PoliTex: Davis seeks audits of governor's and state comptroller's grant-awarding funds

Posted Saturday, Mar. 09, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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As lawmakers scrambled to meet the bill-filing deadline for the 2013 legislative session, Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, made good on her pledge to seek audits of two major state funds that she said have distributed nearly $700 million in taxpayer-financed grants without being subject to "basic accountability standards."

The audits would apply to Gov. Rick Perry 's Texas Enterprise Fund and the Events Trust Fund administered by Comptroller Susan Combs. The comptroller's fund has been used to provide incentives for major events such as the 2011 Super Bowl in Arlington and Formula 1 racing in Austin.

But it has come under renewed criticism following reports that $8.1 million was used for a video scoreboard to help Dallas attract the 2010 NBA All-Star Game. Critics have also questioned the awarding of various grants from the enterprise fund, which Perry defends as a vital economic tool to help create jobs in Texas.

The kissing mayor

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price is doing her best to get to know residents citywide. She is known to greet many with handshakes, hugs and kisses, which comes as no surprise to her husband, Tom.

"Tom knows how many men I kiss on a daily basis," Price said with a grin, during her recent State of the City address. "And he's OK with that."

Texas impact

Texas Republican lawmakers, proud of their conservative credentials, will be out in force at the Conservative Political Action Committee, popularly known as C-PAC, this week. The Washington gathering always draws big names -- and this year, on tap is former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and billionaire and reality TV host Donald Trump -- and presidential wannabes for the first straw poll for 2016.

It's no surprise that Gov. Rick Perry will be there Thursday, burnishing his presidential credentials after his poor 2012 showing in the GOP primaries. Texas Comptroller Susan Combs is in the line-up. And U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, a Tea Party favorite, is the closing speaker on Saturday night.

But a less high-profile speaker is also going to get some face time -- U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Lewisville, is invited to speak on Friday. Burgess, a medical doctor, has become a leader in healthcare in the U.S. House.

Two sides

of the same coin

U.S. Reps. Kay Granger, a Republican, and Marc Veasey, a Democrat, have more in common than some might think.

Yes, they are both from Fort Worth. They also are both graduates of Texas Wesleyan University.

"It unusual to have two [Wesleyan] graduates who are both in Congress, so I look forward to us working together, particularly on education issues -- and to work on both sides of the aisle," Granger said during a recent speaking appearance at the college. "We will work together as a Democrat and Republican, and as two people from the same community. We can get some things done that might not be done otherwise."

Both tout their time at Wesleyan as an asset.

"When you think about the fact that Kay and I both went here and the contributions that people have made in the legal profession, in sciences, in health with our nurse anesthetist program, Texas Wesleyan is really on the cutting edge of a lot of marvelous things," Veasey said.

Seeking uniformity

State Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, recently filed a bill aimed at preventing cities from regulating self-defense weapons -- such as knives, personal defense sprays and stun guns -- more than state law already regulates them.

This was prompted, in part, from learning that two common, but slightly different, styles of pocket knives are illegal in San Antonio. A knife with a locking blade, for instance, is illegal in the San Antonio city limits, but it's not illegal in other areas.

"We owe it to Texans to have clear laws regarding self-defense weaponry," Stickland said of his House Bill 1299. "Men and women have a God-given right to protect themselves. The rules on what types of weapons they can use to protect themselves, and which kind are prohibited, should be clear and easy to find."

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