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The Brief: Sept. 30, 2015

The presidential hopeful plans to announce that he will be endorsed by more than a third of all the GOP members of the Texas Legislature.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, a 2016 presidential candidate, speaking at the RedState Gathering in Atlanta on Aug. 8, 2015.

The Big Conversation

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is expected to announce today that he's going to have the help of 41 Texas legislators in his run for the White House.

The Tribune's Patrick Svitek writes:

Cruz's presidential campaign plans to announce Wednesday that he has won the support of 36 state representatives and five state senators. The slate amounts to more than a third of all Republican members of the Texas Legislature. 

Several GOP state lawmakers have already announced their endorsements of Cruz. They include state Sens. Brian Birdwell of Granbury, Konni Burton of Colleyville, Brandon Creighton of Conroe and Bob Hall of Edgewood. In the Texas House, Cruz already has the public backing of at least three members: Reps. Bryan Hughes of Mineola, Matt Rinaldi of Irving and Tony Tinderholt of Arlington. 

These endorsements come in addition to the six members of the Texas congressional delegation who have already come out in favor of Cruz. Svitek reports that those members are: Randy Weber of Friendswood, Louie Gohmert of Tyler, Michael Burgess of Fort Worth, John Culberson of Houston, John Ratcliffe of Heath and Brian Babin of Woodville. 

Trib Must Reads

High-Income Texans Find Homes in Public Housing, by Alexa Ura – Texas has the second-highest number of families living in public housing with incomes as much as $250,000 above the income limits to get in, according to data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  

Securities Board Questions Intent of Abbott's Veto, by Aman Batheja – The State Securities Board is questioning whether Gov. Greg Abbott really intended to veto $1.2 million for employee raises from its budget, part of more than $200 million in funds that remain in legal limbo.

In Dallas, A Push to Give Some Workers a Break, by Neena Satija and Jim Malewitz – Safety advocates staged a “thirst strike” on the steps of Dallas City Hall Tuesday, calling on city leaders to guarantee periodic rest breaks for construction workers who toil for hours in the city’s sweltering summers.

Ken Paxton Repeats Call for Christians in Politics, by Morgan Smith — Urging Christians to “be bold” in standing up for religious freedom, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton touted his work as the state’s top lawyer on Tuesday, championing causes dear to social conservatives at a Baptist church.

U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions Makes His Leadership Move, by Abby Livingston – If U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions is to succeed in his bid to serve as the third-ranking Republican in Congress, the 10-term Dallas congressman will need the support of his fellow Texans.

UT-Austin Automatic Admissions Standard for 2017: Top 7 Percent, by Matthew Watkins – Texas students who apply to UT-Austin for the fall 2017 semester will need to be in the top 7 percent of their high school class to gain automatic admission, which is tougher than the 2016 threshold. 

Anti-Abortion Groups Split Over Cruz's Planned Parenthood Strategy, by Patrick Svitek – The no-holds-barred push by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz to defund Planned Parenthood is exposing a rift between the two leading anti-abortion groups in his home state.  

Texas Gets No Child Left Behind Waiver, With a Caveat, by Morgan Smith – After two years of negotiations, the U.S. Department of Education has granted conditional approval of the state's No Child Left Behind waiver. But it remains unclear whether the ongoing standoff between the state and the federal government over educator evaluations has come to an end.

Ray Hunt Launches Effort to Take Over Oncor, by Jim Malewitz – A group of investors led by a Dallas oilman and real estate mogul has launched a bid to take control of Oncor, the state’s largest electric transmission company, putting forth an unprecedented plan. 

In Iowa, Cruz Campaign Ramps Up — Carefully, by Patrick Svitek – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has been ramping up his presidential campaign in early voting Iowa but signaling that he is doing it more cautiously than other candidates who have seen their fortunes rise and fall in the 2016 race.

In Punishing SMU, NCAA Cites Academic Fraud, by Matthew Watkins – In an announcement Tuesday, the NCAA said a former administrative assistant for the basketball team took an online course for a recruit to help him become eligible to play at the school.

Embattled El Paso Abortion Clinic to Reopen, by Alexa Ura – After shuttering last year in light of the state’s heightened abortion regulations, an embattled El Paso abortion provider is set to reopen on Tuesday. How long it will last depends on the U.S. Supreme Court. 

The Day Ahead

•  The state’s eFileTexas initiative is finished and launched ahead of schedule, and Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht will explain how at a 10 a.m. press conference at the Supreme Court of Texas Building in Austin. The system mandates a uniform electronic filing system for Texas civil cases in county and district courts.

•  Two Texan women are standing behind Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt and former state Sen. Wendy Davis will announce at 5:30 p.m. their endorsements of Clinton at an Austin coffee and wine bar, Opa. 

•  The Campus Carry Policy Working Group at UT-Austin is hosting a public forum from 7-9 p.m. to discuss the law’s implementation on the 40 Acres. Today’s forum and one on Oct. 5 will be held on campus at the San Jacinto Residence Hall. 


How McConnell outfoxed Ted Cruz, Politico

Jeb Bush Calls for Ending Ban on Crude Oil Exports, The New York Times

EPA issues landmark rules to curb emissions from refineries, Houston Chronicle

Dewhurst settles suit with Houston oilman over stolen campaign funds, Houston Chronicle

Paxton declines comment on how he's funding legal team, Houston Chronicle

Rep. Pete Sessions to run for majority whip, third-ranking House leadership spot, The Dallas Morning-News

Outspoken legislator Stickland draws challenge from pastor, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

For one Dallas sanitation worker, a living wage would mean ... decent gloves, The Dallas Morning News

El Paso abortion clinic reopens amid Texas court battles, Austin American-Statesman

State, beer bars wrangle over 'crowlers', Houston Chronicle

Quote to Note

"I will tell you that, in terms of leadership, he's getting an 'A' and our president is not doing so well. They did not look good together."

Donald Trump discussing his thoughts on President Obama's leadership compared to Russian President Vladimir Putin's. Obama met with Putin Monday where they discussed their opposing views on Syrian relations. 

Today in TribTalk

I'm keeping my word to Texans, by George P. Bush – It’s easy to say you’re conservative. Anyone can do that. It’s another thing to actually govern conservatively.

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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