Capital Highlights

Week of Feb. 29-March 6, 2016

Court dismisses indictment against former governor
AUSTIN — Former Gov. Rick Perry is no longer facing criminal charges.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Feb. 24 ordered the dismissal of a 2014 felony indictment of Perry by a Travis County grand jury.
The two-count indictment alleged “abuse of official capacity” and “coercion of a public servant” related to Perry’s veto of the budget of the state’s Public Integrity Unit that then operated under the auspices of the Travis County District Attorney’s Office.

Week of Feb. 22-28, 2016

University president sets campus carry policies
AUSTIN — University of Texas at Austin President Gregory L. Fenves has adopted policies to implement Senate Bill 11, the campus handgun carry law that goes into effect on Aug. 1.

Week of Feb. 15-21, 2016

Supreme Court halts EPA pollution abatement rule
AUSTIN — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Feb. 9 heralded the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 order that put on hold a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule requiring power producers to cut back on the release of pollutants emitted mainly from coal-burning operations.

Week of Feb. 8-14, 2016

Governor, congressman seek details on border security cuts
AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott and U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-McAllen, are asking U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson for detailed information regarding border security cuts.

Week of Feb. 1-7, 2016

TxDOT awaits go-ahead signal for gridlock-reducing projects
AUSTIN — The Texas Department of Transportation on Jan. 27 reported that on average, Texas drivers in five of the state’s largest metropolitan areas lose about 52 hours and $1,200 annually due to traffic congestion. 
Upon approval by its oversight body, the Texas Transportation Commission, TxDOT plans to improve drive times and reduce costs through what it calls an accelerated $1.3 billion effort addressing gridlock in some of the state’s most congested areas.

Week of Jan. 25-31, 2016

Governor meets with Prime Minister Netanyahu
AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on Jan. 18 met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a business development tour in Israel.
Abbott said in a news release that the meeting was “to discuss Texas and Israel’s historic bond” and how he can further solidify their relationship. 
Abbott informed Netanyahu that Texas would “maintain its Iran divestiture policy” and that he would “seek new laws to strengthen Texas' prohibitions on the investment of public funds in Iran.”

Week of Jan. 18-24, 2016

Paxton files brief supporting religious non-profits
AUSTIN —- Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Jan. 11 filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of 20 states supporting the right of religious nonprofits to exercise religious beliefs. 

Week of Jan. 11-17, 2016

Governor proposes slate of amendments to U.S. Constitution
AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on Jan. 8 unveiled his “Texas Plan,” a document promoting the passage of nine constitutional amendments “to rein in the federal government and restore the balance of power between the States and the United States,” he said.
The amendments Abbott is proposing include:
- Prohibit Congress from regulating activity that occurs wholly within one state.
- Require Congress to balance its budget;

Week of Nov. 30 - Dec. 6, 2015

15 disaster-stricken counties to receive federal aid

AUSTIN — President Barack Obama on Nov. 25 ordered federal disaster aid to supplement Texas state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding during the period of Oct. 22-31.

President Obama’s action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in the counties of Bastrop, Brazoria, Caldwell, Comal, Galveston, Guadalupe, Hardin, Harris, Hays, Hidalgo, Liberty, Navarro, Travis, Willacy and Wilson.

Week of Nov. 23-29, 2015

Governor communicates stance on refugees to White House

AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on Nov. 16 wrote a letter to the White House, informing President Obama “the State of Texas will not accept any refugees from Syria in the wake of the deadly terrorist attack in Paris.”