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The Lead: Ruling Coming in Texas School Finance Trial, Inquiry Begins in Morton Prosecution

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Good morning. The National Weather Service says Austin’s in for another day of slightly-warmer-than-average temperatures today, with light sprinkles this morning.

Lead Story: A ruling is set be issued to today on whether the appropriation of state school funds is constitutional.

Over 600 Texas school districts sued the state after lawmakers slashed public funding and grant programs by $5.4 billion dollars in 2011.

The trial began on Oct. 22 after two-thirds of state school districts sued the state for the misappropriation of funds. The plaintiffs believe the way schools are funded violates the Texas constitution, due to a system of unfair and unbalanced allocations.

District Judge John Dietz is scheduled to issue a ruling immediately after closing arguments are issued by both sides today, but whatever the outcome, the case is sure to be appealed to the Texas Supreme Court for final adjudication.

WilCo DA Under Inquiry: A rarecourt of inquiry begins today for Ken Anderson, the former Williamson County District Attorney whose prosecution sent Michael Morton’s to prison for decades for the murder of his wife. Morton was freed in 2011 after DNA evidence proved his innocence.

The Texas Tribune has an overview of Anderson’s career both before and after the Morton trial, and the importance of today’s inquiry:

It will determine whether Anderson, now 60, should face criminal charges for his role in the wrongful murder conviction of Michael Morton, the grocery store manager who served nearly a quarter-century in prison for murdering his wife before DNA testing led to his exoneration in 2011. Morton’s lawyers allege that Anderson withheld key evidence that not only pointed to the young father’s innocence but that allowed a murderer to remain free.

If the court determines Anderson committed perjury or withheld evidence during the 1987 trial of Michael Morton, an arrest warrant will be issued and criminal proceedings will begin

Gov. Perry Supports Scouts’ Anti-Gay Stance: The Boys Scouts of America are said to be mulling an end to a ban on gay participation in scouting – but not if Governor Rick Perry has his way.

Gov. Perry’s remarks came at the 2013 Report to State, where Texas scouts assembled at the legislature. He said the BSA would be wrong to change its policy by yielding to “popular culture.”

President Barack Obama, asked in an interview yesterday whether the BSA should change its policy to allow gay scouts, said yes. 

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