• Rick Perry vetoes funding for Public Integrity Unit

    Funding for state’s Public Integrity Unit disappeared last week with a wave of Gov. Rick Perry’s hand. Now, some say the only way the unit can survive is if Travis County picks up the $3.5 million yearly tab.

    Perry used a line-item veto to kill funding for the unit, housed in Travis County and the prime investigator of corruption by public officials and fraud. State funding for the unit will cease August 31 and not be renewed for at least another two years.

    The unit’s jurisdiction is statewide, meaning it has the authority to investigate certain cases in other counties. More than half of its pending cases, 280 out of 400, have a Travis County connection. It currently has 34 employees.

    Travis County commissioners heard testimony from the unit’s leadership Monday but did not decide on whether to fund the unit. Commissioners said they would meet in two weeks to take action.

     “It’s a financial surprise to all of the taxpayers that have to foot the bill,” said Travis County Commissioner Ron Davis.

    Davis said since the unit investigates corruption cases across the entire state, he wants to look for a way to cost-share funding the unit with other counties. 

    By issuing his veto, Perry made true on his promise to cut funding for the unit if Rosemary Lehmberg, the embattled Travis County district attorney, did not resign from her post. Republican lawmakers have hammered Lehmberg, a democrat, for being convicted of a DWI in April and insist she resign.

    If she resigns, Perry will appoint her replacement. Lehmberg has said although she will not resign, she will not seek reelection and seek professional help.

    Lehmberg made her first public appearance since her DWI conviction at the meeting and upheld the unit’s role to investigate corruption in Texas.

    “The work remains. The governor’s veto does not affect responsibility,” Lehmberg said.

  • Texas Senate passes stricter abortion measures

    Women seeking an abortion in Texas may have a more regulated experience after the state Senate’s approval of new rules on Tuesday for facilities and doctors performing the procedure. 

    In a 20-10 vote late Tuesday night, Republican senators overpowered Democrats and passed stricter abortion measures. SB 5, by state Sen. Glenn Hegar, R-Katy, passed with only one Democrat voting in favor. The bill will now go to the Texas House of Representatives for consideration.

    New measures include requiring abortions be performed in an outpatient surgical center rather than an office or clinic, insisting doctors closely monitor effects of abortion-inducing drugs and requiring doctors have admitting privileges at a hospital nearby in case complications arise from the procedure.

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry added abortion to the list of special session items earlier this month.

    Critics of the bill say it will make it harder for women to obtain abortions in Texas, but proponents say it will make the procedure safer.

  • The Morning Texan: Clear skies, Juneteenth and more

    Wednesday's skies will have a few clouds but it will be mostly sunny, according to the National Weather Service. This is following Tuesday's rainy and cloudy day.

    June 19 is Juneteenth Day, the day slaves in Texas were set free. Forty-two of the states recognize this day as a state holiday. While Wednesday may be Juneteenth, UT had its celebration a day early. Check out The Daily Texan's article here. 

    Here is some morning reading:

    Yesterday's most read article: It is eight years since he helped UT win the national title, and Longhorn Tarell Brown still has his "DBU" legacy

    In case you missed it: Yesterday, Seton announced they had recieve the final approval needed to move forward with building the teaching hospital that will be part of the UT Dell Medical School. They also announced intentions to invest $295 million in the teaching hospital.

    What you have to read: There are still three, big, landmark Supreme Court cases without decisions. Fisher is one of them. Check out The Daily Texan's roundup of some of the dramatic unannounced cases.