Must Read Texas – October 31, 2013

5th Circuit Appeals Court Reinstates TX Abortion Law;
Abbott Says he Feels ‘Vindicated’;
Nolan Ryan Considering Ag Commissioner Run?;
Opiela Says he has Raised $1M
Good evening/early morning from Austin.
We hope you had a lot of candy last night, which likely required stealing from your kids.

Here’s the brief:


AP’s Chris Tomlinson reports:

A third of the abortion clinics in Texas can no longer perform the procedure starting Friday after a federal appeals court allowed most of the state’s new abortion restrictions to take effect.

A panel of judges at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled Thursday evening that Texas can enforce its law requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital while a lawsuit challenging the restrictions moves forward. The panel issued the ruling three days after District Judge Lee Yeakel determined that the provision violated the U.S. Constitution and said it serves no medical purpose.

The panel’s ruling is not final, and a different panel of judges will likely hear the case in January. But in the meantime, Texas clinics will have to follow the order. Twelve of the 32 clinics in Texas that perform abortions don’t have doctors who have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, meaning they won’t be able to perform the procedure, though they can provide other services.

In its 20-page ruling, the appeals court panel acknowledged that the new provision “may increase the cost of accessing an abortion provider and decrease the number of physicians available to perform abortions.” However, the panel said that the U.S. Supreme Court has held that having “the incidental effect of making it more difficult or more expensive to procure an abortion cannot be enough to invalidate” a law that serves a valid purpose, “one not designed to strike at the right itself.”

Although several conservative states in recent months have approved broad abortion limits, the Texas ones were particularly divisive because of the number of clinics affected and the distance some women would have to travel to get an abortion.

After Yeakel ruled Monday, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott had made an emergency appeal to the 5th Circuit, arguing that the requirement that doctors have admitting privileges is a constitutional use of the Legislature’s authority.

“This unanimous decision is a vindication of the careful deliberation by the Texas Legislature to craft a law to protect the health and safety of Texas women,” Abbott, a Republican who is running for governor, said in a written statement after Thursday’s decision.

Planned Parenthood said the ruling means “abortion will no longer be available in vast stretches of Texas.” Lawyers for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers had argued that the regulations do not protect women.

“This fight is far from over,” Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards said in a statement. “This restriction clearly violates Texas women’s constitutional rights by drastically reducing access to safe and legal abortion statewide.”

The appeals court left in place a portion of Yeakel’s order that prevents the state from enforcing the 18-year-old U.S. Food and Drug Administration protocol for abortion-inducing drugs in cases where the woman is between 50 and 63 days into her pregnancy. Doctors testifying before the court had said such women would be harmed if the protocol were enforced.

The law that the Legislature passed this summer also bans abortions at 20 weeks of pregnancy and beginning in October 2014 requires doctors to perform all abortions in surgical facilities.

The restrictions are among the toughest in the nation and gained notoriety when Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis launched a nearly 13-hour filibuster against them in June. Davis has since launched her own gubernatorial campaign and could face Abbott in the November 2014 election.

Officials for one chain of abortion clinics testified during the trial that Yeakel oversaw that they’ve tried to obtain admitting privileges for their doctors at 32 hospitals, but so far only 15 accepted applications and none have announced a decision. Many hospitals with religious affiliations will not allow abortion doctors to work there, while others fear protests if they provide privileges. Many have requirements that doctors live within a certain radius of the facility, or perform a minimum number of surgeries a year that must be done in a hospital.

Federal judges in Wisconsin, Kansas, Mississippi and Alabama all have found problems with state laws prohibiting doctors from conducting abortions if they don’t have hospital admitting privileges.

Mississippi is also in the 5th Circuit, and the appeals court in that case had left in place a temporary injunction preventing the law from being enforced. But unlike in the Mississippi case, Yeakel’s order was a final decision, setting the groundwork for the 5th Circuit to review the merits of the law.


AP reports:

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says he sees ‘vindication’ in an appeals court ruling reinstating most of the state’s new abortion restrictions.

That’s after a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday evening that the restrictions may be reinstated, at least temporarily. The ruling comes in the state’s appeal of a lower-court ruling that had struck down most of the restrictions recently approved by the Legislature.

The panel says the law requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital can take effect while a lawsuit moves forward. The restrictions could take effect Friday.

In Abbott’s words, “This unanimous decision is a vindication of the careful deliberation by the Texas Legislature to craft a law to protect the health and safety of Texas women.”


AP reports:

Planned Parenthood says the fight against the tough new Texas abortion restrictions will continue.

