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The Brief: Sept. 22, 2015

Immigration was the word of the day in Houston at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's annual convention, billed by the group as the nation's largest gathering of Hispanic business leaders.

Presidential candidate Jeb Bush at the Women in Business & Leadership Luncheon at the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce National Convention on Sept. 21, 2015.

The Big Conversation

Immigration was the word of the day on Monday in Houston at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's annual convention, billed by the group as the nation's largest gathering of Hispanic business leaders.

The Tribune's Patrick Svitek was on hand to report first on remarks given by GOP presidential hopeful Jeb Bush, who both chided current GOP frontrunner Donald Trump ("We don't need to build a wall.") and claimed the great majority of Republicans still believe in immigration reform.

Even with his conscious distancing from Trump's rhetorical stylings, Bush drew protesters in a protest organized by the Texas Organizing Project. The chamber's president and CEO, Javier Palomarez, told Svitek, "It illustrates that we're at a time in our country where very divisive language has been used, people have been mischaracterized, and there is angst on both ends of the spectrum."

Palomarez went on to make news of his own when he took the opportunity to call out another GOP presidential candidate, Ted Cruz, for not taking on Trump more forcefully.

Svitek wrote:

At the annual meeting of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on Monday in Houston, the group's president and CEO was asked if Cruz has hurt himself among Hispanics by adopting a hands-off approach to Trump. 

"Frankly I think he has," Javier Palomarez told reporters, later adding he thinks Cruz "missed an opportunity."


Cruz was among the GOP candidates who reportedly declined invitations to the chamber's annual legislative summit earlier this year, prompting Palomarez to suggest the hopefuls were trying to avoid a politically thorny issue. A few weeks after the criticism surfaced, Cruz arranged a a question-and-answer session with Palomarez in Washington, D.C.

Trib Must Reads

Injured After Work Meeting, Amputee Fights Claim Denial, by Jay Root and Alana Rocha – Jane Hays, an employee benefits manager, thought she knew everything about the Texas workers' compensation system. But after losing her leg in a car wreck, she said she's discovered the difficulty many workers face when they're hurt on the job.

Confusion Over Reach of State E-Verify Use, by Julián Aguilar – State agencies are now required by law to screen potential hires through the federal E-Verify system to ensure they can legally work in the United States. But does an order by former Gov. Rick Perry still require the same for state contractors?

State Didn't Study Budget Cuts for Children's Therapy, by Edgar Walters – New evidence presented in court on Monday paints a clearer picture of discussions taking place inside the state’s main health agency as it seeks to make deep cuts ordered by state lawmakers to a therapy program for poor and disabled children.

Jack Stick Convicted of Drunken Driving, by Johnathan Silver – A Travis County jury on Monday convicted Texas Health and Human Services' general counsel Jack Stick of drunken driving, the latest chapter in year of problems for the former prosecutor and state lawmaker.  

Walker Follows Perry Out of Republican Race, by Abby Livingston – Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker had a substantive presence in Texas, even though he was one of the few GOP candidates who had never lived in the state. Rival presidential organizations were courting Walker donors even before his campaign confirmed news reports of his exit from the race. 

Sexual Assault Common, Outcry Rare at UT, A&M, by Matthew Watkins – More than 18 percent of female undergraduates at the University of Texas at Austin and about 15 percent at Texas A&M say they have been sexually assaulted since arriving on campus, according to comprehensive surveys released Monday.    

The Day Ahead

•    The Texas Tribune and the Beaumont Enterprise will host an event marking the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Rita's landfall on the Texas Gulf Coast at noon at Lamar University. In light of their joint reporting project, "The Road From Rita," the event will feature a panel discussion on lessons learned from Rita. A livestream of the event can be viewed on the Tribune's website. 

•    Gov. Greg Abbott and U.S. Housing Secretary Julian Castro will speak Tuesday at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce national convention in Houston. The convention started Sunday and will finish tomorrow. 


In new survey, almost 1 in 4 undergraduate women report sex assaultHouston Chronicle

Texas’ Medicaid sheriff identifies $100 million in fraud, waste, Austin American-Statesman

Wendy Davis on Running for Office Again, Life After DefeatRolling Stone

Kennedy: Fiorina: A Texan by birth with a story to prove it, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Some school bus accident data misleading, incomplete, officials say, Houston Chronicle

Family: Ahmed withdraws from Irving ISD, eyes trips to United Nations and Mecca, The Dallas Morning News

Abbott lets lawmakers take blame for cuts, The Dallas Morning News

Ruling on county’s video-based jail visits questionedAustin American-Statesman

Quote to Note

"I think the Hispanic community is looking for somebody to be the voice of reason. To a large extent, I think Jeb Bush has done exactly that."

— Javier Palomarez, president and CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, after being asked if U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is losing votes in the Latino community by refusing to speak out against Donald Trump

Today in TribTalk

New EPA Rules threaten the Texas fracking boom, by Ed Ireland – New rules from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency pose a direct threat to our oil and natural gas revolution. Even worse, they are largely a Washington-designed solution still searching for a problem.

News From Home

Here's the final installment of our seven-part series done in partnership with the Beaumont Enterprise on the "Road From Rita":

While it has become common practice after hurricanes Katrina and Rita for Gulf Coast cities to organize a list of pre-approved “recovery” businesses — like grocery stores, banks and pharmacies — to return early, local officials have moved in the opposite direction to manage a delicate process

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Conversation on The Environment: The Next Five Years on Sept. 28 in Corpus Christi

•    A Conversation on Criminal Justice: The Next Five Years on Oct. 6 in Huntsville

•    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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