New in The Texas Tribune:
- Texas GOP Pursuing Presidential Debate: "The Republican Party of Texas is making plans to host a presidential debate in Texas before the May 29 primaries. Party chairman Steve Munisteri announced Friday that all the major candidates except Mitt Romney have accepted the invitation."
- Perry's Campaign Security Costs Go Up — Again: "Gov. Rick Perry’s presidential odyssey ended in January, but the bills for the security force that protected him on the campaign trail keep pouring in, boosting the pricetag to almost $3 million so far. The Department of Public Safety released new figures Friday for the travel expenditures incurred by his security detail. The department added more than $900,000 to the amounts it had previously released, accounting for travel vouchers that were submitted since the last report about three months ago."
- Filing Targets State Lawmakers' Communications Over Voter ID: "The Justice Department wants a court to deny Texas' request to keep certain communications between lawmakers, staff and constituents out of court proceedings on the state's voter ID law."
- Texas Economy Gains Jobs, Even in Government: "The Texas economy continued its upward climb in February, gaining 27,900 jobs while the unemployment rate dropped slightly, from 7.3 percent to 7.1 percent. Even government jobs grew."
- EPA Withdraws Order Against Natural Gas Driller: "The Environmental Protection Agency has withdrawn an administrative order that charged Range Resources, a Fort Worth-based natural gas driller, with contaminating water wells."
- T-Squared: More Bang For Your Texas Weekly Buck: "This week's issue of the premium newsletter includes several new features intended to amp up the exclusivity and spin the public policy and politics news forward a few extra rotations. You. Must. Subscribe."
- President Obama endorses Eddie Bernice Johnson for Congress (The Dallas Morning News): "Talk about heavyweight support. On Friday President Barack Obama endorsed longtime Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson's bid for reelection. 'Congresswoman Johnson is a tireless champion for all of the (District 30) middle and working-class families,' Obama said via a statement released by Johnson's campaign. 'We've worked hard these last three years to bring meaningful, positive change to our nation.'"
Familiar TaxMasters pitchman — and major Perry donor — convicted of cheating customers (The Dallas Morning News): "The familiar bearded TV pitchman for TaxMasters — Patrick Cox — was convicted today of defrauding customers and ordered to pay $195 million. Cox is a major contributor to Gov. Rick Perry, donating $100,000 to the Republican governor's reelection campaign in 2010. In his prolific television commercials, Cox promises that TaxMasters will help people resolve their tax problems with the IRS."