News Archive - June 2011

Legislature passes judicial system overhaul bill

The very last bill to pass out of the 82nd Texas Legislature will change the operation and administration of the state's judicial branch in ways that officials say will make the courts more efficient. Read the story. (Texas Lawyer Web) [06/30/2011]

TRAP amendments on intermediate appellate court e-filing rules to go into effect

According to amendments to the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure (TRAP), intermediate courts of appeals can officially start adopting e-filing rules as of June 30. Read the story. (Texas Lawyer Web) [06/29/2011]

Legal education waiver limited in bill

House-Senate negotiators have removed a budget-bill provision that would have exempted every state-employed lawyer from having to take 12 hours of continuing legal education courses each year. Read the story. (Austin American-Statesman) [06/29/2011]

Supreme Court rejects ban on sale of violent video games to kids

The Supreme Court on Monday struck down on First Amendment grounds a California law that barred the sale of violent video games to children. Read the story. (Austin American-Statesman) [06/28/2011]

High court blocks states' climate change lawsuit

The Supreme Court blocked a federal lawsuit Monday by states and conservation groups trying to force cuts in greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Read the story. (Houston KHOU (CBS) 11) [06/21/2011]

A legal avenue for homeless

Homeless Court, established in 2006, is a voluntary program that provides a way for the homeless to clear misdemeanor tickets through time spent in community service or recovery programs. Read the story. (Houston Chronicle) [06/20/2011]

Some immigrants seeking Austin firm's help see hope turn to despair

Hoping to get help for their asylum case, a couple from Venezuela found an advertisement for Cristo Vive para Inmigrantes (Christ Lives for Immigrants) in Northeast Austin. Read the story. (Austin American-Statesman) [06/20/2011]

Alcala welcomed to highest criminal court

Gov. Rick Perry formally gave the oath of office to Judge Elsa Alcala, the newest member of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Read the story. (Austin American-Statesman) [06/13/2011]

House approves amendment providing funding for indigent civil legal aid and indigent criminal defense

Representatives approved an amendment on a general appropriations bill that would add $17.6 million over the biennium for indigent civil legal aid, as well as $7.6 million for indigent criminal defense. Read the story. (Texas Lawyer Web) [06/10/2011]

Texas Task Force on Indigent Defense awards grants to managed assigned counsel program, regional public defender and more

Lubbock County will be the first in Texas to try, at a countywide level, a novel method of assigning attorneys to represent indigent criminal defendants, after winning a $320,000 grant from the Texas Task Force on Indigent Defense. Read the story. (Texas Lawyer Web) [06/10/2011]

House gives first approval to school finance bill

Confronting the top priority of the special legislative session, Texas House members early Friday morning gave preliminary approval to a revenue and school-financing measure that would implement $4 billion in state education cuts over the next two years. Read the story. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram) [06/10/2011]

5th Circuit overturns telemarketing suit

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court decision by U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel of Austin that had prevented the enforcement of an anti-telemarketing measure that passed the Texas Legislature in 2009. Read the story. (Austin American Statesman) [06/09/2011]

Feds sue state in inquiry over possible forced overtime at CPS

The U.S. Labor Department filed suit against a state agency Wednesday alleging that 800 Child Protective Services workers were denied more than $1 million in overtime pay over the past three years. Read the story. (Austin American-Statesman) [06/09/2011]

Legal aid may get boost from Legislature

The Legislature is prepared to add $17 million to legal aid programs, preserving civil court access for thousands of low-income Texans. Read the story. (Austin American-Statesman) [06/07/2011]

Business people - Project BRAVO

Bernadette R. Segura has been appointed a member of the board of directors for Project BRAVO, El Paso's nonprofit community action program that provides social services to elderly, disabled and low-income residents. Read the story. (El Paso Times) [06/06/2011]

Nonprofit helps kids thanks to donation

CASA, which helps children who have been abused, abandoned, neglected, sexually molested, are at-risk, or who are victims of domestic violence, will be able to expand their program thanks to a $15,000 donation by the Texas Bar Foundation. Read the story. (Taylor Daily Press) [06/03/2011]

Volunteers needed for Texas Elder Exploitation Project

The Texas Elder Exploitation Project (TEEP), a hotline offering legal services to seniors dealing with financial scams, has received a three-year, $300,000 federal grant, is open for business, and welcomes help from volunteer attorneys. Read the story. (Texas Lawyer Web) [06/03/2011]

Groups want no immigration checks during hurricane evacuations

On the first day of hurricane season, community leaders demand safe hurricane evacuations for all Rio Grande Valley residents even those here illegally. Read the story. (Harlingen KGBT (CBS) 4) [06/02/2011]

Will E-verify put immigration on session agenda?

A decision by the U.S. Supreme Court upholding an Arizona law that punishes employers who hire undocumented immigrants may give Texas lawmakers some momentum to file immigration-related legislation in hopes that the governor adds the topic to the special session under way. Read the story. (El Paso Times) [06/02/2011]

Updated: Perry adds redistricting to agenda

Gov. Rick Perry has added the congressional map to the list of issues lawmakers will address during the special session. Read the story. (Texas Tribune) [06/01/2011]

County may add state's first private defender office

Lubbock County may be adding a private defender program, combining several elements of the existing defense system in Lubbock County. Read the story. (Lubbock KJTV (FOX) 34) [06/01/2011]