* Correction appended

The Big Conversation

Rick Perry was back on familiar ground — the Governor's Mansion — on Wednesday but questions continued about the viability of his presidential campaign in the face of dismal fundraising figures.

Perry was in town for the posthumous awarding of the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor to former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle and WWII combat pilot Ed Dyess.

The campaign trail has not been kind lately to Perry. As the Tribune's Patrick Svitek reports, money woes forced the campaign to stop paying staff earlier this month. His campaign chairman in Iowa, Sam Clovis, departed and then joined the campaign of Donald Trump. This week brought a reorganization of Perry's Iowa operation with the goal that it will emerge leaner and meaner.

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If Perry is troubled, he isn't letting on in his interactions with the press.

"My whole life I've been short of money as probably most people in this country have as well," Perry said while talking to reporters in Austin. "In fact, we were short of money here in 2003 when I was the governor, so I know how to deal with shortage of money. You cut spending, and you keep a small footprint. This is just a challenge that happens in a lot of places in time."

Trib Must-Reads

Long Way Home: Census Details Texas Commutes, by Jolie McCullough and Alexa Ura — At least a third of Texas workers living in suburban counties surrounding the state’s five largest cities — Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Austin and Fort Worth — commuted from their home counties into the city for work in 2013, according to new census data.

Texans in Congress Again Target Oil Export Ban, by Abby Livingston — The nation’s capital is bracing for a frenetic fall. At best, Congress can expect a four-month legislative slog through everything from Iran to abortion; at worst, the government could shut down. It's anyone’s guess what that will mean for a renewed push to end the country's crude oil export ban.

Bush Leads Push for Endangered Species Reform, by Ally Mutnick — Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush is leading an alliance of 23 state land commissioners calling for more transparency on how animals are added to the endangered list under the Endangered Species Act.

Paxton Faces First Court Hearing in Fraud Case, by Morgan Smith — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is expected to plead not guilty when he appears in court Thursday for the first time since his booking on three felony charges earlier this month.

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Abbott Honors "American Sniper" Chris Kyle, by Jordan Rudner — Saying that Chris Kyle's "remarkable, selfless service may be unrivaled in the annals of our proud history," Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday posthumously awarded the late Navy SEAL sniper the state's highest military honor.

Hegar Lets Abbott Vetoes Stand, Asks AG to Decide, by Aman Batheja — Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced Wednesday he will not authorize more than $200 million in funds approved by the Texas Legislature but vetoed by Gov. Greg Abbott as he waits for Attorney General Ken Paxton to settle the issue.

Texas to Move Forward With Cuts to Children's Therapy, by Edgar Walters — The Texas Health and Human Services Commission will proceed with $100 million in cuts made by lawmakers to a therapy program for poor and disabled children, a spokesman said Wednesday afternoon.

Today's 31 Days, 31 Ways Story

A New Chapter for E-Verify Policy in Texas, by Julián Aguilar — On Sept. 1, all potential hires for any state agency or public university must have their work eligibility information run through E-Verify. If that sounds familiar, there’s a good reason.

The Day Ahead

•    At the Travis County Courthouse, a hearing is scheduled on the legal challenge to plans by the University of Texas at Austin to move statues of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and U.S. President Woodrow Wilson.

•    Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is scheduled to appear in a Tarrant County courtroom where he is expected to plead not guilty to felony charges on claims he misled investors in business dealings before he was elected to statewide office.

Elsewhere

What blew up in Conroe? Public can't know for sure, Houston Chronicle

UH paid $16,000 on Austin hotel for official who owns condo there, Houston Chronicle

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Open carry activists sue state troopers over Capitol arrests, Austin American-Statesman

Jailed ex-Dallas neurosurgeon Christopher Duntsch sued over botched procedure, sponge in body, The Dallas Morning News

Cruz hits Megyn Kelly on 'liberal journalist' question, The Hill

Curtain to close on dog racing in Texas, Austin American-Statesman

Old oil wells pose problem for Pecos County, Midland Reporter-Telegram

Dallas County DA Susan Hawk is at Texas facility for depression treatment, The Dallas Morning News

Former prison warden’s case dismissed with implications for state rep, The Monitor

Special election called in state House District 118, San Antonio Express-News

Quote to Note

"I still have as much passion about this country as I did four years ago and will continue to stay out there engaged in the process."

Rick Perry, dismissing talk that his presidential campaign is in peril because of fundraising woes

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

•    The Ticket: A Live Recording and GOP Primary Debate Watch Party on Sept. 16 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

Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified the location of Ken Paxton's court appearance.

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