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Posts published in “Day: March 15, 2012”

County Attorney speaks to Highlands Chamber

By GILBERT HOFFMAN

Star-Courier

HIGHLANDS– County Attorney Vince Ryan paid a visit to the Highlands-Lynchburg Chamber at their luncheon last Thursday. He reminded the large audience at the Community Center that he was running for re-election, in the primary and the November election, and then delivered a talk about county services that his office offers.

Due to budget restrictions, he has had to cut back his staff from 225 when he took office, to 175 employees now. About half of these are attorneys, he said. Because the workload has not diminished, he has had to find efficiencies for his office, including more computerization of records, and the use of private attorneys on contract for some cases. He is also studying the possibility of his office collecting back taxes, which would save the county the 20% they now pay to an outside collection firm.

His office is charged with advising county employees on the limits of government, in Texas and Harris County. Harris County is only one of four counties in the state with both a District Attorney and a County Attorney, due to its size.

Cases he is currently working on include the MERS suit, which charges banks with illegally processing mortgages without filing them with the county. This keeps the county from collecting millions in filing fees.

Another ongoing case is the Toxic Waste site in the San Jacinto River. Working with the EPA, his office is attempting to have all toxic materials permanently removed from the river at the expense of the two companies that originally dumped them there. They are also investigating a second dump site discovered south of I-10.

Huberty named to study Public School Finance

By Lewis Spearman

AUSTIN: District 127 Representative Dan Huberty is appointed to the Joint Interim Committee to Study the Public School Finance System.

The joint interim committee will conduct a comprehensive study of the public

school finance system in Texas and make recommendations to the 83rd Legislature. The

committee was created through Senate Bill 1, 1st Called Session, 82nd Legislature.

“The future of Texas is being forged in our classrooms every day,” said Lt. Governor Dewhurst.“That is why the Texas Legislature remains dedicated to continuing our investment in public education, directing more resources to the classroom and improving the quality of learning for every student in every school and every district across our state.

Huberty said, “I am very honored that Speaker Straus appointed me to serve on the Joint Interim Committee to Study the Public School Finance System. This is an issue the State of Texas has been wrestling with for quite awhile. I appreciate having the opportunity to address it in a smaller committee setting alongside the other appointed members. Each of us represent very different districts, so our personal experiences with public school funding on the local level will bring much-needed knowledge and expertise on the topic. Personally, I represent several low-property wealth school districts, including Humble ISD, where I served as a School Board Trustee, Crosby ISD and Huffman ISD. My understating of the equity versus adequacy issues that these districts face assists me in educating others. This knowledge will be vital in finding possible new solutions to the funding crisis in Texas. I look forward to working with this committee as a voice for Humble ISD, Crosby ISD, Huffman ISD and other districts like these and the communities that support them.”

Lt. Governor Dewhurst has appointed Senator Florence Shapiro (R-Plano) as joint chair of the

Committee. Members include: Senators Bob Deuell (R-Greenville), Robert Duncan (RLubbock), Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-McAllen), Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), Dan Patrick (RHouston), Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo), Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio), Leticia Van de Putte (D-San Antonio), Royce West (D-Dallas) and Tommy Williams (R-The Woodlands).

Speaker Straus has appointed Representative Jimmie Don Aycock (R-Killeen) as joint chair of

the committee. The committee members include: Representatives Alma Allen (D-Houston),

Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas), Rob Eissler (R-The Woodlands), Ryan Guillen (D-Rio Grande City), Donna Howard (D-Austin), Dan Huberty (R-Houston), Susan King (R-Abilene), Todd Smith (REuless), Vicki Truitt (R-Keller) and Mike Villarreal (D-San Antonio).