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The Evening Brief: Nov. 14, 2012

Your evening reading: Jeb Bush asks donors to back son for land commissioner; Cornyn elevated to minority whip; Sessions elected chairman of Rules Committee

John Higgins, chief of staff to state Rep. Tim Kleinschmidt, can be seen on the far left of this photo with U.S. Sen. John Cornyn. Higgins pleaded guilty following a Travis County District Attorney Public Integrity Unit investigation into improprieties involving travel reimbursements.


•   Jeb's son eyes Texas Land Commissioner post (Tampa Bay Times): "It's been no secret that Jeb Bush's son, George P. Bush, has an interest in political office, and now he's taking steps to run for Texas Land Commissioner, which is a much more important office in the Lonestar state than it might sound. Here's a letter former Gov. Jeb Bush sent out seeking support for his son: 'November 13th, 2012 Dear Jeb Alumni member: Last week, George P. opened a campaign account to explore the opportunity to run for statewide office in Texas. I am writing to ask that you consider making a personal contribution as he begins his quest for public service.'"

•   Pete Sessions gets plum Rules post (Politico): "Texas Rep. Pete Sessions has been selected the next chairman of the powerful Rules Committee, settling one of the final key leadership decisions for House Republicans."

•   Sen. John Cornyn voices Senate GOP’s readiness to compromise (Houston Chronicle): "The so-called '80-20' solution. That’s what Texas Sen. John Cornyn says Senate Republicans will be looking for in upcoming compromises with Senate Democrats. If the two parties can agree on a deal that resolves 80 percent of the differences on an issue, then senators should agree to set aside the 20 percent they can’t agree on, says Cornyn."

•   Reps. Ron Paul and Barney Frank to Obama: Leave pot smokers alone (The Hill): "Two House lawmakers are urging President Obama not to interfere with recent state decisions to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Reps. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Barney Frank (D-Mass.) wrote to Obama Wednesday asking his administration not to prosecute residents of Colorado and Washington, where voters just passed ballot measures to legalize the drug."

New in The Texas Tribune:

•   Cornyn Elected U.S. Senate Minority Whip: "U.S. Sen. John Cornyn will serve as minority whip in the 113th Congress after Senate Republicans elected him to the leadership post on Wednesday morning. Also on Wednesday, Cornyn's Texas counterpart, Sen.-elect Ted Cruz, was chosen as National Republican Senatorial Committee vice chairman. The NRSC works to ensure that Republicans are elected to the Senate."

•   Hughes' Work as Trial Lawyer Could Impact His Bid to Be House Speaker: "Some critics of House Speaker Joe Straus say he’s too moderate to run the Texas House. But Bryan Hughes, the man some hope will unseat Straus, has worked as a trial lawyer, a profession not associated with conservative causes."

•   AG Says DNA Tests Further Implicate Hank Skinner in 1993 Murders: "In an advisory filed in state district court on Wednesday, the Texas attorney general's office says DNA test results further confirm Hank Skinner's guilt. The death row inmate's lawyer says it's too early to draw conclusions, because the testing is incomplete and shows another person may have been at the crime scene."

•   LCRA Approves Compromise Plan to Release Water for Rice Farmers: "The board of the Lower Colorado River Authority voted Wednesday to release water to rice farmers next spring if Central Texas' Highland Lakes, already diminished by drought, do not drop below 38.5 percent full."

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