GOVERNMENT: State Agencies

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. 

Was 21CT Contract Built on Lie to Feds?

Former HHSC Inspector General Doug Wilson, left, and his former second-in-command, Jack Stick.
Former HHSC Inspector General Doug Wilson, left, and his former second-in-command, Jack Stick.

When the Texas Health and Human Services Commission asked the federal government for $18 million to foot most of the bill for new Medicaid fraud tracking software, it assured Washington counterparts the deal had been competitively bid. That was not true.

Investigators Got Badges; Taxpayers Got the Bill

A photo of one of the $80 badges ordered by Jack Stick (left) when he was HHSC deputy inspector general.
A photo of one of the $80 badges ordered by Jack Stick (left) when he was HHSC deputy inspector general.

Emblems of Jack Stick’s days as the state health agency's deputy inspector general remain: roughly 300 high-dollar badges he designed and ordered for his investigators at a cost to taxpayers of $36,000.

Agriculture Commissioner Grants Amnesty to Cupcakes

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller declares cupcake amnesty at a press conference on Jan. 12, 2015.
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller declares cupcake amnesty at a press conference on Jan. 12, 2015.

In his first official act as Agriculture Commissioner, Sid Miller granted full amnesty to cupcakes. Miller was seeking to reassure Texas parents that it's legal to bring cupcakes and other treats to school — and that he'll protect that right.