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March 16, 2015      11:03 AM

Updated: On a party line vote, Senate State Affairs votes to take the PIU out of Travis County DA's office

"My impression is it would politicize it more," Zaffirini says; Huffman rejects that

Voting along party lines, the Senate State Affairs Committee on Monday voted to recommend the full Senate approve a proposal to move the state’s public corruption watchdog out of the Travis County District Attorney’s Office.

For the better part of an hour, Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, defended her bill while Democrats picked it apart and testimony was offered suggesting it would make public corruption much more difficult to prosecute. Somewhat emphatically, Huffman said she’s not carrying the legislation on behalf of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Gov. Greg Abbott or anyone else. This is her bill alone, Huffman said.  

As written, the bill aims to move the prosecution of an officeholder to that official’s home county instead of Austin when they are formally accused of abusing their power. Huffman explained that under her revised version of this, the District Attorney in the official’s home county could be removed from a case if there was a potential conflict of interest.