This Week in Texas: December 1st, 2010

Posted December 1, 2010 in The Mignon Memo

We are 42 days away from the start of the 82nd Texas Legislature on Tuesday, January 11th. Newly elected members of the Texas Legislature are in Austin this week to receive training and for House members, to draw lots for their seniority. Seniority determines a member’s office, his or her desk on the floor of the Texas House as well as their parking spot.

Republican Dan Neil has filed a request with the secretary of state for a recount in House District 48 race. Unofficial returns showed Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin) winning by 16 votes out of more than 51,000 ballots cast. The recount should take place this week.

Tom DeLay, the former U.S. House Republican majority leader was found guilty last week of money laundering and conspiracy in connection with the 2002 elections. He faces a possible sentence of five to 99 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine on the money laundering charge, and two to 20 years in prison and a possible $10,000 fine on the conspiracy charge.

Last Tuesday, the Texas House General Investigating & Ethics Committee met to look into a statement by Rep. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) that an ally of Speaker Joe Straus had made allegations of retributions in the redistricting process. Hughes did not publicly name the ally, but Hopson indicated that the conversation in question was between Hughes and Rep. Larry Phillips (R-Sherman). The Committee declined to act after finding that there was insufficient information to determine that any misconduct occurred.

Greg Coleman, Texas’ first solicitor general and later a prominent Texas appellate lawyer, was killed last week in a plane crash in northwest Florida. Coleman was former Texas Attorney General John Cornyn’s choice for the newly created post of Solicitor General in 1999.