Skip to main content

The Evening Brief: Nov. 12, 2013

Your evening reading: House investigators issue, then quickly recall Hall subpoena; Dewhurst asks Congress to check if NSA spied on gun owners; O'Keefe turns focus on Dallas "navigators" in his latest hidden camera video

House Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations co-chairs Rep. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston, and Rep. Dan Flynn, R-C…

New in The Texas Tribune

•    Committee Recalls Subpoena for UT Regent Hall: "Mere hours after issuing a subpoena to get University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall to appear before a legislative committee, members of the committee abruptly recalled it. Committee Co-chair Carol Alvarado, D-Houston, said members had acted too quickly in issuing the subpoena, prior to checking their own schedule. The committee members were not expecting to reconvene until Dec. 18; they had subpoenaed Hall for Dec. 10."

•    Report Questions Keystone XL Pipeline's Integrity: "A consumer advocacy group says it has documented more than 100 excavations of potential construction problems across a 250-mile stretch of the Keystone XL pipeline’s Texas portion, raising questions about the integrity of one of the the most controversial crude oil transportation projects in recent history, which stretches below more than 600 rivers and streams in the state."

•    Dewhurst to Congress: Did NSA Spy on Gun Owners?: "Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst on Tuesday called for a congressional investigation into whether the National Security Agency's domestic spying program has ever targeted gun owners, kept a list of firearms purchases or tracked gunshow visits."

•    Abortion Providers Ask SCOTUS to Reinstate Injunction: "State attorneys filed a response on Tuesday to abortion providers’ request for the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in the ongoing legal battle over the constitutionality of Texas' new regulations on the procedure. ... 'The applicants focus almost exclusively on their claim that ‘approximately 20,000 Texas women' will be unable to obtain abortions each year on account of HB2’s hospital-admitting privileges requirement,' the Texas attorney general’s office responded on Tuesday. 'But a litigant does not establish a factual proposition by asserting it to be so.'”

•    Facing Drought, Wichita Falls Bans Outdoor Watering: "On Saturday, the city will enter an unprecedented stage 4 of emergency drought response, which includes a total ban on outdoor watering and an internal audit of water consumption by local businesses. Under the current level, stage 3, residents may water their lawns just once per week. 'It’s a vital resource now,' said Barry Levy, the city’s public information officer. The lakes’ combined capacity has dropped by 25 percent since February."

•    With Water Fund Approved, a Flood of Ideas to Consider: "Now that Proposition 6 has passed with close to 75 percent of the vote, the real work of water planning — and jockeying to get to the top of the projects list — begins. 'It will be a busy year,' said Carlos Rubinstein, the newly appointed chairman of the Texas Water Development Board. 'There’s a lot of pieces that have to fall into place very, very quickly.'”

•    Malachi Boyuls Releases New Railroad Commission Ad: "Malachi Boyuls, a Republican candidate for the Texas Railroad Commission, introduces himself and his family in a new video ad."

Culled

•    Settlement reached in American-US Airways antitrust case (Fort Worth Star-Telegram): "American Airlines and US Airways have reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice in its antitrust case, both sides announced today. 'This agreement allows us to take the final steps in creating the new American Airlines,' said American chief executive Tom Horton in a statement. With the deal, the airlines should complete their merger in December and American will emerge from bankruptcy about two years after it first filed for bankruptcy protection."

•    Undercover video shows Dallas “navigators” apparently coaxing a consumer to lie (The Dallas Morning News): "A conservative activist has secretly videotaped two Dallas health insurance exchange 'navigators' as they appear to advise a consumer to lie about his income and smoking to get a better deal on subsidized health coverage. James O’Keefe, known nationally for hidden-camera videos targeting the liberal community organizing group ACORN and a top National Public Radio executive, said Tuesday that his Texas video is the first of several to be released in coming weeks that expose abuses under the Affordable Care Act."

•    McCaul calls Obama’s Homeland Security pick a “political hack” (The Dallas Morning News): "Rep. Michael McCaul today called President Obama’s pick to lead the Homeland Security Department a 'political hack.' The Austin Republican, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, questioned whether Jeh Johnson is impartial enough for the job after serving, in his view, as the president’s lawyer, telling Fox News that while Johnson’s credentials are strong in many ways, he’s 'going to have to earn our respect.'"

•    U.S. to become top oil producer by 2015 (CNNMoney): "The United States will knock off Saudi Arabia as the world's top energy producer by 2015, but its power as a global energy force will fade over the next decade, according to a report from the International Energy Agency. Massive investment in the production of shale gas has driven the U.S. supply boom, thanks in large part to new technologies such as hydraulic fracking, which has made the extraction of oil and gas from shale rock commercially viable."

Texas Tribune donors or members may be quoted or mentioned in our stories, or may be the subject of them. For a complete list of contributors, click here.

Quality journalism doesn't come free

Yes, I'll donate today