New in The Texas Tribune:
• Perry, Dewhurst Back Drug Testing for Welfare Applicants: "Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst on Tuesday expressed support for a bill that would require welfare applicants to take drug tests. Critics of the bill say it needlessly targets poor people."
• Interactive: Bill Tracker for the 83rd Session: Bill filing for the 83rd legislative session kicked off on Monday, and lawmakers filed more than 250 bills on the first day alone. The Tribune has retooled last session's bill tracker and put it to work, pulling in all the legislation that's been filed so far for 2013.
• UT System May Construct $100 Million Austin Office: "The University of Texas System Board of Regents will meet this week and consider, among many things, whether to approve the construction of a system office building in downtown Austin that is projected to cost $102,417,000."
• White House says it will offer a response to Texas secession petition, but not when or what it will say (The Dallas Morning News): "Speaking on background this morning, a White House official says that 'every petition that crosses the threshold receives a response.' But the person with whom we spoke this morning can’t say when that’ll be; the phrase 'up in the air' was used more than once. Says the official, 'We get to all of them, but it depends on how many other petitions are out there.'"
• Austin progressives petition White House to secede from Texas (The Daily Caller): "The dueling White House petitions may have just jumped the shark. 'Caleb M' from Austin, Texas — the White House doesn’t divulge last names — has launched a petition with the Obama administration to sever ties between Texas and its liberal-leaning capital city if the state were permitted to secede from the United States."
• What Polls Say About the Probability of Texas Turning Purple (TM Daily Post): "One thing that is clear from this year’s elections is that Republicans don’t need to win the Hispanic vote to win an election, even in a majority-minority state like Texas. They just need to stop losing it so aggressively."
• Exit polls skip Texas, missing key demographic data (The Washington Examiner): "Certainly, there are many states where this money-saving omission makes sense. But by omitting Texas, even while polling in politically settled states like Illinois, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, the exit pollsters pre-emptively missed the biggest story of the election — the continued shift of Hispanic voters back toward Democrats since the George W. Bush era."
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