Greetings Friends, Constituents and Supporters:
Now that Committee assignments have been made, committees are getting organized and making plans for bills to be referred. Most Committees will start hearing bills next week. However, The Committee on appropriations has already started working on the budget. The Pensions Committee, of which I am Chair, will begin hearing testimony from the various Executive Directors and other Resource Witness starting next week.
In 2014, Governor Rick Perry transferred over 38 million dollars to pay to deploy additional Department Public Safety Officers and National Guard troops along the border. Due to the delayed action of the executive branch of the United States, Texas has been forced to protect our own border, spending millions of dollars and putting an undue burden on Texas taxpayers. We will continue to work with members of the US Congress to assure Texas Taxpayers are reimbursed.
On Friday, I filed House Concurrent Resolution 61 which urges the United States Congress to reimburse the State of Texas in the amount of $603,600,000 for bearing the financial burden of the federal government’s responsibility to secure the Texas-Mexico border from 2012-2015. Senator Craig Estes has the companion Resolution in the Senate. It is the responsibility of the federal government to fully maintain the security of the Texas-Mexico international border-not the state of Texas. Since they have neglected their duty to fully maintain the security of all Texans, we will be asking them to reimburse our state. An unsecure border allows for drug smuggling, human trafficking, and makes it much easier not only for violent criminals to come through to Texas but also terrorists who wish to harm us.
In other matters, the Kroll Report of the University of Texas at Austin – Investigation of Admissions Practices and Allegations of Undue Influence was presented as of February 6, 2015. Their report was with the encouragement of the Committee on Transparency in State Government Operations.
Admiral McRaven, the University Of Texas Chancellor, released a letter regarding the report on potential admission irregularities at the University of Texas. In the letter, Admiral McRaven states that he “…found nothing in the report that rises to the level of willful misconduct or criminal activity and therefore, as it is my responsibility to adjudicate the findings, I conclude that no disciplinary action is warranted against President Powers or other administration officials at the School of Law, the McCombs Graduate School of Business or the University writ large. Consequently, I will not recommend any additional actions regarding this issue.”
As the former Co-Chair of the Committee on Transparency in State Government Operation, I fully support Admiral McRaven’s hard work and diligence that went into his managing this situation and bringing it to a full disclosure.
Unfortunately, some seeking to disrupt the process published reports in various newspapers around the state that were highly inaccurate and were followed by reports by groups intending to defame not only myself but members of both parties on the committee who worked very hard to come to a thorough and fair conclusion to the investigation and questionable conduct by Regent Wallace Hall.
As stated in my Confidential Letter to Legislators, everyone was given every opportunity to submit testimony, witness lists, evidence and any other information they felt was important to the investigation and, for whatever reason, some chose not to. It was also stated in my letter that there was failure on the part of many to handle personal matters in a professional and prudent manner.
Fortunately many have made the point this week by calling out bullies and taking them to task for their making up facts that do not exist. To continue to question the legislative committee’s actions is a failed move by those who don’t know or understand the process.
I support the statement by Chancellor William H. McRaven that he finds nothing in the report that rises to the level of willful misconduct or criminal activity and no disciplinary action is warranted. Those that would question the Admiral’s integrity may have forgotten that this is the man who ensured the world stood up to Osama Bin Laden and I think those who would question his forthrightness and honestly is shameful.
The silver lining to these challenges is that change has occurred. The Governors appointment office has changed their process, as have our Senate Colleagues when they instruct their confirmation process and the University of Texas System has already begun to change its processes.
My staff and I continue to welcome your input and your questions. You can contact our office;
Mailing address: P.O. Box 2910, Austin, TX 78768. Toll Free: 800-734-9515
May God continue to bless you and the Great State of Texas!
Dan Flynn, State Representative, District 2