in Houston, Texas
Bill that would create a new law school in Dallas graduates from Senate
Thursday, Apr 16, 2009, 03:47PM CST
By Matt Pulle
Dating back to the 1970s, the legal and business establishment in Dallas, aka the ruling class, has pushed for a publicly-funded law school. Well, it took a while, but they may once again be on the verge of seeing their ambitions come to light.

Yesterday the Senate resoundingly approved a bill that would establish a law school in the old city hall of Dallas on the southeast fringe of downtown.

The measure could end Dallas-Forth Worth's distinction as the country's largest Metropolitan area without a publicly-funded training ground for aspiring lawyers. The bill, authored by Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, would put the new law school under the auspices of the University of North Texas system, run by former Republican Dallas County Judge Lee Jackson.

Though the Senate approved West's bill with only one dissenting vote, it's hardly a done deal.

First, the Senate hasn't provided any funding for the school, though West told the Dallas Morning News he thinks private money can help launch the new institution, or at least get the dirt flying. Second, the House is where the law school bill went to die two years ago.

This time around House sponsor Dan Branch filed his bill the first day he was eligible to do so in an effort to avoid the last-minute shenanigans that derailed a similar measure last session.

Earlier this year, Texas Watchdog looked at the long-running debate to create a new law school, noting that a few House Democrats from South Texas have grumbled that their region deserved a facility of their own.

In fact, South Texas doesn't have any medical or law schools period.

Interestingly, when the Texas Higher Education Board studied the possibility of a new law school in Dallas, it came to the conclusion that there was "no urgent need" for one and, if anything, South Texas deserved one first.
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