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The Brief: Planned Parenthood Videos Yield Indictments

An investigation in Harris County into allegations that Planned Parenthood was illegally selling fetal tissue yielded indictments on Monday against the makers of undercover recordings of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Houston.

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An investigation in Harris County into allegations that Planned Parenthood was illegally selling fetal tissue yielded indictments on Monday against the makers of undercover recordings of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Houston.

Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast in Houston, meanwhile, was cleared of breaking any laws, reported the Tribune’s Alexa Ura.

A series of undercover videos made of Planned Parenthood officials nationwide discussing how they obtain fetal tissue for research became a focal point of anti-abortion activists last year and spurred the Republican leadership in this state to initiate investigations into Planned Parenthood.

“Among the undercover videos were recordings of staff at Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, where two abortion foes in April misrepresented themselves as research executives and provided fake California drivers’ licenses,” Ura wrote. “The videographers visited the facility last April ‘under the guise of discussing tissue research with our clinic research staff,’ according to Planned Parenthood.”

Planned Parenthood clinics in Texas do not currently donate tissue for medical research, Ura wrote.

The state’s Republican leaders said late Monday afternoon that the grand jury action would not end the state’s own investigation into Planned Parenthood.

“Nothing about today’s announcement in Harris County impacts the state’s ongoing investigation," Gov. Greg Abbott said in statement. "The State of Texas will continue to protect life, and I will continue to support legislation prohibiting the sale or transfer of fetal tissue.”

Disclosure: Planned Parenthood was a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune in 2011. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

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The Day Ahead

•    Voters in the Bexar County-based House District 118 decide between Republican John Lujan and Democrat Tomas Uresti. The men are competing in a special runoff election to determine who will serve out the remainder of the term originally won by Joe Farias, who resigned his seat in August.

•    The Senate State Affairs Committee meets at 9 a.m. in the Senate Chamber to discuss the implementation of open and campus carry. The committee will also look at the current laws that regulate the places where handguns can be carried.

•    The House Culture, Recreation & Tourism Committee meets at 10 a.m. in the Capitol extension to hear invited testimony about the repair of state parks from damage caused by flooding and wildfires.

•    The Senate Business and Commerce Committee meets at 10 a.m. in the Capitol extension to discuss how to protect older Texans from financial exploitation and the collection of late property taxes.

•    The Senate Finance Committee meets at 1 p.m. in the Capitol extension to hear the Comptroller of Public Accounts and the Legislative Budget Board discuss the impact of oil prices and production on the state’s revenue and budget. The committee will also identify ways Texas can maximize the use of state funding for mental health.


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Quote to Note

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Today in TribTalk

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News From Home

•    If you've received a campaign mailer, let us know about it. You can loop us in by sending an electronic version to this email address. Help us collect campaign communications ahead of the vital March 1 primary elections.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Conversation on Health Care: Bending the Cost Curve on Jan. 28 at the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth

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•    A Conversation with Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer on Feb. 4 at the Austin Club

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•    The Ticket: A Live Recording and Democratic Primary Debate Watch Party on Feb. 11 at KUT Public Media Studios in Austin

•    A Conversation with Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. and Rep. Jose Manuel Lozano on Feb. 25 at Texas A&M University-Kingsville

•    A Conversation with Sen. Carlos Uresti and Rep. Poncho Nevárez on March 23 at Sul Ross State University in Alpine

•    Symposium on Transportation on March 29 at Texas A&M University in College Station

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