New in The Texas Tribune:
• Perry Pardons 14: "It's Christmastime, which means it is also time for Gov. Rick Perry to issue pardons in a handful of criminal cases. Today, he pardoned 14 people, bringing his career total to roughly 200."
• Texas Unemployment Drops to Lowest Level Since 2008: "In November, for the third month in a row, the Texas unemployment rate dropped, falling to its lowest level since December 2008."
• Cancer Institute Appoints Interim Executive Director: "The embattled Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas on Friday appointed Wayne Roberts, the vice president of public policy at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, to serve as interim executive director."
• Perry Faces Awkward Policy Debates, More Scrutiny in 2013 Session: "After a botched run for the presidency and with growing disenchantment among Tea Party activists, Gov. Rick Perry is facing some potentially strained policy discussions when the Legislature convenes in January."
• The State of the Gun: "Texas is a gun state. Lawmakers here are more likely to expand gun rights after a mass killing than to restrict them. And while there are proposals to buy back guns or restrict sales, state leaders in Texas are pushing to allow guns in places where they're not already legal."
• T-Squared: Generation Excellent: "Three-plus years of former Texas Tribune interns are out in the world, doing great work and making us proud."
• Judge rules against Texas in women's care dispute (The Associated Press): "Texas' request to force the U.S. Health and Human Services to continue funding its Women's Health Program was denied Friday, as a judge sided with federal authorities who say the state's exclusion of Planned Parenthood violates HHS guidelines."
• The new Census estimates: 6 takeaways (Politico): "The next census is eight years away, but the Census Bureau’s newly released state estimates already suggest a few population trends that stand to have a significant impact on Congress and future presidential elections."