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The Evening Brief: Nov. 1, 2013

Your evening reading: clinics end abortion services after court ruling; Carona lends his plane to Patrick for lite guv campaign; no cooling off period for Williams

Citizens on both sides of the abortion debate crowd the Capitol rotunda as Senators debate the bill inside the chamber on July 12th, 2013.

New in The Texas Tribune

•    After Court Ruling, 9 Abortion Providers End Services: "After the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision Thursday to lift an injunction on new abortion regulations in Texas, at least nine abortion facilities — about a quarter of the state's abortion providers — have discontinued abortion services in light of the new law."

•    Carona Lends Private Plane To Patrick Campaign: "Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, confirmed Friday that he is allowing fellow state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, to use his private plane to campaign around the state. While he does not intend to make an official endorsement in the race, Carona said he and his wife had decided to help Patrick's campaign financially because they believed his ideology most closely aligned to theirs."

•    Friendly Fire in Texas Legislative Races: "Legislators are often under fire — so much so that it would be downright strange to go through an election cycle without a few incumbents falling to challenges. With Texas Republicans acting like two parties operating under one flag, it is increasingly common to see the populists raging against the establishment within the party."

•    LCRA Proposes Emergency Drought Measures: "As the Highland Lakes in Central Texas continue to dwindle to nearly historic lows, the Lower Colorado River Authority is recommending unprecedented steps to cut back freshwater releases from two of the lakes to help them recover from drought. The emergency steps would curtail releases for threatened river species, require Central Texas cities to limit outdoor watering and make it easier to cut off water from downstream rice farmers."

•    With Colorado River in Trouble, Many Face Sacrifices: "But there is one thing about the Colorado — not to be confused with the river of the same name that flows through the Grand Canyon — that makes it unique. 'Here’s the river that we decided to put the capital on,' said Kevin Anderson, who runs the Center for Environmental Research at the Austin Water Utility. 'Austin must depend on its river for the water, and so it must respond to what the river is telling us.'”


•    Williams strolls through revolving door (Houston Chronicle): "Sen. Tommy Williams’ $300,000 a year gig at the Texas A&M University System might not pass muster in 31 other states, where lawmakers have imposed a 'cooling off period' before they are allowed to lobby the Legislature. But Williams, who just presided over the new state budget as Senate Finance Chairman, will start Dec. 2 as Vice Chancellor of Federal and State Relations — a job that no doubt will require him to communicate with his former colleagues about the budget needs of the Texas A&M University System."

•    Texas politics: What says agriculture better than NASCAR? (The Dallas Morning News): "What’s more Texas agriculture than cotton, cattle … and NASCAR?  Republican agriculture commissioner candidate Tommy Merritt is sponsoring a NASCAR driver this weekend at the Texas Motor Speedway. As such, the former GOP House member and Texas agriculture commissioner hopeful will have his name affixed to the vehicle driven by David Starr, a Houston native."

•    Patrick touts conservative record (The Associated Press): "The cutthroat lieutenant governor's race may well come down to who, in a crowded field of accomplished conservatives, can move furthest to the right. If that's the case, state Sen. Dan Patrick says he'll cruise to victory. 'I'm clearly the most conservative candidate,' Patrick, a radio talk-show host from Houston who founded the Tea Party Caucus in the Texas Legislature, told The Associated Press in a recent interview. 'There's no comparison.'"

•    Reps. Beto O'Rourke, Steve Pearce introduce bill to help families separated by immigration laws (El Paso Times): "U.S. Reps. Beto O'Rourke and Steve Pearce on Thursday announced filing a bill that would allow review of cases involving families that have been separated by immigration laws."

•    Iraq veteran to challenge John Cornyn’s Senate seat (Houston Chronicle): "Erick Wyatt, a 37-year-old veteran of the war in Iraq, is running for Sen. John Cornyn’s seat in the Republican primary in March 2014. The young Veteran said he does not think Cornyn is doing a good job representing Texas, and the current Senator is 'a moderate at best.'”

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Health care Politics Dan Patrick John Cornyn