The pledge by Planned Parenthood comes after an appeals court ruling late Thursday reinstating most of the restrictions that a lower court had vacated. The ruling by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appealsmeans as many as 12 clinics won’t be able to perform the procedure starting as soon as Friday.

The panel says the law requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital can take effect while a lawsuit moves forward. The restrictions could take effect Friday.

Cecil Richards is president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, which is challenging the restrictions. She says “This fight is far from over.”


Locke Lord’s Robert Miller broke the news Thursday that Texas Rangers great Nolan Ryan is “considering” running for Texas Agriculture Commissioner.

The current Republican field for Agriculture Commissioner includes former Republican Party of Texas executive director Eric Opiela, Uvalde Mayor J. Allen Carnes, former State Rep. Sid Miller (R-Stephenville) and former State Rep. Tommy Merritt (R-Longview).  Democrat Kinky Friedman is also running.

FWST columnist Bud Kennedy’s column (behind paywall) is on the Ryan speculation.

Perhaps most interesting was the quote he got from Texas Farm Bureau spokesman Gene Hall: “I think he would be wonderful.  He would have a platform to go around the world talking about Texas beef.  Whatever he says, people are interested.”

Only a couple hours before Miller’s blog post, Opiela sent out a blast email claiming he was only $2,000 from meeting his $1 million fundraising goal by November 1.

My view: Nolan Ryan would be a candidate like George P. Bush, who generates enormous earned media and has major fundraising potential.  Chatter about his interest in running for office, following his recent retirement as an executive with the Texas Rangers, has been making the rounds for a few weeks.  Whether Ryan wants to live (full time) in Austin and subject himself to the rigors (and intrusion) of a statewide political campaign remains an open question.  Filing for office starts in eight days.  In the meantime, Opiela is trying to show fundraising strength but the question is how much of the $1 million he says he raised is from his own money?  All dollars are equal, but outside money raised leads to greater future fundraising and demonstrates broad and deep support.  Wealthy candidates sometimes put a bunch of their own money in, to scare off other candidates, with the intention of never fully spending their investment.  The fundraising reports are not public until Jan. 15.  All eyes, for now, turn to Nolan Ryan.  It has been no secret that the agriculture industry has been working to recruit a candidate for whom they could be motivated to support.  Perhaps they have found that candidate in Nolan Ryan.  If I had to guess, I’d say there’s a 65% chance he runs for Agriculture Commissioner.

The current field

– Finally, some good news involving TxDOT.
– State Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) and State Rep. Jim Keffer (R-Eastand) wrote a joint FWST
op ed (behind paywall) on the need for continued oversight of CPRIT.
– Former State Sen. Tommy Williams (R-The Woodlands) has been 
officially hired by Texas A&M University.
– State Sen. Rodney Ellis penned an SAEN 
op ed (behind paywall) on the need for continued criminal justice reforms in Texas.
– The Chron editorial board 
uses a history lesson as a cautionary tale for Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) regarding his efforts to reform (or micromanage) the University of Texas.

2013 / 2014 / 2016:
– The USA Today editorial board weighs in on Gov. Perry’s national blue state jobs tour.
– ABC News reports that U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) will avoid involving himself in any U.S. Senate races where a Republican incumbent is running.
– Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) believes that Sen. Cruz, if he wins the Republican nomination in 2016, would bring the “end of the GOP.”
– TT reports on gubernatorial candidate and State Sen. Wendy Davis’ (D-Fort Worth) visit to El Paso and her statement that she will work with locals on border security.
– DMN’s Gromer Jeffers, Jr. reports on the Tea Party primary that U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) has drawn against local activist Katrina Pierson.
– Chron’s Jayme Fraser reports (behind paywall) on an audit of the city’s handling of water meter over-charging.  Mayoral challenger Ben Hall attacked incumbent Mayor Annise Parker on the issueThursday.

Other stories of interest:
– The father of Sen. Cruz, Pastor Rafael Cruz, is facing some criticism for recent remarks that he made about President Obama
– U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) has been tapped by the House Armed Services Committee to lead an effort to reduce the costs of Pentagon weapons purchasing.
– In a Chron op ed, U.S. Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) 
details the positive economic impact of the widening and deepening of the Sabine-Neches Waterway, which appears close to congressional passage.
– Chron’s Stewart Powell, in a 
column (behind paywall), tracks the efforts of several Texans to increase NASA funding.
– DMN 
reports that Energy Future Holdings’ bankruptcy has been delayed.

