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The Brief: Sept. 2, 2015

Word came Tuesday evening from the lieutenant governor's office of an agreement to continue operations for three months at the state agency that oversees the horse racing industry.

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The Big Conversation

Officials in the horse racing industry reacted cautiously to news announced by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick that an agreement had been struck to keep the Texas Racing Commission operating for another three months.

Such an agreement would give negotiators added time to sort out the disagreement between the industry and lawmakers over the commission's move to install a new form of gaming at racetracks, which would allow people to bet on past races with unidentified horses.

The impasse led to a cutoff on Tuesday in funding to the commission, which oversees the horse racing industry in Texas. As a result, tracks were unable to operate.

As of late Tuesday, the Houston Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News and the Texas Tribune were reporting on Patrick's announcement of a deal. There wasn't immediate confirmation from House Appropriations Chairman John Otto, R-Dayton, who was handling negotiations for the House.

House Speaker Joe Straus has recused himself from talks because of his family's ties to the horse racing industry.

The Tribune's Sophia Bollag wrote, "It was unclear Tuesday if the deal was official, or when it would take effect. Patrick’s announcement, however, came a day after he sparked erroneous reports with a similar statement Monday that a deal had been reached."

The Chronicle's Brian Rosenthal and Fauzeya Rahman reported that the announcement was being received cautiously by Andrea Young, president of the Sam Houston Race Park. In a statement, Young said, "We haven't seen the funding agreement being reported and we remain skeptical about the way it has been handled. ... A decision to provide the agency only three months of funding does not give the Texas racing industry the stability it needs to be successful."

Disclosure: Sam Houston Race Park LLC is a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

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The Day Ahead

•    Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will make presidential campaign stops in Dallas and San Antonio. He will also be in Midland on Friday.

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“Money isn’t pixie dust.” 

– A lawyer for the state of Texas, arguing an appeal regarding school finance before the state Supreme Court

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Trib Events for the Calendar

•    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

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•    A Conversation on God & Governing on Oct. 7 in Austin

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

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