Documents show hands-on governor

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AUSTIN – Gov. Greg Abbott's emails to staff in the thick of the legislative session show a chief executive with a hands-on approach to everything from the big picture on child abuse to the details of getting the most impact from an "American Sniper" proclamation. The emails show him in one instance eager to meet a "throw down" challenge on ethics reform and in another deliberating over whether it made sense to swing by the office of a lawmaker described by a staffer as "notoriously difficult." Among a range of topics, the emails show his recognition that grand-jury reform was rising as an issue; a plea for help from a lawsuit-reform advocate; and his suggestion that an additional entrance at the Texas Capitol be made accessible to people with disabilities. No more child deaths. Besides big policy issues, the emails show that Abbott weighed in on the finer points of timing on such items as the politically popular proclamation for "American Sniper" Chris Kyle. Abbott, as he considered disclosing his plans in a speech, wrote, "My question is: if we reveal this now, will it lead to copy cat efforts by other state officials that diminish the profundity of my taking the official action on February 2nd." On lawsuit reform, Abbott's office was contacted in May by Richard Weekley, co-founder of Texans for Lawsuit Reform, asking him to intervene with House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, to move a bill to stem property insurance claims. Weekley invoked the name of Houston trial lawyer Steve Mostyn, a giant donor to Democrats who has taken on insurance companies in court, saying, "we can't let the House, composed of 98 Republicans and 52 Democrats, have a legislative victory for Mostyn."

view Houston Chronicle (Chron.com)