Panetti Case Highlights Lack of Sanity Standard

The fact that Scott Panetti is facing lethal injection on Dec. 3 despite a 30-year history of documented mental illness demonstrates that the ambiguities of the legal standard of “competency” he helped to define are far from resolved.

The Brief: Lower Prices Complicate Future of Oil Boom

Lower prices complicate future of oil boom; Hotter, drier projections threaten Texas Miracle; Losers blame college voters for Denton fracking ban; Court declines to stay Panetti's execution; Last contested vote for Texas House speaker was in 1975.

7 arrested as protest escalates on Interstate 35 near downtown Dallas

Protesters are winding through downtown Dallas streets after briefly blocking Interstate 35. Police cars continue to accompany the group, which appears to be working its way back to Dallas Police headquarters where the march started earlier after peaceful and prayerful rallies. Fewer than 50 people remain from a group that was once more than 200-people strong.

Hundreds in Austin join Ferguson protests across the nation

Angry chants of “Hands up, don’t shoot” permeated the air at Austin police headquarters as hundreds of protesters gathered Tuesday evening in response to a grand jury’s decision Monday not to indict the white police officer responsible for the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., earlier this year.

Protesters Block I-35E in Downtown Dallas

  • suggested by John Reynolds

Dozens of people protesting the decision by a grand jury in Missouri not to indict a police officer involved in a deadly shooting walked onto Interstate 35E in Downtown Dallas on Tuesday. Dallas Police Post Officer-Involved Shooting Data The group stood on the I-35E overpass above Dealey Plaza at about 9:30 p.m. as cars attempted to pass by. Police eventually closed the interstate in both directions as a precaution.

Obama Threatens to Veto $440 Billion Tax Deal

The deal, negotiated by House Republicans and aides to Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the outgoing majority leader, showed how much power has shifted since the Republican election victories this month. The negotiations fractured Democrats, and separated the Obama administration from Mr. Reid.

Obama to Introduce Sweeping New Controls on Ozone Emissions

The sweeping regulation, which would aim at smog from power plants and factories across the country, particularly in the Midwest, would be the latest in a series of Environmental Protection Agency controls on air pollution that wafts from smokestacks and tailpipes. Such regulations, released under the authority of the Clean Air Act, have become a hallmark of President Obama’s administration.

Moody's: Producers to cut spending amid oil price tumble

  • suggested by John Reynolds

As the price of crude oil continues to fall, credit rater Moody’s Investors Service predicted on Tuesday that oil producers will cut their spending 20 percent next year. If the weak prices persist, companies could slash capital spending, according to the analysis released by Moody’s on Tuesday.

New statewide land position aims for more public ed funds

Carlos Truan, a Democrat, served 34 years in the House and Senate, and he was the first Hispanic member to become the Dean of the Senate, the most senior member. He died in 2012, having been a pioneer for bilingual education in Texas. Now Rene Truan is part of a division of the General Land Office that aims to get more money for the education that his father prioritized.

Lawmaker to push bill on foreclosed gas leases

A state lawmaker plans to reintroduce a bill in next year’s legislative session designed to protect oil and gas drillers with invalidated leases snarled in foreclosure. Rep. Jim Keffer, chairman of the House Energy Resources Committee, saw his previous bill to address the widespread problem in the Barnett Shale vetoed by Gov. Rick Perry, who praised parts of the measure but said it needed to be narrowed to deal only with urban drilling.

Texas Medicaid regulators hit with legal setback

The 3rd Court of Appeals found the agency had improperly expanded a law allowing regulators to withhold payments from providers against whom there was a “credible allegation of fraud.” Since 2011, the inspector general has withheld tens of millions of dollars from 127 providers, much of it from dentists and orthodontists, as it developed cases against them.

Court: State wrongly withholding millions from dentists

Texas officials have been illegally withholding millions of dollars from dozens of dentists and orthodontists based on only the suspicion of minor wrongdoing, an appeals court ruled Tuesday, dealing another blow to the state's beleaguered unit charged with rooting out Medicaid fraud and abuse.

Mohamed’s Fight

Mohamed Elibiary might be the only Texas Republican accused of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood. But, he’d like everyone to know, just for the record: He is not now, nor has he ever been, a member of the Brotherhood, nor has his father or his father’s father. (The Brotherhood was founded in Egypt in 1928, or else he’d go further back.)

Cruz: Nominate Bush, Romney or Christie, and Hillary wins

Meeting with prominent Jewish political donors in New York, Sen. Ted Cruz said Hillary Clinton will be elected president in 2016 if the Republican Party again turns to its "moderate wing" and nominatesMitt Romney, Jeb Bush or Chris Christie. Cruz presented himself as a truly conservative alternative, saying 2016 could be a repeat of 1980, when the truly conservative Ronald Reagan beat Jimmy Carter, The New York Observer reports: "If you look at the field in 2016, it's going to be crowded field, there could be a dozen, there could be fifteen. There's one bucket that, for lack of a better word, I'll call the 'moderate establishment' bucket. It'll be some combination of Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney. My guess is two of the three will run. And my view is whoever's in that bucket will raise tons of money. A lot of donors will rush to write them checks. And yet if the nominee comes from that bucket, the same voters who stayed home in 2008 and 2012 will stay home again and Hillary's the winner."

Texas oil drilling slipped in October

Low oil prices could already be taking a toll on drilling activity in Texas, according to new data released the state’s Railroad Commission. The state’s oil and gas agency reported Tuesday it issued 2,714 drilling permits for oil wells last month, 31 less than September. Since oil prices fell below $80 a barrel earlier this month, analysts have warned of a slowdown in a boom that has raised state oil production to 2.2 million barrels a day.