in Houston, Texas
Group backing Ted Cruz requests information; 2007 David Dewhurst speech favoring guest worker program removed from website
Friday, Jul 13, 2012, 11:11AM CST
By Steve Miller
David Dewhurst

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst had for years kept on his state Web site a transcript of a 2007 speech he made supporting a guest worker program for illegal immigrants. Now it’s gone, and the Young Conservatives of Texas has filed an open records request to check it out.

The Austin-based group supports Ted Cruz, who is facing off in a July 31 Republican runoff election against Dewhurst in a bid for the U.S. Senate seat of Kay Bailey Hutchison, who is retiring.

The winner is most likely to head to Washington in the heavily Republican state.

Dewhurst’s 2007 speech was delivered when he was being honored as “Mr. South Texas” in Laredo.

“We need a human presence at the border and a humane presence at the border,” Dewhurst said. “I support secure borders both North and South and I support a guest worker program for those here today illegally. Labor and skilled workers are critical to our Texas economy. Our federal government needs to get its act together.”

Hard-line conservatives, including the young conservative group, are against anything with a whiff of amnesty for workers illegally in the U.S.

The open records request has as much to do with the removal of the statement from public view, though, as the actual statement.

In a press release, Jeff Morris, chairman of the Young Conservatives of Texas, said, “We have known throughout this campaign that the Lt. Governor is running away from his record. But it is appalling that Mr. Dewhurst would try to delete the past in his effort to pull the wool over Texas voters’ eyes. If he expects to be our next Senator, Mr. Dewhurst should stand-by his moderate record and apologize for it, not try to hide from it, or deceive voters about it. We have filed our open records request so that Texas voters can know the full truth about David Dewhurst’s record.”

***
Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or stevemiller@texaswatchdog.org.

Keep up with all the latest news from Texas Watchdog. Fan our page on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Scribd, and fan us on YouTube. Join our network on de.licio.us, and put our RSS feeds in your newsreader. We're also on MySpaceDiggFriendFeed, and tumblr.

Photo of Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst from the website of the Texas state Senate.

UT administrators steamroll over students, who say tuition panel violates open meetings law
Wednesday, Feb 01, 2012, 01:29PM CST
By Steve Miller
UT longhorn

An increase in tuition at the University of Texas was pushed through in the dark, and a conservative student group is advocating for open meetings when tuition increases are at stake.

The suggested increases came after unsuccessful attempts by the student newspaper, the Daily Texan, to attend meetings of the Tuition Policy Advisory Committee, a 9-member board that makes recommendations to the school’s administration.

The Young Conservatives of Texas claims the private meetings violate a provision of SB 5, which was passed last session.

It is basing its argument on a small amendment to the bill. That section states that meetings of student fee advisory committees shall be conducted “in a manner that is open to the public.”

TPAC arrived at a 2.6 percent tuition increase for in-state students and 3.6 percent for out-of-state students each of the next two years. Public forums were held after the board meetings, and the increases were approved and ready to present to the university’s Board of Regents for a sign off.

Not good enough, said Tony McDonald, senior vice chairman of the Young Conservatives of Texas.

“They are sales presentations, held at the end of the semester when most students can’t attend,” McDonald told Texas Watchdog. “And at that point, they are not gathering public input.”

The final public forum for the recent proposed increase was Nov. 30, the Wednesday before the last day of the semester.

He said that the students on the committee – the law requires four – are “hand-picked,” and students are not elected to represent the student body before the administration.

“We want to be able to open up this process for the future,” McDonald said. “But at the same time, we are asking that the same remedy that is done for any open meetings violation, and that is that all business done in the dark has to be redone.

“Throw out the proposed tuition increase, and hold the meetings again with the committee in public.”

The Daily Texan story following the outcry over the lack of transparency included comments from Kevin Hegarty, the school’s chief financial officer and committee member, who is paid $379,173 a year.

The reason the meetings of the tuition board are closed “has to do with making people feel open to expressing their opinions,” Hegarty was quoted as saying.

Committee co-chair Steven Leslie, who is also provost of the University, “said he wants the tuition-setting process to be transparent, but the TPAC meetings are closed because members discuss confidential budget information,” according to the Daily Texan story.

Leslie is paid $381,023 a year.

The university’s top paid official is football coach Mack Brown, who receives $5.1 million a year.

The university two years ago announced layoffs and a $14.6 million annual shortfall.
 
***
Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or stevemiller@texaswatchdog.org.

Keep up with all the latest news from Texas Watchdog. Fan our page on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Scribd, and fan us on YouTube. Join our network on de.licio.us, and put our RSS feeds in your newsreader. We're also on MySpaceDiggFriendFeed, and tumblr.

Photo 'Longhorn Bus Stop' by flickr user eschulz, used via a Creative Commons license.
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