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The Midday Brief: May 19, 2010

Your afternoon reading.

Don McLeroy, a member of the Texas State Board of Education, at the Texas Tribune offices in October.

Your afternoon reading:

• “About 66 percent of the state's 4.8 million public school children are minority. White students make up 33 percent of the enrollment.” — Passionate debate opens history hearingTexas Politics

• The announcement is expected to ramp up concerns over a growing state budget crisis — and how Texas can continue to pay for a massive prison health care system that gobbles tens of millions of additional taxpayer dollars each year. — UTMB to lay off 363 prison health care workersAustin American-Statesman

• Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., announced the hearing date only a day after Cornyn, a judiciary committee member, met with Kagan and asked that a hearing be delayed until senators have a chance to review all the documents from Kagan's time in the Clinton White House. — Cornyn: Kagan confirmation hearing, set for June 28, is too soonTrail Blazers

• “The following legislation is Riddle’s HB 49 from the 2009 legislative session, which she referred to several times during her debate with Trey Martinez-Fisher.” —Text of Debbie Riddle’s bill BurkaBlog

• “Rogelio Cannady looked to the federal courts Wednesday to grant him a last-minute reprieve from the Texas death chamber for killing his cellmate while already serving two life sentences for a double murder.” — Texas prisoner set to die for killing cellmate — Houston Chronicle

New in The Texas Tribune:

• Former U.S. Secretary of Education and Houston Superintendent Rod Paige this morning asked the State Board of Education to delay adopting its new textbook standards, saying they had “swung too far” to the ideological right and diminished the importance of civil rights and slavery. — TribBlog: History Paige

• “Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, may be 50, but he's only been in the House for three sessions. He's part of a youth movement in the power corridors of the Legislature — one that's less about age than lack of seniority.” — Generation Next

• Before adopting the Fair Defense Act in 2001, Texas was considered abysmal in legal circles when it came to providing representation for the poor. Proponents and critics of the current system agree the situation has improved since lawmakers started requiring counties to implement minimum representation standards. But has it improved enough? — Defenseless

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