Lighter clicks:
– Inside Andy Roddick’s $12.5 million Austin home.
– A compelling essay by a guy who made it to the Big Leagues and almost immediately retired — voluntarily. (Reminds you of Field of Dreams)
– A review of where Red Sox slugger David Ortiz ranks among the greatest World Series hitters in MLB history.
– A video of the top 10 plays in the NBA career of the recently-retired Allen Iverson.
– Meet the guy who set a record by driving across the county in 28 hours, 50 minutes.

Today’s Source of Inspiration:
– Reverence for America — at a young age. (Would your kids do this?)


AP: Ruling halts abortions at third of Texas’ clinics (10/31/13 11:56pm)

AP: Group’s fight against abortion rule to continue (10/31/13 11:56pm)

AP: AG sees ‘vindication’ in abortion rule order (10/31/13 11:56pm)

AP: Major drug tunnel found on US-Mexico border (10/31/13 11:56pm)

TT: 5th Circuit reverses ruling on TX abortion regulations (10/31/13 11:55pm)

POLITICO: Ted Cruz’s dad: Send Obama back to Kenya (10/31/13 11:56pm)

DMN: Dallas Rep. Pete Sessions draws tea party rival despite conservative tilt (10/31/13 11:55pm)

DMN: Court lets mot new Texas abortion limits take effect immediately (10/31/13 11:55pm)

DMN: Energy Future Holdings bankruptcy delayed as creditor talks break down (10/31/13 11:55pm)

DMN: Ted Cruz: If true believers be for us, who can be against us? (10/31/13 11:55pm)

DMN: Rafael Cruz, senator’s dad: send Obama “back to Kenya” (10/31/13 11:55pm)

FWST ($): Fort Worth mayor still feeling effects of last year’s bicycle crash (10/31/13 11:55pm)

FWST ($): Early voting in constitutional election nearly double (10/31/13 11:55pm)

CHRON ($): State seeks partner for 288 toll lanes (10/31/13 2:39pm)

CHRON ($): Local pantries hoping to fill gaps from food stamp cuts (10/31/13 11:55pm)

CHRON ($): Experts say Hall’s new ad is ill-timed (10/31/13 11:55pm)

CHRON ($): Astrodome’s fate subject of great debate (10/31/13 11:55pm)

CHRON: Hall seizes on audits, calls Parker “oblivious” (10/31/13 11:55pm)

CHRON ($): Audit questions efficiency of water meter repair program (10/31/13 11:55pm)

CHRON: Mac Thornberry tapped to improve Pentagon spending efforts (10/31/13 11:55pm)

CHRON: Appeals court allows abortion restrictions to begin (10/31/13 11:55pm)

SAEN ($): Ex-cartel horses could fetch big bucks (10/31/13 11:54pm)

SAEN: Texas abortion law can take effect, court rules (10/31/13 11:54pm)

AAS ($): Appeals court lifts ban on Texas abortion law (10/31/13 11:53pm)

AAS ($): Williamson County commissioner questions pricier contracts (10/31/13 11:53pm)

AAS ($): Texas Memorial Museum braces for 75 percent budget cut (10/31/13 11:53pm)

SAN ANGELO STANDARD-TIMES ($): Experts: Cruz acting more like presidential hopeful than freshman senator (10/31/13 11:53pm)

KXAN NBC AUSTIN: New pavement saves TxDOT millions (10/31/13 11:52pm)

ABC NEWS: Ted Cruz Signals He Will Steer Clear of Republican Primary Fights (10/31/13 11:52pm)

BLOOMBERG NEWS: Texas’ Davis Gets Judge’s Help in Abbott Abortion Fight (10/31/13 11:52pm)

NYT: Troubled Texas Utility Said to Lean Toward Debt Payment (10/31/13 11:52pm)

MSNBC: Ted Cruz heads to image rehab (10/31/13 11:52pm)

TT: Davis Says She’ll Discuss Border Security with Locals (10/31/13 11:52pm)

WACO TRIB: Proposal to drop “homosexual acts” from Baylor policy vetoed by student body president (10/31/13 11:52pm)

POLITICO: Harry Reid: Ted Cruz ‘16 would be end of GOP (10/31/13 11:51pm)

VIDEO: U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) on Fox News’ “On the Record” (10/31/13 11:51pm)

TT: Tommy Williams Hired by Texas A&M University System (10/31/13 11:51pm)

TT / KUT: Legal Battle Likely to Keep Abortion in Spotlight Through 2014 (10/31/13 4:31pm)

