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Budget Board Restores Funding for Racing Commission

Also, Gov. Greg Abbott meets with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and David Dewhurst makes a campaign contribution to former rival Ted Cruz.

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The Legislative Budget Board on Thursday morning formally approved spending on the Texas Racing Commission, fully funding the agency with oversight of the state’s racetracks for the rest of the two-year budget cycle.

The decision to free up the dollars follows the Racing Commission’s vote last week to nix rules that allowed a new form of gambling, which would have allowed racetrack goers an opportunity to bet on historic races with identifying information removed.

The decision to allow “historical racing” rankled several state lawmakers who saw in the commission’s decision an attempt to create a backdoor expansion of gambling in the state.


Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday met Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to discuss efforts to work together on energy issues.

The meeting in Houston came five months after Texas and Mexico created an energy task force to promote their energy markets — now that Mexico has ended a 75-year policy of isolation by opening its energy sector to private investment.

“Today’s meeting affirmed Texas and Mexico’s continued commitment to addressing shared challenges on both sides of the border,” Abbott said in a statement. “I would like to thank President Peña Nieto for his dedication to working with Texas on cross-border energy infrastructure. Working together, I am confident we will continue to strengthen our economic and cultural bonds.”

While a tumble in oil prices has stalled investments in Mexican oil, the country is investing billions of dollars on other energy projects. Among those are several major pipelines that will send Texas gas into Mexico, which has faced shortages of the resource that have forced it to burn dirtier fuels. One of those pipelines, the Trans-Pecos, has riled folks in the Big Bend region.


HD-99 GOP challenger Bo French has called on a friend — country music star Pat Green — to cut a radio ad for him in the contentious primary race for the Tarrant County House seat.

“But there’s one thing we need less of in Texas, and that’s politicians who mislead voters just so that they can stay in office … I’ve seen the false and negative attacks on Bo French and it’s just plain wrong,” Green says in the ad.

French is challenging longtime incumbent Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, in a race that has been on the Election Hotlist from the very beginning this cycle. Geren has spent close to $500,000 on his re-election campaign from July through the end of January while French has spent a little less than $150,000 over the same timeframe.


Through Wednesday, a total of 667,919 votes have been cast early in the state’s 15 biggest counties by population. That number represents about 7.3 percent of the 9.2 million registered voters in those counties.

That total is close to double the 349,594 votes cast during the first nine days of early voting in 2012 but is still short of the 2008 turnout when 804,539 votes by this point.


Former Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who lost to Ted Cruz in a bitter battle for U.S. Senate in 2012, appears to be warming some to his past opponent.

Dewhurst gave $2,700 — the maximum amount — to Cruz's presidential campaign last month, according to federal records released over the weekend.

However, it looks like Dewhurst is not exclusively offering his support to Cruz: Two weeks earlier, he gave the same amount to the presidential campaign of Marco Rubio.


The Tyler Morning Telegraph last Friday had to retract its endorsement of HD-5 candidate Philip Hayes after not being able to find proof that he graduated from Southern Methodist University. The candidate had claimed that he had received an undergraduate and graduate degree from the university.

Hayes subsequently suspended his campaign. He was one of five candidates who filed to represent the East Texas district left vacant after the decision by the incumbent, Mineola Republican Bryan Hughes, to run for a spot in the Texas Senate.

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