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The Midday Brief: April 25, 2011

Your afternoon reading: ad campaign pushing for leaner budget; transgender marriage rights targeted; House to take up class size

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Your afternoon reading:

  • "Two years after Texas became one of the last states to allow transgendered people to use proof of their sex change to get a marriage license, Republican lawmakers are trying to roll back the clock." — Texas may strip away transgender marriage rights, The Associated Press
  • "State representatives will take up an education bill on Tuesday that includes, among other changes, a proposal to swap the strict 22-to-one limit for a 22-student average and prohibit districts from enrolling more than 25 students per class in the early grades." — Classes may get more students, Houston Chronicle
  • "Given the numbers — and Texas' current state budget crisis — you'd think there would be a little more interest in state Sen. Eddie Lucio's soda tax proposal, which could raise as much as $2 billion a year. Or, as the Brownsville Democrat put it, enough money to keep 20,000 Texas teachers on the payroll. It's also estimated the tax would drive down soda consumption, reducing by $1 billion what Texas would spend annually on obesity-related health care expenses." — Soft-drink tax idea gets sour reception, Houston Chronicle
  • "Some of the Texas counties that endured the worst damage from this month's out-of-control wildfires received only a small portion of the more than $128 million the state awarded to volunteer fire departments over about a decade for training and equipment, a state report found." — Less money sent to fire risk areas, El Paso Times

New in The Texas Tribune:

  • "Texans pride themselves on being the heart of the nation’s oil and gas business. But even here, public concern about the environmental consequences of natural gas drilling is growing. Much of the anxiety centers on a recently expanded drilling method called hydraulic fracturing, or 'fracking,' which is now used in more than half of new gas wells drilled in Texas." — A Backlash Against Drilling, in the Oil and Gas Heartland
  • "Troy Fraser lost a redistricting fight 20 years ago. Now he's in another redistricting battle — with another Republican and based more on what part of the state is shrinking (his area's population) than on politics. He's determined not to lose." — A Political Tug-of-War Over Taylor County

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