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The Evening Brief: Dec. 19, 2013

Your evening reading: state shutters six charter school campuses under new heightened accountability regime; conservative advocacy group circulates mailer criticizing lawmakers investigating UT regent; how Cruz's dad became a GOP rock star

Texas charter school children and supporters rallied at the Texas Capitol to lobby the Legislature for more funding on May 8, 2013.

New in The Texas Tribune

•    Texas Shuttering Campuses at Six Charter Schools: "Texas will shut down campuses at six charter schools under a new law that includes heightened financial and academic performance rules for charter operators in the state."

•    Immigration Reform Advocates Open to Piecemeal Approach: "Reform advocates say efforts that have included peaceful protests, town halls, editorial board meetings, civil disobedience and fasting would continue in 2014 until the issue — even in a piecemeal fashion — was addressed."

•    Report: Electricity Prices Falling Since Deregulation: "Texans living in the deregulated electricity market are paying lower power prices than the average American. But they are still paying more on average than Texans living in areas outside of deregulation, according to a report released Thursday that argues problems linger in the state’s competitive energy market more than a decade after it was created."

•    Spanish-Speaking Candidates Have Political Advantage: "Of the candidates running for the top two slots on the statewide ticket in 2014, Van de Putte is the only hopeful who is a native Spanish speaker — a trait that gives her and other Spanish-speaking politicians in Texas an advantage with the coveted Hispanic vote, according to political observers."


•    Empower Texans mailer criticizes Hall impeachment panel (Houston Chronicle): "A conservative advocacy group with ties to UT System Regent Wallace Hall has circulated a mailer criticizing members of the legislative committee weighing his possible impeachment."

•    Stockman breaks House rules with Facebook post (The Daily Caller): "Texas Republican Congressman Steve Stockman is running afoul of House rules in his bid for Senate, using his official congressional Facebook page to attack his opponent."

•    How Ted Cruz's Dad Became a GOP Rock Star (D Magazine): "He was an immigrant who moved here legally, taught himself English, worked his way through college, started a business, and eventually had a son like Ted. And now that his progeny has become a senator and a galvanizing conservative crusader, Rafael is the father of the year, the cultivator of a great hope for millions of Americans."

•    Castro blasts Cruz, says Texans won’t stand for Obamacare repeal (The Dallas Morning News): "The Affordable Care Act is picking up steam, and repealing it now would cause a huge backlash from voters, Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, said today. ... He also blasted Sen. Ted Cruz for his efforts to defund or repeal the ACA, and said Republicans could cause another fiscal standoff like the one that lead to October’s government shutdown and near-default on the nation’s debts."

•    Dewhurst announces intoxication manslaughter study (Austin American-Statesman): "With the controversial probation sentence handed a Fort Worth teen-aged drunk driver still making headlines, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst on Thursday ordered a Senate committee to study sentencing in intoxication cases to see whether changes in state law are necessary."

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Health care Politics David Dewhurst Joaquin Castro Ted Cruz