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The Evening Brief: Oct. 29, 2013

Your evening reading: federal court weighs emergency appeal by Abbott of abortion law ruling; Abbott also needs affidavit to vote; USA Today weighs in on Perry's job poaching tour

Abortion opponents pray in the Capitol annex during testimony on SB1, July 8, 2013.

New in The Texas Tribune

•    State Seeks Emergency Stay Over Abortion Ruling: "The Texas attorney general's office is seeking an emergency stay, asking the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel’s ruling against abortion regulations in House Bill 2."

•    Lawmaker Delays Leave Facility for Mentally Ill Youths in Limbo: "Months after lawmakers cut millions of dollars in funding for the Texas Juvenile Justice Department and ordered the closure of a detention facility, movement to shutter a facility for mentally ill youths remains stalled as state leaders seek to reconsider its demise. In a letter Friday, Gov. Rick Perry urged top state leaders to take action to close a facility or risk putting juveniles and staff throughout the agency at risk." 

•    Activist Immigrants Hurting Their Cause, Lawyer Says: "Activist immigrants who were deported or returned to Mexico of their own accord and then returned to U.S. ports of entry seeking asylum as a means of legal entry are hurting the cases of asylum-seekers with legitimate claims of fear, said a top immigration lawyer along the border."

•    Abbott and Davis Fight Before Fight Begins: "It’s not over who should be governor. It’s about money — and bragging rights. The gubernatorial contenders and their attorneys are battling over some $600,000 in legal fees stemming from a redistricting lawsuit that, when all was said and done, preserved the racial and political makeup of Davis’ Fort Worth swing district."

•    Surprise Could Remove Senate Democrats' Safety Margin: "Sometimes, it's the non-announcement that gets the political headline. Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns won’t run for the Senate seat left open by Wendy Davis’ decision to run for governor, greatly increasing already high odds that the seat will go from the Democrats to the Republicans. That would put the Republicans just one seat away from a controlling two-thirds majority in the Texas Senate, a bit of math that increases their chances of getting their way on most issues even as it incrementally increases the clout of each of the Senate’s 11 Democrats."


•    Greg Abbott will need affidavit to vote (San Antonio Express-News): "Sen. Wendy Davis isn’t the only big-name candidate for governor needing an affidavit to vote. Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Republican who’s expected to get the party nod to face the Democratic senator next year, also will have to attest to his identity when he votes, according to campaign spokesman Matt Hirsch."

•    1 of 7 early voters in Dallas County being forced to sign affidavit to verify ID (The Dallas Morning News): "At least one out of every seven early voters in Dallas County has had to sign an affidavit verifying his or her identity as part of Texas’ new voter ID law. Though no one in Dallas County has been prevented from voting — or even forced to cast a provisional ballot — because a name discrepancy, officials said women are being especially impacted by the requirements."

•    Does your name not match? Take extra step to vote (Houston Chronicle): "Voters with names on their identification that - unlike Davis's - aren't substantially similar to their names on the rolls would have to jump through more hoops than did the Fort Worth senator. They could either cast a provisional ballot with their identity to be proven later - or during early voting - opt to vote later when they've got better identification in hand, said Alicia Phillips Pierce, communications director for the Texas Secretary of State."

•    How Wendy Davis can win (MSNBC): "Rather than riding a demographic wave into the Governor’s Mansion, Davis has a chance to instead put together a cross-racial coalition that brings together minorities and liberal or moderate whites —especially women — Democrats and Texas political experts say. The task might have been made a little easier Monday when a federal judge appointed by President George W. Bush blocked a key part of the abortion law that Davis gained a national profile by filibustering — making it trickier for Republicans to paint her as an extremist on the issue."

•    Ted Cruz heads to early-primary state South Carolina to meet the pastors (The Dallas Morning News): "Sen. Ted Cruz got a good — but mixed — reception in Iowa over the weekend among Republicans in the politically important Hawkeye state. ... But Cruz remains a figure of political adoration among the party’s social conservatives and many fiscally engaged tea party voters. This summer, Cruz got a rapturous response from hundreds of evangelical pastors in Des Moines. And next month, Cruz is headed to the early-primary state of South Carolina for another meeting with Christian pastors — the South Carolina Renewal Project."

•    Couples sue over ban on same-sex marriage (San Antonio Express-News): "A federal lawsuit filed Monday on behalf of gay couples challenges the state's constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage and seeks to bar Texas officials from enforcing it. ... Filed in San Antonio, the suit names as plaintiffs two same-sex couples: Mark Phariss and Vic Holmes of Plano and Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman of Austin. But it makes clear the litigation is pursuing rights for a larger group of people in similar situations."

•    Rick Perry's tour markets more than Texas: Our view (USA Today): "As an economic development exercise, Perry's excellent adventure strikes us as harmless, though not very neighborly and not likely to be very effective. States routinely try to attract new companies, sometimes with their governor getting involved, rarely to much noticeable effect. But it doesn't take a Harvard MBA to see that this is more about politics than business. Perry, who's eyeing a 2016 presidential run after his disastrous 2012 bid for the Republican nomination, has found a way to do what candidates usually have a hard time doing three years before an election: garner loads of attention."

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Health care Politics Greg Abbott Rick Perry Ted Cruz Wendy Davis