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DISTRICT ATTORNEY BRETT LIGON APPOINTED TO GOVERNOR’S TASK FORCE

   The governor, Rick Perry, has named local leaders to identify for him areas where the state is creating rules and laws, but making the cities or local schools pay for them. Perry has identified several federal mandates that are unfunded and could potentially result in significant costs to the states.  Specifically, Rick Perry has complained bitterly about federal regulations that cost the state money as a result of these federal mandates.  Because the state sometimes enacts similar legislation upon counties and municipalities, the governor is promising to look at areas where the state is creating the same mandates. The governor states that "as we look for ways to streamline government and ensure the most prudent use of taxpayer dollars, we should also ensure we are not burdening local authorities with unfunded mandates as they face their own budget challenges."
     Perry identified several potential areas of focus: the state has hundreds of programs that currently are zero-funded in the budget because of its $27 billion shortfall. Among the examples, there are top agenda items that also will cost the locals. For instance, top law enforcement in four major cities were in Austin saying that "sanctuary city" legislation, backed by Perry, would be an unfunded mandate that would cost them millions. The proposal would ban any community from having a policy that prevents police from arresting those they believe to be in the country illegally, but it would mean costs in jail space, food, manpower, etc. Dallas Sheriff Lupe Valdez suggested it could mean several thousand more inmates in her jail — a cost to local taxpayers of more than $1 million.  The task force will have as its primary focus, the identification of these potentially unfunded mandates.
     The governor looked for leaders accross the state and soon identified Ligon as a person with significant knowledge in the criminal justice system.  Ligon has accepted his nomination and will soon begin work with other task force members.  The other taskforce members are Houston Mayor Annise Parker; El Paso Mayor John Cook; Comal County Sheriff Bob Holder; former San Marcos Mayor Susan Narvaiz; Houston councilmember Mike Sullivan; Cameron County Judge Carlos Cascos; Collin County Judge Keith Self; and Hudson school superintendent Mary Ann Whiteker in Tyler.  Ligon stated that it is an honor to be recognized for the work that his office has done in Montgomery County and its positive impact on the community.  He further stated that he is pleased that the governor has recognized the financial hardships that local governments face and he looks forward to assisting the governor on how to lessen that burden.  Ligon was also recently appointed to the state’s prosecutor agency board of directors in recognition for his work and the work of his prosecutors.

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