Daily Archives: June 21, 2011

Commissioners Approve Vote Centers | KUT.org

Commissioners Approve Vote Centers | KUT.org.

The Travis County Clerk says Vote Centers would make Election Day easier for voters and poll workers. Photo by KUT NewsNews

Commissioners Approve Vote Centers

June 21, 2011 4:40 pm by: Audrey White

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Some neighborhood polling stations could be a thing of the past. That’s if a new program approved today by the Travis County Commissioners Court succeeds.

The trial program would turn create vote centers–large scale polling stations–for this year’s November state constitutional amendment election.

“We’re going to remove the restrictions and allow people to vote wherever they like, just like early voting,” Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir said. She added that a lot of people show up to the wrong polling station on Election Day, and the new program will eliminate that confusion.

But the idea does have its critics. Karen Renick, the president of Vote Rescue, is one of them. The group has called for the use of paper ballots, instead of electronic voting.

“What we want to see is [that] we get back to a totally publicly observable election where the counting happens at the precinct level,” Renick said. “But if you get down into voting centers where anybody can go anywhere to vote, you just have destroyed that building block of our electoral process.”

Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade still has to approve the plan.  If voters like the vote centers system this November, DeBeauvoir says Travis County will use it for the presidential election in 2012.

Eastside Memorial HS gets new principal, new name – YNN – Your News Now

Eastside Memorial HS gets new principal, new name – YNN – Your News Now.

By: YNN Staff

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A new principal and a new name are in store at Eastside Memorial High School.

 

Monday night, AISD district officials named James Coburn to principal. In addition, Global Tech and Green Tech High Schools will be renamed to either Johnston Eastside Memorial High School or Eastside Memorial High School at the Johnston Campus.

Coburn has spent time as a middle school and high school principal and has experience as a teacher and band director.

Under Coburn’s tenure, the two schools will become one. Last year, the Green Tech campus was rated “Academically Unacceptable” for the second year in a row.

A reconstitution plan was voted on back in May. The new principal is expected to start in mid July.

Perry Vetoes Texting While Driving Bill, 22 Others

Perry Vetoes Texting While Driving Bill, 22 Others.

APRIL CASTRO, Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas Gov. Rick Perry vetoed 23 bills Friday, including legislation that would have outlawed sending or reading text messages while driving.

Lawmakers approved the texting ban last month, but Perry called it an “overreach” and “government effort to micromanage the behavior of adults.”

Perry also struck a handful of spending lines in the state budget.

He signed several bills, including much of the next two-year state budget. That budget spent $50.4 billion in state money, but lawmakers are still wrestling with education spending in a special session.

“Our state faced significant challenges as we began the legislative session in January, and I am proud Texas will continue to live within its means while encouraging job creation and maintaining essential services,” Perry said in a statement with the announcement of his decisions. “There is still some work to be done by lawmakers, but I am confident the bills I have signed will strengthen our economic momentum moving forward.”

Former House Speaker Tom Craddick had pushed the texting while driving ban, touting it as a public-safety measure. But the bill triggered more than a half-hour of debate on the House floor with opponents arguing the bill would amount to criminalizing drivers simply for receiving a text message while driving.

San Antonio and El Paso already have laws forbidding texting while driving, and at least 30 other states have enacted similar statewide bans.

“The keys to dissuading drivers of all ages from texting while driving are information and education,” Perry said in his veto statement. “I recommend additional education on this issue in driving safety and driver’s education courses, public service ads, and announcements, and I encourage individuals and organizations that testified in favor of the anti-texting language included in this bill to work with state and local leaders to educate the public of these dangers.”

Perry also vetoed a measure that would have allowed candidates for public office to correct campaign finance filings without penalty within 14 days after a sworn complaint has been filed with the Texas Ethics Commission.

Another vetoed bill would have allowed transit buses in certain urban counties to drive on highway shoulders during peak traffic hours. Perry said it would have endangered motorists by not leaving an emergency lane.

In total, Perry vetoed 24 bills, including an internet sales tax measure that he axed last month.

Perry set the known record for vetoes by a Texas governor in 2000, when he infuriated the Legislature by vetoing a record 83 bills. He killed so many bills the night of June 17, 2001, the final day of bill consideration, that politicos dubbed it the “Father’s Day Massacre.”

That was shortly after he had ascended to the governorship, when Republican George W. Bush resigned to become president.

Four years later, in 2005, Perry issued 20 vetoes, the lowest number in a regular session since 1975.

Bush had far fewer vetoes during his tenure as governor. His highest total for a legislative session was 38 in 1997.