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Commissioners Court takes legislative action

Wednesday, February 1, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

The Travis County Commissioners Court is going big at the Texas Legislature with a request for not one but two new civil and family judgeships. On Tuesday, the court approved the request on a 4-0 vote, with Commissioner Brigid Shea off the dais. The move aligns with the wishes of the judges at the Heman Marion Sweatt Courthouse, who last October asked the Commissioners Court to seek two new district courts to help ease their workloads. In order to take the edge off the large request, the court decided to ask that the first new court come online later this year while the second one not be officially created until late 2019. After dispensing with that vote, the court then postponed action on a proposed resolution aimed at encouraging the county’s legislative delegation to unite behind a list of specified principles. The resolution was born out of a steering group that includes representatives from the city of Austin, the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Austin Independent School District and Central Health. Commissioner Gerald Daugherty objected to the wording of the first priority listed on the document, which calls for lawmakers to “support the people’s right to govern themselves and work with their local civic and governmental organizations regarding policy and budgeting decisions.” Daugherty suggested that the language would antagonize Republican lawmakers, many of whom have filed bills that would preempt local control on an array of issues. County Judge Sarah Eckhardt consented to his request for a delay and said she would bring up the matter again next Tuesday.

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