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The Brief: Aug. 11, 2015

Former Gov. Rick Perry's money woes have caused his campaign to cease paying all its staff.

Former Gov. Rick Perry announces his 2016 candidacy for president June 4, 2015, in Addison, Texas.

The Big Conversation

Former Gov. Rick Perry's money woes have caused his campaign to cease paying all its staff.

The news started late Monday afternoon when National Journal reported the campaign was no longer paying its South Carolina staff. Then, CBS News reported that none of Perry's campaign staff anywhere in the country is getting paid anymore.

Perry, who didn't qualify for last week's prime-time debate, has struggled to break out from a lengthy list of GOP candidates this year. And his fundraising, which four years ago was strong, has "dried up," report the Tribune's Abby Livingston and The Washington Post's Philip Rucker:

Perry campaign manager Jeff Miller told staff last Friday, the day after the first Republican presidential debate, that they would no longer be paid and are free to look for other jobs — and, so far at least, most aides have stuck with Perry, this Republican said. ...

"Money is extremely tight," said Katon Dawson, Perry's South Carolina campaign chairman. “We all moved to volunteer status," he said, but added, "Our team is working as hard as it was last week." ... 

But Perry's campaign aides as well as leaders of an allied super PAC said they will continue raising money and that the former governor is committed to a strong performance in the early contests next year. Perry is planning to campaign in South Carolina on Thursday and to visit Iowa next week.

"As the campaign moves along, tough decisions have to be made in respect to both monetary and time related resources," Perry campaign manager Jeff Miller said. "Governor Perry remains committed to competing in the early states and will continue to have a strong presence in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina."

And in other 2016 news, the Tribune's Patrick Svitek has a report from U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz's bus tour across the South, as he's "heartened by rising poll numbers, raucous crowds and a fundraising surge."

Trib Must-Reads

Video: New Law Seeks to Curb Surprise Medical Bills, by Alana Rocha, Justin Dehn and Edgar Walters — A new law will allow more consumers to challenge surprise medical bills they get from out-of-network doctors, but only if the charge is more than $500. This story is part of our 31 Days, 31 Ways series.

UT, Japan Partner to Cut Energy Use at Data Centers, by Jim Malewitz — The University of Texas at Austin and the Japanese government are joining forces to tackle a growing problem of the digital age: As data centers crop up across the U.S., they're sucking up a lot of electricity.

Paxton Wants High Court to Block Birth Control Coverage, by Alexa Ura — Backing up two Texas religious universities, Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court Monday asking it to take up a lawsuit against the federal government over contraceptive coverage required under the Affordable Care Act.

Murdered Houston Family Well Known to CPS, by Terri Langford — The six children found murdered along with two adults in Houston over the weekend were no strangers to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, which investigated at least four complaints about their care dating back 2011, and temporarily took the children into foster care two years later.

Months After Scandal, Another Health Agency Official Resigns, by Edgar Walters — Months after he was put on paid administrative leave amid an investigation into the Texas Health and Human Services Commission's contracting procedures, Cody Cazares has left the agency.

Racing Commission Hopes to Stave Off Closure, by Liz Crampton — With its funds dwindling, the Texas Racing Commission plans to meet August 25 and reverse its earlier decision allowing historical racing at Texas tracks, hoping to placate angry lawmakers and free up its funding.

Suspect in Unusual Activity at Capitol Tied to Car Fire, by Terri Langford — A man involved in "suspicious activity" near the Texas House speaker's office is also being sought for questioning about a car fire outside the Capitol, a Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman said Monday.

State to Allow Same-Sex Couples to Obtain Amended Death Certificates, by Alexa Ura — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who was facing possible contempt of court charges, vowed on Monday that the state would revise its policies in the next week to allow same-sex couples to obtain amended death certificates.  

UT Panel: Relocate Confederate Statues or Add Plaques, by Ally Mutnick — A task force on Monday recommended the University of Texas at Austin either relocate statues of Confederate leaders or add explanatory plaques.

Elsewhere

Jeb Bush to attend McAllen fundraiser Aug. 24, San Antonio Express-News

Ted Cruz Opens His Playbook for the 'SEC Primary,' Roll Call

Ken Paxton contempt hearing canceled, Austin American-Statesman

Craddick joins those suing Chesapeake over royalties, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

San Antonio Democrat resigns from House District 118 seat, San Antonio Express-News

Constitutional convention sparking buzz, but odds still long, The Associated Press

State sought in 2013 to remove the 6 children killed Saturday, Houston Chronicle

Sandra Bland: Texas records show racial breakdown of those stopped by same trooper, Los Angeles Times

FBI has no plans to investigate fatal shooting of teen by Arlington police, The Dallas Morning News

Spring woman claims constitutional violation in body cavity probe, Houston Chronicle

Turner makes first major TV buy of campaign season, Houston Chronicle

Chinese traders in San Antonio eager to buy products, San Antonio Express-News

Oil prices rise, but prospects stay low, Houston Chronicle

Quote to Note

"You know, I'm not sure. I can only speak for myself, and I think it's high time someone does stand up and really call nonsense nonsense."

— U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., on why some of his 2016 rivals haven't criticized Donald Trump

Today in TribTalk

The road ahead for Cruz and Perry, by Brandon Rottinghaus — Ted Cruz and Rick Perry didn't underperform in last week's GOP primary debates, but neither stood out. To stay afloat as the race grinds on, they'll each have to do more than that.

News From Home

•      Learn more about what happened to pre-kindergarten reform, school choice legislation and other public education issues using our Texas Legislative Guide

Trib Events for the Calendar

•      The Texas Tribune's Trivia Night on Aug. 30 in Austin 

•      A Conversation with Austin Mayor Steve Adler and San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor on Sept. 4 in Austin

•      A Conversation on The Road from Hurricane Rita on Sept. 22 in Beaumont

•      The Texas Tribune Festival on Oct. 16-18 at the University of Texas at Austin

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