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The Brief: Sept. 28, 2015

An update on a legal challenge to a state policy that might result in Texas-born children being denied citizenship, a fuller portrait of the Irving teen who made the infamous homemade clock and a profile of Tea Party leader Julie McCarty.

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The Big Conversation

To help get you caught up this Monday morning, here's a handful of weekend reads that caught our attention:

•    The Austin American-Statesman's Jazmine Ulloa and James Barragan provide an update on legal action being taken to end a state policy that does not allow the use of a type of photo identification used in Mexico and Central America to obtain a certified birth certificate. The effect, say the challengers to the policy, is to deny the rights of citizenship to children born in Texas because of their parents' immigration status.

A federal judge could hear arguments as early as next month on whether to take immediate action on continuing the policy while the legal challenge is sorted out.

•    The Dallas Morning News' Avi Selk fills out the portrait of Ahmed Mohamed, the Irving teen who captured national headlines after his arrest for bringing a homemade clock to school. This Ahmed "mastered electronics and English, once built a remote control to prank the classroom projector and bragged of reciting his First Amendment rights in the principal’s office" and also "racked up weeks of suspensions, became convinced an administrator had it in for him and — before he left for the high school where he turned famous — prompted Irving ISD to review claims of anti-Muslim bullying."

•    And the Tribune's Morgan Smith profiles Julie McCarty, president of the NE Tarrant Tea Party, a group that helped launch the political careers of state Sen. Konni Burton and state Rep. Jonathan Stickland and whose "monthly meetings and regular events have become a mandatory stop for Texas candidates paying fealty to the right."

Trib Must Reads

Fiorina Braves Stage Snafu to Pitch Outsider Experience, by Patrick Svitek – Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina on Sunday braved the collapse of part of a stage in San Antonio to pitch her outsider experience to a national meeting of women business owners. 

Offenders Return to State School With Thanks, by Jonathan Silver – A group of youth offenders once considered the worst of the worst for crimes including murder, capital murder, aggravated sexual assault and aggravated robbery returned to Giddings State School recently not as inmates but as thankful adults.

Cruz Crosses Iowa Reflecting on Boehner Departure, by Patrick Svitek – The resignation of U.S. House Speaker John Boehner was a topic of conversation as U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, toured Iowa on Saturday. Cruz said Boehner's exit shows people are "frustrated out of their minds" with the Republican Party.

Extolling Thriftiness, Cruz Opens Iowa Office, by Patrick Svitek – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, opened the first Iowa outpost of his presidential bid Saturday morning with an emphasis on campaign frugality that he said bedeviled two former foes.

Amputee Awarded Benefits in Rare Order, by Jay Root – A woman who lost her leg in a car accident on the way back from a work meeting will start receiving her workers’ compensation benefits after all—at least for now. 

Texans Eye Leadership Posts After Boehner Retires, by Abby Livingston – U.S. House Speaker John A. Boehner’s retirement could create an opportunity for at least two Texas Republicans — U.S. Reps. Pete Sessions and Jeb Hensarling, both of Dallas — to become national party leaders. 

Texas Prisons Deny Making Execution Drugs, by Terri Langford and Jordan Rudner – The Texas Department of Criminal Justice on Friday shot down allegations that it is manufacturing its own hard-to-find execution drugs after federal defense attorneys in an Oklahoma death row case accused the Texas prison system of doing exactly that.

Cruz Basks in News of Boehner Resignation, by Patrick Svitek – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, a persistent thorn in the side of Republican congressional leadership, basked in the news Friday that House Speaker John Boehner was resigning. 

Ex-Lawmaker Stick Gets Six Days in Jail for Drunken Driving, by Jordan Rudner – A Travis County judge on Friday sentenced former state representative Jack Stick to six days in jail and a 90-day driver's license suspension for driving while intoxicated, according to prosecutors.

The Day Ahead

•    Gov. Greg Abbott will speak at 7:30 p.m. to the 2015 National Conference of the National Association of Women Business Owners in San Antonio.

•    Environmental leaders and policymakers join Tribune CEO and editor-in-chief Evan Smith for a lunch hour discussion on the future of the environment in Texas. The event takes place at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and will be live streamed on the Tribune’s website for those unable to attend in person.

Elsewhere

Treatment for sex predators questioned at remote center, Houston Chronicle

So close to Ebola, yet Dallas household stayed well, The Dallas Morning News

Abbott’s research fund borrows from UT, A&M, cancer agency playbooksAustin American-Statesman

Boehner’s stepping down as speaker and Cruz has something to crow about, Austin American-Statesman

Monitoring the oil patch by drone, San Antonio Express-News

An uncharacteristic jump in immigrant apprehensions, San Antonio Express-News

Cruz at the center of battle over abortion and a possible government shutdown, Houston Chronicle

John Boehner’s Move Deepens a Republican Chasm, The New York Times

Expect a crowded field for Congressional District 19 raceLubbock Avalanche-Journal

New high-speed rail route may serve Arlington, DFW Airport, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Dallas drops plan to require a ‘living wage’ from contractors, The Dallas Morning News

Mistrial in case of ex-Texas deputy charged with murder, The Associated Press

Quote to Note

 “Absolutely they’re unrealistic. But the Bible says beware of false prophets. And there are people out there spreading noise about how much can get done."

— House Speaker John Boehner on the promises of "hard-liner" GOP candidates, in an interview on "Face the Nation." 

Today in TribTalk

Local campaign finance reform is as essential as national reform, by Erik Dolliver – Amid the lively national conversations around campaign finance reform, what isn’t discussed nearly as much is the role that money is playing in state and local elections.

News From Home

Our efforts to add game-changing investigative reporting to our stellar menu of politics and policy reporting were recognized on the national stage Saturday with two Online Journalism Awards. The awards are for Explanatory Reporting, for our “Undrinkable” series and for Topical Reporting, for our “Hurting for Work” series.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    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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