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The Evening Brief: Nov. 4, 2013

Your evening reading: Martinez Fischer raises possibility of looking at UT regents' tablets; Abbott downplays prevalence of voter ID affidavits; Microsoft inks big Texas wind power deal

Rep. Trey Martinez-Fischer asks questions during a House Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations on October 23r…

New in The Texas Tribune

•    Lawmaker Eyes Access to UT Regents' Computers: "State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer believes that the investigation into whether a University of Texas System regent should be impeached could require a look at UT regents' personal computers, iPads and smartphones."

•    Abortion Providers Ask SCOTUS to Reinstate Injunction: "Abortion providers on Monday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate a lower federal court’s injunction that blocked Texas from implementing strict new abortion rules."

•    UT/TT Poll: Abbott's Lead Over Davis in Single Digits: "Attorney General Greg Abbott, the leading candidate for the Republican nomination for Texas governor, holds a single-digit lead over the likely Democratic nominee, state Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll."

•    Peeking Ahead to the Fight Over Moderate Voters: "Barack Obama and Ted Cruz aren’t running for Texas governor in 2014. But the candidates who are running are invoking Obama’s and Cruz’s names in ways that could raise some long-dormant tendencies of Texas voters."

•    With or Without $2 Billion, Water Woes Here to Stay: "But whether or not the measure passes, Texas has a long way to go before solving its water deficit. The drought has shown little sign of letting up soon, and the state’s population explosion has not abated, either. Officials in Austin say its reservoirs could run dry in the next several years, echoing concerns across the state. Near the Oklahoma border, Wichita Falls is also facing a dire water situation as its reservoirs’ levels near 30 percent of capacity."

•    Patterson Touts Leadership Abilities in Web Ad: "Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, a candidate for lieutenant governor, highlights his commitment to gun rights and a family history of military service in a new campaign web video. 'I've fought and won battles with the odds against me, like I did as a state senator with the Concealed Handgun Law in 1995,' Patterson said in a statement announcing the video. He is one of three Republican candidates competing to unseat incumbent David Dewhurst."

Culled

•    Abbott: Voter ID affidavit complaints 'overhyped' (The Associated Press): "Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says criticism surrounding the state's first election under a new voter ID mandate is 'overhyped' and being driven by partisans. Abbott told The Associated Press on Monday that requiring some voters to sign affidavits was proven to be 'no big deal' during early voting."

•    Hated property tax looms as campaign issue, but fixes are not easy (Austin American-Statesman): "Curtailing or even eliminating property taxes is expected be a hot issue in some statewide Republican primaries in 2014, even if the prospects for major legislative changes are dim. The fact that constitutional amendments are needed to enact most of the changes sets a very high threshold to get the issues before voters."

•    Microsoft enters 20-year deal for Texas wind power (The Associated Press): "It takes a lot of energy to store all the data 1 billion people and 20 million businesses plug into their computers, phones, tablets and gadgets. So as part of an effort to become carbon neutral, Microsoft Corp. has entered a 20-year deal to buy power from a new wind farm in Texas, the first time the tech giant is directly purchasing electricity from a specific source."

•    Wendy Davis using ex-Texans in Washington to boost her campaign for governor (The Dallas Morning News): "For Wendy Davis’ uphill campaign, support from every Texas Democrat is crucial — even if they happen to live in Washington. A diverse Democratic Party network of Texas expatriates in Washington is boosting Davis’ campaign with money, resources and connections. They hope she can pull off an upset, but if nothing else, they seek to accelerate their party’s efforts to be competitive in Texas again."

•    Potential US Sen. candidate David Barton says Democrats founded the KKK (The Dallas Morning News): "The Bush team believed that the right pitch to African Americans, many of whom opposed homosexual marriage, would help Bush. Barton was dispatched to church sanctuaries with a message: One party has a history of oppressing African Americans (Democrats) and one party has a history of supporting them (Republicans). 'The KKK was not started by an independent group; it was started literally by the Democrats,' Barton told predominantly black congregations."

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