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The Brief: Sept. 14, 2010

Has Texas moved to the right of itself?

Demonstrators march through the streets of downtown Dallas in 2010 to protest the passage of Arizona's controversial new imm…

THE BIG CONVERSATION:

Has Texas moved to the right of itself?

The latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll shows that when it comes to immigration, Texans, in some cases, support stricter policy than many of their elected officials. Fifty-four percent, for instance, strongly support an Arizona-style immigration law, which Gov. Rick Perry has said would "not be the right direction for Texas" and for which many other Texas politicians have avoided voicing full-throated support.

Forty-eight percent said they would support a repeal of so-called birthright citizenship provision of the 14th Amendment. U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, who originally said he'd support a review of the provision, later backed off the debate. "Upon further reflection I really think it is a symptom and not the cause" of immigration woes, Cornyn said last month.

The responses fall in line with the state's conservative leanings, naturally, but also with the current political climate, in which Republicans are enjoying more support in generic races for Congress and the Legislature. "When you ask Texans about these kinds of things, you get fairly conservative answers," Jim Henson, who oversees the UT/Tribune polling with colleague Daron Shaw, tells the Tribune's Ross Ramsey.

Sixty-three percent support a repeal of President Obama's health care reform bill. Such a repeal, though, has enjoyed broader support from Texas Republicans at large.

One possibly surprising figure: 61 percent favor some sort of legal recognition for same-sex couples (a figure that hasn't moved much from the last time UT and the Trib polled Texans).

"There is a sense of 'Leave me alone,'" Shaw says. "They're pretty good markers for kind of a libertarian streak. Texas opinions are more complicated than people think they are."

CULLED:

  • Targeting Gov. Rick Perry for taking credit for the state's job growth, Bill White on Monday also highlighted the latest campaign ad drama: a new Perry spot featuring two Austin businesses whose owners have said they don't support the governor and didn't approve of their stores being filmed.
  • U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison introduced legislation to repeal the provision included in a recently passed jobs bill that has kept Texas from receiving $830 million in education aid. It's a long shot for passage, though, with only four weeks left until Congress adjourns.
  • A House Business and Industry Committee on Monday targeted disarray in the Division of Workers' Compensation, which, as the Tribune's Elise Hu reports, has either a broken system or broken leadership to thank for lapses in enforcement. "It is a workplace of intimidation [and] secrecy. Procedures are not transparent," said Cathy Lockhart, the division's former enforcement attorney.
  • Rick Perry and Bill White are in Dallas today, and White's also making the rounds in Tyler and Austin. Keep up with the GovTracker, and help us out by sending pictures, videos and links to news stories from the candidates' events across the state.

"We’ll give her the gasoline reimbursement, but the money she’s not entitled to, we want back."Loretta Haldenwang, Democratic candidate for House District 105, taking aim at Republican state Rep. Linda Harper-Brown for accepting mileage reimbursements while driving a car owned by a state contractor. Haldenwang attempted to present Harper-Brown with an $11,370 invoice on Monday.

MUST-READ:

Changing demographics change politics in Boomtowns, Houston Chronicle

Climate bill's comeback chances in Congress still slim after summer of severe weather, The Dallas Morning News

Houston native wrongly deported for 85 days, Houston Chronicle

Johnson stirs rally for, against her, The Dallas Morning News

Hurricane Ike Awakened Region to Dire Flooding Threats, The Texas Tribune

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