Must Read Texas – October 30, 2013

VP Biden Visits National Domestic Violence Hotline in West Lake;
CPRIT Moratorium Ends; Cruz Mending Fences? Cruz on Leno 11/8
Good evening/early morning from Austin.
Here’s the abbreviated brief:


AP’s Will Weissert reports:

His voice thick with emotion, Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday again toured the National Domestic Violence Hotline he helped create, calling victims of such abuse “prisoners in plain sight.”

Housed in an unmarked building in suburban Austin, the hotline was founded in 1996, two years after Congress approved the federal Violence Against Women Act, which Biden sponsored while still a senator from Delaware.

“I came primarily to say thank you,” Biden told a packed room of staff members and media. “There’s nothing I’ve been involved with my entire career that makes me prouder, that I think is more sustaining, is more consequential than the work you all do.”

Biden previously visited the hotline as vice president in 2009 and as a senator three years earlier.

Hotline President Katie Ray-Jones said more than 100 staff members handle about 22,000 calls a month — but that capacity issues meant they still were unable to get to almost 52,000 calls in 2012 alone.

The vice president said women can be held captive by their abusers and that often “the only voice that a woman in distress hears is yours and the folks here in Austin, Texas.”

The center has seen traffic on its website increase 30 percent during the last 12 months, and it is now receiving about a third of its contacts via Internet. Biden’s visit coincides with the unveiling of a new online chat service, thanks to a $250,000 donation from Verizon.

The chat service will only be available Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Central time, to start, but the hotline hopes to raise additional funding to eventually offer it around the clock.

Ray-Jones said the hotline previously set up a chat service pilot program and saw the number of victims reporting sexual violence spike. It’s now bracing for that trend to continue after the rollout of the full chat service.

“The Internet and a chat function offers an additional layer of privacy that you don’t have over the phone,” she said. “There’s another layer of vulnerability when I’m on a phone call and you can hear that I’m crying.”

Ray-Jones also said that in some cases, women who are abused don’t have access to phones or can’t call because their abuser closely monitors phone records. Chatting via Internet can overcome some of those hurdles.

The hotline receives $3.2 million annually in federal funding. Biden said he and President Barack Obama would like $4.5 million for it, but that because of across-the-board government spending cuts known as the sequester, it could fall to $2.9 million.

Biden also toured the facility, personally greeting all of the workers fielding calls. Staffers gave only their first names, citing the hotline’s confidentiality rules — but one of the first people Biden hugged was Cassandra, who took the hotline’s 3 millionth call July 20.

Meanwhile, an employee named Cindy was still on a call when she saw Biden and began dancing on the balls of her feet with excitement. Upon finishing the call, she rushed forward when Biden smiled.

“I knew you’d remember!” she cried, enveloping him in a bear hug. “I’ve been here since 3:30 this morning waiting for you.”

Biden visited with actress Mariska Hargitay of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” fame, who he described as being such a passionate advocate for the cause that he didn’t know how she had time for a day job. Hargitay also chatted with those fielding calls, and grew teary-eyed when she told them: “I’m so honored to be here.”

“You can stay!” cried one of the center employees, drawing chuckles.

According to the Texas Democratic Party, the most-recent state statistics show that in 2011 there were 177,983 incidents of domestic violence, and that 102 women were killed as the result. Some 11,833 Texas adults and 14,578 Texas children ended up in shelters because of domestic violence that year — but 21 percent of adults seeking shelter were denied due to lack of space.

**Meanwhile, gubernatorial candidate and State Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) did not appear with Vice President Biden in Austin Wednesday.

Your other Must Reads:
> CPRIT moratorium ends.
> DMN’s Todd Gillman reports on U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) seeking to “mend fences” with his Senate colleagues.
> Sen. Cruz will appear on “The Tonight Show” on Nov. 8.

– The Chron reports (behind paywall) on members of the Texas Legislature debating the state’s reserve power needs.
– The Chron’s Patti Hart and David Saleh Rauf 
report (behind paywall) on the quiet enactment of the ban on abortion in Texas after 20 weeks.
– State Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview) 
criticizes Prop 6 in a Chron op ed.

2013 / 2014 / 2016:
– FWST reports (behind paywall) on gubernatorial candidate and Attorney General Greg Abbott’s (R-TX) visit to Fort Worth Wednesday, where he touted his “Working Texans” plan.

Other stories of interest:
– Former Secretary of Defense and former Texas A&M University president Robert Gates has beennamed the new volunteer president of the Boy Scouts.
reports (behind paywall) on Mayor Julian Castro’s official economic development trip to Japan.
– U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) pens a National Review Online 
op ed highlighting his belief that President Obama intends to pack the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.

Lighter clicks:
– No, The Alamo will not be controlled by the U.N.

Today’s Source of Inspiration:
– The new 26-year old principal of a Dallas high school (for the gifted).


