THE BIG CONVERSATION:
Many Texans may be in need of some good news today.
Here’s some: Attorney General Greg Abbott has written an opinion saying, “We believe a court would likely conclude that the Board of Pardons and Paroles is authorized to recommend that the Governor grant a posthumous pardon.”
This is welcome news for the family of Tim Cole, who was exonerated of a sexual assault conviction in a Travis County court last year, but had died in prison many years prior.
Gov. Rick Perry did not pardon Cole last session, citing a lack of authority from lawmakers to pardon a man after his death.
Previously, Abbott had ruled the governor did not have authority to grant posthumous pardons due to that person's inability to accept it.
However, a recent shift in U.S. Supreme Court precedent allowed him to conclude that Perry could, in fact, grant a pardon to someone who had died.
In a statement following the release of Abbott’s decision, Perry said, ““I’m pleased to learn that the Attorney General’s ruling has opened the door to the ability to grant posthumous pardons. I have spoken with Tim Cole’s mother about this good news, which finally gives his family the opportunity to officially clear his name. I hope the Board of Pardons and Paroles will act swiftly in sending a recommendation to my desk so that justice can finally be served.”
• Is getting a coach fired the new political book tour? Former SMU football star and ESPN Analyst Craig James, whose complaint on behalf of his son led to the firing of Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach, is telling people he’d consider making a run as a Republican for U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s seat after she retires. He’ll dip his toe in the political waters when he is the keynote speaker at a Texas Public Policy Foundation Luncheon in Austin next week.
• Texas cities have their work cut out for them. The Environmental Protection Agency, as expected, proposed lowering smog standards from 75 parts per billion to between 60 and 70 parts per billion. This will make meeting clean air standards difficult for major cities around the state.
• Check out the new digs. U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison will be in San Antonio this afternoon to open a new campaign office.
"If you don't want me in the job, fire me. But until then, shut up." — Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele to his Republican critics.
Cracked — The Texas Observer
Immigrant legalization viewed as a boon — San Antonio Express-News
City officials around the state gear up for attempt to remove jail time from Open Meetings Act — Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Texas faces a huge funding gap on transportation, agency chief warns — The Dallas Morning News
Fighting for Security — The Texas Tribune