Vol 31, Issue 32 Print Issue

The Week in the Rearview Mirror

State District Judge John Dietz on Thursday ruled the state's school finance system unconstitutional in a decision sure to reverberate through the November general election races. Dietz gave the Legislature until next July to find a remedy but it remains to be seen what will happen to the ruling on appeal.

Gov. Rick Perry did not let his legal travails keep him from re-introducing himself to voters in New Hampshire and South Carolina this past week. And he makes an appearance this weekend at the Americans for Prosperity's Defending the American Dream Summit in Dallas. He also made light of his indictments while on the stump, including putting T-shirts with his mug shot on sale.

Brandon Creighton was officially sworn in Tuesday as the new state Senator representing Southeast Texas' SD-4. On hand for the ceremony in the Texas House was Perry, his fellow advocate for state sovereignty.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis released on Tuesday released her full tax return for 2013, days after the campaign tried to limit its dissemination by the press. The return showed that Davis earned nearly $250,000 for the year, buoyed by a $132,000 payment for her soon-to-be-released memoir, Forgetting to be Afraid.

Saying she wants to expand Texas high schoolers’ access to technical job training programs, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis on Tuesday announced a plan to create a Career-Technical Coordinating Board. The proposal was the latest in a string of education proposals from the candidate.

The state of Texas on Tuesday announced a second lawsuit against Xerox, alleging that the former contractor failed to turn over client health records relating to its operation of the state Medicaid program.

Political People and their Moves

Craig Stoddart of Rockwall was named justice of the 5th Court of Appeals by Gov. Rick Perry for a term to expire at the next general election.

David Cabrales of Dallas was named by Perry to the Texas Economic Development Corporation for a term to expire at the pleasure of the governor.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst announced his appointments to a select committee set up to make recommendations on what constitutes a healthy balance in the state's Rainy Day Fund. Those appointees are: Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, co-chair; Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville; Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury; Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler; and John Whitmire, D-Houston.

House Speaker Joe Straus announced the hire of two new senior staff members in advance of the next legislative session:

•    Heather Fleming is the new senior health and human services policy advisor. She previously served as the health and human services budget analyst at House Appropriations and before that was former state Rep. Jim McReynolds' chief of staff.

•    Erika Akpan is the new senior business and regulatory affairs policy advisor. She most recently was state Sen. John Carona's legislative director. She also handled energy and telecommunications issues for the Senate Business and Commerce Committee.

Todd Kimbriel was named Deputy Executive Director of the Texas Department of Information Resources, effective Sept. 1. In this role, he will also function as the state's Deputy Chief Information Officer.

Ruth Guerra has left U.S. Rep. Sam Johnson's shop — where she was his press secretary — to become director of Hispanic Media for the Republican National Committee.