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The Midday Brief: Dec. 13, 2010

Your afternoon reading: Abbott on health care ruling; anger at Democrat's defection; and death penalty stats

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Your afternoon reading:

  • "Disloyalty. Misrepresentation. Lacking integrity. Reports of Rep. Allan Ritter of Nederland probable defection to the Republican Party has Democratic state party chairman Boyd Ritchie spitting mad." — Democrat slams Ritter's reported party switch, Trail Blazers
  • "Rep. Ralph Hall has waited 30 years for this chance. The Rockwall Republican, the longest-serving Texan in Congress, will finally ascend next year to the plum position that most lawmakers never get to enjoy: committee chairman. The oldest member of Congress will chair the most future-looking panel of them all, the House Science and Technology Committee." — Rockwall Rep. Ralph Hall prepares to guide House science, tech panel, The Dallas Morning News

New in The Texas Tribune:

  • "Texas juries sentenced just eight people to death in 2010, the smallest number since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment here in 1976, according to report published today by the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty." — Texas Juries Gave Only 8 Death Sentences in 2010
  • "The state's new chief appellate lawyer is as new to the Texas bar as he is to the job. A Chicago Law graduate who clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Jonathan Mitchell received his license to practice law in the state on Dec. 9." — Solicitor General Appointee Newly Licensed in Texas
  • "The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association offers homeowners along the Texas coast their only coverage against potential hurricanes. But some lawmakers say the pool is paying out too much — and they want to limit what sort of coverage it offers in the future." — Joint Panel Searching for Fixes to Windstorm Coverage
  • "Retiring state Rep. Joe Crabb, R-Atascocita, led all Texas House members in government-funded travel expenses in the last fiscal year, according to a Texas Tribune review of expense reports obtained from the state comptroller. Crabb spent $48,400, versus a per-member average of about $11,000. In all, 14 members spent more than $30,000. View a sortable table of travel totals by member." — House Members' Travel Spending Averaged $11,000

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