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The Evening Brief: Nov. 25, 2013

Your evening reading: the changing face of Fort Bend County; fears of bigger voter ID headaches to come; noted D.C. political pundit weighs in on Wendy Davis' chances

Current and former CPRIT Oversight Committee members testify before the House Transparency Committee on April 9, 2013.

New in The Texas Tribune

•    Ethics Commission Chief Leaves for CPRIT: "David Reisman, the executive director of the Texas Ethics Commission, will become the chief compliance officer of the embattled Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, officials confirmed on Monday."

•    What Ethnic Diversity Looks Like: Fort Bend County“'The statistics for Fort Bend are just remarkable,' said Klineberg, co-director of the institute. 'There are very few Asians in Miami, very few Hispanics in San Francisco, very few African-Americans in Los Angeles. The greater Houston metropolitan area is where the four communities meet in greater balance.'”

•    In the Senate, a Matter of Style: "A lot of this is style. Independent scorecards generally rank Cornyn among the most conservative senators — a point he is insistently invoking in the run-up to the March primaries. But while Cornyn has taken a methodical path to the top of the heap, Cruz has stormed the hill, flashing a rhetorical flamethrower and a knack for getting in front of the cameras."


•    Voter ID woes could soar in higher-turnout elections, officials fear (The Dallas Morning News): "Thousands of voters had to sign affidavits or cast provisional ballots on Nov. 5 — the first statewide election held under the state’s new voter identification law — because their name on the voter rolls did not exactly match the name on their photo ID. It took most only a short time, but election officials are concerned that a few minutes per voter to carefully check names and photos against voter registration cards, and then to have voters sign affidavits or fill out provisional paperwork, could snowball into longer waits and more frustration."

•    If Linda Lingle Could, Why Can’t Wendy Davis? (Roll Call): "Davis might be able to be the next Lingle, Freudenthal or Brad Henry (a Democrat who was elected governor in Oklahoma in 2002 and 2006) if she could convince voters that she is a moderate who is more in-step with her state than with her national party. But that seems unlikely, even though her initial campaign video sought to steer clear of ideology and her record in favor of pretty pictures and testimonials. But Wendy Davis isn’t a blank slate."

•    Houston Could Become Fifth Major Texas City to Crack Down on Payday Loans (Texas Observer): "In a rebuke to the do-nothing Texas Legislature, Houston took a step toward becoming the fifth major Texas city to pass payday and auto-title loan restrictions. Houston Mayor Annise Parker outlined her proposal last week and announced that she wouldn’t dilute the proposed ordinance based on industry demands."

•    Lawmakers rip PUC over electricity market vote (The Associated Press): "Leaders of the Public Utility Commission faced intense questioning Monday from skeptical and occasionally incredulous lawmakers over a decision by state energy regulators to back a plan that could restructure the Texas electricity market."

•    Mary Jo Woodall pleads to lesser charge in Jonestown wind energy fraud case (Austin American-Statesman): "A former program administrator for the Texas comptroller’s office has pleaded guilty to a lesser state felony in a $1.8 million energy scheme that falsely promised to bring wind power and green jobs to Jonestown."

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Health care Politics John Cornyn Ted Cruz Wendy Davis