New in The Texas Tribune
• Comptroller Candidates Duel Over Tax Bill in Speeches: "A $700 million tax reform measure served as a political football Thursday, as three of the four Republican candidates for comptroller spoke at a conference in Austin. State Sen. Glenn Hegar, R-Katy; state Rep. Harvey Hilderbran, R-Kerrville; and former gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina each delivered speeches at the annual meeting of the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association."
• Dewhurst Blasts Regulations, Obama, "Patent Trolls": "Before the 2015 legislative session, state lawmakers should study regulatory barriers to economic growth, the costs of implementing federal health care reform and frivolous litigation related to 'patent trolling,' Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said Thursday."
• Abbott Proposes Far-Reaching Ethics Reform: "Getting such initiatives through the Legislature, historically leery of ethics reform, wouldn’t be easy. And the proposal wouldn’t do anything to require disclosure of so-called dark money given to politically active nonprofits. Ethics watchdogs are still applauding Abbott for proposing what would amount to a sea change in ethics laws by introducing brand-new criminal penalties for self-dealing and putting far more sunlight into disclosure laws. His proposal would also require more robust and quicker reporting of campaign donations."
• Polling Center: Cornyn and the Cruz Effect: "Nothing captures the political impact of Ted Cruz’s ascension in American politics like a comparison of public sentiment toward him and fellow Sen. John Cornyn in the wake of last month’s government shutdown. Cornyn’s ratings in the electoral sweet spot where conservatives and Tea Party Republicans overlap have fallen at the same time as Cruz’s have risen."
• Former Star Track Coach Sues UT for Discrimination: "Former University of Texas at Austin women's track and field coach Beverly Kearney filed a lawsuit against the university on Thursday alleging that she was discriminated and retaliated against when she was fired last year."
• Rick Perry blasts Obama’s proposed insurance fix (The Dallas Morning News): "The governor took aim at the president and his suggestion on how to allow people to keep their insurance after thousands began receiving cancellation notices. A contrite President Obama unveiled a new rule that allows state insurance commissioners to okay the renewal of health policies for a year that don’t offer sufficient coverage under the Affordable Care Act. ... But Gov. Rick Perry condemned Obama for telling states to sidestep the ACA."
• Cruz Isn't Done Trying to Repeal Obamacare (National Journal): "Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., isn't quite finished with his crusade against Obamacare. 'This thing isn't working, and we need to start over,' the senator said in an interview with Megan Kelly on Fox News on Wednesday night. Cruz was the force behind the Defund Obamacare movement that resulted in the government shutdown in October. He caused a great deal of anger on both sides, yet Cruz is now using the rocky first month of the health care law as vindication."
• Dewhurst says he has “real good shot” at avoiding runoff (The Dallas Morning News): "Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said Thursday he isn’t fazed by opponent Dan Patrick’s tea party support and new finance team studded with some of the Texas GOP’s leading fundraisers. 'There’s no repeat of 2012,' Dewhurst told reporters after speaking to business-backed fiscal policy research group in Austin."
• Wendy Davis Inspired 'Parks & Rec' Filibuster Episode (Huffington Post): "Wendy Davis had a hand in the Nov. 14 episode of 'Parks and Recreation.' The Texan state senator inspired the 'Parks and Rec' writers to have their hero, Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), do some filibustering of her own. “When Wendy Davis was filibustering for real and we were all watching it on the streaming video, like, seven of our writers were instantly emailing saying, 'Leslie's got to do this,' executive producer Michael Schur told EW."
• The Republican Party Isn't Really the Anti-Science Party (The Atlantic): "Republicans, and members of the traditionally Republican coalition like conservatives and the religious, are criticized for rejecting two main areas of science: evolution and global warming. But even those critiques are overblown. Believing in God is not the same as rejecting science, contrary to an all-too-frequent caricature propagated by the secular community."
• Leubsdorf: The power of unsavory disclosures on the campaign trail (The Dallas Morning News): "Five days before the 2000 election, disclosure of a 24-year-old ticket for driving under the influence threatened Gov. George W. Bush’s front-running presidential campaign. Instead of Bush winning comfortably, the DUI news made the election so close it took more than a month — and a Supreme Court ruling — to confirm his triumph. Had Bush disclosed the matter a year or two earlier, it probably would have been a one-week wonder, causing minimal damage."