GOVERNMENT: State Agencies

Terrell State Hospital is one of 10 state psychiatric hospitals.
Terrell State Hospital is one of 10 state psychiatric hospitals.

Terrell State Psychiatrists Resign After Accusations

Two psychiatrists at Terrell State Hospital resigned this week after they were accused of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars from a pharmaceutical company to use their state positions to promote the company’s products.

State Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, co-chair of the House Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations, is shown calling an executive session on May, 12, 2014.
State Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, co-chair of the House Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations, is shown calling an executive session on May, 12, 2014.

House Takes Step to Patch Pension Fund Hole

State workers would pay more into their retirement system but get pay raises to offset the cost under legislation that earned preliminary House approval Monday. 

House Takes Step to Patch Pension Fund Hole

State Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, co-chair of the House Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations, is shown calling an executive session on May, 12, 2014.
State Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, co-chair of the House Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations, is shown calling an executive session on May, 12, 2014.

State workers would pay more into their retirement system but get pay raises to offset the cost under legislation that earned preliminary House approval Monday. 

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Sid Miller Backed, Then Nixed, Ag Agency Remodel

Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller at Texas Republican Convention in Fort Worth, June 5th, 2014.
Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller at Texas Republican Convention in Fort Worth, June 5th, 2014.

Hand-scraped wood floors. Custom ceiling tile. A shower. Those items may not sound like upgrades a cash-strapped agency would need, and new Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller ultimately didn't think so, either. After initially supporting a big renovation at the agency, Miller decided to nix it, officials say.

Rules Hurt Family Violence Programs, Nelson Says

Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, during a Health and Human Services committee hearing on Feb. 19, 2013.
Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, during a Health and Human Services committee hearing on Feb. 19, 2013.

State regulations are unnecessarily holding up funds for shelters and programs that help victims of family violence, state Sen. Jane Nelson says. She wants to loosen the rules, even as she leads the charge to tighten other state contracting procedures. 

 

Film Groups Want Separate Funding for Video Games

Naveen Nattam (l) Sean Riley (r) play games during their lunch break at Twisted Pixel, a video game company in Austin. Texas is second in the nation for video game industry employment and promoting further growth with incentives and training.
Naveen Nattam (l) Sean Riley (r) play games during their lunch break at Twisted Pixel, a video game company in Austin. Texas is second in the nation for video game industry employment and promoting further growth with incentives and training.

Texas film heavyweights are asking lawmakers to create a separate funding strategy for video game incentives instead of continuing shared funding with film and television incentives. The video game lobby isn't ready for a split.

Racing Commission Still at Risk of Being Cut Off

State Senate Finance Chairwoman Jane Nelson R-Flower Mound, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick discussed the Senate's base budget plan at a Jan. 27, 2015, news conference.
State Senate Finance Chairwoman Jane Nelson R-Flower Mound, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick discussed the Senate's base budget plan at a Jan. 27, 2015, news conference.

Hell hath no fury like a Senate scorned, the head of the Texas Racing Commission found Wednesday when he tried to make peace with the Senate Finance Committee. The commission ignored lawmakers on a key racing vote, and its budget remains zeroed out. 

House Plan Would Plug Hole in Pension Fund

State Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, co-chair of the House Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations, is shown calling an executive session on May, 12, 2014.
State Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, co-chair of the House Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations, is shown calling an executive session on May, 12, 2014.

Texas House leaders unveiled a plan Tuesday to shore up the state's chronically underfunded retirement system for employees that requires workers to pay more into the system, but gives them a pay raise to offset the cost.