(Orange, Texas)


June 29, 2013

Sen. Robert Nichol - My five cents...


ORANGE — 3) UT Regent to be investigated

On Tuesday as Sen. Davis' filibuster occurred in the Senate, House Speaker Joe Straus authorized a special committee to investigate allegations of misconduct by UT Regent Wallace Hall, and the overall roles of all gubernatorial appointees. This is the latest installment in an ongoing drama between the UT Board of Regents, UT President Bill Powers and the legislature in which many claim Hall and other regents are on a 'witch hunt' to oust President Powers and restructure leadership at the university.

The House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations will investigate Hall and possibly recommend impeachment for not disclosing litigation and bankruptcies on his initial application to be appointed regent. The committee will have subpoena power, as well as the ability to investigate other gubernatorial appointees.

4) Voter ID on its way

The Supreme Court of the United States announced an opinion this week which will affect Texas in a big way. In Shelby County vs. Holder, the court struck down a central section of the Voting Rights Act, essentially allowing Texas and eight other states to alter their own election laws as they want, rather than having those laws first "pre-cleared" by the Department of Justice.

This means that the Texas voter ID law, passed in 2011 but blocked by the Department of Justice, will immediately go into effect. In fact, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) has already begun to issue free IDs to voters who don’t have an approved form of ID such as a driver's license, concealed handgun license, passport or military ID. To apply for one, simply visit your local DPS office.

5) John Adams, fireworks and the Fourth of July

"It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other...” These were the words of John Adams in regards to celebrating our nation's independence day. As a child, "illuminations", also known as fireworks, were always one of my favorite ways to mark the holiday. In fact, the truth is I still have not quite been able to outgrow my fascination with them!

I hope that however you choose to celebrate the Fourth of July this year, you do so safely with family and close friends.


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