Vol 30, Issue 28 Print Issue

Pre-kindergarten students at the Dallas Independent School District's Cesar Chavez Learning Center.
Pre-kindergarten students at the Dallas Independent School District's Cesar Chavez Learning Center.

A New Perry vs. Doggett Education Money Fight?

Under a major new Obama administration initiative promoting early education, Texas is eligible for $308 million in federal money to fund full-day pre-kindergarten programs. But the money might never get here. 

The Week in the Rearview Mirror

The newest legal battle over voting rights in Texas could go either way in court, but for Attorney General Greg Abbott, it's a golden opportunity to square off with a Democratic administration in Washington, D.C., that is far from popular in Texas.

As the ozone rating in San Antonio continues its slow upward march, area officials are beginning to investigate whether oil and gas drilling in the Eagle Ford Shale has anything to do with it. But their efforts are fraught with complications. And they remain far from answers in what is sure to be a high-stakes debate over the environmental impact of one of the country’s newest and fastest-growing oil and gas development regions.

It has been just a year since Ted Cruz vanquished Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in a primary runoff, but the current darling of Texas Republicans is already getting a serious look from conservative voters in early presidential primary states.

For parents and educators who want less classroom time spent on state exams, hopes rest on recently passed legislation, but it comes with a challenge: Texas likely must first obtain waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

The co-chairs of the select committee considering the impeachment of UT System Regent Wallace Hall have formally asked that all relevant documents be preserved and all potential witnesses be free from "adverse employee action."

Requests for more information about the alleged discovery by Capitol law enforcement of visitors toting feces and urine produced little new evidence that could confirm or refute the Texas Department of Public Safety's reports that protesters brought the items to the Senate gallery in preparation for the contentious abortion debate on July 12.  

Political People and their Moves

Sen. Ken Paxton, R-McKinney, will give up his seat after just two years in the Senate for a shot at attorney general. He announced he is joining Republicans Dan Branch and Barry Smitherman in that primary next March. He was joined by almost a dozen conservative leaders and by 23 members of the Texas House, where he served before winning his Senate spot last year.

Branch, meanwhile, announced endorsements from several former deputies to current Attorney General Greg Abbott.

House Speaker Joe Straus, who pushed for money for water infrastructure this session, and Rep. Allan Ritter, R-Nederland, who carried the legislation, filed papers this week creating Water Texas, a new PAC that will raise money and campaign for passage of the water money on November's constitutional amendment ballot. A source familiar with their plans said Ritter will be treasurer and that Straus will take a leading role in raising money and attention for the water measure.

Another group, H2O4TEXAS, is also mounting a campaign in support of the water amendment. Its honorary co-chairs are Sens. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, and Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands.

Gregory Fenves will be the new executive vice president and provost of the University of Texas at Austin. He is currently dean of the engineering school at UT.

Ray Martinez is the new chancellor of WGU Texas, an online university launched in 2011. He was most recently the government relations officer at Texas A&M International University.

Deaths: George Mitchell, hailed as the developer of The Woodlands, the father of modern hydraulic fracking, as an environmentalist and philanthropist. He was 94.

Colin Coe, chief of staff to Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, after a bout with cancer. He was 63.