The Evening Brief: Texas Headlines for Dec. 4, 2012

New in The Texas Tribune:

•   George W. Bush: Address Immigration Reform With "Benevolent Spirit": "At a conference in Dallas, former President George W. Bush urged the nation’s leaders to debate immigration reform with compassion and kindness."

•   For Speaker, a Different Kind of Challenge: "House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, has at least one opponent in his bid for a third term in that job, but the circumstances that undid his predecessors in the post don't exist now."

•   New Caucus Seeks to Work for Younger Texans: "Rep. Eric Johnson, D-Dallas, is leading an effort to create the Texas Young Legislators Caucus, a bipartisan group that plans to focus on issues that affect Texans under 40 and hopes to engage young people in the legislative process. 'We want to make sure the younger demographic in the state is not left behind,' said a Republican who is helping Johnson form the group."

Culled:

•   Tea Party group chief quits, cites internal split (The Associated Press): "Eased out with an $8 million payout provided by an influential Republican fundraiser, former GOP House Majority Leader Dick Armey says he has left the conservative tea party group FreedomWorks because of an internal split over the group's future direction."

•   Texas Nationalist Movement Claims Membership Has Skyrocketed 400 Percent (U.S. News & World Report): "The Texas Nationalist Movement has fought for independence for Texas for a decade. Over the last few months, movement president Daniel Miller says he has seen interest peak like never before—and that it goes beyond the popular petition for Texas secession on the White House's 'We the People' website."

•   Texas will not secede, will remain "a beacon for all the people that want to live free," says Gov. Perry (Houston Chronicle): "Governor Rick Perry is spending a few days in New York this week. It seems that the trip to the Empire State is all business as the governor co-hosted CNBC’s Squawk Box this morning, touting Texas' 'strong economy, competitive jobs market and record population growth' throughout the entire show."

•   State Rep. Eric Johnson meets with President Obama about fiscal cliff (The Dallas Morning News): "State Rep. Eric Johnson Tuesday met with President Barack Obama to discuss the country’s looming fiscal cliff. Johnson, D-Dallas, was one of a dozen elected officials from the National Black Caucus of State Legislators to sit down with Obama and several of his top advisers. He was the only lawmaker from Texas in the group."

•   Poe, Cornyn push bipartisan bills to speed up testing of rape kits (Houston Chronicle): "Texas Rep. Ted Poe, R-Humble, and Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., introduced bipartisan legislation today to help speed up the process of testing DNA evidence to identify rapists."

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