This Week in Texas: July 11, 2012

Posted July 11, 2012 in The Mignon Memo

The State of Texas will not expand Medicaid or establish a health insurance exchange, two major tenets of the federal health reform, according to Gov. Rick Perry. On Monday, Gov. Perry sent a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius expressing his opposition to both components of health care reform.   In its opinion upholding the Affordable Care Act, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states may not be punished for opting out of the Medicaid expansion.  In the absence of a state-created health insurance exchange, the federal government will create an exchange to be used by states that fail to create their own.

Austin architect Matthew Kreisle III was named chairman of the Texas Historical Commission by Gov. Rick Perry. Kreisle is a senior partner and managing principal at Page Southerland Page, an Austin architectural firm.

Former State Rep. Ron Wilson has been named the new Director of the Office of Civil Rights at the Texas Department of Transportation. Wilson’s duties will include supervision of offices related to the agency’s relations with Historically
Underutilized Businesses.  Wilson served in the Texas House for 27 years.

A federal trial began in Washington D.C. on Monday to determine the legality of Texas’ controversial new Voter ID law.  Texas is suing the U.S. Justice Department over U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s refusal to grant “pre-clearance” for the state to implement the new rules, under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The burden is on the state to prove that the new identification requirements have neither the intent nor the effect of discriminating against minorities.  The trial is expected to last until the end of the week.