Third Emerging Technology Fund recipient goes bankrupt



Another company awarded money from Gov. Rick Perry’s Emerging Technology Fund filed for bankruptcy last month.

Nano-Tailor’s CEO says the company folded because the state did not fully invest up to $1.25 million.

In 2010, Nano-Tailor received $250,000 in taxpayer money. The company’s CEO says it could not meet performance requirements added to the original contract.

Two other tech fund recipients filed for bankruptcy in 2010.

Nano-Tailor’s filing brings the total amount of failed investments to $2.5 million.

Perry launched the fund in 2005. Since then, it has awarded $370 million to more than 100 companies.

Health and Human Services Commissioner to retire



Courtesy: Texas Health and Human Services


Texas Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Tom Suehs announced Thursday he’ll retire at the end of August. He headed the HHSC for three years.

“Thank you for the opportunity to serve our great state in a position that touches the lives of every Texan,” Suehs wrote in a letter to the Governor, according to a news release. “It has truly been an honor and a privilege.”

Suehs was appointed by Perry in 2009. He’s worked in state government for 26 years.

“In his more than 25 years of dedicated service to the people of Texas, Tom Suehs has worked tirelessly to improve the health and wellbeing of families across the state," Gov. Perry said in a statement. "During his tenure as Texas Health and Human Services executive commissioner, Tom helped steer the health and human services enterprise through significant and much-needed reforms, ensuring our taxpayer dollars are used effectively and efficiently to help our most vulnerable Texans."

Suehs’ announcement comes just weeks after state Medicaid director Billy Milwee announced he would step down.

Cornyn calls for Holder resignation

Senator John Cornyn is the latest Republican to call for US Attorney General Eric Holder’s resignation. The call came during a heated exchange during a Senate Judiciary committee hearing today.

Cornyn accused Holder of "violating the public trust" and said he hoped "President Obama appoints someone who is up to the challenge" of putting justice before politics.

Cornyn has been one of Holder’s biggest opponents and opposed his 2009 nomination. However, he’d held back on calling for his resignation, until now.

Holder could face contempt charges in the wake of the ‘Fast and Furious’ gun walking scandal.
Many Republicans have questioned what Holder knew about the passing of illegally purchased weapons across the boarder to suspected weapon smugglers Mexico. Those weapons would eventually land in the hands of Mexican drug cartel members and one would be used to shoot and kill a US Border Patrol agent.

Cornyn also questioned Holder’s refusal to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate leaks of confidential information to the media.

Holder rejected Cornyn’s call to step down. He said, "I don’t have any intention of resigning. I heard the White House press officer say yesterday that he has absolute confidence in me. I don’t have any reason to believe that, in fact, is not the case."

The House Oversight committee with discuss the contempt charges on June 20.

Here’s the video of Cornyn’s full statement:

Rand Paul endorses Mitt Romney

His father is technically still running for President, but Sen. Rand Paul is formally throwing his support behind Mitt Romney. He made that announcement last night, on FOX news.

In an interview on CNN today, Rand Paul said "I’ve always supported my dad. He’s always been my first choice, he’ll always be my first choice." Paul said Romney’s nomination is inevitable, and he’s talked to Romney about his support of his father’s biggest campaign issues.

Romney released this statement following the endorsement:

“I am honored to have earned the endorsement of Rand Paul. Senator Paul has been a leading voice in the effort to scale back the size and reach of government and promote liberty. Over the past three and half years, President Obama has made government more and more of a presence in our lives, and Americans can’t afford four more years of the same failed policies. As President, I will reform the federal government and make it smaller, simpler, and smarter. I am grateful for Senator Paul’s support and look forward to working with him to get America back on the right track.”

Rand Paul said he did not know if his father would ultimately endorse Romney.

Perry’s Dewhurst endorsement ‘booed’ at GOP Convention

This year’s Texas Republican Party convention is offering candidates and their supporters a rare opportunity to sway delegates before the runoff elections.

It’s clear U-S Senate Candidate Ted Cruz has his fair share of support in Fort Worth this weekend. Gov. Rick Perry was greeted by cheers as he addressed the convention this afternoon. But when he voiced his support for Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, he was met by a loud chorus of what sounded like ‘Cruuuuzzz,’ sprinkled in with some ‘boooooos.’

