Governor Rick Perry made several key appointments during the past week. Toby Baker of Austin was appointed to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for a term to expire Aug. 31, 2017. Baker was most recently a policy and budget advisor on energy, natural resources and agriculture issues for the Governor’s Office and previously served as natural resource policy advisor to Sen. Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls). Cynthia “Cindy” Leon of Mission was appointed chair of the Texas Public Safety Commission. Leon is retired regional director of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Billy R. Bradford Jr. of Brownsville was named chair of the Texas Water Development Board. Bradford is a certified public accountant and partner at Hales-Bradford LLP. Texas Workforce Commissioner Andres Alcantar of Pflugerville was elevated to chair of the Commission.
The federal court in Washington D.C. considering Texas’ preclearance request on the Voter ID law enacted last year ordered a weeklong trial from July 9 through July 13. The trial date is three weeks earlier than the date proposed by the parties to the legal action. The earlier trial may result in a decision before the deadline to implement the statute for the November general election.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the US Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider Texas regulations designed to implement federal air-quality standards. The EPA rejected Texas’s rules on minor new-source review permits in September 2010, alleging they did not meet Clean Air Act requirements. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other businesses sued the EPA, challenging the ruling.