This Week in Texas: February 15, 2012

Posted February 15, 2012 in The Mignon Memo

More redistricting news hot off the  Internet.  The status conference is  ongoing in the federal court in San Antonio.  At this time, the various parties have agreed to a Texas Senate  redistricting map.  It preserves Senate  District 10, currently represented by Sen.  Wendy Davis (D-Ft. Worth) as it currently exists in the current map.  Additional population will be added to nearby Senate District 9 in order to make the numbers work.  The parties have indicated that the agreement  is on an interim basis for the 2012 election only.  This agreement still needs approval by the  court.  Negotiations continue on the  Texas House and congressional maps.  The  judges have asked the lawyers for  the political parties and the Secretary of State to pull together details regarding  filing deadlines for a May 29th primary election.  This assumes they will reach agreement on the  other maps soon so don’t write that date on your calendar in ink just yet.

Texas Railroad Commission Chairman  Elizabeth Ames Jones resigned Monday, stating that she wanted to devote more time to her race for Senate District 25.  There had been speculation over whether she was ineligible to serve after moving her official place of residence from Austin last November to run  for the Texas Senate.

Gov. Rick Perry appointed Jones to the Railroad Commission in 2005, and she was elected to the post the following year. Jones also previously served in the Texas House.  No word on when Governor Perry will appoint  her successor.

The Texas Supreme Court has  dismissed the constitutional challenge of the franchise tax in Nestle et al  v. Combs.  The challenge was primarily based on the contention that  the tax violates the state constitutional requirement for equal and uniform taxation.   The Court dismissed the case on procedural grounds,  finding that it did not have jurisdiction to hear the case.

According to data released by the United States Department of Commerce, Texas  has been ranked the top exporting state in 2011 for the 10th year in a row.  Texas’ exports in 2011 totaled more than  $249.8 billion, up 20.7 percent from $206.9 billion in 2010, outperforming  overall U.S. exports, which grew by 15.8 percent in 2011. The state’s top  export recipients were Mexico, Canada, China, Brazil and the Netherlands.  Texas’ top exporting industries in 2011 were  petroleum and coal products, chemicals, computer and electronic products,  non-electrical machinery, and transportation equipment.

The change in the Big 12 conference has resulted in a scheduling dilemma  for many University of Texas and University of Oklahoma football fans.  Will they choose to attend the Red River  Rivalry game in Dallas or the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Austin on  Saturday, October 13, 2012?