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The Midday Brief: Dec. 7, 2010

Your afternoon reading: agencies asked to cut more, emergency appeal in death penalty case and a big day for Joe Barton

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Your afternoon reading:

  • "The Houston court hearing testimony about the constitutionality of the procedures surrounding the death penalty in Texas will continue to hear evidence despite an emergency appeal from the Harris County District Attorney's office late Monday to the state's highest court to halt the proceedings." — DA files emergency appeal to end death penalty hearing, Houston Chronicle
  • "It's judgment day for Rep. Joe Barton and his quest to be chair of the powerful House energy committee. The Republican Steering Committee, a panel of 34 GOP House members, will vote on committee chairmanships today, and an announcement is expected around 4 p.m. CST." — Barton's final pitch for chairmanship trumpets tea party support, Trail Blazers
  • "Rep. Mike Villarreal, who previously told colleagues he would run for a position in the House Democratic Caucus, is stepping back from those plans and says he will focus on developing a communications plan for House Democrats in the upcoming legislative session." — Villarreal steps back from caucus leadership race, Postcards

New in The Texas Tribune:

  • "The legal wrangling between Texas and the federal government over the state's air-pollution permitting system for big industrial plants is intensifying, as Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott filed a brief in a federal court yesterday defending the system." — Texas vs. EPA Permitting Battle Intensifies

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