Senate votes to move Texas Public Integrity Unit from Austin

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – The Texas Senate has voted to move state public corruption investigations out of left-leaning Austin and into district attorneys’ offices in the home county of elected officials accused of wrongdoing.

Republican Sen. Joan Huffman’s bill makes the Public Integrity Unit part of the Texas Rangers and Department of Public Safety.

The bill passed Wednesday 20-11, but still requires a final, procedural vote.

The measure has Texas Rangers investigating corruption complaints and forwarding cases to district attorneys where the accused official lives.

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Huffman wanted the unit headquartered in the GOP-controlled state attorney general’s office, but scrapped that to ensure passage.

Former Gov. Rick Perry vetoed the unit’s funding after its chief, Democratic Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, refused to resign following her drunken-driving conviction.

Perry was later indicted on abuse-of-power charges.