to a head on Thursday when Nevada joined 10 other states in repealing taxes placed on feminine sanitary products. This tax has been dubbed “the pink tax” and has been criticized for placing an unnecessary burden, and even barrier, on women managing their physical welfare. While many advocates for tax reform in Nevada have rejoiced in the recent repealment of this tax, this remains unaddressed on the national scale. The struggle against “unfair taxation without representation,” is far from over, according to McBride, who asserted that people of lower socioeconomic status face daily hardships that policy-makers can never truly understand.

While other voters could agree with the humanitarian concern driving McBride’s proposal, other committee members such as Lillian Sethre-Brink expressed concern that the presentation of the issue favored altruism over economic logistics. “The hygiene products falling under this bill can all be purchased for under 30 dollars, so a 6 percent tax reduction is arbitrary,” said Sethre-Brink, who felt that the bill looked nice on paper but would not make a substantial difference for consumers.

Sethre-Brink’s point drew attention to the vague nature of McBride’s proposal, sparking further debate. Committee-member Catherine Wismer joined the opposition, arguing that the proposition was “fundamentally flawed [and] the entire bill contradicts itself.” She was referring to section III of the bill, which imposed penalty fines on businesses that refused to remove the tax. It is ultimately the government that determines taxes and places them on individual products, not businesses themselves. As a result, businesses can independently alter the prices of products, but do not have the ability to defy government tax specifications. Wismer’s argument invalidated the entire section of the bill, and thus placed it on a trajectory to be defeated.

Wismer also pointed out that “the bill will target independent businesses and hurt our economy as opposed to helping the impoverished.” This argument convinced the remainder of the committee to oppose the bill, even in spite of proposed amendments to the phrasing of Section III. Although the bill did not pass in the end, McBride held little animosity. McBride maintained that affordable sanitation is a vital determinant of an individual’s quality of life, but said “I can see everybody’s point of view.” McBride recognized that her proposition had some fundamental flaws, but intends to continue her work to “make sure that necessities are not considered a commodity.”

2018-11-10T13:13:04+00:00November 10th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Mid-Semester Announcements

Calling all YG students and parents! We have some important mid-semester announcements for all of you! Our District Conferences are quickly approaching so continue reading for our updates.

Students: Check your email for our pre-conference survey! Fill this out by November 14th and you’ll be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card! Three students will be chosen for this prize. You don’t want to miss out in this giveaway!

Parents: Check your email over the weekend for a reminder to complete the parental authorization form to confirm your student’s registration. The State Office needs your authorization before your student’s District Conference!

Judicial Section Participants: Check the Judicial Section of our website for updates to the Judicial Case, Rules of Evidence, and answered clarification questions. It’s incredibly important you read over this information so you’re up to date with our Judicial materials prior to your District Conference!

Returning CONA Participants: We have extended the deadline for students interested in participating in CONA in 2019. The deadline for returning CONA students, meaning you have participated in CONA before (not YG), is now November 7th.

2018-10-26T16:24:19+00:00October 26th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Law: A Profession of Service

Have you ever considered a career as an attorney? Have you ever wondered what types of career paths you can follow as an attorney? Are you looking for inspiration to join the legal profession? Look no further! Our partners at Austin Bar Association and Austin Young Lawyer’s Association’s Leadership Academy have put together a documentary exploring the different ways you can become part of the legal field and have provided us with some insight from one of their chairs, Meghan Kempf. On behalf of Texas YG, we greatly appreciate your support for our program!

https://vimeo.com/289990931

Password: LAW

This year a group of 25 attorneys were selected to participate in the Austin Bar Association and Austin Young Lawyer’s Association’s Leadership Academy. As part of their group project they created a short film documentary titled Law: A Profession of Service with the goal to inspire future leaders with an interest in pursuing careers as attorneys. The judges and attorneys in the film include:  Honorable Robert Pitman, Honorable Wallace Jefferson, Honorable Laura Livingston, Dr. Sarah Weddington, Senator Kirk Watson, Berry Crowley, Frank King, and Dirk Jordan.  Each of these leaders have had a significant impact on different local, national, and international communities through their legal work.

