Abbott found 26 cases to prosecute - all against Democrats, all but one against blacks or Hispanics. Of those, two-thirds were technical violations in which voters were eligible, votes were properly cast and no vote was changed
Dallas Morning News | By Wayne Slater AG Greg Abbott's Failure to Find Widespread Voter Fraud Won't Bolster His Voter ID Appeal – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says he'll appeal the Justice Department's rejection of the Texas voter ID law, which would require voters to show a photo identification in order to vote. The law would have gone into effect by the May 29 Texas primary. But it's been held up in court amid challenges that it's actually aimed at depressing the minority vote, largely Democrats. Republican Abbott is looking to run for governor in 2014 and he has been promoting the voter ID idea, which is popular among Republicans.
Several years ago, Abbott announced there was an "epidemic" of voter fraud in Texas and he launched an investigation. But his investigation and subsequent prosecutions failed to confirm any such epidemic. Abbott found 26 cases to prosecute - all against Democrats, all but one against blacks or Hispanics. Of those, two-thirds were technical violations in which voters were eligible, votes were properly cast and no vote was changed. None of the cases would have been affected by the voter ID requirement. A spokesman for Abbott defended his crackdown on vote fraud, saying it's a very real problem. Still, the voter ID idea is a staple among Republican politicians in Texas and other states that have adopted similar voting requirements.Army Corps Launches Study of Proposed South Texas Offshore Wind Farms | Caller-Times | By Mark Collettee CORPUS CHRISTI TX (March 15, 2012) — The Army Corps of Engineers is preparing for an environmental study of a proposed offshore wind farm poised to become the first in Texas. The first public meeting on the project is planned for March 28 in Brownsville. The Corps is accepting public comments that will help define the scope of its environmental study, which is expected to be complete by the end of 2014. Environmental groups are tracking the project and have raised concerns about the turbines' effects on birds and sea life. Austin-based Baryonyx Corp. wants to install about 200 wind turbines in each of three areas off the South Texas coast. The environmental study covers two areas, which the company calls its Rio Grande and North Rio Grande leases, in state waters off South Padre Island.
25,000 Fewer School Employees | The Texas Tribune | By Ryan Murphy and Morgan Smith (March 5, 2012) – Since the start of the legislative session, speculation has abounded about how cuts to public education would affect educators' jobs. With the release of the 2011-12 school district employment figures, the Texas Education Agency has an answer. Schools employ about 25,000 fewer employees than they did at this time last year — a 3.8 percent decrease that includes teachers, administrators and other staff.
It will take more to answer how budget cuts have affected the state’s public schools, but the figures provide a window into the kinds of decisions the state’s 1,200-plus school districts and charter schools are making to cope with a $5.4 billion reduction in funding.
Reductions in Hays County school districts:
Hays CISD Full Time Employees 2011 1040.96 / FTE 2012 1005.92 / -3.55%
San Marcos CISD 2011 540.92 / 2012 531.86 / -1.67
Dripping Springs ISD 2011 282.46 / 2012 278.36 / -1.45%
Wimberley ISD 2011 149.71 / 2012 142.01 / -5.14%
Total: 55 positions
Here are some initial takeaways:
- There are fewer teachers in public schools — just under 11,000, about a 3.2 percent decrease.
- The most commonly eliminated positions were those having to do with teacher support — staff members who help educators with professional development outside of the classroom, often filling in for overstretched principals.
- No positions are safe. Districts are trimming staff in all areas, from administrators to librarians to teachers aides, to yes, teachers.
Also: the numbers from the current school year come with the caveat that many districts, depending on their financial status, will undergo further cuts next year.