TT: Van de Putte Lt. Gov. Announcement Expected Nov. 23;
Biden to Visit Port of Houston Monday;
Latest Development in TEC vs. MQS: No Deal;
Ted Cruz is the “7th Most Talked About Proper Noun” Globally Online;
<3,000 Texans Have Enrolled in Obamacare;
NYT on Fisher v. Texas; Bush 43 on Leno Next Tuesday
Good morning from Austin.
Here’s the brief:
TT: VAN DE PUTTE EXPECTED TO ANNOUNCE LT. GOV. BID NOV. 23
TT’s Brandi Grissom and Julian Aguilar report:
Sources close to state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, say she is poised to make an announcement on her political future on Friday. But the likely Democratic contender for lieutenant governor is expected to do what gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis did: reveal a future date for a formal announcement.
“I can’t think of somebody who would be a better lieutenant governor for Texas,” Democratic consultant Glenn Smith said. “With her legislative experience, the deep care she has for Texas and its future, her work ethic, her honesty, I mean she’d be darn near perfect.”
If Van de Putte throws her name in, she’d be the only Democrat seeking the post currently held by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who is facing a Republican primary challenge from state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples.
Van de Putte’s formal campaign kickoff is expected to be Nov. 23. In a September interview with The Texas Tribune, Van de Putte said that if she jumps in, “it’s not just because I want to help out the team.”
“If I put my name on the ballot,” she added, “I would only do that if I was convinced that there is a way to win. It’s just not in my nature to do something just to place or show.”
State Sen. José Rodriguez, D-El Paso, previously said he had been approached about seeking the position. While he believed he was qualified for it, he said he decided to stay in the Senate.
BIDEN TO VISIT PORT OF HOUSTON MONDAY
Chron’s Stewart Powell reports:
Vice President Joe Biden travels to Houston on Monday to highlight the way that federal spending has helped the Port of Houston prepare to take advantage of the additional trade and commerce that will flow from widening the Panama Canal.
Federal spending including repeated dredging of the Houston Ship Channel has enabled the port to become one of the busiest in the nation.
Biden then plans to travel from Houston to Panama to tour the Panama Canal expansion project that will “double the capacity of the canal and allow significantly larger ships to call on U.S. ports, helping spark job creation and prosperity at home and across the Americas,” the White House said in the announcement.
Biden has visited other port facilities in the past to showcase the benefits of federal spending on port infrastructure, including the Ports of Baltimore, Savannah, and Charleston, and an intermodal freight facility in North Baltimore, Ohio.
TEC VS. MQS: NO DEAL
TT’s John Reynolds reports:
Michael Quinn Sullivan, a conservative gadfly and president of Empower Texans, succinctly and emphatically rejected a proposed settlement from the Texas Ethics Commission that was intended to resolve allegations that he failed to file as a registered lobbyist in 2010 and 2011.
In a letter sent Wednesday from his lawyer, Sullivan returned a copy of the proposed deal with the word “NUTS” in red across the last page in place of his signature.
Sullivan explained in a press release that he was alluding to the response that the 101st Airborne Division gave to the Germans’ demand for surrender at the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.
“We’re taking the same approach,” said Sullivan. “And just like the Allies won the Battle of the Bulge, so too will conservatives triumph over the speech-regulators at the Texas Ethics Commission.”
The commission met behind closed doors on Oct. 29 and Nov. 4 to consider a complaint filed by state Rep. Jim Keffer, R-Eastland, and former state Rep. Vicki Truitt that alleged Sullivan was an unregistered lobbyist. Under the proposed settlement offer, which was dated Nov. 5, the commission would have imposed a $1,000 civil penalty and required Sullivan to file as a lobbyist for the 2010 and 2011 calendar years.
That was a nonstarter, former state Rep. Joe Nixon, Sullivan’s attorney, said in the press release from Sullivan and Texans for Fiscal Responsibility (Sullivan is also president of that organization).
“Why would I advise my client to pay even the requested small fine when the Commission has not and can not state the specific activity which it claims constitutes lobbying activity for which he legally needs to register?” Nixon said. “The offer to pay two $500 fines for general communication is indicative of the lack of evidence of a lawful need to register to lobby.”
In its proposed resolution, the Ethics Commission wrote that rejection of the settlement means that a formal hearing on the allegations will be scheduled at some point in the future.
An Ethics Commission spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
** Here’s what Sullivan’s Empower Texans posted to their blog Wednesday.
Your absolute must click stories:
> Per DMN, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is the “7th most talked about proper noun” globally on the internet.
> Fewer than 3,000 Texans have enrolled in Obamacare.
> NYT’s Manny Fernandez reports on the 5th Circuit hearing arguments in the Fisher v. Texas case. UT President Bill Powers released a statement on the subject Wednesday.
> Former President George W. Bush will appear on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Tuesday.
– Former TCEQ chairman Kathleen Hartnett White authored a DMN op ed on EPA regulations of carbon.
2013 / 2014 / 2016:
– Debra Medina has filed for Texas Comptroller.
Other stories of interest:
– FWST’s Caty Hirst reports (behind paywall) that Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price is recovering from eye surgery.
– Famed Austin music venue Antone’s has been sold to a new investor’s group, will return to downtown Austin.
– AT&T activates LTE in ten new markets, including four in Texas (Kerrville, Mount Pleasant, Eagle Pass & Uvalde).
– Set your DVRs now.
– Texas A&M now more popular in Texas than UT?
– The Kyle Field renovation is underway and they are moving quickly.
– Baylor’ Art Briles gets a ten year extension.
– The Los Angeles Lakers nearly seven year sellout streak comes to an end.
– Barking Carnival with some thoughts on the 2013-2014 UT men’s basketball team.
Your Daily Source of Inspiration:
– A fitting tribute to a departed solider.
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