Vol 31, Issue 19 Print Issue

State Rep. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, insurance company president Gordy Bunch, former state Sen. Michael Galloway and state Rep. Steve Toth, R-The Woodlands, are rapidly approaching the May 10 special election for Senate District 4.
State Rep. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, insurance company president Gordy Bunch, former state Sen. Michael Galloway and state Rep. Steve Toth, R-The Woodlands, are rapidly approaching the May 10 special election for Senate District 4.

SD-4 Field Narrows to Two

Creighton and Toth are through to the runoff in the state Senate special election, and early voting in the May 27 runoff starts Monday.

The Week in the Rearview Mirror

Three days after a legislative committee said there were grounds to impeach University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall, the chairman of UT’s board of regents, Paul Foster, said Hall should resign.

In light of Gov. Rick Perry’s word of caution about raising tuition, the University of Texas System board of regents on Wednesday only approved tuition increases for out-of-state and health science campus students.

An attorney for Perry asked a judge to allow his witnesses to avoid passing through public areas en route to appearing before a grand jury looking at Perry's actions attempting to induce Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg to resign. The catch? The only possible route goes through Lehmberg's office.

House Speaker Joe Straus named nine legislators to a select committee on child protection. Chaired by state Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, the panel will study deaths due to neglect and abuse and make recommendations afterward. The members will also work with the Protect Our Kids Commission, which was created by legislation in 2013.

Robert Nelsen, who has served as president of the University of Texas-Pan American since 2010, announced Monday that he will be stepping down at the end of August.

A federal appeals court halted the Texas execution of Robert James Campbell just hours before he was to be put to death Tuesday based on questions about whether the 41-year-old inmate is mentally disabled. Campbell was set to be the first prisoner executed since the botched execution in Oklahoma last month.

Health officials canceled a multimillion-dollar contract with Xerox, and the state sued the contractor late last week amid allegations it erroneously doled out hundreds of millions of dollars for medically unnecessary Medicaid claims.

Texas' "sriracha delegation" on Monday made its long-awaited visit to California to woo the makers of the popular hot sauce, but it was no clearer at the conclusion of the visit what might come of it.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be in Austin on June 20 to give a keynote address at the Long Center, it was announced this week. Her appearance will come 10 days after the publication of her new book, Hard Choices, which looks back at her tenure as the country's top diplomat.

Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin is a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Texas Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

Political People and their Moves

Mary Anne Wiley has been named Gov. Rick Perry's new general counsel. She had served as deputy general counsel and director of criminal justice policy for the office since 2001 and replaces David Morales, who has accepted a position outside the governor's office.

Leslie Ward of Austin was named by Perry to the Texas Economic Development Corp. for a term to expire at the pleasure of the governor. Ward, a vice president of legislative affairs for AT&T Texas, was also named chairwoman of the corporation.

TCEQ Chairman Bryan W. Shaw was named to the EPA's Good Neighbor Environmental Board by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy for a term ending March 9, 2015. The board makes recommendations based on environmental infrastructure needs in the states along the border with Mexico.

Donna Warndof has been named Harris County's new director of the Office of Legislative Relations. She has more than 15 years of legislative experience, with stints at the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association, Occidental Petroleum, and as a lobbyist at the Austin lobbying firm of Adams and Zottarelli, where she represented clients including Bexar County and the Texas Conference of Urban Counties.

Mark Miner, a former communications director for Perry, has returned to McGuireWoods Consulting as senior vice president.

Betsy Madru, formerly state Sen. Kel Seliger's legislative director, has been hired by Waste Control Specialists. Her new position involves outreach to state officials. She began work on May 1.

Robert "Bob" Donohoe will become the Texas Medical Liability Trust's new president and CEO effective July 1. He is currently the organization's COO.

The UT System Board of Regents has approved the establishment of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Energy, Law and Business — a joint project of UT-Austin's School of Law and the McCombs School of Business.

Deaths: Sam W. Russell, who, as a Democrat, served in the Texas House representing Mount Pleasant from 1983 to 1992. He left the Legislature to serve as Gov. Ann Richards' legislative director. He later was an Austin-based lobbyist and was elected Titus County Judge in 2006. He was 68.

Disclosure: The Texas Medical Association and the University of Texas at Austin are corporate sponsors of The Texas Tribune. AT&T Texas was a corporate sponsor in 2009 and 2010 of the Tribune. A complete list of Texas Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.