Politics

Chris Eudaily / TPR News

Late last week attorneys for same-sex couples and the State of Utah delivered oral arguments in the case challenging a Utah law that bans same-sex marriage.

Here in Texas, San Antonio attorney Neel Lane, who represents two couples challenging the Texas ban on same-sex marriage, watched the proceedings and said one of the turning points was a concession made by the Utah attorney general’s office.

The special prosecutor assigned to investigate whether Gov. Rick Perry and his staff committed any criminal acts when he vetoed the state’s public integrity unit budget has said publicly he has some major concerns about the governor’s actions.  

San Antonio attorney Michael McCrum has been tasked with investigating whether Perry violated any of the state’s criminal code and abused his authority when he withheld $7.5 million of state funds from the Texas public integrity unit, a group in charge of investigating political corruption.  

Ryan Poppe / TPR News

The Center for Reproductive Rights and other abortion-rights groups have filed a second lawsuit challenging another component of the Texas new Abortion Law that passed last summer in a special session.

This second lawsuit challenges requirements that all clinics become ambulatory surgical centers in order to operate in the State of Texas.

By Joyce N. Boghosian via Wikimedia Commons / cc

Equal pay for women has become a rallying cry for Democrats across Texas. Wendy Davis' campaign for governor has seized on the issue, making it central to her messaging.

Attorney General Greg Abbot, who is on the Republican ticket in the race for governor, has dismissed the issue, but was recently criticized when women in his own office were found to be paid less than their male colleagues for the same work.

Last year the Texas Legislature passed a state law allowing women who were discriminated against by their employers in pay to sue in state court. Gov. Rick Perry subsequently vetoed the bill, calling it redundant:

"Texas' commitment to smart regulations and fair courts is a large part of why we continue to lead the nation in job creation. House Bill 950 duplicates federal law, which already allows employees who feel they have been discriminated against through compensation to file a claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission." - Gov. Rick Perry

The federal law Perry refers to is the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which allows women to sue in federal court. The state version is better, said advocates, because it allowed for a quicker response at the local level, criticizing the federal court system as underfunded and slow. The Texas Association of Business wrote Perry to support a veto, arguing that the bill increased cumbersome regulation and frivolous lawsuits. 

“Asking an employer to be responsible for decisions that were made 10 or 15 years ago just does not work.  In many cases no one would be around that would know anything about why those decisions were made at the time.  The lack of a statute of limitations for filing these cases is bad for business, and this bill is bad for business, pure and simple.” - Bill Hammond, president TAB
David Martin Davies / TPR News

There is a stir among Texas Republicans on whether or not the party will keep a guest worker program as part of its campaign platform when the party meets in June.

Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson has long been a proponent of what has been labeled a "Texas solution," which would allow undocumented workers without a criminal record to remain in Texas for a job.

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