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The Midday Brief: April 21, 2010

Your afternoon reading.

State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston.

Your afternoon reading:

• “'Some have asked ‘who are invited’ to join our group,' said Patrick in the statement. 'Everyone was invited. I am not concerned how members voted in the past. I'm only interested in how they vote in the future, their commitment to our contract with Texas, and their pledge to put people before party.'" — Patrick's group tweaks its rules, adds 19 "founding members" — PoliTex

• “A Parker County rancher frustrated with Gov. Rick Perry bought newspaper ads calling him "completely full of" something found in pastures. What happened next? The state of Texas fined the guy $1,300.” — So you want freedom of speech? Fill out these formsFort Worth Star-Telegram

• “There are a dozen pending criminal cases related to voter fraud being handled by the AG’s office, and more sprinkled in various prosecutors' offices around the state. Even if convicted successfully, most will result in low-level misdemeanor charges. It’s a drop in the bucket, to hear election administrators talk of it. But the dearth of convictions may be the impediment to true reform.” — Mail-in ballot measures haven't topped lawmakers' list of priorities for voting legislation — Texas Watchdog

• “Coffee manufacturers and agriculture interests were among the industries that packed into a Texas legislative hearing Tuesday, hoping to protect their tax carve-outs and getting a preview of lawmakers' belt-tightening mood heading into next year's multibillion-dollar budget shortfall.” — Lobbyists wary as Texas panel looks at budget cuts — Associated Press  

New in the Texas Tribune:

• “The latest Rasmussen poll reports 56 percent of likely Texas voters support suing the federal government to stop health care reform from becoming law.” — TribBlog: Half of Texans Support Suing Over HC Reform  

• “In a just-released list of the 11 “worst governors,” they lump Perry in with the scandal-ridden likes of Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina and New York's Gov. David Paterson, one of two Democrats on the list (the other is next-door neighbor Bill Richardson of New Mexico).” —2010: Perry On "Worst" List

• “It's no secret the Texas Department of Transportation is broke. Texas Transportation Commission Chair Deirdre Delisi tells the Tribune's CEO/Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith just how broke the agency is.” —Video: The Road Funding Hole

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