One of the 2018 Leadership Academy’s chairs and former 2016 participant in the program is Meghan Kempf. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2008 and St. Mary’s University School of Law in 2012. We asked her a few questions on what inspired her to serve with her law degree and continue to serve in her career. She was the 2018 recipient of the Austin Young Lawyer’s Outstanding Young Lawyer’s award and is currently Staff Counsel at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC).

What type of work do you do with HHSC?  

“I work on the policy team in the Office of the Chief Counsel for HHSC, advise the HHSC staff on the meaning of relevant laws and assist in interpreting legislation for public assistance programs. I primarily work in the areas of women’s health, family violence services, and Medicaid service delivery for children in state conservatorship.”

What was your first job out of law school?

“My first job after graduation was an Equal Justice Works Fellow for Family Violence Prevention Services, Inc. in San Antonio. They fund legal aid projects nationwide to serve unmet needs in local communities. My fellowship focused on providing advocacy for survivors of domestic violence and education resources to community partners, including law enforcement and direct service providers.”

As an attorney, why do you think it is important to serve?

“Attorneys have a unique ability to help people understand and utilize the laws that their representatives have created to govern their lives. To enable people to reach their full potential and dignity is a true privilege and helps our communities to progress to include everyone.”

Do you think that youth involved in the YMCA YG programs can start serving while pursuing a career in politics or as an attorney?

“Absolutely, serving in a representative capacity is the very definition of serving others. The focus on service helps us to remember the true purpose of representation and community discourse, and the value of brining multiple viewpoints to the table.”

 Watching the video, Law: A Profession of Service, what inspiration do you take from it and what do you think the students can take from it?

“Watching the video reminds me of all the different ways a person can be inspired to join the legal profession. There are so many diverse ways to serve and needs to be met in the community. For the students, find something that is your passion and there will be many opportunities to serve and pursue a meaningful career.”

On behalf of the 2018 Leadership Academy Class, I invite you to watch our film, Law: A Profession of Service, to see if you draw inspiration to serve others and see the impact you can have in your pursuit of a career in the legal profession.

We are proud that the YMCA Youth and Government programs are going to share these words of wisdom with the incredible children in their programs and hope to see them develop into leaders with a passion for service to others as they follow their dreams.

2018-10-22T16:40:13+00:00October 22nd, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Volunteer Appreciation Event 2018

This past Friday, September 28th, we celebrated our awesome volunteers with our Volunteer Appreciation Event! We enjoyed great food from Threadgills, great music from Jr. Nash, and great company from all who joined us. Thank you to all who participated! Want to volunteer with us? Fill out our interest form here: https://www.tfaforms.com/4687778

2018-10-01T16:09:34+00:00October 1st, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Meet Your Program Coordinator!

Meet Mikayla Mutscher, your Texas YG Program Coordinator! Mikayla is a current senior at the University of Texas at Austin studying Corporate Communication with a minor in Business Foundations. She joined the Texas YG state office in August and is excited to expand her professional experience through the program.

What drew you to Texas Youth and Government?

When I first heard about Texas Youth and Government, I immediately knew I wanted to be involved. I think this program is critical for middle school and high school students because it not only teaches them about government, but also how to be a more confident and independent person. Education about the function of government, and especially how to vote, is so important in today’s society and I believe this starts with our youth. Additionally, this program provides students with the confidence to express their opinions, the knowledge to communicate effectively, and the independence to explore societal issues they are passionate about.

What other internships have you had throughout college?

I interned with Susan G. Komen Austin as an Operations Intern in 2017 and with Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union as an Operations Intern this past summer (2018).

When you’re not busy with school and Texas YG, what do you do in your free time?

I volunteer with Susan G. Komen Austin on the Race for the Cure committee, I am a first-year student mentor for communication students at The University of Texas at Austin, I attend the Texas Longhorn football games, I play fetch with my pug puppy, and I enjoy trying new restaurants around Austin.

Share 3 fun facts about you.

I have two half-siblings, ages 4 and 8; I played the clarinet for 8 years throughout middle school and high school; and something on my bucket list is to travel to all 50 states!

Thank you for sharing, Mikayla! We’re very excited to have you on the Texas YG team.

2018-09-21T12:37:32+00:00September 21st, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

School Profile: Fort Bend High School Delegation

In honor of the 2018-2019 program kicking off this fall, we’ve featured some of our YG clubs and their exciting accomplishments on our blog. Our final high school club in our profile series: Fort Bend High School Delegation in the Houston District! This club is unique in that it is not attached to one high school, and is made up of primarily home school students! Thanks to Ms. Amy Parkins for sharing her club’s experiences.

