Lehmberg's office testifies on PIU funding

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by JESSICA HOLLOWAY / KVUE News and Photojournalist DENNIS THOMAS

kvue.com

Posted on June 20, 2013 at 6:36 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 20 at 6:41 PM

AUSTIN -- There was a last minute attempt Thursday to overturn Governor Rick Perry's veto to cut funding from the Travis County District Attorney's Office.

The issue has been brewing for days and could soon boil over with a final outcome just days away.

For District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg this process is key -- convincing lawmakers why they should continue to provide state funding for the Travis County Public Integrity Unit.

"It feels partisan, and it's misguided as far as I'm concerned, but we're looking for other alternatives," Lehmberg said of Perry's veto. 

Officials in the governor's office say they do not believe the legislature is allowed to override Perry's veto during this special session because the bill was filed and passed during the regular session.
University of Texas professor Hugh Brady disagrees.

"There's no Texas case law that says we can or can't," Brady said.

"There's nothing to say that it cannot be done," said Rep. Sylvester Turner (D-Houston).

Rep. Turner filed a resolution asking his colleagues to help him override the governor's veto.

"The main thing is to provide funding for the Public Integrity Unit, whether it's trying to overturn, whether it's trying to find another avenue to provide the money," Rep. Turner said.

Political opponent Phil King (R-Weatherford) says Lehmberg should have stepped down.

"I think the level of selfishness and arrogance she displayed...not stepping down, which she knew what was coming...I think further shows why she should not be in that office," Rep. King said.

Just before 6:30 p.m., Rep. Turner announced the House Appropriations Committee would not vote Thursday evening on overturning the governor's veto of funds.

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