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Lege Committee Finds Grounds for Impeachment of UT Regent Hall

Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune
Dallas businessman Wallace Hall, Jr. takes notes at the University of Texas Board of Regents meeting on Feb. 14, 2013 in Austin.

Update: The House Transparency Committee has voted 7-1 that grounds to impeach UT Regent Wallace Hall exist.

The matter of whether to recommend impeachment proceedings is a separate question still to be decided. The committee will reconvene May 21 to consider articles of impeachment against Hall. But some committee members are hoping the UT Board of Regents or Gov. Rick Perry will take action before then.

"You have a responsibility, Board of Regents," Rep. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston, said. "You have known about this behavior for quite some time and you have a responsibility to take action to allow one trustee, one member to continue this misconduct, to allow someone to bring down the university. I think the responsibility lies with the Board of Regents. So we are looking to you to make some changes."

Rep. Lyle Larson, R-San Antonio, said he asked Gov. Perry to ask for Hall's resignation for the fourth time.

Rep. Charles Perry, R-Canton, was the only committee member to vote against the grounds for impeachment. He said he does not think the entire story was aired out during the investigation.

"I do believe my opinion may be different if I had heard all testimony from all sides," Rep. Perry said. "I do not fault anybody; I think everybody on this committee gave it their all. I think the process were new and it was learn at you go that ultimately became a block to hear all sides."

Original story (1:17 p.m.):  House Transparency Committee has gone into executive session to discuss a possible recommendation of impeachment of University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall. Hall is under investigation by the legislative committee to see if he overstepped his role as regent.

Before entering executive session, Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Canton, criticized Hall for not cooperating with the investigation.

"The degree to which Mr. Hall refrained from participating demonstrates he wanted his role to be solely his conditions or none at all," Rep. Flynn said. "This can only be a considered a slap in the face to the Texas Legislature, the members, its authority and jurisdiction. "

Hall is accused of making broad record requests from UT Austin in what some believe was an attempt to oust UT-Austin President Bill Powers.  A recent report prepared for the committee found four possible grounds for impeachment, including how he handled private student information, and the open records requests from UT-Austin.

Flynn says the committee will discuss three options: a recommendation for impeachment to the speaker, putting the decision on hold, or taking no action at all.

Rep. Trey Martinez-Fisher, D- San Antonio, praised the committee for its work and urged the committee to remain consistent in its approach throughout the investigation.

"Nobody on this committee asked for this assignment," Martinez-Fisher said. "From day one, this committee has been very firm and very consistent that we prefer that these matters be taken care of by appropriate agencies that have responsibility to govern a system and govern a component campus."

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