New in The Texas Tribune:
• In Pitching Tax Relief, Perry Again Targets Washington: "Gov. Rick Perry again turned to bashing the federal government Thursday during the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s policy orientation conference, calling out national leaders for their 'irresponsible' spending decisions, while making his own sales pitch for a tax relief plan."
• Ritter's Bills Would Put $2 Billion Toward Water Projects: "State Rep. Allan Ritter, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, filed two bills on Thursday that would allocate $2 billion from Texas' Rainy Day Fund to create a fund for water-supply projects. It's the largest amount proposed to date."
• In Report, University History Departments Face Scrutiny: "A new report questions the history course offerings at the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University, which could signal the return of contentious debate over what professors should be teaching the state's students."
• CPRIT Foundation Releases List of Donors: "The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas Foundation — a nonprofit that supplements the salaries of the leaders at the state’s beleaguered $3 billion cancer research agency — released a full list of its donors on Thursday."
• Interactive: Weighing Medicaid Expansion: "As they contemplate whether to expand Medicaid, Texas lawmakers will weigh factors including enrollment growth, costs and savings, and the effects on the rate of insured. This interactive breaks down the numbers connected to those factors."
• Rick Perry for president in 2016? Republican voters say "no, no, no" (Houston Chronicle): "A poll released today by Public Policy Polling found Perry running far behind the first tier of possible Republican candidates. The Texas governor, whose 2012 campaign ended on Jan. 19 after poor showings in Iowa and New Hampshire, received 2 percent support."
• Sen. John Cornyn on Jack Lew: qualms on Treasury pick’s spending record (The Dallas Morning News): "Sen. John Cornyn, the Texas Republican who serves as deputy GOP leader in the Senate, called for a 'fair hearing' on White House chief of staff Jack Lew, the president’s pick for Treasury Secretary. But he also offered some qualms."
• Republicans to huddle on Hispanic problem (Politico): "A team of prominent national Republicans, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, plans to gather in Miami Friday to begin mapping out GOP outreach to Hispanics for the 2014 cycle, according to sources familiar with the effort. The meeting is being organized by the Hispanic Leadership Network, the conservative outside group focused on broadening the GOP’s appeal among Hispanic Americans. … Also participating are HLN executive director Jennifer Korn, former Texas Rep. Quico Canseco and Rosario Marin, the former treasurer of the United States."
• 'Super PAC' in mayor's race draws money from powerful GOP donor (USA Today): "The 'super PAC' formed to support the Los Angeles mayoral bid of Republican candidate Kevin James brought in just $200,000 last year, according to disclosure forms filed with city officials Thursday. But it ushered into the orbit of L.A. city politics one of the Republican Party’s most prominent super PAC donors — Texas billionaire Harold C. Simmons."
• Joe Scarborough fact-checks Ted Cruz on gun control, says Texan is afraid to appear on Morning Joe (Houston Chronicle): "The White House is not the only fixture in the national political establishment to take note of Sen. Ted Cruz’s appearance on the Fox News Sunday show this week. MSNBC’s Morning Joe team took offense at Cruz’s claim that he is against Democrats’ gun control agenda because 'it’s unconstitutional.' Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman from Florida, called out the newly sworn-in senator, noting that as someone who has clerked for a U.S. Supreme Court justice, served as Solicitor General of Texas, and is the newest member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he should have read District of Columbia v. Heller and know that gun control is not unconstitutional."