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The Brief: Oct. 15, 2014

Tuesday turned into a topsy turvy day in the federal courts for the state of Texas with the voter ID law conserved for the Nov. 4 general election but a new delay placed on enforcing the new abortion law.

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The Big Conversation

Tuesday turned into a topsy turvy day in the federal courts for the state of Texas. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stepped in to allow Texas' voter ID law to remain in effect for the upcoming general elections. Later in the day, the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated a stay issued by a lower court that had temporarily halted enforcement of the state's new abortion law.

The Tribune's Ross Ramsey reported that the appeals court judges wrote that the Oct. 11 final order by U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos setting aside the voter ID law "substantially disturbs the election process of the State of Texas just nine days before early voting begins. Thus, the value of preserving the status quo here is much higher than in most other contexts."

The next step will be taken by the plaintiffs challenging the law. They will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Tuesday ruling.

And speaking of appealing to the Supreme Court for relief, the plaintiffs challenging the state's new regulations on abortion clinics that would close all but eight facilities had reason to celebrate late Tuesday afternoon. By reinstating portions of the stay against two major regulatory components of the abortion law, Texas abortion clinics that had closed can now reopen.

The Supreme Court did not explain the order, which was only five sentences long. The 5th Circuit is still in the position of determining the constitutionality of the law, the Tribune's Alexa Ura wrote

The Day Ahead

•    The House Select Committee on Economic Development Incentives meets at 10 a.m. in the Capitol Extension. (agenda)

•    The House Land & Resource Management and Urban Affairs committees hold a joint hearing at 10:30 a.m. in the Capitol Extension to look at the impact of the state's population growth on multiple aspects of the economy. (agenda) Urban Affairs meets afterward to tackle the state's chronic graffiti problem. (agenda)

Trib Must-Reads

A Day In The Life Of Sam Houston, by Jay Root

Details Yet to Emerge in Patrick's Tax Proposal, by Alexa Ura

Lawmakers Might Address Graduation Hurdles, by Morgan Smith

Report: Utility Regulators See Rise in Complaints, by Jim Malewitz


Ebola's in Texas. Rick Perry's in Europe. Presidential or Ineffectual?, Bloomberg Politics

CDC chief: Dallas Ebola case needed ‘more robust’ team than agency sent, The Dallas Morning News

Falling oil prices threaten shale boom, The Dallas Morning News

LaHood benefactor makes big donation to unnamed nonprofit, San Antonio Express-News

Jeb Bush joins son at Fort Worth campaign stop, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Cruz sidelined in midterm push, The Hill

Cruz’s speechwriter promoted, Politico

Quote to Note

“If my brother were to be vice president, I’d have to shave my head.”

— U.S. Rep. Joaquín Castro, D-San Antonio, on growing speculation that his twin brother and U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro might be on the shortlist as a running mate for Hillary Clinton in 2016

Trib Events for the Calendar

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

•    A Conversation With state Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, and state Rep. Travis Clardy, R-Nacogdoches, on Oct. 22 at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches

•    A Conversation With Railroad Commission Candidates Steve Brown and Ryan Sitton, on Oct. 30 at The Austin Club in Austin

•    A One-Day Symposium on the Impact of the Shale Boom on Oct. 31 at the University of Texas San Antonio

•    A Live Post-Election TribCast, featuring Tribune editors and reporters on the election results, on Nov. 5 at The Austin Club

•    A Conversation With Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick on Nov. 6 at The Austin Club

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Energy Environment Health care Politics Public education George P. Bush Joaquin Castro Julián Castro Rick Perry Ted Cruz