New in The Texas Tribune
• Court Rules Abortion Restriction Unconstitutional: "Less than 24 hours before new abortion regulations were set to take effect in Texas, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel blocked implementation of one provision challenged by abortion providers, and partially blocked a second provision, ruling that they could place an undue burden on women and are therefore unconstitutional."
• Davis Hits Cruz on Role in Shutdown: "State Sen. Wendy Davis, the Democratic candidate for Texas governor, criticized Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz on Monday for his role in the recent federal government shutdown, saying he harmed average citizens just to score political points."
• Abbott Proposes Limits to Spending and Rainy Day Fund: "In his first major policy address as a gubernatorial candidate, Attorney General Greg Abbott proposed tighter constitutional limits on state spending and increased constraints on the multibillion-dollar Rainy Day Fund."
• Huffines Will Challenge Carona in SD-16 Primary: "Dallas developer Donald Huffines will challenge state Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, in next year’s Republican primary, he said Monday. Huffines, a real estate developer who said he has never run for public office, repeatedly called Carona 'too liberal for the district' in a short interview, and said he will run on a set of issues that includes term limits, immigration, transportation and economic development."
• Smitherman Promotes "Conservative Crusade" in Ad: "In a new web ad, Republican attorney general candidate Barry Smitherman invites voters to join his 'conservative crusade' and highlights his experience in the 'courtroom, boardroom and running major state agencies.'"
• Abbott appeals HB2 ruling (Houston Chronicle): "Attorney General Greg Abbott has filed an appeal to Monday’s ruling striking down a key provision of Texas’s new abortion law, according to a new court filing in the case. U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel ruled Monday that a provision to require abortion providers to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals is unconstitutional."
• Senator questions utility commission’s authority to change power market (Austin American-Statesman): "Sen. Troy Fraser, an original supporter of deregulating the state wholesale electricity market in the 1990s, on Monday criticized the Texas Public Utility Commission as lacking authority to redesign the state’s wholesale electricity market."
• White House Grants Extension on Health Law Sign-Up (The Associated Press): "The Obama administration says it's granting a six-week extension until March 31 for Americans to sign up for coverage next year and avoid new tax penalties under the president's health care overhaul law. Monday's move had been expected since White House spokesman Jay Carney promised quick action last week to resolve a 'disconnect" in the implementation of the law.'"
• Rep. Joe Barton proposes bill to make Obamacare optional (The Dallas Morning News): "Rep. Joe Barton has announced legislation that would make the Affordable Care Act voluntary for one year. 'It’s just not working,' Barton said of the health care law during an interview about the ACA’s flaws Friday. 'So I’m introducing the OCA – the Obamacare Choice Act.'”
• Baylor president Ken Starr jabs at Ted Cruz “filibuster” (The Dallas Morning News): "Baylor University President Ken Starr may not be a big fan of Sen. Ted Cruz, or Dr. Seuss, for that matter. Starr took a passing jab at the Texas senator during a panel on the Supreme Court organized Friday by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Starr, a former federal judge, contrasted the behavior of judges with the recent dysfunction in Congress. 'The court works brilliantly,' he said. 'You’re professionals doing very professional work. You’re not sitting there reading ‘Green Eggs and Ham.’"