AP: Biden visits Austin domestic violence hotline (10/30/13 11:54pm)

AP: Moratorium lifted on revamped Texas cancer agency (10/30/13 11:54pm)

AP: Perry casts ballot ‘as advertised’ under ID law (10/30/13 11:55pm)

DMN: Cornyn and Cruz send aides to DC healthcare exchange (10/30/13 11:54pm)

DMN: Sen. Ted Cruz seeks to mend fences with GOP colleagues (10/30/13 11:54pm)

FWST ($): Texas AG Abbott touts need to protect jobs and money (10/30/13 11:52pm)

FWST ($): Company donates $10,000 to PAC pushing FWISD bond (10/30/13 11:52pm)

CHRON ($): Debate intensifies on state’s power reserve needs (10/30/13 11:51pm)

CHRON ($): Cancer agency grant freeze lifted (10/30/13 11:51pm)

CHRON ($): Pasadena voters to face redistricting measure (10/30/13 11:51pm)

CHRON ($): Texas Court: OK to ‘talk dirty’ to minors (10/30/13 11:51pm)

CHRON ($): Ban on abortions after 20 weeks quietly goes into effect (10/30/13 11:51pm)

CHRON: Mega corps, special interests boost Straus water PAC (10/30/13 11:51pm)

CHRON: Complete campaign finance totals for 2013 Houston races (10/30/13 11:51pm)

CHRON: Advocacy polls show Poe, Farenthold districts’ voters want citizenship (10/30/13 11:51pm)

SAEN ($): Biden urges need for domestic violence hotline funding (10/30/13 11:50pm)

SAEN ($): OLLU official apologizes for taped remarks (10/30/13 11:50pm)

SAEN ($): Castro in Japan with S.A. delegation (10/30/13 11:50pm)

SAEN ($): Early voting might double ’09, ’11 totals (10/30/13 11:50pm)

SAEN: Officials bash rumors that Alamo, other missions will be run by U.N. (10/30/13 11:50pm)

AAS ($): Biden visits domestic violence hotline in West Lake Hills (10/30/13 11:55pm)

AAS ($): Perry pans impeachment proceedings, defends UT Regent Hall (10/30/13 11:50pm)

AAS ($): Abbott to sign affidavit to vote, thanks to Davis provision (10/30/13 11:50pm)

AAS ($): Texas appeals court strikes law banning adult online sex talk with minors (10/30/13 11:50pm)

AAS ($): State leaders lift moratorium on cancer grants (10/30/13 11:50pm)

VIDEO: U.S. Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) on Fox News’ “The Kelly File” (10/30/13 10:47pm)

POLITICO: Ted Cruz extends olive branch to GOP senators (10/30/13 10:29pm)

POLITICO: After Iowa, Ted Cruz heading to South Carolina (10/30/13 10:27pm)

DAILY BEAST: Ted Cruz Advocates Overruling 100-Year-Old Supreme Court Case (10/30/13 10:26pm)

NEWSDAY: Ted Cruz to visit ‘Tonight Show’ (10/30/13 10:16pm)

NEW YORKER: Ted Cruz: The Mask of Sincerity (10/30/13 9:59pm)

TT: Texas hospitals looking beyond ACA website glitches (10/30/13 9:50pm)

QUORUM REPORT ($): Ethics Commission hearings on Michael Quinn Sullivan push into day two (10/30/13 9:33pm)

TT: CPRIT Operations Moratorium Lifted Following Reforms (10/30/13 9:31pm)

KFXV FOX MCALLEN: Attorney General Greg Abott Visits The RGV (10/30/13 9:30pm)

SAEN: Not planning to be in Austin for Biden visit: Wendy Davis (10/30/13 9:26pm)

TT: Castro: No Split Among Democrats on Immigration Reform (10/30/13 5:11pm)

TT: Pauken Calls for More Vocational Education in Web Ad (10/30/13 5:10pm)

MSNBC: How Wendy Davis Can Win (10/30/13 10:21am)

KXAN AUSTIN: Biden in Austin to Visit Domestic Violence Hotline (10/30/13 10:19am)


DMN: Houston, we’ve got a deal on Prop 6 (10/30/13 11:54pm)

DMN: Abandoned schools, added blight (10/30/13 11:54pm)

FWST ($): Settlement best avenue for American, US Airways merger (10/30/13 11:52pm)

FWST ($): New Sundance Square Plaza is a great public place for a great city (10/30/13 11:52pm)

CHRON: Parks and redirection (10/30/13 11:50pm)

CHRON: Making gains in Houston’s schools (10/30/13 11:50pm)

CHRON: Protecting NASA (10/30/13 11:50pm)

CHRON: AstroTurf for sale (10/30/13 11:50pm)

CHRON: Houston’s Trick-or-treat test (10/30/13 11:50pm)

SAEN: Increase in foster deaths troubling (10/30/13 11:50pm)

SAEN: ACS moving in right direction (10/30/13 11:50pm)

AAS ($): Listen for whispered exceptions to shouted promises (10/30/13 11:54pm)

BLOGS (from the left)

MMfA: Here’s The Origin Of Sen. Cruz’s Claim That Stand Your Ground Benefits African-Americans (10/30/13 10:22pm)

TFN: Ted Cruz Wants to Teach about the History of Conservatism (10/30/13 10:09am)

BLOGS (from the right)

OFFICE OF SEN. CRUZ: Cruz Urges Supreme Court to Uphold U.S. Sovereignty in Bond v. U.S. (10/30/13 10:40pm)

Author: Must Read Texas

Matt Mackowiak (@MattMackowiak) & Jason Stanford @MustReadTexas