The Austin Chronicle

Legeland Update

By Richard Whittaker, November 12, 2009, 3:37pm, Newsdesk

Just because the session is out, that doesn't mean there's nothing happening under the dome. Like Tom Waits said, there's always some killing you got to do around the farm.

The defection of Rep. Chuck Hopson D R-Jacksonville, is still causing some recalculations. Does it really change much? Arguably not, since a lot of Dems had given Hopson up for dead anyway, and he already has a primary challenger. The two questions now are, 1: will there be any more Dems looking to switch as they fear a conservative backlash and, 2: how much cash does this free up for Dems to go after Rep. Linda Harper-Brown, R-Dallas, and her 19 vote lead from 2008.

Speaking of LHB, she stays on the powerful Sunset Advisory Commission. A month after Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst made his new selections, Speaker Joe Straus has finally released his appointment list. Out go Dan Flynn, R-Van, Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, and Ruth Jones McClendon, D-San Antonio, as their four-year terms expire. In come new vice-chair Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, and Rafael Anchia, D-San Antonio. They join holdover Harper-Brown and ex-chair Carl Isett, R-Lubbock, and are joined by Lamont Jefferson as the public member. What may raise a few eyebrows is that Jefferson and Anchia both work for the same law firm.

Texas Forensic Science Commission Chair John Bradley replaced Commissioner of Education Robert Scott as the most unpopular and most overtly political appointee Gov. Rick Perry ever appointed. He seemingly managed to offend every member of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, plus visiting House Public Safety Committee Chair Tommy Merritt, R-Longview, by his appearance before the committee on Tuesday. Not bad for a man widely considered to be installed just to derail the investigation into Todd Willingham's execution.

As filing date looms for the 2010 primaries, more names throw their hats into the various rings.
Senate District 29: El Paso County Attorney Jose Rodriguez definitely wants to replace the outgoing Eliot Shapleigh (still no word from the 12-year Senate veteran on exactly what his future electoral plans may be).
House District 36: With Kino Flores stepping down for legal problems, Palmview municipal judge Sergio Munoz is looking for that district's Democratic nomination.
HD 83: Lubbock CPA Charles Perry wants to challenge incumbent Delwin Jones in the GOP primary.
HD 100: Dallas Democrat Eric Johnson was endorsed by former state rep Sam Coats in his quest to dislodge incumbent seven-term Dem Terri Hodge (who faces some legal troubles of her own).

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