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The Midday Brief: Top Texas Headlines for Feb. 9, 2011

Your afternoon reading: House committees announced; eminent domain bill moves through Senate; abortion sonogram testimony under way

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Your afternoon reading:

  • "The Texas Senate this afternoon unanimously gave final approval to a bill designed to change the state’s eminent domain laws to better protect property owner’s rights and address a hot-button issue among many Texans." — Eminent domain changes get OK, Postcards
  • "One-term Sen. Jim Webb's decision today not to seek reelection in Virginia is a big win for Republicans, who need just three more seats to end the Democratic majority. Webb is the second Democratic incumbent to announce retirement, after North Dakota Sen. Kent Conrad, and Democrats have far more seats to defend in the 2012 cycle than Republicans. 'It is a significant development,' Sen. John Cornyn, chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told Texas reporters moments ago on his weekly call." — NRSC chair John Cornyn calls Webb retirement good news in Senate fight, Trail Blazers
  • "State Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-Tomball, said today that she filed a bill that would make it a state jail felony 'to intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly hire a person who is not lawfully permitted to be in America.'" — Riddle files another immigration bill, Postcards
  • "For months, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has battled the Environmental Protection Agency's plans to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from oil refineries and power plants. … But today, the dispute will move to Capitol Hill, with both Abbott and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson scheduled to testify at a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on the issue." — Texas AG Greg Abbott, EPA chief Lisa Jackson square off on Capitol Hill, Texas on the Potomac

New in The Texas Tribune:

  • "Speaker Joe Straus appointed members to committees today, shuffling the assignments in a Texas House where one in four members is a freshman and where Republicans have a two-to-one numerical advantage." — House Committees Named
  • "Even before state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, tweaked a bill requiring a woman seeking an abortion have a sonogram performed, he said lawmakers and the media misunderstood his intent. Today before the Senate State Affairs Committee, he says he is getting his chance to clear things up." — Sonogram Bill Reworked; Testimony Under Way
  • "Cries of 'Texas fight' and 'It's 8:45, and we're still underfunded' rang across a crowd of nearly 100 students, who marched to the Capitol this morning to rally for adequate funding for the University of Texas." — Students Rally for UT Funding
  • "More than 100 Texas doctors made a deal with the state: For four years, they would practice in underserved communities and treat the neediest patients — in return for having their med school debt forgiven. The source of the funding? A tax on smokeless tobacco. But just a year into the arrangement, and facing a multibillion-dollar shortfall, state officials may be backing down from their side of the bargain, and using the smokeless tobacco revenue to balance the budget instead." — Doctor Loan Repayment Deal in Jeopardy
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