DEWHURST WANTS SENATE HEARINGS INTO POWERS DISPUTE
The Texas Senate announced Tuesday that it will hold hearings into the behavior of the University of Texas' regents and whether they are meddling too much into President Bill Powers' private life and management of the school.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst called Tuesday for the hearings. A day earlier, the Legislature delivered a strong message of support for Powers and Dewhurst accused some of the nine members of the University of Texas System regents of waging "character assassination" of Powers and his family.
Dewhurst has said anonymous letters attacking Powers and his wife has been circulated among the regents but has provided no other details.
Sen. Kel Seliger, an Amarillo Republican and chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee, said he didn't know when the hearings would start. Seliger said regents could be called to testify and the Senate could subpoena the documents Dewhurst mentioned.
"President Powers appreciates all the support he's received this week from the lieutenant governor and other lawmakers," Powers spokesman Gary Susswein said. "The president will cooperate fully with the Legislature as it examines issues related to UT and higher education."
The regents did not immediately comment Tuesday.
SENATE COMMITTEE APPROVES BILL ON MEDICAID FRAUD
The Senate Health and Human Services Committee has approved a bill intended to fight fraud in the Medicaid system.
Committee chairwoman Sen. Jane Nelson introduced the bill which she says will empower the Office of the Inspector General to investigate fraud in the health care program for the poor and disabled. The bill would also increase penalties for those found responsible for fraudulent claims.
Senate Bill 8 would also make significant changes to rules concerning medical transportation to and from appointments.
One South Texas group complained the bill would require single parents to accompany their children to therapy and treatment, forcing them to either miss work and lose income or skimp on their child's health care.
But the committee also heard testimony about how Medicaid patients misuse the transportation system.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
"Is 37 percent correct on algebra too hard?" The message towed by an airplane around the Capitol on Tuesday. The Texas Association of Business was protesting proposals to lower the standardized test score require to graduate high school, which for algebra, is only 37 percent correct.