UT Regents, education, gun control, and more

Dewhurst Says "Horns Down" to UT Regents

The cold war between UT President Bill Powers and the UT Board of Regents heated up this week when Lt. Gov. David Dew­hurst accused the regents of "character assassination." The surprising outburst from the normally taciturn Dewhurst came as the Senate approved Senate Resolution 234, offering Powers "sincere appreciation for his outstanding leadership." In a highly emotional personal privilege speech, Dewhurst praised Powers' achievement, but accused the regents of undercutting Powers and "going to deans and trying to micromanage the system." Obliquely inferring that there had been personal attacks on Powers' wife and daughter, Dewhurst tearfully said, "This man deserves better than he's getting." He later suggested that lawmakers may examine and possibly limit the roles and powers of the regents this session. Dewhurst's speech creates an interesting tension, since the regents are appointed by – and are often seen as speaking for – Gov. Rick Perry. That could spell trouble for Perry's latest regent nominees (to the Texas State University System) – financier and SWBC co-founder Charlie Amato, rancher turned conservative education expert Vernon Reaser III, and Trans-Global Solutions Inc. CEO Bill Scott – when they come before the Senate for confirmation.

An Infinity of Charters

On Feb. 18, charter champion and Senate Education Committee Chair Dan Patrick filed Senate Bill 2, which would remove the cap on the number of charter licenses (currently, they are limited by state law to 215). School districts already concerned about charters poaching their students and funds may have even more to fear: SB2 would give charters access to state construction funds and force districts to sell or lease underused campuses and buildings to charters for as little as $1. Patrick's draft contains many other clauses that are raising eyebrows, such as removing charters from State Board of Education oversight. The Texas Assoc­i­a­tion of School Boards and the Texas Association of School Administrators have both criticized the plan.

An Evolving View of Creationism

Perry nominee Barbara Cargill inches closer to becoming the first State Board of Education chair to be confirmed by the Senate since 2005. On Feb. 18 the Senate Nominations Committee recommended her confirmation, in spite of concerns that she backs "teaching the controversy" about evolution, and regularly cited David Barton – conservatives' favorite creationist historian. Cargill was only appointed chair by Perry in 2011 when the Senate rejected her predecessor, Gail Lowe, who followed the similarly rejected Don McLeroy.

Tenth Amendment in One Hand, AK in the Other

Freshman Rep. Steve Toth, R-The Woodl­ands, has filed a bill to stop the enforcement of potential new federal gun control laws. House Bill 1076, which Toth calls the Firearm Protec­tion Act, would cut state funds to any governmental entity enforcing a ban on semiautomatic weapons or size limits for magazines. He may want to put the safety back on: It seems increasingly unlikely that Congress will pass any meaningful firearms legislation this session. Moreover, the executive actions signed by President Barack Obama contain such tepid proposals as reviewing gun lock standards and asking the Centers for Disease Control to explore the causes of gun violence.

More Lege
Lege Lines
Lege Lines
Texas Lottery, Rainy Day Fund, water, education, payday lenders, and more

Richard Whittaker, April 26, 2013

Lege Lines
Lege Lines
The Michael Morton Act, airport screening, business tax cuts, and more

Jordan Smith, April 19, 2013

More Legislature
Lege, Statewide, and Beyond
Lege, Statewide, and Beyond
What does Trump's toxicity mean for downballot races?

Richard Whittaker, Aug. 26, 2016

Belt-Tightening Season for State Agencies
Belt-Tightening Season for State Agencies
State leaders announce budget cuts

Richard Whittaker, July 8, 2016

More On the Lege
Lege Lines: Stretching Toward a Sunset
Lege Lines: Stretching Toward a Sunset
Don’t praise the Senate GOP for working quickly to pass what’s needed

Mary Tuma, July 21, 2017

Lege Lines
Lege Lines
Sine die at last, transportation, water, and more

Richard Whittaker, Aug. 9, 2013


Lege, Legislature, David Dewhurst, UT Board of Regents, Barbara Cargill, education, Dan Patrick, gun control

AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)