As an advisor, what initially drew you to YG? What keeps you motivated to support your students in the program?

I actually participated in YG as a high school student, so I was happy to take on that roll at my Y since I have positive memories from my high school experience. Now that I have been an advisor for some time, I would say that the students are what keep me motivated! I am constantly amazed by the students in my club. Their knowledge, speaking skills, leadership skills, and most importantly their character qualities make it a joy to be part of this program.

Share some of your club’s proudest YG-related accomplishments.

Our club’s most recent accomplishments come from our trial court teams. At the 2017 state conference we had the #1 trial court team as well as the #1 judge. That team went to the National Judicial Competition and placed 7th. At the 2018 state conference we had teams place 3rd in District Court, 2nd in County Court, and also had a judge placed 3rd in District Court. The 3rd place team went on to the National Judicial Competition where they placed 3rd in the nation. It has been exciting to watch our judicial students get rewarded for their hard work!

What topics are your students most interested in?

The students in my club will get excited about any topic they are able to debate. Our judicial group always enjoys when they get a chance to argue a murder trial.

What are some of the club’s goals for the 2018-2019 program year?

We would like to have a candidate from our club this year, and have a trial court team qualify for NJC.

Thanks for sharing, Amy! We’re so proud of your successes and can’t wait to see your accomplishments this year!

2018-09-19T13:51:02+00:00September 19th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Happy Constitution Day!

Happy Constitution Day, Texas YG!! Today, September 17, 2018, marks the 231st anniversary of the end of the Constitutional Convention and signing of the U.S. Constitution in 1787. Thirty-nine delegates from twelve states signed this document which established the U.S. system of government as we know it today. Signers included George Washington and James Madison of Virginia, Alexander Hamilton of New York, and Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania. Our Constitution is the foundation of our Texas Youth and Government Program, as we strive to teach our students the inter working aspects of our legislative, executive, and judicial branches. Our Texas YG students not only study our governmental process outlined by the Constitution, they also serve as elected officials, judges, attorneys, lobbyists, and legislators. Additionally, our media students are able to exercise their First Amendment freedoms, granted in the Bill of Rights, with coverage of other delegates’ activities.

On behalf of the Texas YG state office, we ask you to join us in supporting our students in the spirit of Constitution Day through our fundraising campaign. Please visit our donate page to select your level of contribution to our valuable Texas YG program. Our festive donation levels will leave you feeling as official as our Constitutional Delegates.

Your gift will help our civic education and leadership training reach over 2,000 middle and high school students and over 160 school clubs throughout the state of Texas. Your generosity will provide financial assistance to these students and allow them to attend our district and state conferences and enhance their knowledge and leadership skills. We sincerely appreciate your support for the Texas Youth and Government Program and our students across the state.

2018-09-17T15:55:02+00:00September 17th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

School Profile: Creekview High School

In honor of the 2018-2019 program year kicking off this fall, we’ll be featuring some of our YG clubs and their exciting accomplishments on our blog over the next few weeks. Next up in our school profile series: Creekview High School in the Dallas District! Thanks to Mr. Jonathan Ray for sharing his and his club’s experiences.

As an advisor, what initially drew you to YG? What keeps you motivated to support your students in the program?

It’s hard to find competitive opportunities locally for Mock Trial and especially Moot Court (what YG calls Appellate). Competing usually involves out of state travel, which is cost prohibitive for some students and limits the number of students who are able to participate.

Share some of your club’s proudest YG-related accomplishments.

We’ve had Appellate teams qualify for Nationals every year (2nd in the nation one year), Mock Trial 4th place at Nationals, State Champion Appellate, and State Chief Justice.

What topics are your students most passionate about?

Mock Trial students prefer criminal trials. Appellate students love arguing the 1st and 4th Amendments.

What are some of the club’s goals for the 2018-2019 program year?

To qualify at least 2 teams for Nationals!

Creekview High School’s club currently has about 50 students in Trial and Appellate divisions. We hope to see you at Nationals this year, Creekview!

