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The Brief: Feb. 12, 2014

Former Cameron County District Attorney Armando Villalobos was sentenced Tuesday to 13 years in prison for his role in a corruption scheme that in recent days has become a hot topic in the governor's race.

Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott talked about border security, criminal justice and other issues during his "Securing Texans" address in Dallas on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2014.

The Big Conversation

Former Cameron County District Attorney Armando Villalobos was sentenced Tuesday to 13 years in prison for his role in a corruption scheme that in recent days has become a hot topic in the governor's race.

"Villalobos was among a dozen people caught in the scandal that toppled state District Judge Abel Limas and former state Rep. Jim Solis, and that, according to prosecutors, caused untold damage to the justice system," reported Aaron Nelsen of the San Antonio Express-News.

However, it was GOP gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott's description last week of "creeping corruption resembl[ing] third-world-country practices" in a speech in Dallas on border security that raised eyebrows. The (McAllen) Monitor printed an editorial asking for an apology from Abbott, a request echoed later by Abbott's expected foe in November, Democratic candidate Wendy Davis.

Abbott later said his comments were not directed at the Rio Grande Valley.

The Day Ahead

•    Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis is in Houston to roll out the third plank of her education policy platform.

•    A federal court in San Antonio will hold a hearing in one of the challenges to the Texas constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

•    A federal court in Corpus Christi will hold a hearing in the challenge to Texas' voter ID law.

•    GOP gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott and Gov. Rick Perry are in Houston for a fundraiser at the home of Texas A&M regent Tony Buzbee.

Today in the Trib

Nuclear Waste Storage on Texas Lawmakers' Agenda: "Following instructions from House Speaker Joe Straus, Texas lawmakers plan to study the benefits of accepting high-level nuclear waste from around the country, a controversial proposition. But even if Texas seeks a waste facility, huge hurdles would stand in its way."

Closing Corsicana: Lessons from a Juvenile Lock-Up: "Since the Corsicana juvenile detention center was founded in 1887 as the Texas Orphan Asylum, the facility's history has followed national trends in juvenile justice issues."

Same-Sex Marriage Advocates Battle in Court: "A federal court in San Antonio will hear arguments Wednesday in a case that seeks to overturn Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage. It's one of several cases statewide challenging Texas' stance on same-sex unions."

Abbott Brings Perry Into the Fold on Campaign Trail: "After at first distancing himself from Rick Perry on the campaign trail, Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott is set to make a joint appearance at a fundraiser in Houston on Wednesday with the man he's hoping to succeed."

The Polling Center: Playing the Right Anglos: "In the short run, the GOP appears to be embarking on a winning strategy to mobilize a reliable and larger electorate using the rhetoric that motivates its voters."


Ted Cruz: 60 votes or else on debt ceiling, Politico

Wendy Davis says she supports medical marijuana, The Associated Press

Stockman claims PAC has libeled him, Houston Chronicle

Patrick is a self-made man who's re-invented himself before, Houston Chronicle

Attorneys bill state over $400K in regent investigation, so far, The Dallas Morning News

Texas overtakes California, leads nation in tech exports, Austin American-Statesman

The Millennial-Industrial Complex, Politico

Quote to Note

“I’m getting this monkey off your back and you’re not going to even clap?”

— Speaker of the House John Boehner, questioning the muted reaction of his fellow House Republicans to his debt-limit gambit 

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Conversation With Sid Miller, Candidate for Ag Commissioner at the Austin Club, 2/13

•    Reps. Joe Deshotel, Allan Ritter and James White at Lamar University in Beaumont, 2/19

•    Texas Tribune Festival On the Road at the University of Texas El Paso for a daylong symposium on demographic change, 2/27

•    Live Post-Primary Election TribCast at the Austin Club, 3/5

•    A Conversation With Sen. Charles Schwertner and Reps. John Raney and Kyle Kacal at Texas A&M University in College Station, 3/27

•    A Conversation with U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway at Midland College in Midland, 5/13

•    Save the date for the 2014 Texas Tribune Festival: 9/19-9/21

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Politics Dan Patrick Greg Abbott Joe Straus Rick Perry Sid Miller Ted Cruz Wendy Davis