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The Evening Brief: Jan. 15, 2013

Your evening reading: Abbott posts 3-to-1 cash advantage over Perry; state lawmakers file bill to broaden financial disclosure; House Republican Caucus picks leader

Gov. Rick Perry in his Capitol office on Feb. 21, 2012.


•    Rick Perry brings in $3.5 m in contributions (The Dallas Morning News): "Greg Abbott raised $4.14 million in the past six months. His total cash on hand is $18 million. Gov. Rick Perry raised $3.55 million and has built up a reserve of $6 million over the past six months, based on financial disclosure records filed with the Texas Ethics Commission."

•    Republican Caucus chooses leader (Austin American-Statesman): "Republicans in the Texas House elected state Rep. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, on Monday to be chairman of the House Republican Caucus. He edged out Rep. Jim Murphy, R-Houston, to replace the interim chair, Rep. Myra Crownover, R-Denton, who took over when former Rep. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, left to become a state senator."

•    Texas pol: Outlaw exec gun orders (Politico): "One Texan lawmaker is playing President Barack Obama and Democrats tit for tat in the gun control debate. State Rep. Steve Toth, a Republican, is looking to push his 'Firearms Protection Act,' which would prevent any Congressional or Executive act banning or restricting so-called assault firearms and extended clips from affecting the state."

•    Smith County Republican Chairman Oravetz quits; GOP is 'beyond repair' (Tyler Morning Telegraph): "Smith County Republican Chairman Ashton Oravetz announced he will resign as of Friday because the GOP is 'beyond repair.' 'I can no longer in good conscience tell individuals to give any more money to the national or state Republican parties or vote straight Republican,' he said. After 33 years supporting the GOP, Oravetz said he will become more involved with Grassroots America — We the People, a local conservative political action committee, and other 'liberty movement' groups, including the Tea Party, Constitutionalists and Ron Paul supporters. He served five years as county chairman."

New in The Texas Tribune

•    Lawmakers File Bill to Widen Financial Disclosure: "Two freshman legislators — one on the far right, the other on the far left — have filed legislation to dramatically expand the requirements of the state’s personal financial disclosure form."

•    Most Legislators Won't Disclose Tax Returns: "The Tribune asked all 180 current members of the Legislature to provide their last three tax returns — and got few takers. Most lawmakers either ignored the request or said they weren’t comfortable with that level of disclosure."

•    Study: Amount of Water Used in Fracking Climbs, but Will Soon Plateau: "A new University of Texas at Austin study funded by an oil and gas group has found that the amount of water used in fracking has risen sharply in recent years but would level off sometime in the decade starting in 2020."

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