This Week in Texas: Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Posted April 13, 2011 in The Mignon Memo

Additional federal funds are headed to Texas. The federal budget agreement for the remainder of 2011 repeals language that withheld more than $800 million in federal education money from Texas. Last year, Texas Congressman Lloyd Doggett passed a provision that effectively withheld $830 million in federal education money from Texas until state leaders agreed not to use it to replace state money that would have been spent anyway. With that language repealed, the money is now free to be sent to Texas.

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs announced that sensitive personal identity information of 3.5 million Texans, including their names, Social Security numbers and addresses, were exposed online to the public for about a year. The records from the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, Employees Retirement System of Texas and the Texas Workforce Commission were exposed as a result of human error and not a breach of security. The Comptroller’s office will be notifying individuals by letter if their information was exposed.

Current legislators will welcome former legislators at the Capitol this week. Former Senate member day is Thursday and former House members will be honored on Speaker’s Day this Friday.

The House will consider the first redistricting bill of the session on Thursday. House Bill 600 redraws district lines for State Board of Education districts.

The race for the U.S. Senate seat soon to be vacated by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison is heating up. Republican Ted Cruz, former Solicitor General in Texas, announced that he has raised $1 million for the race. Republican Michael Williams, former Texas Railroad Commissioner, announced that he has raised $500,000 and has $400,000 cash on hand. Democrat Tom Leppert, former Mayor of Dallas, has raised $1.1 million. Lt. Governor David Dewhurst may be switching his aspirations from Washington, D.C. to an office closer to home. Dewhurst is said to be interested in running for governor at the conclusion of Governor Perry’s current term. With Texas legend Nolan Ryan as his statewide campaign chairman, Texas Commissioner of Agriculture Todd Staples has announced the formation of a 2014 Lieutenant Governor Exploratory Committee.