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The Brief: Sept. 25, 2014

The legal problems of a couple of Republican officeholders continue to garner headlines.

Gov. Rick Perry adjusts his glasses during his appearance at the Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 21.

The Big Conversation

The legal problems of a couple of Republican officeholders continue to garner headlines. Here's the latest:

•    The fight between Gov. Rick Perry's legal team and the special prosecutor over Perry's appearances at future pre-trial hearings continued for another day. In a filing made late Wednesday, the prosecutor, Michael McCrum, objected strongly to Perry's request to be excused from all non-evidentiary hearings in the future, reported the Tribune's Terri Langford.

"From carpenters to lawyers to judges accused of anything from tickets to federal felonies, all are expected to appear in court," McCrum wrote in his filing. Perry's counsel had requested the court to consider Perry's "duties and responsibilities to the citizens of Texas and his pre-existing commitments relating thereto."

An Oct. 13 pre-trial hearing conflicts with Perry's commitment to speak at an Oct. 14 event in England.

•    Meanwhile, the head of Travis County's public integrity unit said on Wednesday that a pending investigation into GOP attorney general nominee Ken Paxton would not continue until after the election.

The Houston Chronicle's Lauren McGaughy reported that the delay was in keeping with a long-standing internal policy in the unit tasked with investigating and prosecuting public officials, among other duties. The policy was adopted to avoid giving investigations the look of something politically motivated.

McGaughy added, "The postponed timeline could be problematic for Paxton, a Republican from McKinney, regarded as the race's front-runner. If the district attorney launches criminal proceedings after November, Paxton potentially could face a grand jury investigation in his first few months as a statewide elected official."

The Day Ahead

•    Gov. Rick Perry gives the headliner address at 7 p.m. to a Houston energy and climate summit hosted by the Texas Public Policy Foundation and the Heritage Foundation. (agenda)

•    The Joint Interim Committee to Study Human Trafficking meets at 10 a.m. in Dallas to hear invited and public testimony on efforts to combat human trafficking in North Texas. (agenda)

Trib Must-Reads

Texas Revives Low-Income Energy Efficiency Proposal, by Jim Malewitz

Disability Groups Hope Turnover Leads to Reform, by Edgar Walters

Van de Putte: Stop Diverting Transportation Money, by Neena Satija

TABC Drops Plan to Allow Alcohol Sales With Gun Sales, by Bobby Blanchard


Rifle reported to be used in Charles Whitman killing spree up for sale, Houston Chronicle

Resigning prosecutor accuses DA Craig Watkins of halting probe over political concerns, The Dallas Morning News

Top Texas Democratic candidates address disabled voters, Austin American-Statesman

How Can States Fix Their Medicaid Programs?, Governing

Insurers’ bigger role suggests confidence in Obamacare, Politico

Conservatives plot to oust Boehner, The Hill

G.O.P. Error Reveals Donors and the Price of Access, The New York Times

Mexican cartels steal billions from oil industry, The Associated Press

Quote to Note

“I’m a Democrat, and I will die as a Democrat.”

— U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, dismissing in an interview with the Tribune's Evan Smith that he is thinking about switching parties after some high-profile disagreements with some in his party

Today in TribTalk

5 takeaways from TribuneFest, by Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Panel Discussion on Demographic Change and the Digital Divide, on Sept. 30 at LBJ School of Public Affairs in Austin

•    A Conversation With Kathie Glass, 2014 Libertarian Nominee for Governor, on Oct. 2 at The Austin Club

•    A Panel Discussion on Changing Population, Changing Health Care, on Oct. 6 at Rice University's Baker Institute in Houston

•    A Conversation With Sam Houston, 2014 Democratic Nominee for Attorney General, on Oct. 16 at The Austin Club

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Energy Environment Health care Politics Henry Cuellar Ken Paxton Rick Perry Ted Cruz