Capital Highlights

Week of April 11-17, 2016

Supreme Court rules in ‘one person, one vote’ case 
AUSTIN — On a unanimous vote of 8-0, the U.S. Supreme Court on April 4 affirmed that states may continue to draw legislative districts based on total population.
In the Texas case, Evenwel v. Abbott, the question presented to the high court on appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas was whether the one-person, one-vote principle of the Fourteenth Amendment creates a “judicially enforceable right ensuring that the districting process does not deny voters an equal vote.”

Week of April 4-10, 2016

Senate Finance chair confirms behavioral health budget
AUSTIN — The Texas Health and Human Services Commission will have some $6.7 billion to fund the state’s behavioral health services efforts during the 2016-2017 fiscal biennium.
Senate Finance Committee Chair Jane Nelson, at a March 30 meeting of the committee, confirmed the $6.7 billion, using figures provided by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and the 10-member Legislative Budget Board. In the 2014-2015 state budget the amount for behavioral health funding was an estimated $6.2 billion.

Week of March 28 - April 3, 2016

DPS chief reminds citizens to be vigilant
AUSTIN — Following news reports of coordinated, terroristic bomb attacks in Brussels, Belgium, on March 22, the Texas Department of Public Safety posted a reminder to Texans to remain vigilant and to report suspicious behaviors.
DPS Director Steven McCraw said ordinary Texans “play a crucial role in helping law enforcement protect the public from groups and lone-wolf actors intent on harming others.”

Week of March 21-27, 2016

Paxton seeks halt to regional haze rules
AUSTIN — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on March 18 asked an appeals court to prevent the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from implementing new regional haze regulations until a trial of the state’s pending lawsuit challenging the new rules. 
Paxton filed the 328-page motion in the New Orleans-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. 

Week of March 14-20, 2016

Full 5th Circuit to hear Texas voter ID case
AUSTIN — The entire U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals will review Texas’ controversial voter identification law.
A majority of the judges of the Fifth Circuit on March 9 voted in support of an “en banc” rehearing of oral arguments in Veasey v. Abbott, a case challenging the law. No date for the rehearing has been set.

Week of March 7-13, 2016

Cruz, Clinton emerge as winners in Texas primaries
AUSTIN — March 1 Super Tuesday election returns posted by the Texas Secretary of State’s Elections Division show 2.8 million (about 20 percent) of the state’s 14.2 million registered voters cast a ballot in the Republican Party Presidential Primary.
In the Democratic Party Presidential Primary, the statewide turnout was 1.4 million, or about 10 percent of the state’s registered voters.

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.