Dan Patrick, Leticia Van de Putte and slippery moments in debate

State Sens. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, and Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, debated each other at Austin's KLRU-TV, Channel 18, Sept. 29, 2014 (Texas Tribune video).

In a Dallas debate, Dan Patrick accurately said he authored the 2011 Texas law requiring a sonogram before a woman receives an abortion while Leticia Van de Putte acknowledged authoring the 2001 law (often criticized by Patrick) affording certain illegal immigrants in-state tuition at public colleges and universities.

But there were slippery moments:

  • Van de Putte, a San Antonio state senator and the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, accurately said Patrick, the Houston state senator and Republican nominee, voted for school funding cuts in 2011. But she said the result was 11,000 teachers losing their jobs. That’s about how many positions were eliminated; it’s uncertain how many individuals lost their posts.
  • Patrick, of Houston, the Republican nominee, accurately said that in 2013, he initially voted to reverse the cuts. But we’ve rated Pants on Fire his claim he led the charge to reverse the $5 billion in reductions. As he acknowledged in the debate, Patrick ultimately voted against the final budget restoring more than $3 billion of the cuts.
  • Van de Putte said Patrick has accused children crossing the Mexico-Texas border of carrying diseases like leprosy. Patrick was quoted in 2006 saying illegal immigrants bring third-world diseases including leprosy, or Hansen’s disease, to the state, an unsupported oversimplification.
  • Patrick said that in 2013, Van de Putte pushed to maintain the state test for Algebra II while Patrick helped lead a push to reduce state-mandated exams. At the time, Van de Putte incorrectly said Algebra II was required for automatic admission to the state’s public universities. In fact, a student could win consideration for admission without taking Algebra II by doing well on the ACT or SAT.
  • Patrick said Van de Putte voted to give free health care to illegal immigrants. We’ve rated False a similar Patrick charge. In 2003, the Senate voted to let local governing bodies provide (or resume providing) non-emergency services to residents regardless of immigration status, potentially improving health outcomes and heading off costly emergency care that residents were entitled to by federal law. The proposal also envisioned patients sharing costs.
  • Patrick said Texas has the 12th-largest economy in the world. In 2012, we rated True a claim the economy was the 15th-largest based on the state’s gross domestic product.

See Patrick’s full PolitiFact report card here. See the Van de Putte report card here. In case you've been months-and-months offline, the two are vying to succeed Republican David Dewhurst, who this March lost his bid for re-nomination to Patrick.

As ever, please email us about claims that caught your ear.