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The Evening Brief: Oct. 22, 2013

Your evening reading: Pitts testifies in Regent Hall investigation; Stefani Carter drops Railroad Commission bid for run at re-election; blowback over Combs' endorsement of Hegar for comptroller

House Appropriations Committee chair Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, listens to committee counsel Rusty Hardin during a morning hearing on October 22, 2013.

New in The Texas Tribune

•    Pitts: Enough Evidence to Impeach UT Regent Hall: "Testifying before a legislative committee on Tuesday, state Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, made his case for why he believes University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall should be impeached."

•    Carter Drops Out of Railroad Commission Race: "State Rep. Stefani Carter, R-Dallas, is abandoning her Texas Railroad Commission bid, deciding instead to seek a third term in the House District 102 seat she first won in 2010."

•    Court Battle Continues Over Texas Abortion Regulations: "Abortion providers and state's attorneys continued their court battle Tuesday over a bid to delay implementation of new abortion regulations."

•    Dewhurst Urges Obama to Pay Texas for Jailed Immigrants: "Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, in a pitched re-election battle with three GOP primary opponents, on Tuesday sent a letter to President Obama expressing his disappointment in the federal government's inability to secure the border and requesting millions to repay county jails for housing undocumented immigrants."

•    Branch Touts Moment of Silence Law in Web Video: "In a new web ad, Republican Attorney General candidate Dan Branch highlights a bill he sponsored in 2003 requiring that students in Texas public schools be allowed to observe a moment of silent prayer or meditation." 


•    UT, Powers under fire, according to early testimony during regent investigation (The Dallas Morning News): "The prestige and president of the University of Texas at Austin are under fire, according to opening testimony at a meeting of a House committee charged with investigating a UT regent’s potential abuse of power."

•    Comptroller candidates pounce on Combs’ endorsement of Hegar (San Antonio Express-News): "Texas Comptroller Susan Combs endorsed state Sen. Glenn Hegar Friday and the Katy Republican’s opponents have pounced, citing the move as a Hegar endorsement of the 'status quo' rather than support of his credentials from the person he is campaigning to succeed."

•    Straus names two appointees to oversee embattled cancer agency (San Antonio Express-News): "Texas House Speaker Joe Straus named two appointees to the revamped Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas Oversight Committee on Tuesday, nearly filling the board after the Texas Legislature ousted its sitting members following allegations of cronyism."

•    Mexican diplomat says Obama promises NSA probe (The Associated Press): "Mexico's top diplomat said Tuesday that President Barack Obama has promised an investigation into spying the U.S. reportedly did on Mexico's presidential email system."

•    Weak Job Data May Weigh on Fed’s Decision on Stimulus (The New York Times): "American employers added 148,000 jobs in September, a discouraging report that may still be too optimistic about the job market. ... Weakness in the September hiring figures — coupled with the complications about the upcoming releases — is expected to further delay the Federal Reserve’s decision to start tapering its stimulus programs."

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Health care Politics Glenn Hegar