Tags: Travis County | Texas | Republicans | judges

Texas GOP Aims to Stamp Out 'Nanny State' Democratic Rules

Monday, 02 Mar 2015 01:50 PM

Texas Republicans are planning to prevent judges from heavily Democratic Travis County from influencing policies in the Lone Star State, according to The Dallas Morning News.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, together with freshman state Sen. Don Huffines of Dallas, want to bring in new regulations to stop big-city local governments, such as Austin, from imposing "nanny state" rules, the newspaper noted.

As part of the effort, the state’s Republicans are hoping to get rid of Travis County’s anti-corruption department, the Public Integrity Unit, which has gone after leading Republicans such as Tom DeLay and Kay Bailey Hutchison.

Two GOP lawmakers have introduced bills that would prevent judges in the county, which includes Austin, from making the initial rulings on multibillion-dollar lawsuits over school finance and political controversies over redistricting.

Under the bills, two Republican elected officials, Attorney General Ken Paxton and Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht, would decide whether to arrange for two judges to sit with a Travis County district judge in the opening stage of a major lawsuit, the News reported.

Rep. Mike Schofield, a GOP freshman from Houston who introduced the House version of the bill, slammed the Democratic judges in Travis County for having too much influence in such cases.

"It’s fundamentally unfair for citizens from 254 counties to have to pay tens of billions of dollars based on decisions that emanate from one county, and they have no say in the selection of the person that’s going to hear that case," said Schofield, a former staffer with then-GOP Gov. Rick Perry.

But Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman Kirk Watson said that GOP leaders "are making a power grab and they’re doing it in the teeth of what they normally say they want out of government, which is reduced costs and greater efficiency."

However, Texas GOP Chairman Steve Munisteri said the Public Integrity Unit is reckless and partisan and should be overhauled, according to the News.

"Everybody around Austin knows that when you file [suits] in courts in Travis County with the Democratic judges, they gain their opportunity to try to get their political agenda enacted because they’ve lost all the legislative races," he said.

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Texas Republicans are planning to prevent judges from heavily Democratic Travis County from influencing policies in the Lone Star State, according to The Dallas Morning News.
Travis County, Texas, Republicans, judges
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2015-50-02
Monday, 02 Mar 2015 01:50 PM
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