This Week in Texas: January 25, 2012

Posted January 25, 2012 in The Mignon Memo

Another twist in the state’s redistricting saga. Last Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the redistricting maps drawn by a panel of federal judges in San Antonio. The Supreme Court found that the San Antonio court should have created maps that looked more like the ones passed last year by the Texas Legislature. So it is back to the drawing board – literally – for the San Antonio court. That court will hold a status conference with the parties to the suit this Friday at 1:00pm. Could split primaries be in our future? More news next week.

Speaking of elections, as of today, the Texas primaries are still scheduled for April 3rd but that could change by the end of the week. Regardless of when the primary takes place, voters in the Republican primary will be asked to weigh in on a few issues important to the party leaders. The State Republican Executive Committee agreed last month to add the following proposition to Republican primary ballots: “The Texas Legislature should redraw the court-imposed lines for Congress and State legislative districts in its upcoming session in order to remedy inequities. Yes or no.” Parties often add questions to their primary ballots as a way of taking a poll of the members of their party. Republicans will also be asked about school choice, public prayer, controlling state spending and repealing federal health care reform.

This week, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott filed suit against the Department of Justice in an effort to speed enforcement of the state’s new voter ID law. The DOJ has been reviewing the law for the past six months under the Voting Rights Act and has twice asked state officials to supply additional information on the racial breakdown of Texas voters. Fearing further delays, Abbott asked a federal court to intervene and approve the Texas law.

Governor Rick Perry made three appointments to the Texas Medical Board this week. The new members are Carlos Gallardo of Frisco, a senior manager of recruiting at DynCorp International in Ft. Worth; William “Roy” Smythe of Belton, chairman of surgery and medical director for Scott and White Healthcare’s Office of Innovation, and a professor and chair of surgery at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine; and Paulette Southard of Alice, a retired teacher and community volunteer who has also served as secretary-treasurer of the Board.

Austin businesswoman Sheri Krause has been appointed the new chair of the Texas Historical Commission. Krause, the managing partner of JBS Holdings and former development director for The Settlement Home for Children, will replace Jon Hansen, an El Paso businessman. Kraus has been a member of the 17-member commission since 2009.