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The Evening Brief: Dec. 11, 2013

Your evening reading: Texans are No. 1 in purchasing health plans through the online insurance marketplace; the petition to remove the Travis County DA is denied; Tea Party blowback builds against Stockman

Kenneth Flippin, left, and Jane Denson, right, of Enroll America at the home of Shelby Childress.

New in The Texas Tribune

•    More Texans Purchase Health Plans in Online Marketplace: "More people in Texas have purchased health plans through the embattled online insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act than in any other state, according to enrollment figures for October and November released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services."

•    Texas A&M Regents to Name Interim President on Saturday: "One name that has been floated — and according to sources has the support of Gov. Rick Perry, an Aggie — is Guy Diedrich, the current vice chancellor for strategic initiatives for the A&M System. The governor's office did not immediately respond to questions about the matter."

•    Texas Governor Hopefuls Primed for Fight Over Education: "[WendyDavis, a Democrat who has made her support for Texas public schools a centerpiece of her campaign, quickly issued a public statement saying that as governor she would have vetoed the budget bill enacting the cuts.  'This is one of the very few paths the Democrats have to make this a competitive race,' said Daron Shaw, a University of Texas at Austin political scientist and Republican pollster."

•    Dallas City Council Tightens Gas Drilling Ordinance: "Dallas has significantly tightened its drilling rules, following years of debate about what natural gas production should look like inside its city limits — if it comes at all. In a 9-6 vote on Wednesday, the City Council overhauled a natural gas drilling ordinance that, among other provisions, now requires a minimum 1,500-foot setback between “protected use” areas like homes, businesses and churches and new rigs and compressor stations."

•    El Paso Electric Reaches Deal on Proposed Power Plant: "A West Texas utility giant can move forward on building a natural gas power plant in a low-income neighborhood following a settlement with a group of grassroots activists that had sought to halt the project."


•    Judge rules Rosemary Lehmberg should not be removed as district attorney (Austin American-Statesman): "District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg will remain in her position as the top felony prosecutor in Travis County, visiting Judge David Peeples ruled Wednesday. Lehmberg hugged her supporters in the courtroom after the decision was read, shedding tears."

•    Tea-Party Trouble for Stockman (National Review): "And a few days before [Steve] Stockman left Texas to return to D.C., [Dwayne] Stovall says the two had a phone conversation in which the congressman reiterated that he wouldn’t run for the Senate. 'I said, ‘If things change, if you look like you’re going to get in, just give me a heads up,’' Stovall tells me. 'He said, ‘Will do.’' He didn’t. Stovall says he found out about Stockman’s senatorial bid the way the rest of us did."

•    Rep. Steve Stockman Launches Senate Bid Amid Financial, Ethical Questions (Breitbart): "After the interview with Stockman, Breitbart News tracked down the disclosure form on which the Houston Chronicle based its Nov. 25 story. Both the original copy Stockman filed with the U.S. House in April 2013, and the amended version Stockman filed in May 2013, show that the Houston Chronicle was accurately reporting the details of the document Stockman filed with the House. ... Nonetheless, Stockman insisted multiple times during his interview with Breitbart News that the Houston Chronicle somehow fabricated the number $350,000.

•    Cruz: Budget deal 'deeply concerning' (The Hill): "Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) finds the budget deal brokered by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) 'deeply concerning,' his office said Wednesday. The senator is on a flight back from South Africa, where he attended the memorial services for Nelson Mandela with a group of fellow lawmakers, so he hasn't had time to fully review the proposal, spokeswoman Catherine Frazier said."

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Health care Politics Greg Abbott Rick Perry Ted Cruz Wendy Davis