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Politics

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Texas Gov. Rick Perry is calling the criminal indictments filed against him for coercion a political play. Perry contends he was only exercising his constitutional right to threaten and then veto the budget for the state’s public integrity unit and then called the indictments a partisan attack.

Flickr user Adam Fagen (afagen) / cc

This might be hard to believe, but there was a time when people trusted the government to do the right thing "always or most of the time."

In the early 1970s over 50% of people felt that way, with a large number also in the "only some of the time" category.

Then there was Watergate and the Nixon resignation, the latter's 40th anniversary was over the weekend. 

Eileen Pace

  Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor Leticia Van De Putte Tuesday unveiled her plan for a statewide education policy for pre-K through high school.

It's a comprehensive plan that promises to expand access to broadband for students, increase parent access to school board members, and restore school funding reduced by the last Legislature.

Van de Putte’s education plan is formed on the pillars of early childhood education programs, adequate funding for local schools, and getting rid of or cutting back on standardized testing.

Flickr user Emad Ghazipura / cc

The Texas House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety is considering legislation for the 2015 session that would completely revamp the Texas Driver Responsibility Program.  

The program allows the Department of Public Safety to assess surcharges on traffic tickets on top of the fine and court cost. DPS notifies the drivers via mail through a private contractor, the Municipal Service Bureau or MSB.

Lawmakers have expressed concern about the interface between the DPS and MSB and local law enforcement.

San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor has unveiled her vision for the city at a North San Antonio Chamber luncheon after being on the job for two weeks.

“In those two weeks I’ve had to address streetcars, charter changes, storm water fees, and continuing negotiations on police and fire contracts,” Taylor told an audience of high-ranking officials. “It seems a lot longer than two weeks.”

The chamber luncheon is the first time she has had the chance to present her vision for San Antonio while she is in office over the next 300 days.

Joey Palacios / Texas Public Radio

State Rep. Mike Villarreal. D-San Antonio, has announced he will resign his Texas House position to run for mayor of San Antonio.

Villarreal, of House District 123, is the only person so far to formally announce intent to run for San Antonio mayor in 2015.

“That election takes place during regular legislative session," Villarreal said. "I cannot be in two places at once, so I have decided not to participate to allow somebody to replace me.”

He said decisions on hot topics, like the state’s education system, need to be in the hands of the right person.

VIA Metropolitan Transit

Despite the derailment of San Antonio’s streetcar, the petition that called for a vote on the issue may still put a charter change on the November ballot.

TPR obtained the results of the petition drive, which is seeking a charter amendment change so that voters could have a say on the streetcar project. The city's election code says 20,000 signatures are needed.

The clerk's office found that more than 12,000 are valid and another 8,800 are also valid if the circulator affidavit isn't required. The circulator affidavit is to verify that those signing are real people.

Flickr user 401(K) 2012 / cc

Recent Supreme Court rulings have helped the influx of mega money and their donors into political campaigns.

Kenneth Vogel has been tracking it for Politico and describes the post-Citizen's United universe in his new book, "Big Money, 2.5 Billion Dollars, One Suspicious Vehicle, and a Pimp--on the Trail of the Ultra-Rich Hijacking American Politics."

Guest

A government watchdog group based in Austin has asked the Texas Public Integrity Unit to investigate state Sen. Ken Paxton, R-McKinney. The request has to do with Paxton advising his law clients of securities investments without having a license to do so.

While working as an attorney, Paxton solicited clients and invested their money without having a license to do so. The Republican nominee for Texas attorney general admitted wrongdoing and paid the $1,000 civil penalty.

All About Redistricting / http://bit.ly/1h5Ha0N

Texas continues to grapple in federal court over its election maps as a result of partisan cartography that rewards one party over the other. The central question is: Does it illegally impact the voter representation of minority voters simultaneously?

But is there a fairer way of setting up the maps from the start, which would better represent communities in elections and avoid time in the court?

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