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The Evening Brief: Jan. 6, 2014

Your evening reading: Democrats continue criticism of proposed state regulations of health navigators; critics of new abortion law face tough questions at 5th Circuit; judge says Texas Supreme Court justice can stay on ballot

Jill Ramirez, the director of outreach for the Latino Healthcare Forum, passes out flyers and explains components of the Affordable Care Act on Oct. 5, 2013.

New in The Texas Tribune 

•    Democrats Argue Navigator Rules Politically Motivated: "Saying that proposed state rules for the federal navigator program are politically motivated and would create unnecessary training requirements and registration fees, Democratic legislators on Monday pushed Texas Department of Insurance officials to justify their plan."

•    ERCOT: Rolling Blackout Threat Averted in Cold Snap: "Grid conditions have returned to normal, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas says, but grid operators are urging consumers to continue conserving electricity amid the cold snap."

•    Rift Between "Pro-Life" Groups Spills Into Elections: "A rift between Texas 'pro-life' groups from the 2013 legislative session on how to regulate end-of-life care is continuing into the 2014 election cycle. One group’s political scorecard has created a minefield in some Republican primary races, leading to heavy criticism from Roman Catholic bishops in Texas."

•    For Perry's Administration, the End is Beginning: "The end times are coming. The governor announced last summer that he would not seek re-election to the job he has held since December 2000. ... Perry, the longest-serving governor in the history of the state, is slowly and surely becoming a lame duck. Why not wait for the next governor and see what he or she wants to do?"


•    Fifth Circuit skeptical of abortion law critics (San Antonio Express-News): "A  three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals expressed skepticism Monday over arguments that a new Texas abortion law creates an 'undue burden' on women attempting to obtain the procedure, even though abortion rights advocates say the new law has closed all clinics in the Rio Grande Valley, forcing women there to travel hundreds of miles. 'You know how long that takes in Texas at 75 miles an hour?' asked Justice Edith Jones. 'That’s a particularly flat highway.'”

•    Judge: Supreme Court justice can remain on ballot (Austin American-Statesman): "A Travis County judge on Monday declined to remove Texas Supreme Court Justice Jeff Brown from the Republican primary ballot over alleged defects to his ballot application. Brown’s primary opponent, Dripping Springs lawyer Joe Pool, sued to remove Brown’s name after state Republican officials refused to modify the ballot, saying Brown had met all requirements to appear in the primary."

•    Texas’ Health Care Navigator Rules Could Be Sweet Deal for Pearson and Other Companies (Texas Observer): "That extra training requirement would be a burden on navigators and the groups they work for, but that’s not all — it could also be a sweet deal for private companies that will provide the training and administer the tests ... If other states — not to mention other programs at the insurance department — are any clue, the new job of testing navigators will fall to one of Texas’ closest friends in the private sector: Pearson."

•    Stockman endorsement page disappears, but he’s visible as always online (The Dallas Morning News): "Stockman once listed Rep. Louie Gohmert, Ted Nugent, and a number of other people and organizations on the page. Just one problem—many, including Gohmert and Nugent, say they aren’t endorsing anyone in the race. One supposed endorser, far-right activist and former presidential candidate Howard Phillips, died in April well before Stockman announced his bid for the Senate. Saturday, the page listing those endorsement claims disappeared."

•    Why the Supreme Court Put the Utah Gay Marriage Ruling on Hold (Wall Street Journal): "By ordering a temporary stop to same-sex marriages in Utah, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday sent to a message to lower federal courts around the nation hearing similar challenges to gay marriage bans: slow down."

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Health care Politics Bryan Hughes Donna Howard Louie Gohmert Paul Workman Rick Perry