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The Evening Brief: Nov. 19, 2013

Your evening reading: controversial mock immigration sting at UT canceled; new ads appear from lite guv candidates Dewhurst and Patterson; a drone flies over the Capitol

Students on the University of Texas at Austin campus.

New in The Texas Tribune

•    After Uproar, Mock Immigration Sting Canceled: "The UT chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas has canceled a mock immigration sting on campus scheduled for Wednesday. YCT campus chairman Lorenzo Garcia said in a statement that organizers feared UT officials would retaliate against them."

•    Perry Supporter's Firm in Negotiations for State Grant: "A company whose CEO is a longtime political contributor to Rick Perry is in negotiations to receive an economic development funding grant from the governor’s office. The Automobile Club of Southern California, a AAA affiliate, is in talks over a potential Texas Enterprise Fund grant to support an expansion of its Texas subsidiary, AAA Texas."

•    Texans Look Beneath the Surface for Water: "Unlike surface water, which is owned and allocated by the state, groundwater belongs to the landowner and is regulated by nearly 100 different conservation districts across Texas, all of which set their own rules. The recent drought, along with major court decisions, has led to what some say is the most uncertain time in state history for those who depend on and manage groundwater in Texas."

•    Land Commissioner's Office — Is It a Launching Pad for a Political Career?: "The theory that being elected Texas land commissioner can serve as a launching pad toward higher profile and more powerful positions has gained traction again after George P. Bush, son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and the grandson and nephew to the 41st and 43rd presidents, respectively, decided to run for the position earlier this year."

•    Dewhurst Campaign Releases First TV Ad: "In the first statewide TV spot of his reelection campaign, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst describes Texas as a place where everybody can live the American dream. 'I promise you we have more opportunity in Texas than any other state, and that's going to change over my dead body,' he says."

•    In New Ad, Patterson Says He Defends Second Amendment: "Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson presents himself as the 'first defender of the Second Amendment' in his latest web ad. Patterson, one of three candidates challenging incumbent David Dewhurst, touts his record of protecting Texans' right to bear arms, including the 1995 concealed handgun law he authored while serving in the state Senate. 'This is about a fundamental right,' Patterson says. 'This is about the thing that makes us citizens, not serfs.'"


•    Not a bird. Not a plane. A drone. At the Texas Capitol. (San Antonio Express-News): "There was a drone flying around the Texas Capitol Tuesday, but no need for alarm. It was at the behest of the State Preservation Board, which is producing a new educational video about the Capitol and was looking for some 'really dramatic and impressive aerial shots,' said the board’s executive director, John Sneed."

•    GOP lieutenant governor candidates want to cut Democratic influence (The Dallas Morning News): "There’s a popular option emerging for Republicans in the Texas Senate who are tired of Democrats blocking conservative legislation: Ban pesky Democrats from leadership positions and weaken — or even abolish — Senate rules in place to prevent the minority party from being steamrolled. The Republican candidates for lieutenant governor outlined such ideas in a debate in Dallas last week."

•    Fiscal gadfly explains endorsements: D students, have hope! (The Dallas Morning News): "Dan Patrick and Todd Staples kept up their brawl in the lieutenant governor’s race Monday. At issue were scorecards on legislators compiled by Michael Quinn Sullivan, a conservative activist much feared around the Texas Capitol. It turns out you can’t totally predict from his group’s scorecards which way the endorsements will go."

•    Here's How One Dark Money Group Keeps Its $22 Million Donor Secret (Huffington Post): "Crossroads GPS, the 'dark money' behemoth founded by Karl Rove, reported on its 2012 tax return that it spent 60 percent of its $188 million budget last year on nonpolitical activity. But a closer examination of that election-year spending reveals little difference between Crossroads' political and self-declared nonpolitical efforts."

•    2 to challenge Rep. Thornberry in March 4 Republican primary (Amarillo Globe-News): "Now it’s official. U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry has two challengers in the March 4 Republican primary."

•    CSCOPE controversy draws crowd, comments at Spring Hill ISD board meeting (Longview News-Journal): "Parent Terri Hill said she believes Spring Hill is trying to implement CSCOPE and Common Core lessons plans under other names, without sufficient input from parents and other community members. She said that violates the provisions of Senate Bill 1474, which became law in June and requires districts to follow a new process before the adoption of any major curriculum initiative."

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Politics Dan Patrick David Dewhurst George P. Bush John Cornyn Mac Thornberry Rick Perry Ted Cruz