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OFF THE LOBBY Two legislators who are the subject of an ethics investigation by Travis County Attorney Ken Oden announced last week that they will no longer lobby for clients before state agencies. State Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, and Rep. Rick Green, R-Dripping Springs, were targets of an investigation by Oden’s office into their lobbying efforts in front of the Texas Department of Health on behalf of Metabolife International, a company that makes nutritional supplements. Oden told the Austin American-Statesmanthat the inquiry is seeking to determine whether Wentworth and Green broke ethics laws by pressuring the health department to scrap a regulation affecting Metabolife that would require the company to put new warning labels on products that contain ephedrine. Oden did not return two calls for comment. Section 572.052 of the Texas Government Code generally prohibits legislators from taking compensation to represent clients before state agencies � except when the representation is at a public hearing and a matter of public record or involves filing documents or doing “ministerial” acts. On Oct. 16, Wentworth, of counsel in the San Antonio office of Loeffler, Jonas & Tuggey, said he will no longer represent any client before a state agency as a private lawyer. “I am in the Texas Senate for only one purpose � to serve the public interest � and I am loyal to only one boss: the people of Senate District 25,” Wentworth said in a written statement. Green hasn’t lobbied state agencies for clients for more than a year and does not plan to in the future, according to Green spokesman Daniel Deslatte. Cris Feldman, an attorney for Texans for Public Justice, a watchdog group that complained to Oden a year ago about Wentworth’s and Green’s lobbying, says the statements from the lawmakers are a positive step, but do not absolve them of their alleged prior conduct. PE�A RESIGNS Juan Pe�a, a partner in the Edinburg office of Linebarger, Goggan, Blair, Pe�a & Sampson, resigned from the firm on Oct. 11 after he was indicted Oct. 9 on charges that he participated in a conspiracy to bribe two San Antonio city councilmen for a city collection contract. Pe�a was set to be arraigned on Oct. 18, after presstime. Pe�a did not return a call seeking comment. But Linebarger, Goggan partner Dale Linebarger says Pe�a’s departure from the tax collection firm was a mutual decision. “He felt like it was in the best interest of himself and the firm to resign,” Linebarger says. “We intend to maintain the image of integrity and do our job.” Pe�a’s lawyer, Gerry Goldstein, a partner in San Antonio’s Goldstein, Goldstein & Hilley, says Pe�a will plead not guilty. Linebarger says he has had no contact with federal agents and has no personal knowledge about the basis behind the allegations against Pe�a. “I’ve known Juan for 15 years. He’s like a brother to me,” Linebarger says. “My heart tells me that he’s going to be just fine and will be cleared. But I have no personal knowledge of the events.” FOLLOW THE LAW The Texas Supreme Court made it clear on Oct. 10 that trial judges and district clerks must follow the law when a pregnant minor asks to have an abortion without telling her parents. The high court’s per curiam opinion in In Re Jane Doe 11describes the Catch-22 situation that a girl was in after a trial judge refused to rule on her application for a bypass on the notification requirement. The judge concluded that the bypass law is unconstitutional, ignoring the Supreme Court’s holding in 2000′s In Re Doe 2that district courts can’t decide the constitutionality of that law. Because the trial judge did not deny the girl’s application, the court of appeals correctly dismissed her two appeals, the Supreme Court held. According to the opinion, the district clerk refused the girl’s request to issue a certificate deeming the bypass application granted, although Texas Parental Notification Rule 2.2(g) requires a clerk to act instantly on such a request if the trial court fails to rule within two days. An attempt to force the clerk to issue the certificate failed because appellate courts lack original mandamus jurisdiction over county officials, the opinion said. The girl won the legal battle, however. Her application is “deemed to be granted,” the Supreme Court said in the opinion. Ann McClure, a justice on El Paso’s 8th Court of Appeals, says Doe 11 points out a loophole in the parental notification rules. McClure, who chaired a subcommittee that wrote the rules, says a girl can ask a district court to mandamus a clerk to issue a certificate. The problem, she says, is the rules don’t address how quickly the court would have to act on that request. SICK SOLDIERS Soldiers from around the world trained at Fort Bliss in El Paso during the Cold War and beyond. Now, some of them allege that the experience left them sick or at risk of a serious illness, such as leukemia and brain cancer, because of exposure to dangerous amounts of X-ray radiation while they worked on radar devices. On Oct. 8, nine former U.S. and NATO soldiers and the Association to Support Persons Damaged by Working with Radar filed suit in the 327th District Court in El Paso against six companies that designed or manufactured the devices. The soldiers asked Judge Richard Roman to declare their suit, Bund zur Unterst�tzung Radargesch�digter e. V., et al. v. Raytheon Co., et al., a class action to include persons who were exposed to dangerous radiation while at the base from 1958 to 1994. El Paso solo Enrique Moreno, one of the soldiers’ attorneys, says air defense units from around the world trained at Fort Bliss for decades. Lawyers filed the suit in El Paso because that’s where the alleged injuries occurred, he says. Moreno estimates that there are at least hundreds, and more likely thousands, of potential plaintiffs, many from Germany. “This is huge news in Germany,” he says of the suit. “It’s gotten a lot of attention.” David Polk, a spokesman for Lexington, Mass.-based Raytheon, says company officials cannot comment because they haven’t had a chance to review the suit yet. The other defendant companies either decline to comment for the same reason or did not respond to a request for comment by presstime Oct. 17.

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