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The Brief: Dec. 14, 2010

State Republicans got an early gift Monday.

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State Republicans got an early gift Monday.

Attorney General Greg Abbott and Gov. Rick Perry, among others across the state, hailed a Virginia federal district court's ruling that deemed a key provision of the Obama administration's new health care law unconstitutional.

The court took aim at the law's insurance mandate, inciting a Republican field day.

“The federal government’s attempt to force every American to buy government-approved health insurance is an egregious violation of our Constitutional rights," Perry said in a statement. "The 10th Amendment and individual liberties must be protected, and I am committed to fighting the overreach of Obamacare and challenging these unconstitutional mandates, which have gone far beyond both the letter and spirit of the Constitution.”

Abbott called the ruling a "huge victory" and described it as just the first step toward a complete repeal of the bill, which Texas and 19 other states are contesting in another lawsuit that a federal judge in Florida will hear Thursday.

"As a result, these cases are going to work their way up through the appellate system," Abbott said. "And I believe almost to a point of certainty that the United State Supreme Court will be taking the case."

Texas and the 19 other states, in the case to be heard Thursday, will also seek an injunction to stop an expansion of Medicaid included in the new law.


  • What exactly does a 100-member, two-thirds supermajority mean for House Republicans? "It means we can lose 24 votes and still win," one member says of his party's new leeway. The Trib's Ross Ramsey has a look.
  • A judge on Monday sentenced state Rep. Kino Flores, the veteran Palmview Democrat who was convicted on felony charges for failing to disclose assets on ethics forms, to five years of probation. Flores faced possible jail time for the conviction, which centered on allegations of bribery and corruption.
  • Looks like someone's got some explaining to do: State Rep. Randy Weber, R-Pearland, who withdrew his support for incumbent Speaker Joe Straus on Monday, has reportedly raised funds at events featuring Straus, the Trib reports.

"The Republican Party has not and will not be there to help Allan Ritter's constituents, and that makes it even more disappointing that Rep. Ritter is considering a party switch." — Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie on Ritter's plans to defect to the Republican Party today


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