Perry told reporters at the convention he thought they were cheering "Dewwww." You can watch the video clip below, to for yourself.

Both Lt. Gov. Dewhurst and Ted Cruz will be guests on tonight’s Capital Tonight. We’ll be interviewing them from the convention.

Texas officials to EPA: Leave us alone

It’s no secret Texas Republicans aren’t huge fans of the Environmental Protection Agency. Texas is suing the agency and multiple Republican candidates have campaigned on shutting it down all together.

Bryan Shaw, chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and Barry Smitherman, chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission, testified before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Wednesday on EPA enforcement priorities and practices.

"We understand that EPA is continuing to expand its power despite restrictions imposed by the U.S. Supreme Court by moving forward with its controversial ‘waters of the U.S.’ guidance under the Clean Water Act, which would significantly expand EPA’s regulatory reach," Smitherman testified.

Former EPA administrator Alfredo Armendariz, who once used the word "crucify" when referring to EPA enforcement, was a no-show at the hearing. He was chair of the south central region EPA until he resigned last spring.

"The fact that Al Armendariz chose to shield himself behind his lawyers rather than answer simple questions about his time at the EPA demonstrates he has something to hide and is fearful of the consequences that may result from his time as EPA Region 6 Administrator,” Smitherman said in a press release.

Shaw’s testimony mostly centered around the state’s Flexible Permits Program, saying it gave "owners and operators greater flexibility and control" and "reduced emissions and complied with all state health standards and all applicable federal Clean Air Act requirements" when it was established in 1994. He testified that it took the EPA more than a decade to tell Texas the program didn’t comply with federal regulations.

‘Big 3′ call for 10 percent more cuts to 2014-2015 budget



YNN’s Political Reporter Alana Rocha filed the video report above following the announcement. The topic dominated the Texas Sunset Commission as they discussed needed improvements to several programs.

Deeper budget cuts are on the horizon. Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Speaker Joe Straus are asking state agencies to plan to reduce spending by 10 percent, in 5 percent increments, for the 2014-2015 budget.

"Unlike Washington where spending increases are automatic, Texas has maintained a balanced budget by forcing government to look for savings first – ensuring taxpayers’ hard-earned money is put to its highest and best use," Dewhurst said in a statement.

A letter, sent Monday by the Legislative Budget Board and the Governor’s Office of Budget, Planning and Policy, gives clear instructions to agency chairs, appellate court judges and higher education chancellors and presidents.




"As a starting point for budget deliberations, an agency’s baseline request for General Revenue Funds and General Revenue-Dedicated Funds may not exceed the sum of amounts expended in fiscal year 2012 and budgeted in fiscal year 2013…Agencies must also submit a supplemental schedule detailing how they would reduce the baseline request by an additional 10 percent (in 5 percent increments) in General Revenue Funds and General Revenue Dedicated Funds," the letter states.

And they could be asked to cut more, should "state fiscal conditions warrant it."

Some programs and agencies are exempt. Agency chairs are asked not to cut funding for the Foundation School Program, or benefits and eligibility in Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program or the foster care program. Employer contribution requirements for state pensions are also exempt from cuts.

"While our revenue growth has been healthy this year, we must plan conservatively, which is why we have asked agencies to hold the line on spending. By identifying possible spending reductions in the next biennium, agencies can prioritize their most critical functions and programs. These instructions will also leave us prepared for a slowdown in revenues as the national economy struggles to recover," Speaker Straus said in a statement.

You can read the letter for yourself below.

Paul campaign responds to supporter arrests at Louisiana GOP convention

Mitt Romney may have clinched the Republican presidential nomination last week, but that is not silencing some Ron Paul supporters. Things got heated at the Louisiana GOP convention over the weekend, where a supporter was arrested.

According to Reuters, Paul supporter Henry Herford Jr. was asked to leave the Republican convention. He refused, and was eventually "taken away and charged with the misdemeanor crime of entering and remaining after being forbidden."

The Paul campaign described the incident in a press release on Saturday.

"Henry Herford Jr. of Franklin Parrish was attacked by some security officials who didn’t realize that the body had voted out the previous chairman. Mr. Herford has a prosthetic hip and according to a doctor at the scene it appears as though the prosthetic was dislocated and may require replacement," National Campaign Manager John Tate said.

