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The Evening Brief: Dec. 20, 2012

Your evening reading: Gingrich says he and Perry would have fared better than Romney; lawmakers address future of CPRIT funding; Castro, Gallego, Veasey score plum committee assignment

Newt Gingrich at a campaign stop in West Columbia, S.C., on Jan. 17, 2012.

Culled:

•   Newt Gingrich On Mitt Romney: 'I Would Have Probably Done Better' Against Obama (The Huffington Post): "Newt Gingrich blames Mitt Romney for being a bad candidate. … 'I think either [Texas Gov. Rick] Perry or I would have probably done better [against Obama],' said the former speaker, exhibiting a bit of his trademark braggadocio."

•   Marc Veasey, Pete Gallego, Joaquin Castro get named to House Armed Services Committee (The Dallas Morning News): "Marc Veasey, newly elected to Congressional District 33, will serve on the House Armed Services Committee. The committee is considered a jewel assignment, particularly since Veasey hails from Tarrant County, an area full of defense contractors and the Naval Joint Reserve base. Two other Texas Democrats were slotted for the Armed Services Committee. They are Pete Gallego and Joaquin Castro."

•   Texas gains more in population than any other state (Fort Worth Star-Telegram): "Texas gained more people than any other state between July 1, 2011, and July 1, 2012, but North Dakota was the fastest-growing state, according to Census Bureau population estimates released today."

•   Teachers carry concealed weapons in tiny Texas town as national school safety debate heats up (The Associated Press): "In this tiny Texas town, children and their parents don’t give much thought to safety at the community’s lone school — mostly because some of the teachers are carrying concealed weapons."

•   Pistol-packing lawmaker suggests closing "gun show loophole" (Houston Chronicle): "Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson might be the last person Democrats expected to suggest adding a restriction to gun laws in Texas. Patterson, known for carrying a handgun under his coat or in his boot at the Capitol, spoke to me Tuesday about a bipartisan idea that would zip shut the 'gun show loophole,' which allows unlicensed vendors to sell firearms at gun shows to an individual without a background check."

New in The Texas Tribune:

•   Lawmakers to Discuss Future of CPRIT Funding: "The House Appropriations Committee on Thursday will hear the testimony of officials from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas and address whether the state should fund the embattled cancer institute in the future."

•   Texas Tech, Professor in Standoff Over Tenure: "Texas Tech University professor James Wetherbe has filed a federal suit against the university, claiming that administrators there have stifled his career advancement because he publicly opposes tenure."

•   Interactive: Fewer Bills Filed Before 83rd Session: As of Wednesday, lawmakers have filed 449 bills for the 2013 legislative session, nearly 200 fewer than what they had filed at the same point two years ago. Use our bill tracker to follow the process through the March 8 filing deadline and on to the May 27 conclusion of the biennial lawmaking marathon.

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