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The Evening Brief: Sept. 3, 2013

Your evening reading: Texas Supreme Court chief justice to resign; Texas National Guard refuses to process benefits for gay couples; Cornyn quiet at Syria summit

Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson testifies at Senate Jurisprudence regarding juvenile justice on Mar. 5, 2013.


•    Texas Guard refuses to process same-sex benefits (The Associated Press): "The Texas National Guard refused to process requests from same-sex couples for benefits on Tuesday, citing the state constitution's ban on gay marriage, despite a Pentagon directive to do so. Pentagon officials said Texas appeared to be the only state that planned to turn gay and lesbian couples away on Tuesday, the first working day that gays in the military may apply for benefits. The Department of Defense had announced it would recognize same-sex marriages performed in states where they are legal following the U.S. Supreme Court decision throwing out the Defense of Marriage Act."

•    Cornyn publicly still dubious on Syria attack, but voices no objections at Obama summit (The Dallas Morning News): "Sen. John Cornyn emerged from a White House summit on Syria saying he still has questions about President Obama’s strategy. But whatever qualms he might have, he apparently didn’t raise them directly."

•    New state water board convenes for the first time (Austin American-Statesman): "Faced with high expectations from leading politicians, the newly sworn-in members of the Texas Water Development Board took their seats Tuesday for their first official meeting."

•    Study says Texas premiums will rise with Medicaid expansion opposition (The Dallas Morning News): "Texas’ refusal to expand Medicaid will cause private health insurance premiums to rise by an average of 9.3 percent for people who buy their own coverage, a new study finds."

New in The Texas Tribune

•    Texas Chief Justice Jefferson Resigns: "Wallace Jefferson, chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court and a member of that court since 2001, will resign at the end of this month, the court announced Tuesday morning."

•    Agriculture Commissioner Hopefuls Focus on Water Policy Early in Campaigns: "With urban residents’ share of the state population climbing to nearly 90 percent, advocating for rural Texas can be a tough job these days. But with an unrelenting drought in Texas and a vote coming in November to fund new water projects, the state’s next agriculture commissioner will have an important role on key policy issues facing the state."

•    Cruz Faces Uphill Battle to Defund Obamacare: "U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is entering his third week on the road in Texas promoting his plan to defund federal health reform. But while the message resonates with his grassroots supporters, it's getting little traction in Congress, including with his home-state colleague, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn."

•    We've added Texas' congressional delegation to our Ethics Explorer, an interactive tool to help educate citizens on the degree to which elected officials’ personal interests conflict with the public interest when passing bills and setting policy.

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