This Week in Texas: January 27, 2010

Posted January 27, 2010 in The Mignon Memo

Ed Serna was named as the first Executive Director of the newly created Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. Serna previously served as Texas Department of Transportation’s assistant executive director for support operations. He also headed the transition team that moved motor vehicle services from TxDOT to the TxDMV.

Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and Texas House Speaker Joe Straus announced appointments to the Select Committee on Public School Finance. Lt. Governor Dewhurst’s legislative appointees are: committee co-chair Sen. Florence Shapiro (R-Plano), Sen. Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock), Sen. Dan Patrick (R-Houston), and Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas). Dr. Leonard Culwell (Garland), superintendent of schools, Garland Independent School District, will serve as the public school community member. Dr. Harrison Keller, Vice Provost for Higher Education Policy and Research, will serve as a representative from the business community. The legislative appointees from the Texas House of Representatives are Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock (R-Killeen), Rep. Rob Eissler (R-The Woodlands), Rep. Scott Hochberg (D-Houston) and Rep. Mike Villarreal (D-San Antonio). Representative Rob Eissler will serve as co-chair of the Select Committee. Dr. Richard Middleton (San Antonio), superintendent of schools, North East Independent School District and adjunct professor of public school finance at Trinity University, will serve as the public school community member. Larry Kellner (Houston), President of Emerald Creek, a private investment firm and former CEO, Continental Airlines, will serve as the member from the business community.

Gov. Rick Perry announced this week that he will not meet with newspaper editorial boards to try to win their endorsement before the March 2nd primary. U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison has been noncommittal about whether she will sit down with editorial boards, saying she is reviewing each request. The third gubernatorial candidate in the Republican primary, Debra Medina, has begun meeting with some editorial boards around the state.

In other news, the Texas Ethics Commission posted a brief statement on their website addressing the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling regarding campaign finance, Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission. The Commission has stated that their position is that while corporations are allowed to make all types of direct campaign expenditures (referred to in Citizens United as independent expenditures) regulated by Title 15 of the Election Code, corporations are still prohibited from making political contributions unless specifically allowed by Title 15 of the Election Code.