The Evening Brief: Texas Headlines for March 13, 2013

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•    Senate Finance Approves $195.5 Billion Budget: "The budget approved Wednesday by the Senate Finance Committee is 2.9 percent bigger than the estimated size of the current two-year budget. It includes about $8.9 billion more than the first draft Senate leaders unveiled in January."

•    UT System Leader Expresses Concerns Over Campus Carry: "As lawmakers prepare to discuss allowing concealed handguns in college and university buildings on Thursday, the chancellor of the state's largest university system continues to express his concerns with such proposals."

•    Judge Denies Norwood's Request for New Lawyers: "Mark Norwood, accused of Christine Morton's 1986 murder, pleaded unsuccessfully on Wednesday for the judge to appoint new lawyers for him, saying his current representation isn't his 'best bud.'"

•    Video: Cruz Delivers First Formal Senate Speech: "U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz on Wednesday gave his first formal speech on the Senate floor, urging his colleagues to support an amendment to defund federal health reform."

•    Video: Gallego on "The Daily Rundown": "On this morning's edition of The Daily Rundown, U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, told Chuck Todd that a Democrat can win a down-ballot statewide race in the next four-year cycle."

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Culled

•    Texas Republicans unswayed by Obama; Rep. Pete Sessions sees "insatiable" desire to spend and tax (The Dallas Morning News): "House Republicans said they were pleased the president met with them on Capitol Hill this afternoon, but they weren’t swayed by his talking points.The hour-long meeting included discussion of the budget, sequestration, immigration and the Keystone XL Pipeline. Congressmen were able to ask about a half-dozen questions, which were submitted ahead of time. Dallas Rep. Pete Sessions said it was encouraging that President Obama wanted to meet with House GOP members, but didn’t hear him offer a way to resolve partisan differences."

•    State lawmakers target exotic pet ownership in Texas (Houston Chronicle): "State lawmakers are targeting those brave pet owners who may choose lions and tigers over dogs and cats, saying exotic animals may not be safe companions."

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