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The Evening Brief: Dec. 6, 2013

Your evening reading: former CPRIT executive indicted; ag commissioner candidate warned on how he handles his horses; a glimpse into the Joe Jamail box at a UT home game

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New in The Texas Tribune

•    Former CPRIT Executive Indicted on Charges of Deception: "A Travis County grand jury has indicted Jerry Cobbs, a former high-ranking official with the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, on charges that he unlawfully secured the execution of an $11 million grant for Peloton Therapeutics, a Dallas-based biotechnology firm."

•    Carona, Sessions Face Challengers on Far Right: "In Dallas County, two established Republican incumbents — state Sen. John Carona and U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions — are under fire from conservative challengers in the 2014 primaries. That’s not the only place in Texas (or in the U.S.) where conservatives are chasing down their own incumbents, but it’s an interesting case."

•    Texas Supreme Court to Mull Underground Trespassing: “'This is the classic battle between the two quintessential values that are in direct conflict with each other,' said Matthew J. Festa, a professor at the South Texas College of Law. 'On a lot of different levels, this case could make some new law.' This is not the first time oil and gas interests have clashed with landowners in Texas. State courts have weighed in on several such showdowns in recent years, including eminent domain cases involving land seized to build pipelines."

•    Pecos River Guarded by Isolation, Bound by Reservoirs: "Isolation has allowed the Pecos to avoid some of the challenges that increased development has brought to many of the state’s other waterways. But it has not been spared from a less direct threat — the gradual ecological changes wrought by the manmade lakes bookending its passage through the state."

•    As North Texas Shakes, Regulators Sit Still: "Residents are looking for answers after nearly 20 small earthquakes — likely caused by a byproduct of oil and gas drilling — struck outside of Fort Worth last month. But they probably won't learn much from the agency that oversees drilling in Texas."


•    Agriculture commissioner hopeful Sid Miller accused of mishandling horses (The Dallas Morning News): "A top candidate for agriculture commissioner was the subject of an animal abuse complaint and received a warning from the American Quarter Horse Association for what many consider a dangerous method of exercising his horses. Republican Sid Miller, a former representative from Stephenville now running for the statewide office, acknowledged that he received the warning but said he’s done nothing wrong."

•    Dems use CPRIT indictment against Abbott (Houston Chronicle): "Democrats are using Friday’s announcement that Travis County prosecutors are pursuing felony charges in their now-concluded CPRIT investigation to blast Republican gubernatorial hopeful Greg Abbott, who sat on the board of the troubled state cancer agency."

•    The Money Behind the Fight to Undermine Medicaid (Texas Observer): "Now, new documents show how TPPF and another conservative group, the Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute, coordinate their attacks on the public sector with a far-flung network of conservative organizations and funders. The documents — obtained by The Guardian and shared with the Observer — contain 40 funding proposals from 34 states, offering a glimpse of the conservative agenda for 2014."

•    Anti-Obama Democrat Kesha Rogers files for U.S. Senate (The Dallas Morning News): "Newly-minted Senate candidate Kesha Rogers has called for impeaching President Obama and repealing the Affordable Care Act. That wouldn’t be out of the ordinary if she were a tea partying Republican. But Rogers filed for Sen. John Cornyn’s seat as a Democrat."

•    A Season in Hell (Texas Monthly): "It was time for Joe Jamail to hold court. Halftime in his box feels a little like Don Vito’s home office during a wedding at the Corleone compound. All the Orangeblood royalty stops in. Other big givers pay their respects like the heads of the five families."

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Health care Politics Greg Abbott John Cornyn Pete Sessions Sid Miller Wendy Davis