AUSTIN—Gov. Rick Perry on Dec. 19 announced the appointment of Nandita Berry of Houston as the 109th Texas Secretary of State, effective Jan. 7, 2014. She succeeds John Steen, who was appointed by Perry in November 2012.
As secretary of state, Berry will serve as the state’s chief elections officer, the governor’s liaison on border and Mexican affairs and Texas’ chief protocol officer for state and international matters.
The Secretary of State’s Office also serves as the formal repository for official and business records, publishes government rules and regulations, keeps the state seal and attests to the governor’s signature on official documents.
Berry, the governor’s office noted, is “the first Indian American to fill the post.” She is a senior counsel at the law firm of Locke Lord LLP. She is a member of the State Bar of Texas and Houston Bar Association. She is a past member of the University of Houston Board of Regents, and past board member of the Houston Zoo Inc., South Asian Chamber of Commerce, Houston Area Women’s Center, and the Community Family Center of Houston. Berry received a bachelor’s degree from Mt. Carmel College in Bangalore, India, a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston and a law degree from the University of Houston Law Center.

State recommends vaccination
With flu season on the upswing in the Lone Star State, the Texas Department of State Health Services in a Dec. 17 statement offered this tip:
Everyone six months old and older should get vaccinated; people should talk to their health care provider about the best type of flu vaccine for them; a nasal spray version is available for healthy people ages 2 to 49 who are not pregnant; and a high-dose vaccine is approved for people 65 and older.
Notably, the health department said, people should cover all coughs and sneezes, wash hands frequently with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer, and stay home if sick.

DPS increases enforcement
Texas Department of Public Safety announced an increase of patrols for a 21-day period that includes both the Christmas and New Year holidays.
The increased enforcement period started Dec. 13 and will end Jan. 2. During that period, state troopers will focus on DWI patrols in high-risk locations at times when alcohol-related crashes are most frequent.
During the Christmas/New Year holiday enforcement effort last year, the agency said, state troopers made more than 1,200 DWI arrests and issued more than 17,600 speeding citations, more than 2,000 seat belt/child safety seat citations, and made 258 fugitive arrests and 211 felony arrests.