• Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst proposes dipping into rainy day fund to address water and transportation needs (The Dallas Morning News): "Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said Thursday that Texas should consider dipping into the state’s multi-billion dollar rainy day fund to address pressing water and transportation needs. Dewhurst, speaking before the Dallas Regional Chamber, proposed using $1 billion from the fund, which could reach $8 billion by the end of the year, to create a new water infrastructure development bank to help cities and other municipalities build reservoirs."
• Ex-President George H.W. Bush remains hospitalized in Houston (Houston Chronicle): "Former President George H.W. Bush remains in a Houston hospital, where he has been for seven days as doctors battle a lingering cough that has drawn concern, officials said Thursday. Bush, 88, has bronchitis, but his condition is not considered life threatening, said his chief of staff, Jean Becker."
• Cornyn praises Texas VA, wins passage of amendment to streamline veterans’ disability claims nationwide (Houston Chronicle): "Texas Sen. John Cornyn believes the nation could learn one important lesson from the Lone Star State: how to properly take care of its veterans. Cornyn filed an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill, adopted today, to address 'what can only be called a national scandal and that is the massive backlog of VA disability claims,' he said in a conference call with reporters."
New in The Texas Tribune:
• Perry Supports Letting Districts Decide on 15 Percent Rule: "Gov. Rick Perry has come out in favor of allowing school districts to choose whether to implement a rule requiring that new state assessments count for 15 percent of high school students' final grades."
• Ethics Commission Backs Off Plan Adding Some Investigative Powers: "The Texas Ethics Commission backed off Thursday from a proposal to take some investigative authority away from the Travis County district attorney’s office, but the agency approved two recommendations aimed at enhancing criminal investigations of state elected officials."
• Plans Show Wide Gap Remains on Immigration: "A day after U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison introduced immigration legislation that would give legal status to some undocumented minors, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus laid out its own goals for reform."
• Little Hope for Overhaul as Fund Nears $1 Billion: "Cost-cutting and fiscal transparency will likely dominate the upcoming legislative session, but lawmakers don't have high hopes for reforming the System Benefit Fund, a pot of $850 million not being used for its intended purposes."