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The Evening Brief: Oct. 4, 2012

Your evening reading: Dewhurst shuffles Senate committee chairs; Zaffirini "not disheartened" at loss of higher education role; Medicaid fraud force nabs 38 in Texas

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst leaving the House chamber following budget negotiations on May 19, 2011.

New in The Texas Tribune:

•   Dewhurst Shuffles Senate Committee Chairs: "Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is making some big leadership changes ahead of the 2013 legislative session. On Thursday morning, his office announced that he was shuffling committee chairs up for the remainder of the interim, appointing state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, to chair the education committee, and replacing state Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, with state Sen. Kel Seliger R-Amarillo, as chair of the higher education committee."

•   No Longer Chairwoman, Zaffirini to Still Keep an Eye on Higher Education: "After losing her role as chairwoman of the Senate Higher Education Committee, state Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, said that she is 'not disheartened' and that she will continue to make higher education a priority. Rather than attacking Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst for removing her, she praised him for his help over the years."

•   Medicare Fraud Strike Force Indicts 28 in Texas: "In what one federal official described as 'one of the largest Medicare fraud takedowns in Department of Justice history,' the Medicare Fraud Strike Force indicted 91 people in seven cities on Thursday, including 28 in Dallas and Houston."

•   In November Election, No Exit Polls for Texas: "With the price of exit surveys on the rise, election pollsters are curbing costs by canceling exit polls in 19 states — and non-swing-state Texas didn't make the cut."

•   Interactive: Texas Super PAC Contributors: New campaign finance reports filed in September show that Texans are still giving generously to Super PACs. The top givers included Houston homebuilder Bob Perry, who gave $2 million to the pro-GOP American Crossroads, and former Texas Trial Laywers Association President Steve Mostyn and his wife, Amber, who gave $1.5 million to Democrat supporting groups.

•   Gonzalez Toureilles Seeks to Oust Lozano in HD-43: "Democrat Yvonne Gonzalez Toureilles, who served three terms in the Texas House, is looking to make a return. She's challenging state Rep. J.M. Lozano, R-Kingsville, who switched from the Democratic Party this year."


•   For four days, Texas will be seeing a lot of green (Green Party, that is) (Houston Chronicle): "As the nation recovers from the first presidential debate today, Texas won’t be seeing blue or red, but rather a lot of green. And no, we are not talking about money. Jill Stein, Green Party’s presidential nominee, will be spending four days in Texas trying to convince Texans to vote for her in the presidential race."

•   Sadler clarifies: He sponsored 1992 resolution asking Texas House to consider a state income tax (The Dallas Morning News): "Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Paul Sadler has taken the unusual step of confessing to something not likely to be popular — and likely to be used against him. Late Wednesday, Sadler emailed reporters who covered Tuesday’s Belo Senate Debate to clarify a response he made to GOP rival Ted Cruz about whether he’s supported a state income tax."

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