School Finance Trial
After months of testimony from the state and attorneys representing a majority of Texas school districts, a judge finds that the state's system is unconstitutional. More than 400 school districts across the state sued after the legislature cut $5.4 billion from education. The districts claimed schools aren't adequately funded and that the current system violates the Texas Constitution. Closing arguments wrapped up Monday afternoon and District Judge John Dietz delivered his decision a short time later.
"We feel the judge made very clear that we have increased our expectations for school districts in the state but we haven't increased our resources to match," said John Turner, an attorney representing the school districts.
Attorney General Greg Abbott is expected to file an appeal to the State Supreme Court.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, meanwhile, released this statement following the ruling:
“As a product of Texas' public school system, I have always worked to ensure the state provides the opportunity for a good education to every student. I disagree with today’s school finance ruling by the district court in Austin, but I expect an immediate appeal to the Texas Supreme Court. While we await their final ruling, I will continue to work with Governor Perry, Speaker Straus, and the Legislature to continue to support our students and improve public education. Together we will ensure that Texas continues to have an accountable, efficient system of public education that produces graduates ready to compete in college and in our global economy.”
Anderson faces court of inquiry in Morton case
A court of inquiry got underway in Georgetown, today to determine if District Court Judge, Ken Anderson should face criminal charges. Anderson is facing accusations that, as Williamson County District Attorney, he hid physical evidence and tampered with government records during Michael Morton's 1987 trial. Morton spent 24 years behind bars for murdering his wife. DNA evidence tested in 2011 proved his innocence. Now, as district judge Anderson, he is answering to charges that he denied Morton justice at his trial more than two decades ago.
Michael Morton spent nearly five hours on the witness stand, Monday. Morton answered questions about statements he gave to police the night his wife was killed and fielded inquiries about reports that a suspicious green van had been seen in the area around the time of the murder. See more from today's testimony, in the video link, below.
In Monday's "Lobbying Texas" segment we sat down with the former Texas Medical Association President Dr. Bruce Malone to talk about Medicaid. The group wants to see Washington and Austin reach a bipartisan compromise to reform and expand the state's medicaid program.
"We agree with the governor in that we would like to see an innovative way to change the Medicaid program," Dr. Malone said. "We want to do it so that we have more flexibility in how we spend the money so we can provide excellent care to our citizens and make it available to more people."
Click on the link below to hear more details about potential ways Austin can work with Washington and what a hybrid plan might look like.