The Evening Brief: Texas Headlines for March 4, 2013

State Rep. Brandon Creighton (r), R-Conroe, talks to State Rep. Dan Branch before laying out HB274 on May 9, 2011.
State Rep. Brandon Creighton (r), R-Conroe, talks to State Rep. Dan Branch before laying out HB274 on May 9, 2011.

New in The Texas Tribune

•    GOP Caucus Opposes Medicaid Expansion — With Caveats: "House Republicans on Monday agreed not to expand Medicaid as called for under the federal Affordable Care Act — but left the door open to doing it if the Obama administration grants Texas enough flexibility."

•    Texas State Regent Nominee Says Job Presents No Conflicts: "A Texas State University System Board of Regents nominee said Monday at a Senate committee hearing that his job as owner of the state's largest alternative teacher certification program would not conflict with his duties as a regent."

•    Water Planners Floating Several Reservoir Projects: "Reservoir projects are inching forward throughout Texas as an answer to the drought, but environmentalists argue that they are unnecessary and expensive."

•    Charitable Donations, With Political Benefits: "Charity fundraisers give lobbyists and political donors a way to show their support to officeholders during legislative sessions — when the law prohibits direct contributions. An officeholder raising money for a good cause looks the same as a lawmaker using a powerful position to make donors do something they might not otherwise do."

Culled

•    National Rifle Association, Texas Motor Speedway align for NASCAR race (The Dallas Morning News): "The National Rifle Association will be the title sponsor for the Texas 500 Sprint Cup Series race to be held at Texas Motor Speedway on April 13. The one-year agreement between the gun-rights advocacy group and TMS has a renewal option, and the annual spring NASCAR race will be re-branded the NRA 500."

•    Jeb Bush: Path to citizenship not needed (Politico): "Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Monday comprehensive immigration reform didn’t require a pathway to citizenship, a key plank of the bipartisan Gang of Eight proposal in the Senate. 'Our proposal is a proposal that looks forward,' Bush said on NBC’s 'Today.' 'And if we want to create an immigration policy that’s going to work, we can’t continue to make illegal immigration an easier path than legal immigration. There’s a natural friction between our immigrant heritage and the rule of law. This is the right place to be in that sense.'"

•    Is the defense industry counting on Texas lawmakers to spare it from sequester cuts? (Houston Chronicle): "Defense contractors spent over $1 million to help finance Texas lawmakers in 2012, but have yet to see a payoff with sequester cuts threatening their business. Members of the Texas congressional delegation — Republicans and Democrats alike — have denounced the automatic budget cuts that they say will cost thousands of Texans their jobs. But none of the lawmakers have engaged in bipartisan negotiations to head off the Pentagon cuts that will put Texans in unemployment lines."

•    HIV/AIDS activists urge expanding Texas Medicaid (The Dallas Morning News): "HIV/AIDS activists on Monday urged Texas to expand Medicaid as allowed under the federal health law. If Texas fully participates in the federal Affordable Care Act, nearly eight out 10 low-income Texans who are HIV positive and now get their life-sustaining anti-retroviral drugs through a special state-federal program would obtain comprehensive health insurance, according to a new study."

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