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Did Gov. Perry Overstep Authority In Line-Item Veto Of Public Integrity Unit?

Ryan Poppe
Texas Public Radio

Texas Matters: In the last legislative session Gov. Perry threatened to and then vetoed the budget of the state's public integrity unit, a state agency that scrutinizes governmental affairs, when the Travis County district attorney, who oversees the unit, did not step down from her post. A special prosecutor is now looking into the case. Also on this show: The governor's race and pre-K, new addition to Texas public school curriculum, cleanup of oil spill on Texas coast, and endangered species vs. oil prospecting.

Gov. Perry scrutinized for line-item veto

Gov. Rick Perry frequently complains about government overreach when it comes to Washington D.C., but the question of Perry overstepping his authority is the center of an investigation by a special prosecutor.

It appears Perry could be indicted on charges related to coercion and abuse of official capacity.

A statement from the governor’s office said:

“As he has done following every session he's been governor, Gov. Perry exercised his constitutional veto authority through line-item vetoes in the budget.”

Craig McDonald is the executive director of Texans for Public Justice, a government watchdog organization which filed the complaint against Perry sparking the investigation.

Also on this edition of Texas Matters:

Battle for governor shines a light on pre-K

Many school districts are ramping up efforts to enroll more eligible children in pre-kindergarten. The push comes as gubernatorial candidates Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis spar over who has a better plan for early education.  KERA’s Shelley Kofler looks at what children are learning inside one Dallas pre-K classroom, and what changes the candidates would make in the program.

Expanding cultural horizons in Texas public schools

The Texas State Board of Education voted 11-3 this week to add elective courses to public high schools that include Special Topics in Social Studies to include Mexican, African, Asian, and Native American studies.

The vote was the result of a drive to create a state curriculum and stand-alone course in Mexican American studies. While that didn’t happen, supporters of the measure say they are more than pleased with the outcome.

Dan Quinn is the spokesperson for the Texas Freedom Network, which advocated for the Mexican-American Studies class.

Experts fear impacts of oil cleanup on Texas gulf coast

Credit Chris Eudaily / TPR News
Padre Island National Seashore.

Recovery efforts are continuing weeks after a barge accident in the Houston Ship Channel dumped thousands of barrels of oil into Galveston Bay. But some are worried the cleanup itself could disturb the delicate ecosystem and endanger wildlife along the Texas coast. For StateImpact Texas, KUT’s Mose Buchele went to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge to see the clean up firsthand.

Endangered species vs. oil drilling

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation (March 26, 2014) that restricts the president's ability to establish national monuments and parks but faces an uphill battle if it is to become law. Conservationists are concerned the House bill sends the wrong message as a political battle over drilling in national parks is taking place. From Marfa Public Radio, reporter Lorne Matalon has the story.

David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi