New in The Texas Tribune
• Oil Boom's Unexpected Byproduct: Broken Windshields: "Bringing a new gas or oil well into production typically requires more than 1,000 loaded trucks traveling to and from a well site. Across portions of South and West Texas, where hundreds of new wells have been drilled, the surge in truck traffic has torn up rural roads and created safety challenges, including the increasingly common occurrence of large trucks sending rocks or debris flying at the vehicles behind them."
• For Candidates, the End of the Year is a Deadline: "On its face, the deadline is not a big deal. Money collected after the first of the year spends just like money collected in 2013. ... The political class, on the other hand, obsessively examines the reports to find signs of strength and weakness, to study alliances that are forming, to try to figure out who is ahead and who is behind — and what, if anything, can be done to change that."
• Hall announces final re-election bid (Rockwall Herald-Banner): "Congressman Ralph Hall announced today in Rockwall at the 'Band of Brothers' gathering that he is seeking re-election in the 4th Congressional District of Texas but stated that this will in fact be his final run for public office. Hall’s public service spans five decades; which includes having served as Rockwall County Judge, State Senator, and United States Congressman."
• Christmas Week Off to a Rumbling Start in North Texas (StateImpact Texas): "Now, the manmade quakes finally appear to have gotten the attention of Texas’ oil and gas regulator, the Railroad Commission of Texas. While the commission has consistently responded to quakes in North Texas and other parts of the state by saying links to oil and gas wastewater disposal are hypothetical, next week a Railroad Commissioner will host a town hall meeting in Azle to talk about the most recent swarm."
• Industry Groups Give Up On Medicaid Expansion In Big Blow To Obamacare (Talking Points Memo): "The biggest target for Obamacare supporters — Texas and its more than 1 million people in the Medicaid expansion gap — is off limits for the next year anyway because the biennial legislature doesn't reconvene until 2015. But there, too, one of the top trade groups, the Texas Hospital Association, is taking some time to figure out a new approach to the issue after failing to convince its Republican leadership to agree to expansion in 2013."
• Texas losing billions of gallons to annual water leaks (Houston Chronicle): "At a time when the Lone Star State is facing a grave water shortage and its population is expected to double by 2060, billions of gallons are hemorrhaging from Texas' leaky old pipes. The exact loss is unknown as only 10 percent of the state's 3,500 utilities were required to report their 2012 losses. But in Houston, enough water seeped from broken pipes to supply 383,000 residents for one year."
• The widow of ‘American Sniper’ Chris Kyle sues the company her slain husband started (The Dallas Morning News): "A suit filed this morning alleges that Steven Young and Bo French have conspired to 'steal' Craft International, the tactical-training company co-founded in 2009 by American Sniper author Chris Kyle. [Taya] Kyle and her attorney, Larry Friedman, claim that since Kyle was killed in February, the pair has been 'manipulating CRAFT’s stock, mishandling funds, diverting assets and mismanaging and usurping CRAFT’s contracts.'”
A quick note to our readers that The Evening Brief will be taking a few needed days off for the holidays. Thanks for reading and we will return Jan. 2.
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