Politics

David Martin Davies / TPR News

A federal judge in Corpus Christi began hearing arguments this week in a case challenging the state of Texas’ 2011 voter ID law.

The federal case is the first of its kind in the nation, which is one of the reasons University of Texas at Austin law professor Joseph Fishkin said that it’s being followed closely by other state governments.

"I do think it’s a case that a lot of people outside of Texas are watching because it will be the first real test of the question of whether section 2 of the Voting Rights Act calls voter ID laws into any sort of question,” Fishkin said.

Travis County Jail

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s legal team has filed a constitutional challenge seeking to dismiss his two-count felony indictment.

In a writ of habeas corpus filed today, the governor’s legal team contends there are problems with separation of powers, rights to free speech, and say the penal code used to charge Perry is vague and overboard; that it doesn’t clearly define what is and isn’t permissible under the law.  

University of Texas at Austin School of Law professor Jennifer Laurin said this type of challenge has a very limited set of arguments.

Ryan Poppe / TPR News

The state’s public integrity unit has filed a request with the governor’s office and legislative budget officials to restore funding to the agency in 2015.

But that effort may not be possible unless the unit is moved out of the Travis County district attorney’s office, which is headed by Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg.

State Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, who chairs the Senate Committee on Finance, said she would like to see the unit moved in 2015. In a statement, Nelson wrote that "we need to move the unit somewhere less partisan."

Texas State Library & Archives Commission

Rick Perry isn't the first Texas governor to stare down an indictment for his actions in the office. 

In 1917 the Travis County district attorney’s office filed an indictment against then Gov. Jim “Pa” Ferguson for vetoing the budget of the University of Texas.

Professor Don Carleton, who heads up the Dolph Briscoe American History Center at the University of Texas at Austin, described the political climate at the time as being a prohibition vs. anti-prohibition, rural vs. urban environment of political bosses, and Ferguson certainly was that.

Ryan E. Poppe / TPR News

The cost of Texas Gov. Rick Perry legal dream team, who is fighting his two-count indictment, isn’t one that is expected to come cheap, but the governor’s campaign has announced it will be picking up the tab.

In the last two month just prior to Perry’s indictment, the governor's office said his legal tab for one attorney was running just over $80,000. Perry has since added three more attorneys to work on his defense.

Lucy Nashed, a spokesperson with the governor's office, said the Texas taxpayers have nothing to fear regarding the cost of the case.

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