2018-09-10T13:52:01+00:00September 10th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

School Profile: Midland Lee High School

In honor of the 2018-2019 program year kicking off this fall, we’ll be featuring some of our YG clubs and their exciting accomplishments on our blog over the next few weeks.  Next up in our new school profile series:  Lee High School in the Midland District!  Thanks to Mrs. Janet Reed for sharing her and her club’s experiences.

As an advisor, what initially drew you to YG?  What keeps you motivated to support your students in the program?

I love watching the kids get up in front of people and talk about things they are passionate about. I have seen shy, quiet students blossom and become their own advocates. Our first trial team there was a sophomore and senior attorney who didn’t know each other and were worlds apart in their personalities. I saw them sitting next to each other talking and sharing music in between rounds. YAG builds friendships and gives students and advisors an opportunity to grow in knowledge and admiration for the next generation.

Share some of your club’s proudest YG-related accomplishments.

In the last few years we had a student who transitioned to MUN because of a lack of legislative slots. He was elected the Secretary General the following year. Two years ago one of our Senators was elected President Pro Tem. And last year Lainey Wilson, Media delegate, was elected the Broadcast Producer for the upcoming year.

We are the ONLY school in District 1 that currently participates. Going into this school year, we have 19 returning students. In Midland, the freshman students attend a separate school which unfortunately makes it difficult for them to participate with us, so we pull students from the 10th-12th grades. We currently have students in Legislative, State Affairs Forum, Trial Court, and Media. The club has been in existence I think since the 1980s, and I have personally been involved since 2010. Our students are involved in Choir, Band, Theater Arts, and Debate and have interests that go far beyond the scope of Youth and Government. The motto they chose for themselves is “Small but Mighty.” I think it exemplifies their desire to make their mark at the State Conference and hope that in the future the smaller delegations will be more fairly represented and not overshadowed.

What topics are your students most passionate about?

Our members are passionate about trying to prevent censorship of free speech on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, especially when it comes to censoring more conservative views and values. Other topics of interest include abortion, gun rights, and immigration reform.

What are some of the club’s goals for the 2018-2019 program year?

We have several goals we have set for ourselves. Even though we are a small club, we want to show the school how fun it can be to expand your minds and have fun doing it. We want to be able to discuss controversial topics and have plenty of knowledge to be able to hold a conversation about those topics. This will help us to grow and compete better than the previous year. Growth is on the students’ minds. As noted, we are the only school in our District that participates! We want to expand and bring more people into the program. We also have a goal to grow together more as a delegation and bring the different areas together in whatever way we can.

We love these goals!  Thanks, Midland!

2018-08-16T08:47:28+00:00August 16th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

School Profile: North Central Texas Academy

In honor of the 2018-2019 program year kicking off this fall, we’ll be featuring some of our YG clubs and their exciting accomplishments on our blog over the next few weeks.  Next up in our new school profile series:  North Central Texas Academy in the Fort Worth District!  Thanks to Mrs. Debbie Talley for sharing her and her club’s experiences.

As an advisor, what initially drew you to YG?  What keeps you motivated to support your students in the program?

Youth and Government provides a hands on program for students to gain a better understanding of democracy and its governmental processes. It is very important to me that our students become amazing citizens that are active in the democratic process.

Share some of your club’s proudest YG-related accomplishments.

At North Central Texas Academy, our YG club has enjoyed an amazing tenure. We have had several students who have earned Distinguished Delegate over the years. Two students have served as Senate President Pro Tem and also attended National Leadership (CONA) in North Carolina.  The NCTA YG club has ranged from 10-25 students at the high school level and 5-10 students at the junior high level. We have participated in YG since 2000-2001. Our students have participated in Media, Legislative, and State Affairs program areas. Youth and Government is an amazing program giving students an opportunity to grow and find their passion as citizens. It has been awesome to see their growth as they participate and learn.

What topics are your students most passionate about?

Like a lot of people, students seem most concerned about those topics that have affected them or someone they know. I challenge them to research and talk to those around them for ideas.

What are some of the club’s goals for the 2018-2019 program year?

For 2018-2019, it is important to recruit students who are interested in protecting our freedoms and want to learn respectful debate. As a society, we must promote a dialogue that respects each individual citizen’s rights.

Thanks, NCTA!

2018-08-14T09:43:09+00:00August 14th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments
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