Vol 32, Issue 27 Print Issue

The Week in the Rearview Mirror

Days after an undocumented laborer was charged with the murder of a San Francisco woman, former Gov. Rick Perry called for federal funding to be pulled from so-called sanctuary cities — the common term for local governments that don't enforce federal immigration laws.

After a decade in the Texas House and fresh off his first session as chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee, state Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, announced he won’t seek re-election. Otto joins a group of experienced lawmakers who aren’t returning to the Legislature next session.

Texas collected less state sales tax revenue in June than it did in the same month a year earlier, ending a remarkable 62-month streak of growth, Comptroller Glenn Hegar said Wednesday. The state collected $2.2 billion in state sales taxes in June, down 1.4 percent compared with June 2014. Hegar said the drop “was expected due to the slowdown in the oil and gas mining sector.”

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller defended his new nutrition policy Wednesday, praising his department's decision to "abolish outdated and unneeded state mandates" and allow schools to install deep fryers and soda machines if they wish. Miller, who’s been in office for six months, spoke at the annual State of Agriculture address.

University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall was asked to leave a closed-door regents meeting Wednesday in which his lawsuit against UT Chancellor William McRaven was discussed. The regents later voted to urge Hall to drop his lawsuit, saying it could be “costly and an unnecessary distraction.”

The name of Attorney General Ken Paxton, already facing a potential indictment by the state for first-degree felony securities fraud, surfaced in a federal probe of a company in which he is an investor. Paxton owns at least 10,000 shares in Servergy, which is based in his hometown of McKinney.

A Granbury gay couple on Monday obtained a marriage license from the Hood County Clerk's office after filing a lawsuit against the clerk in federal court. The couple will move forward with the lawsuit until the clerk's office agrees to issue marriage licenses to all couples.

Ted Cruz said his campaign and the super PACs that support it raised about $10 million during the second quarter, bringing the total available to promote his campaign to $51 million. That might be enough to outpace all but one other candidate in a Republican field that is trying to catch up with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in the fundraising race.

Political People and their Moves

Erin Lunceford was named judge of the 61st Judicial District Court in Harris County by Gov. Greg Abbott for a term to expire at the next general election.

Abbott has made seven appointments to the Texas Board of Nursing:

•    Diana Flores, Francis Stokes, Allison Edwards and David E. Saucedo II were appointed for terms to expire Jan. 31, 2021.

•    Kathy Leader-Horn was reappointed for a term to expire on Jan. 31, 2021.

•    Doris Jackson and Laura Disque were appointed for terms to expire Jan. 31, 2017, and Jan. 31, 2019, respectively.

State Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas, is joining law firm Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP as a corporate partner. He was previously at Haynes and Boone LLP.

McCall Johnson has hired on with Recurrent Energy as government affairs manager for the ERCOT, SPP and MISO regions. Prior to that, she was an advisor to Chairman Donna Nelson at the Public Utility Commission of Texas.

Heath Mayor Lorne Liechty will run as a Republican for the House District 33 seat being vacated by Scott Turner. Liechty was elected mayor in 2012 after serving on city council from 2004-12.

State Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Canton, on Tuesday announced that he’s running for re-election in House District 2.

State Rep. Chris Paddie, R-Marshall, announced on Thursday that he will run for re-election in the East Texas-based House District 9.

State Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra, D-Mission, also announced Thursday that he is seeking re-election to Hidalgo County-based House District 41.

State Rep. Wayne Smith, R-Baytown, announced on Monday that he will run for re-election. He is in his seventh term representing the Harris County-based House District 128.

House District 7 candidate Jay Dean on Thursday received the endorsement of the Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC.

Deaths: Ruben Hope Jr., who served four terms in the Texas House from 1999 until 2007, passed away July 3. He was 78.