Vol 31, Issue 24 Print Issue

The Week in the Rearview Mirror

The furor continued over Gov. Rick Perry's remarks at a San Francisco event where he compared homosexuality to alcoholism. In an attempt to put the controversy behind him, Perry on Thursday admitted he "stepped right in it" and said he should have called instead on the need for "a really respectful and tolerant country."

The state's top leadership — Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Speaker Joe Straus — authorized the Department of Public Safety to spend an additional $1.3 million weekly on border security operations. DPS said it would not enforce immigration laws but would work with local and federal authorities to “deter and disrupt drug and human trafficking, and other border-related crimes.”

The Republican Party of Texas released its full party platform, close to two weeks after its adoption at the state convention in Fort Worth earlier this month. In addition to new, controversial language on gays and immigration, the platform also does things like call for the post of House speaker to become a statewide elected position.

Former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay returned to court Wednesday as prosecutors asked the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to reinstate convictions against him for money laundering and conspiracy.

The Texas Water Development Board released draft rules this week that offer Texans a clearer sense of how the board will prioritize and fund competing water supply projects. The rules will help determine how $2 billion in upcoming water projects will be spent.

A Texas Railroad Commission policy of denying reporters access to agency staff was in the news after a report from The Associated Press on the practice. Among those subsequently expressing discomfort with the policy were House Energy Resources Chairman Jim Keffer, R-Eastland, and Democratic Railroad Commission candidate Steve Brown.

Political People and their Moves

Ernie McClendon of Livingston was named judge of the 258th Judicial District Court in Polk, San Jacinto and Trinity Counties by Gov. Rick Perry for a term to expire at the next general election.

Robert Trapp of Coldspring was named San Jacinto County Criminal District Attorney by Perry, effective July 1, 2014, for a term to expire at the next general election.

Ida Louise “Weisie” Steen of San Antonio was appointed by Perry to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission for a term to expire Nov. 15, 2019.

William L. Kibler was named sole finalist in the Sul Ross State University presidential search. He is currently vice president for student affairs at Mississippi State University, and was chosen from a field of nearly 40 candidates, according to an announcement from the Texas State University System.

Dan Sharphorn took over permanently as vice chancellor and general counsel to the University of Texas System this week after having served in the role on an interim basis for the past year. He joined the UT System in 2007 as associate vice chancellor and deputy general counsel.

Bryan W. McMath has joined Sledge Fancher, PLLC as a legislative consultant where he will focus on natural resources issues. He was state Sen. Kel Seliger's chief of staff for more than six years and has also worked on the staff of state Sen. Kip Averitt.

Victoria Ramirez was named director of the Bullock Texas State History Museum. She had been deputy director since early 2013 and had served as interim director for the past six months.

Deaths: Daniel McCool, member of the State Republican Executive Committee from the southeast Houston area. He was 51.

Disclosure: Texas State University System and the University of Texas are corporate sponsors of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Texas Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.