The Evening Brief: Texas Headlines for April 17, 2013

Culled

•    Gun control: Obama says senators 'caved' on gun vote (Politico): "A visibly angry President Barack Obama blasted the Senate’s rejection of a bipartisan proposal to expand background checks on gun sales, a vote that essentially ends any hope for major gun control legislation for the time being. 'This was a pretty shameful day for Washington, but this effort is not over,' Obama said in the Rose Garden."

•    Senate rejects gun measures from Texas Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn (The Dallas Morning News): "The Senate has rejected an alternative gun measure co-authored by Texas Republican Ted Cruz. The measure drew 52 votes, including nine Democrats. But that was well short of the 60 needed. The vote came moments after the Senate rejected a bipartisan deal to expand background checks for gun buyers authored by Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa. That dealt a huge blow to President Barack Obama’s gun control agenda. Other key elements – bans on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines – are likewise expected to fail within the hour."

•    Perry urges Texas lawmakers to keep $7B in rainy day fund, calls Senate bid to spend $6B "a little too much" (The Dallas Morning News): "Gov. Rick Perry has urged lawmakers to sit on $7 billion of rainy day money, and says a Texas Senate plan that would use $6 billion from the fund for water and infrastructure projects is 'a little too much.'"

•    False alarm: Cornyn Texas office evacuated in wave of 'suspicious' mail reports (Houston Chronicle): "Tensions are rising in Washington as fear of terrorism and reports of suspicious letters have turned Capitol Hill into a bizarre scene of cordoned-off corridors and cascading false arms. In Texas, the panic about poisoned mail caused Farmers Branch police to evacuate Sen. John Cornyn’s Dallas-area office. Drew Brandewie, a spokesman for Cornyn, said authorities investigated a letter deemed 'suspicious' that was received in the suburban Dallas office. Local officials reported this afternoon that all tests of the mail turned out to be negative."

 

•    Wife Accuses Texas Official in Prosecutors' Killings (The New York Times): "The wife of a disgraced justice of the peace has been arrested and charged with the murders of the Kaufman County district attorney, his wife, and another prosecutor, and has told investigators that her husband was the one who shot them."

New in The Texas Tribune

•    House Passes Bill That Makes Texting While Driving a Crime: "A bill that would make texting while driving a crime passed the House on Wednesday after a lengthy debate. The measure now heads to the Senate."

•    Texas Senate Recalls Disclosure Bill After Passing It: "Amid verbal jousting, the Texas Senate reconsidered its vote approving a bill that would have required the disclosure of donors to certain tax-exempt, politically active organizations."

•    Perry Wants Texas Gun Firms to Sidestep Fed Oversight: "Gov. Rick Perry said he has discussed allowing certain gun manufacturers in the state to be exempt from federal gun control measures with Attorney General Greg Abbott and constitutional lawyers."

•    Cancer-Fighting Charity Hired Tobacco Lobbyist: "A troubled cancer-fighting charity paid a tobacco lobbyist to represent its interests in the Legislature, even as it was winding down its operations and facing the wrath of lawmakers." 

•    Constitutionality of State Law Challenged in Sexual Assault Case: "Attorneys presented oral arguments Wednesday at the Court of Criminal Appeals over whether Mark Fleming's rights were violated because prosecutors didn't have to prove he knew he was having sexual relations with a minor."

•    Shannon K. O'Neil: The TT Interview: The senior fellow for Latin American studies at the Council on Foreign Relations on immigration reform, security in Mexico, the country’s budding prosperity amid an escalating drug war, and what the United States needs to know about its southern neighbor that has been missing from the bilateral dialogue.

 

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