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The Evening Brief: July 1, 2013

Your evening reading: Abortion protests at Capitol draw thousands; hearing on abortion bill scheduled for Tuesday; redistricting maps return to judges.

Sen. Wendy Davis addresses the Stand with Texas Women Rally crowd at the state Capitol the first day of the second special session.

New in The Texas Tribune

•    Abortion Rights Activists, Opponents Descend on Capitol for Rallies: "Opponents of Republican-backed legislation to dramatically curtail abortion rights in Texas descended on the Capitol by the thousands on Monday, spurred on by musicians, celebrities and their new hero: filibustering state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth. Meanwhile, about 100 supporters of the omnibus abortion legislation marched to the Capitol on Monday morning to a press conference orchestrated by women who deeply regretted their decision to have an abortion."

•    Guest Column: When Mob Rule Overwhelmed Democracy: "Simply put, what happened on Tuesday night was both shameful and dangerous. The precedent set was truly awful, regardless of the ends it achieved. It was awful particularly because it worked. The 'gallery filibuster' tactic is now in the playbook of both political parties, as well as every special interest group with enough emotional supporters to pull it off."

•    Guest Column: Protest Caused by Unruly Bunch in Control: "When discussing the events of 'Filibuster Day' in the Senate last Tuesday, the word 'unruly' has been thrown around a lot. One definition — 'not submissive or conforming to rule' — certainly applies. It was an unruly bunch controlling the Senate on Tuesday night."

•    Guest Column: "Ruly Mob" Was Prompted by Civic Duty: "Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst had it wrong, Gov. Rick Perry had it wrong, and many in the press were getting it wrong. I know because I was there. And just as in the rest of my conventional life, I was a part of the 'ruly mob' that day at the Texas Capitol."

•    Redistricting, Redone by Lawmakers, Goes Back to Judges: "The state’s redistricting litigation entered a new phase Monday, with lawyers and three federal judges figuring out what to do now that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled a key law unconstitutional and the Texas Legislature has approved new maps."

•    All but One Big Piece in Place for Abbott's Run: "Attorney General Greg Abbott has a big bank account, a political organization and a nearly clear field on the path to governor — if the office is open in 2014. In a year that promises turbulence in the political organization chart, only Abbott and a former workforce commissioner have expressed interest on the GOP side in the governor’s job."

•    Where Astros Played, Conventioneers Could Gather: "Nearly five decades after making history as the first indoor sports stadium of its kind, the Astrodome is covered in a layer of dust and spider webs, its entrances lined with trash and leaves, and its once impeccable turf ripped up and dirty. Houston condemned it as uninhabitable in 2009, and it is being used for storage. The city has debated what to do with the Astrodome for years. Some have suggested tearing it down for parking; others have implored the county to repurpose it. This year, a decision may finally be made."


•    Evan Smith: Texas Democrats Try to Keep Their Momentum Going (The New York Times): "All eyes are on Texas today, but the drama at the end of the first special session of the 83rd state legislature is not likely to repeat itself — at least not yet."

•    Texas abortion drama set to resume (Politico): "When it comes to abortion politics, it could be a long, hot summer. In Texas, things heated up on Monday with a pro-abortion rights rally on the steps of the state Capitol and are expected to reach scorching temperatures on Tuesday, when members of the public will have the opportunity to sound off for hours before a Texas legislative committee over a bill that would effectively close nearly every abortion clinic in the state as a result of stricter regulations and ban the procedure after 20 weeks."

•    Where Does Wendy Davis Go From Here? (Texas Monthly): "Now that Davis is a star in the making, Democrats would be wise to lower expectations for what comes next for her and her party. All of the problems Democrats have had in Texas over the past decade and a half still haunt them."

•    Connie Britton wades into Texas abortion battle (USA Today): "Tami Taylor is the fictional character memorably played on TV by Connie Britton, and the actress is showing her support for Texas women with a special T-shirt as the state Legislature once again considers an abortion bill."

•    Texas Rep. apologizes for 'tasteless' Tweet about Dick Cheney and abortion (The Daily Caller): "Texas state Rep. Gene Wu apologized for tweeting 'If life ends when heart stops, then please explain Dick Cheney?' on Monday. Rep. Wu was apparently attempting to tie the heart problems of former Vice President Dick Cheney to the pro-Life message, 'abortion stops a beating heart.'"

•    Rep. Henry Cuellar jumps on the Hillary Clinton for president bandwagon (Houston Chronicle): "Joining a small group of key congressional Democrats, Rep. Henry Cuellar said he would support the former Secretary of State for a presidential run in 2016. The Laredo Democrat served as Hillary Clinton’s state co-chair in 2008."

•    While working in Congress, Texans collect $600,000 in pensions (The Dallas Morning News): "Republican Sen. John Cornyn garnered attention when he failed to disclose one of the three state pensions he receives, but he’s not the only Texan in Congress who receives public retirement benefits from the state. Ten Texans collected pension checks totaling $619,690 in 2012. In all, more than 100 members of Congress collectively drew more than $3.6 million in public retirement benefits last year."

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