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The Evening Brief: Jan. 23, 2013

Your evening reading: senators draw re-election terms; five Texas Republicans vote against debt ceiling extension; major Democratic donor spending big in Houston special election

Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, is shown her lottery number by Senate Secretary Patsy Spaw on Jan. 23, 2013.

New in The Texas Tribune

•    Senators Draw Lots to Determine Terms: "The Texas Senate relied on chance Wednesday to determine which of them would serve for four years and which would serve for two years. For some legislators, the luck of the draw could have bigger political implications."

•    Spending Limit Could Make State's Rainy Day Fund Tougher to Tap: "After years in which the state's spending limit was irrelevant, it may play a key role in budget negotiations this session, and it could make it tougher for lawmakers to tap billions of dollars in the Rainy Day Fund."

•    Updated: Travis DA Says CPRIT Investigation is Ongoing: "The Travis County district attorney’s office clarified on Wednesday that its criminal investigation of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas 'is ongoing and aggressive.'"

•    Texas A&M Announces Plan to Grow Engineering Program: "Texas A&M University officials on Wednesday announced an ambitious plan to more than double the number of engineering students it enrolls to 25,000 by the year 2025."

•    Lost in Translation: From Legislature to English: The Legislature has its own jargon, and it sometimes feels like members are speaking a different language. Blocker bills? WADA? Chubbing? LARS? Outside the bounds? Here's a guide — in the form of a multiple-choice quiz — to what they're saying.


•    Strange bedfellows on House debt ceiling vote (The Dallas Morning News): The House has agreed 285-144 to stave off potential federal default for at least three more months by suspending the government’s debt ceiling. … Most of the 36 Texas lawmakers supported the bill. Five of the state’s 24 Republicans, all staunch conservatives, opposed it: Reps. Roger Williams of Weatherford, Louie Gohmert of Tyler, Randy Neugebauer of Lubbock, Ted Poe of Humble and Steve Stockman of Friendswood. … Across the aisle, three of the four Texans in the Congressional Black Caucus, all Democrats, also opposed the bill: Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Dallas, Marc Veasey of Fort Worth, and Sheila Jackson Lee of Houston."

•    Mostyn invests big in Garcia campaign (Houston Chronicle): "Houston plaintiff’s lawyer Steve Mostyn’s donations to former County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia and to political action committees that support her are dominating the special election race in Senate District 6, newly filed records show."

•    Ron Kirk won’t run again for office, but will speak out (The Dallas Morning News): "Departing U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said Wednesday he’s not sure what he’ll do next, but made one emphatic exception: 'I’m never running for office.'"

•    Cornyn gets his way: Texas Republicans applaud as House passes no budget no pay (Houston Chronicle): "Texas Sen. John Cornyn says he’s hopeful that a step toward finally determining a budget was taken with today’s decision to increase the debt ceiling and enforce the 'No Budget No Pay' Act. The legislation passed by 285 to 144. It faces an uncertain future in the Democrat-controlled Senate."

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