The Brief: Top Texas News for March 19, 2013

The Big Conversation

A postmortem of the Republican Party's 2012 losses has pushed immigration reform back into the spotlight.

The report, commissioned by the Republican National Committee after the election and released Monday, faults the party for failing to engage minorities, young voters and women. 

"We have become expert in how to provide ideological reinforcement to like-minded people," the report says. "But devastatingly, we have lost the ability to be persuasive with, or welcoming to, those who do not agree with us on every issue."

The report calls for an overhaul of the party's digital outreach and a shortened presidential primary process. Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, also announced a new $10 million plan to target the demographic groups the party has failed to woo.

Though the report stays relatively quiet on policy issues like taxes, gun rights and gay marriage, the authors urge the party to embrace "comprehensive immigration reform." On Monday, Priebus wouldn't say whether that included a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, a provision that has long divided Republicans.

As The Associated Press reports, however, such a provision has gained the backing of one more prominent Republican: U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, a 2016 presidential contender with strong Tea Party credentials. Paul's stance puts him in the company of Republicans like Marco Rubio of Florida, another high-profile U.S. senator and possible presidential candidate.

Democrats, meanwhile, said they looked forward to working toward a compromise that included a citizenship provision.

"The politics on immigration have evolved so quickly since Election Day in the GOP that it makes your head spin," U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., told the San Antonio Express-News.

Culled

•    Regents bar UT president from deleting emails (Austin American-Statesman): "In the latest sign of tension between the University of Texas and its governing board, President Bill Powers and other campus officials have been told to refrain from deleting emails on computers and other electronic devices. The directive came at the request of Regent Brenda Pejovich, chairwoman of the UT System Board of Regents’ audit committee, which is investigating the relationship between the UT School of Law and the UT Law School Foundation."

•    Justices Appear Divided on Arizona Voting Law (The New York Times): "The Supreme Court appeared divided along familiar lines on Monday as it heard arguments over whether Arizona can require proof of citizenship from people seeking to register to vote in federal elections."

•    EPISD lawyer sought former U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes (El Paso Times): "A high-profile attorney for the El Paso Independent School District attempted to contact then-U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes in 2011 during the height of federal investigations into a massive cheating scheme. It's unclear what Ron Ederer, a former U.S. attorney for the Western District of Texas, wanted to discuss with Reyes, but the efforts to reach the congressman occurred about the same time that district employees have said Ederer was trying to discredit FBI investigators."

•    Jury Chosen for Norwood Murder Trial (The Texas Tribune): "The prosecutor and lawyers for Mark Norwood chose a jury on Monday that will decide whether the former Bastrop dishwasher is guilty of the 1986 bludgeoning death of Christine Morton."

Quote of the Day: "I made a mistake and I am deeply, deeply sorry for it." — State Rep. Naomi Gonzalez, D-El Paso, addressing the House on Monday after being charged with driving while intoxicated last week

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