Texas Senate panel recommends moving state Public Integrity Unit out of liberal Travis County

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AUSTIN, Texas — A Texas Senate committee has recommended moving state public corruption prosecutors out of the office of an Austin-based district attorney.

Houston Republican Sen. Joan Huffman's bill would move the Public Integrity Unit to the attorney general's office. The bill cleared committee Monday on a 7-2 vote along party lines, sending it to the full Senate.

Huffman said Texas Rangers and state attorneys would investigate corruption complaints and forward cases to a district attorney where the accused official lives.

Gov. Rick Perry in 2013 slashed the unit's funding after its chief, Democratic Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, refused his calls to resign following her drunken-driving conviction.

Perry's involvement later resulted in his indictment on abuse-of-power charges.

Lawmakers have proposed restoring $6 million in funding to the unit, so long as it's moved.

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