AUSTIN -- Gov. Rick Perry would lose control of the state-led border security program he has worked to build since 2005 under bills a panel of House lawmakers reviewed Wednesday.
"I'm concerned that we're spending a great deal of money on a matter that is not yielding significant results," said state Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston, who wrote the measures.
Farrar's two bills, which she said were designed to stop Perry from using the money as political patronage, would take away the governor's ability to award grants for border-security operations and give that responsibility to the Texas Department of Public Safety. The governor's homeland security director, a key decision-maker in border security operations, would become an appointed position subject to approval by the Senate.
Katherine Cesinger, a Perry spokeswoman, said the border money had not been used to curry political favor. The operations, she said, have helped reduce crime.
"Texas has a proven homeland security strategy that should be a model for the nation," Cesinger said.
Since 2005, Perry has sent sheriff's and police departments across the state more than $30 million to participate in state-led border security operations. He has asked lawmakers for millions more this year.
Rick is probably telling the legislature to try and see how much voters like cuts to border security come election time. Then again, the legislature might be thinking cutting border security will hurt Rick more than themselves.
Meanwhile, Rick has joined Bill Richardson, Arnold, and Arizona's new governor in calling on the Obama administration to send more federal border security forces, something getting totally ignored in Texas but covered far more extensively in Arizona (link). They even have the original letter you can read for yourself in Adobe format. Why is the Texas media so AWOL on this issue? I have not even seen about this except from out of state media.