AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry declared his candidacy for president of the United States on Aug. 13 at RedState Gathering, a Republican blogger convention in Charleston, S.C.
Perry’s declaration ended a period of many months of public speculation over his intentions.
In declaring, Perry expressed his intention to export Texas ideas on governance to the rest of the nation and told the audience he would work to make Washington, D.C., as “inconsequential” as he can in the lives of Americans. He said his campaign would focus on jobs and budget cuts.
While Perry was in South Carolina, most other Republican candidates were in Iowa, competing to win the non-binding 2011 Ames Straw Poll, a GOP fund-raiser that allowed Iowans to make a $30 donation and pick their favorite.
U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas placed second in the poll, next to winner U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota, an Iowa native. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who last week was the leader in national polls, placed seventh. As a write-in candidate, Perry placed sixth without exerting any on-the-ground effort in Iowa. He traveled to Iowa the day after the poll to make public appearances.
Perry’s third full term in office as governor will expire at the end of 2014. With more than 10 years already to his credit, he is the longest-serving governor in Texas history.
Court rules against Care Act
The Eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta on Aug. 12 affirmed a lower court’s ruling that the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate is unconstitutional.
The court called the law requiring citizens to purchase health insurance or be penalized “an unprecedented exercise of congressional power” that “exceeds Congress’ enumerated commerce power.”
The state of Texas, led by state Attorney General Greg Abbott, is part of the 26-state coalition that challenged the federal law.
Abbott hailed the outcome as “an important ruling for freedom and limited government.”
The Act, which is still in effect and may be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama in 2010. Bills to repeal the Act have been filed but not taken up.
Cult leader is sentenced
Warren Steed Jeffs of the YFZ (Yearning For Zion) Ranch in Schleicher County near Eldorado was sentenced by a Tom Green County jury in San Angelo on Aug. 9.
Jeffs, 55, president of the breakaway Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints that owns the ranch, was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a 12-year-old ranch girl and to 20 years for the sexual assault of a 15-year-old ranch girl. Jeffs was transported to the Byrd Unit state prison facility in Huntsville to being serving his sentences.
DPS Director Steve McCraw referred to the sentencing of Jeffs as “a clear message to would-be pedophiles: The sexual exploitation of children will not be tolerated in Texas.”
Workers comp data online
Computer-users who have an Internet connection can access state-maintained workers’ compensation data free of charge atwww.tdi.texas.gov/wc/data.html.
On Aug. 9, the workers’ compensation division of the Texas Department of Insurance announced the availability of the agency’s semiannually updated System Data Report that contains data on income and death benefits, dispute resolution, medical fee disputes, designated doctor appointments and medical benefits.
Immunizations before school
The Texas Department of State Health Services on reminded parents to be sure their children are current on all required immunizations before school starts. Students must be vaccinated against certain preventable diseases before the first day of school, or they may not be allowed to attend class. See ImmunizeTexas.org for more information.
Inmates to pay more for care
Each state prison inmate, beginning Sept. 1, will be charged $100 for the first health care visit they request, pursuant to a new law.
The fee covers all health care visits requested by an inmate for one year, but the Texas Department of Criminal Justice clarified that the fee won’t be charged for an emergency or life-threatening situation, follow-up services recommended by the health care staff, chronic care (including communicable diseases such as HIV, AIDS and TB), prenatal care, health screening and evaluations related to the diagnostic and reception process or health care services necessary to comply with state law and regulations.