TT: Prop 6: Where Statewide Candidates Stand on Water Funds (10/31/13 4:28pm)

TT: Proposed Rules Could Increase Use of Pepper Spray on Youths (10/31/13 4:27pm)

NEWSWEEK: Wendy Davis’ Secret Weapon to Win Texas (10/31/13 1:38pm)


DMN: Obamacare’s disastrous rollout (10/31/13 11:55pm)

DMN: No small ball immigration reform (10/31/13 11:55pm)

FWST ($): The time is ripe for Congress to pass immigration reform (10/31/13 11:55pm)

CHRON: A UT history lesson (10/31/13 11:55pm)

CHRON: No on Pasadena’s redistricting plan *19/31/13 11:55pm)

SAEN: Vote early for Texas amendments (10/31/13 11:54pm)

SAEN: Production-sharing model would benefit Mexico’s oil and gas industry (10/31/13 11:54pm)

AAS ($): Big and small donors make Central Texas better (10/31/13 11:54pm)

AAS ($): Nature’s wrath once again tests Central Texans (10/31/13 11:53pm)

USA TODAY: Rick Perry’s tour markets more than Texas (10/31/13 11:52pm)


MONTGOMERY: Valuable lessons from Fort Worth for Parkland CEO search (10/31/13 11:55pm)

MAYOR RAWLINGS: Behind-the-scenes decision-making leading up to JFK 50th (10/31/13 11:55pm)

NORMAN ($): Beware the scare tactics in Fort Worth School Bond election (10/31/13 11:56pm)

PANZERA ($): Why must I have a ‘smart meter’ anyways? (10/31/13 11:55pm)

STATE SEN. NELSON & STATE REP. KEFFER ($): Texas cancer agency oversight must be thorough, strict (10/31/13 11:55pm)

KENNEDY ($): Nolan Ryan’s next pitch might be in politics (10/31/13 11:55pm)

U.S. REP. POE: Widening of waterway will benefit economy (10/31/13 11:55pm)

WALLE: Single-member districts can help encourage diversity (10/31/13 11:55pm)

FALKENBERG ($): Despite rain, vote for Prop 6 (10/31/13 11:55pm)

G. GARCIA ($): Mystery aide not in emails, never filed for travel (10/31/13 11:54pm)

STATE SEN. ELLIS ($): Texas still has a ways to go for fair justice (10/31/13 11:54pm)

POWELL ($): Texans leading the charge to scale back NASA (10/31/13 11:54pm)

PACHECANO ($): Let’s reclaim streets from cars and for people (10/31/13 11:54pm)

G. CORTEZ: Roll back city price increase to swim (10/31/13 11:54pm)

PONZIO ($): The U.S. facing its Mexican karma (10/31/13 11:54pm)

HERMAN ($): Judgment on constitutionality, not on abortion (10/31/13 11:53pm)

TOBIN: Ted and Rand’s Father Problem (10/31/13 11:53pm)

SHAW: Senator Cruz, You Are No Jack Kennedy (10/31/13 11:52pm)

LEWIS: Did Ted Cruz and Mike Lee learn a lesson from the shutdown? (10/31/13 11:52pm)

BLOGS (from the left)

THINK PROGRESS: A New Water Proposal So Important That Even Rick Perry Supports It (10/31/13 11:52pm)

BOR: State Senator Leticia Van de Putte Also Forced to Sign Affidavit To Vote Under Photo Voter ID Law (10/31/13 11:52pm)

ALAN COLMES: David Denby’s Priceless Description Of Ted Cruz (10/31/13 11:52pm)

BLOGS (from the right)

OFFICE OF GOV. PERRY: Statement on Appeals Court Lifting HB 2 Injunction (10/31/13 11:56pm)

PAUKEN CAMPAIGN: Pauken campaign releases campaign video on Vocational Education (10/31/13 11:56pm)

NEWSBUSTERS: Chris Matthews Compares Ted Cruz to Cinematic Child Murderer ‘Freddy Krueger’ (10/31/13 11:52pm)

BREITBART: Bill Maher predicts Ted Cruz will beat Chris Christie for GOP pres. nomination (10/31/13 11:52pm)

BREITBART: House Homeland Security chair: Boehner must promise ‘no conference’ on Senate amnesty bill (10/31/13 11:51pm)

ROBERT MILLER: Nolan Ryan Considering Run for Texas Agriculture Commissioner (10/31/13 5:12pm)

Author: Must Read Texas

Matt Mackowiak (@MattMackowiak) & Jason Stanford @MustReadTexas