Vol 31, Issue 17 Print Issue

The Week in the Rearview Mirror

In the wake of this week's botched execution in Oklahoma, it was reported that Texas has a stockpile of the same drug — midazolam — that has raised questions about the Sooner State's procedures. Texas does not currently use that drug in its executions, but nothing in the law prevents a switch at any point in the future.

State officials have begun to weigh in on the Texas-Oklahoma land dispute with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson joined other lawmakers for a press conference on the border this week.

Gov. Rick Perry quietly rededicated himself to his faith by being baptized sometime in recent weeks in the same creek in which Sam Houston was baptized in 1854. The only spectators were Perry's close friends and family.

UT System Regent Alex Cranberg acknowledged that he recorded discussions during an August closed-door meeting of the board of regents. After the recording activity was reported, Cranberg later explained he was trying to "be better able to discuss these remarks later with my fellow Regents (and eventually even University historians)."

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Wendy Davis this week proposed a reduced emphasis on standardized testing and focusing more on local control when it comes to accountability measures. The campaign of her GOP rival, Greg Abbott, responded that the proposal was like Abbott's but "lacks any substance or detail."

The head of the Democratic Governors Association downplayed his party's chances of winning the governor's race this year in Texas. That spurred a feisty pushback from the Davis campaign against what it described as "uninformed opinions of a Washington, D.C., desk jockey."

In the month running up to a deadline to get coverage under the Affordable Care Act, the number of Texas enrolled in the federal health insurance marketplace more than doubled — from 295,000 to 733,757. That growth was the largest in the nation.

Texas' largest power company, Energy Future Holdings, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as it tries to deal with some $40 billion in debt. But the move is not expected to affect the electric grid.

Disclosure: The University of Texas is a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune. Energy Future Holdings was a corporate sponsor in 2009 and 2011-12. A complete list of Texas Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

Political People and their Moves

Guy Bailey has been named sole finalist for the position of president of the newly formed University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Bailey is a former president at Texas Tech University and the University of Alabama.

Elizabeth “Christy” Jack of Fort Worth was named chairwoman of the Office of Violent Sex Offender Management Governing Board for a term to expire at the pleasure of the governor. Jack has been a board member since Sept. 1, 2011. In addition, Katie McClure of Kingwood was named to the board for a term to expire Feb. 1, 2015.

House Speaker Joe Straus appointed 11 members to a joint interim committee that will study the effect of recent changes to the Texas Open Beaches Act. Rep. Joe Deshotel, D-Beaumont, will co-chair the panel. Members of the House Land and Resource Management Committee will also sit on the committee, as will Reps. Greg Bonnen, R-Friendswood, and Geanie Morrison, R-Victoria.

Susie Strzelec, general counsel for state Sen. Royce West, is leaving for state Sen. Jane Nelson's office, where she will serve as general counsel and finance staffer.

Martin Golando is stepping down as chief of staff for state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer to serve as general counsel for the Mexican American Legislative Caucus and to start his own legal practice focused on legislative procedure and election law. He has been chief of staff for the San Antonio Democrat since 2008.

Travis Considine, formerly of the David Dewhurst campaign shop, has hired on as deputy press secretary for Gov. Rick Perry.

Matt Glazer has been hired as the new executive director for the Austin Young Chamber of Commerce. Glazer is a former editor of the Burnt Orange Report and former executive director of Progress Texas.

Deaths: Robert Heard, who was one of the people shot in the 1966 UT tower shooting while covering the event for The Associated Press. He also covered Texas state government and sports for the AP and later was a Capitol correspondent for the San Antonio Express-News. He was 84.

Pete Snelson, who represented Midland in the Texas House in the 57th Legislature and the Texas Senate in the 59th and 61st through 67th Legislature. He was 91.