Inside Texas Politics: Lawyering Up
On this week's edition of WFAA-TV's Inside Texas Politics, I talked with host Jason Whitely and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Bud Kennedy about Thursday's ruling by a Travis County district judge that the state's school finance system is unconstitutional. The state is sure to appeal, so the issue is far from settled, but the Legislature may take up some issues in the decision anyway, since it has to write a budget next year. And sticking with public education, we discussed the delay in raising standards on state exams. Without pointing fingers, Texas Education Agency head Michael Williams said "the system needs time to catch up."
We also talked about GOP gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott's announcement last week that he was backing out of the only statewide debate with his Democratic opponent, Wendy Davis, citing format issues as the reason. The latest poll shows Abbott still comfortably ahead, so the move might boil down to classic Rose Garden strategy: why take a chance on making a mistake when you can just run out the clock? With the traditional start to the election season starting next week, Jason asked us which races we find most interesting. I went with the contest between state Sens. Dan Patrick and Leticia Van de Putte for lieutenant governor, where both their ideological and personal styles are vastly different; Bud is watching the attorney general's race between state Sen. Ken Paxton, R-McKinney, and the Democratic nominee Sam Houston, along with the close contest for Wendy Davis' vacant Senate District 10 seat in Fort Worth.
Finally, Gov. Rick Perry last week added a sixth attorney to his already formidable legal team assembled to fight the felony indictments handed down against him earlier this month — the move might indicate some degree of nervousness about the merits of the case, but it also may be a matter of simply lawyering up.
Also: Jason sits down for a one-on-one interview with U.S. Senator Ted Cruz; Jason and state Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas, talk about his promise — or threat — to break up the Dallas Independent School District; and finally, a commenter drops the "F" word — feminist — in a review of the movement that fought for the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://www.texastribune.org/2014/08/31/inside-texas-politics-lawyering/.