TEXAS attorney general Ken Paxton entered a plea of not guilty on felony charges of securities fraud at his arraignment in Fort Worth on Thursday, August 27.
Tarrant County 396th state district court judge George Gallagher gave Paxton until September 30 to answer to the charges.
Paxton, below, is accused of encouraging two individuals to buy stock in Severgy, a Collin County-based technology firm, and being compensated for his actions without being registered as an investment adviser in accordance with the security and exchange commission’s regulations.
He is also accused of falsely giving prospective investors the impression that he was an investor in Severgy.
The Texas Rangers turned over evidence gathered during an investigation that began in April, when a formal complaint was lodged against the state’s top legal officer by Texans For Public Justice, an Austin-based government watchdog group. The attorney general was indicted by a Collin County grand jury on July 28.
The court proceedings were then moved to Tarrant County because of Paxton’s closeness to the courts in Collin County. He was a state senator representing the county from January 2013 until he was elected attorney general in November 2014, having been the state representative for the county and part of Dallas County from 2003 to 2013.
Hegar seeks AG’s line on Abbott veto
STATE public-accounts comptroller Glenn Hegar is seeking an opinion from the office of the Texas attorney general regarding governor Greg Abbott’s June 20 veto of certain items in the 2016-2017 state budget.
Abbott cut some $295m from house bill 1, the general appropriations act, for a wide range of items such as contingent riders for bills that had not passed, projects that could be funded through other sources and duplicative appropriations.
In his announcement last Wednesday, August 26, Hegar noted that the legislative budget board’s staff had raised questions as to whether the vetoes exceeded the governor’s authority under the Texas constitution. The LBB staff’s job is to serve the fiscal policy
and analysis needs of the Texas legislature.
“I am seeking clarity and requesting guidance from the attorney general’s office,” Hegar said. “This is a constitutional issue that goes to the heart of separation of powers within Texas government.”
UT removes Davis statue
A BRONZE statue of Jefferson Davis, who was president of the Confederate States of America from 1861 to 1865, was removed from the main mall of the University Of Texas’ Austin campus on Sunday, August 30.
On Saturday, UT president Gregory Fenves said the statue would be placed in an indoor educational display at the campus’ Briscoe center for American history.
The decision, in line with a multi-state trend to remove symbols of the pro-slavery Confederacy from government-controlled properties, was made after Travis County 250th state district court judge Karin Crump rejected a petition by Sons Of Confederate Veterans to prevent relocation of the statue.
Fenves said the university plans to refurbish the statute and install it at the Briscoe center within the next 18 months.
He also said the statue of president Woodrow Wilson, displayed opposite the Davis statue, is being moved to preserve the symmetry of the main-mall plaza and will be positioned elsewhere on campus.
Statues of Robert E Lee and three other Confederate figures remain in place on the main mall.
New teen driving program
THE NEW Impact Texas teen driver program, which aims to teach the dangers of distracted driving, was launched yesterday, Tuesday.
The Texas public safety department’s program requires driver’s license applicants who complete a teenage driver education course to watch a two-hour program promoting awareness of the dangers and to print a certificate of completion afterward.
DPS director Steven McCraw said: “This new component of teen driver education underscores the risks of distracted driving and is designed to provide young and inexperienced drivers with additional information and skills to help keep them and others safe on the road.”
More Hispanics take ACT test
MORE Hispanic students took the ACT college admission test than any other student demographic in Texas’ 2015 graduating class, according to a study by the Iowa-based organization that owns and controls the test.
Of the 124,764 Texas students who took the test, almost 40 percent – 48,934 – were Hispanic, the Texas education agency said when announcing the study’s Texas results last Wednesday, August 26.
“It’s the second consecutive year where the number of Hispanic students represented the highest number of examinees of any racial ethnic group,” the announcement read.
Since 2011, Texas has seen a 22.8 per cent increase in ACT test-taking graduates among all student groups.