SAN ANTONIO — A state district judge Monday denied an anti-toll-road activist’s request to halt the Texas Department of Transportation’s spending on an advertising program promoting toll roads and the Trans-Texas Corridor. Terri Hall, an activist with the San Antonio Toll Party and Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom alleged that TxDOT’s “Keep Texas Moving” public-relations campaign was in violation of a state prohibition on officials using their positions for political purposes.
State District Judge Orlinda Naranjo, who heard the case, said a different law — one cited by TxDOT’s lawyers — allowed the transportation department to promote the development and use of the toll-road projects.
Hollywood by Way of Lufkin — Former Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson received a new heart on Monday night, just a few months in advance of the release of a new film about Wilson’s life.
Wilson, who served in the House from 1973 to 1996, is the subject of Charlie Wilson’s War, based on a book of the same name, which will star Tom Hanks and explore Wilson’s work to arm Afghani mujahedeen in the 1980s.
Bay City — For the first time in almost 30 years, two new license applications to build nuclear power plants have been filed — and the plants, if approved, are to be built in Texas. NRG Energy, Inc., and South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company claim the plants will power more than two million Texas homes. The new units would be at the South Texas Project nuclear power plant in Bay City. See the QueQue, page 9, for more on this hot topic and the TXDOT ruling.
Austin — Texas Governor Rick Perry, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, and House Speaker Tom Craddick this week directed the Texas Education Agency to shift funding to pay for the cost of fingerprinting public-school employees as part of a criminal background law passed by the legislature earlier this year.
It will cost about $10 million in state funds to fingerprint about half of public-school employees during this biennium, with the remaining half set to be done under the next budget approved by the legislature. •