The Evening Brief: Nov. 11, 2013
Your evening reading: UT System regents ask for guidance on restricting public testimony; despite lack of opponent, many incumbents continue to collect beaucoup campaign cash; another look at the potential Perry v. Cruz showdown in 2016
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• UT System Seeks AG Opinion on Attorney-Client Privilege: "The University of Texas System Board of Regents on Monday voted to seek an opinion from the attorney general regarding the system's ability to assert attorney-client privilege to restrict public testimony in legislative hearings regarding Regent Wallace Hall."
• East Texans Seek Shutdown of Pegasus Pipeline: "Loosely organized by a few citizen action groups, Howell and others in this town — whose official motto is 'We Shoot Straight With You' — make up a small, but growing pocket of East Texans who are asking federal regulators to permanently shut down the pipeline. The 65-year-old pipeline, which runs from Patoka, Ill. to Nederland, Texas, has been turned off since the spill, while ExxonMobil complies with a corrective action order from the United States Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, which regulates interstate pipelines."
• In the Wings: A Fresh Set of Also-Rans: "Some of the big shots on the 2014 ballot are people whose names you won’t be able to remember in five or 10 years. Some will climb the ladder, but others are destined for the chutes. Four elected officials — three in statewide office, one a state senator — are running for lieutenant governor. Three are going home."
• Efforts to Boost Veterans' Job Prospects Praised: "Schraub was called up to serve in Afghanistan in 2012. When he returned this year, he said he got an interview at the Erath County sheriff’s office and accepted a job as the night jailer. 'I’ve had a lot better luck this time around,' he said. Although Schraub didn’t get direct help from government programs, he said they were 'going in the right direction.' Schraub is like many returning soldiers who have difficulty finding a job back home. And in Texas, special attention is being placed on boosting employment prospects in the state — an effort that has gotten nationwide attention."
• UT System Releases Proposed Names for New Campus: "The University of Texas System released five potential name and logo combinations for its new university in the Rio Grande Valley on Monday and invited the public to weigh in. The proposed names are: The University of Texas for the Americas; The University of Texas Las Americas; The University of Texas International; The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley; and The University of Texas South."
• Unopposed incumbents prosper from rich donors, files show (Houston Chronicle): "The bills were all paid by someone else, namely campaign donors such as gambling interests, payday lenders and the Koch Industries political action committee, which gave nearly $400,000 to Fraser's political account in 2012. There's just one catch: Fraser, a Republican from Horseshoe Bay, didn't have a political opponent in 2012, either in the primary or general election. He is one of 40 lawmakers identified by the Houston Chronicle to have avoided any political opposition during that election cycle."
• How States Rejecting the Medicaid Expansion Sabotaged Their Biggest Cities (The Atlantic): "That Grady Memorial must live with Georgia's decision illustrates two perverse subplots as the Affordable Care Act rolls out very differently across the 50 states. The political dynamic of somewhat more left-leaning major cities located in red states means that governors and state legislatures have rejected health care resources that many local officials in urban areas desperately wanted. And because big cities are also magnets for the uninsured, with their more extensive health infrastructure, the burden of caring for a state’s uninsured disproportionately rests on its urban hospitals and taxpayers."
• Clash of Texas political titans looms (Politico): "A Texas tussle could be on the 2016 horizon. Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. Rick Perry are both angling to run for president. And the prospect of a clash between the two Texas-sized egos who represent different eras of the GOP – and who aren’t openly rivals but haven’t betrayed warm fuzzies for one another, either – has tongues wagging."
• SC politics: Texas Gov. Perry to headline GOP’s winter fundraiser (The State): "Texas Gov. Rick Perry will headline a winter banquet for the Spartanburg and S.C. Republican parties. It will mark the second time that Perry has returned to South Carolina since the state’s 2012 Republican presidential primary. Perry came to Greenville in August to raise money for Gov. Nikki Haley’s re-election campaign and to speak at her campaign kick-off rally."
• Working for Superman: Texas Schools Turn to Hero Superintendents (Texas Observer): "Besides football coaches, school superintendents are government’s best-paid, most coveted and most controversial employees. In big-city school districts, they manage millions of public dollars, run campaigns for school bonds and tax increases, and employ tens of thousands of people. But it wasn’t always so."
• Justice Scalia swears in two for Texas Supreme Court (Austin American-Statesman): "Two members of the Texas Supreme Court were ceremonially sworn in to office Monday by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who noted that requiring state and federal officials to pledge support for the federal Constitution was among the first acts of Congress in 1789."
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