The statement says the campaign "condemns the unfortunate activities that took place" and calls it an "unnecessary conflict." After the incident, Romney’s Louisiana chair told the Paul delegates he would make sure they were seated in Tampa, leading the Paul campaign to thank them for "stepping in and taking the high road."

Dewhurst picks up Craig James endorsement

Craig James will endorse former rival Lt. Governor David Dewhurst in his Senate bid. Dewhurst’s campaign said James would make the formal announcement later today, at the Dallas Republican Party headquarters.

Dewhurst is facing a runoff against former Solicitor General Ted Cruz, who placed second in Tuesday’s primary. Former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert came in third, but has not said who, if anyone, he will endorse.

James, who is a former ESPN analyst, finished in fourth place, with four percent of the vote.

In a statement released by the Dewhurst campaign, James said:

“On July 31st, Texans will have a clear choice between David Dewhurst, a Texas conservative businessman, and Ted Cruz, a D.C. lawyer beholden to Washington insiders and politicians. Today, I am proud to endorse David Dewhurst for U.S. Senate. David Dewhurst is a Texas patriot who will fight for our shared conservative values."

“Washington insiders are spending millions in Texas trying to hand-pick the next Senator. That’s not the Texas way. We need an outsider who can take the Texas model to Washington and stand up to the political insiders who are trying to hand-pick our next U.S. Senator. We need David Dewhurst.”

Primary night coverage on YNN

Michael Morton’s role in the race for WilCo DA

A point of contention in this year’s race for Williamson County District Attorney is the high-profile wrongful conviction of Michael Morton.

The issue has put current Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley in the spotlight. Early numbers have his challenger, Jana Duty, taking the lead.

YNN’s John Salazar reports on how Morton shaped the race.

Then, YNN’s Chie Saito has more on the Bell County race for sheriff, and more analysis from Jim Henson with the Texas Political Party.

Political analysis: Race for District 35

YNN’s Paul Brown talks with the Quorum Report’s Harvey Kronberg and statewide political analyst Scott Braddock about the race for District 35.

The restricting fallout earlier this year moved longtime Congressman Lloyd Doggett from many his loyal constituents.

Also hear Kronberg’s and Braddock’s analysis on the race for Hutchison’s Senate seat.

Polls close in less than one hour

Polls for this year’s primary close at 7 p.m. across Travis County.

This particular primary is running a little late. Normally primary elections are held in March, but the redistricting hearing slowed things down this year, landing both the state primary and municipal elections in May.

According to Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir, having the election the day after Memorial Day weekend had a negative impact on voter turnout.

"We have seen a nice, steady turnout for today, but I don’t think it is going to break any records,” DeBeauvoir said. “In fact, it looks like it is probably going to be a pretty low turnout.”

By early Tuesday afternoon, about 25,000 people had voted in Travis County, but there’s usually a rush to the polls at the end of the work day. DeBeauvoir said she expects the total number to double by the time the polls close.

At 7 p.m. sharp, all the ballots will be delivered to the city clerk’s office on flash drives, where the votes will be tallied. Early numbers should start rolling in about 8:15 p.m.

Then, Paul Brown shares what to expect as primary night continues.

Race for District 35, political analysis from Jim Henson

YNN’s Karina Kling is with the Lloyd Doggett campaign as they wait for results for Texas’ District 35 seat. Hear how Doggett and his top competitor Sylvia Romo are feeling tonight.

Also, listen to analysis from political strategist Jim Henson.

Primary night in Texas

It’s primary night in Central Texas, and YNN has all the high-profile races across Central Texas covered.

The race is close between Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz for Kay Bailey Hutchison’s US Senate seat.

Both candidates are watching the results roll in from Houston, and YNN is there.

Pleased with early voting numbers, Matt Hirsch with the Dewhurst campaign said he went to vote this morning and no one was there day after Memorial Day, as expected. The awkward timing of Election Day is the reason why so many campaigns pushed early voting. While Dewhurst did stay active throughout the day, his campaign didn’t do any phone banking.

Unlike his chief rival, Dewhurst’s top republican challenger, Ted Cruz, had about a half dozen volunteers phone banking well into the afternoon.