The Evening Brief: Nov. 21, 2013
Your evening reading: Abbott's privacy rights proposals scrutinized; Senate Democrats launch the nuclear option; Perry says "hell, yeah" to changing presidential debate format
New in The Texas Tribune
• Abbott's Privacy Rights Proposals Draw Attention: "Attorney General Greg Abbott's support for more stringent privacy laws is getting some notice, as privacy rights activists say his proposals would lead to more protections for Texans. But concerns tied to the enforcement of the proposed policies are also being raised."
• Report: Canceled Health Plans Should Be Kept in Perspective: "Critics of the Affordable Care Act have lambasted President Obama's signature legislation as it struggles with technical glitches and as thousands of people nationally report the cancellation of their existing health insurance plans. But a report released Thursday by Families USA, a national health consumer organization, attempts to put the numbers in perspective."
• Along Salty Red River, Communities Seek Feds' Help: "The upgrades, long ago planned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, would improve the water supplies not only in Wichita Falls but also in parched communities throughout the Red River Watershed, which stretches across parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas. The project would keep tons of naturally occurring salt from flowing into the river, boosting the amount of usable water and lowering municipalities' costs of filtering the water they already draw."
• The Polling Center: Women Through the Looking Glass: "Results from the October 2013 University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll suggest specific challenges for both campaigns in their hopes of attracting female voters. Women’s lukewarm views of extreme conservatism reveal some risk in Abbott’s early embrace of the Tea Party, but also the potential rewards of his recent attempts to brand himself as 'a new kind of Republican candidate' (aside, of course, from setting up the inevitable attack on Davis on allegations of ethical shortcomings)."
• Dewhurst Attacks Obama on Health Reform in New Ad: "In a new video ad, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who is in a four-way primary race to keep his seat, attacks President Obama and his signature health care law, saying, 'I can’t think of one thing I agree with him on.'"
• Landmark Senate Vote Limits Filibusters (The New York Times): "The Senate voted on Thursday to eliminate the use of the filibuster against most presidential nominees, a move that will break the Republican blockade of President Obama’s picks to cabinet posts and the federal judiciary. The change is the most fundamental shift in the way the Senate functions in more than a generation."
• Cornyn and GOP fume as Senate Dems end filibuster on nominees (The Dallas Morning News): "Republicans are fuming at the move today by Senate Democrats to change Senate rules, ending their ability to filibuster nominations for federal courts and executive branch jobs. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the deputy GOP leader, denounced this 'as a raw exercise of partisan political power' – though in the past, he was equally outraged by Democrats engaging in the same tactics Republicans have used lately to stymie President Obama."
• Rick Perry: 'Hell Yeah,' GOP Should Change Presidential Debate Process (Talking Points Memo): "Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) was enthusiastic Wednesday about the prospect of changing the way the GOP conducts presidential debates — perhaps because those changes would create fewer opportunities for candidates to make gaffes. When Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) told a meeting of the Republican Governors Association that the Republican Party should 'end the stupid way we conduct presidential debates,' Perry called out 'Hell, yeah' to laughter from attendees, according to Bloomberg News."
• Report: Barton, Cornyn, Cruz rake in big dollars from fracking firms (The Dallas Morning News): "The fracking industry is spending big to expand its reach into oil and gas fields across the country, including massive deposits in Texas. It’s also spending big to woo support from Texans in Congress, especially its two senators and Rep. Joe Barton."
• Council gives wage theft ordinance unanimous passage (Houston Chronicle): "Houston City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to adopt an ordinance aimed at deterring companies from stealing workers' wages and ensuring the city does not hire firms that do, though supporters acknowledged the measure's limited reach."
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