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The Evening Brief: Jan. 25, 2013

Your evening reading: Republicans challenge group hoping to turn Texas blue; White House to begin immigration push next week; conservative groups come out against school security bill

Gov. Rick Perry with wife Anita at a Williamson County Republican dinner in Round Rock, his first public appearance since leaving the presidential race.


•    'Bring it on,' Rick Perry says to Democrats who think they can create 'Battleground Texas' (Houston Chronicle): "After waiting maybe a nano-second, Texas Republicans are striking back against Democratic claims that the Lone Star State will turn blue in our lifetimes. And they aren’t holding back. 'They can bring it on,' Gov. Rick Perry spokeswoman Catherine Frazier told Breitbart News, 'they will be hard-pressed to make much progress with the proven success conservative policies have had in our state.'"

•    White House, senators starting push on immigration (The Associated Press): "The White House and a bipartisan group of senators will launch an effort next week to jump-start negotiations to overhaul the immigration system, an issue that has languished in Washington for years. Obama will begin his second-term immigration push during a trip Tuesday to Las Vegas. The Senate working group is also aiming to outline its proposals at about the same time, according to a Senate aide."

•    No-tax groups oppose school security districts (Austin American-Statesman): "A coalition of groups that carry clout with conservative lawmakers — Americans for Prosperity, Empower Texans, and Texans for Fiscal Responsibility — this afternoon came out in opposition to the proposed Texas School District Security Act."

New in The Texas Tribune

•    Abbott Announces "Choose Life" Advisory Committee: "Attorney General Greg Abbott announed on Friday the creation of the Choose Life Advisory Committee, a group that will make recommendations for spending money generated by 'Choose Life' license plates."

•    Campus Carry Legislation Filed in House: "Freshman state Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake, has filed a bill that would allow concealed handgun license holders to carry weapons on college campuses."

•    Race for SD-6 Seat Heads Toward Final Stretch: "Slightly more than 8,200 voters cast their ballots during the early voting period in the special election to replace the late state Sen. Mario Gallegos. Election day is Saturday in the race, which is likely to head to a runoff."

•    At Railroad Commission, a Push to Modernize: "The Texas Railroad Commission regulates one of the most advanced industries in the world — oil and gas drilling. Yet the commission’s software systems, many of its rules and even its name are from another era. But change is coming."

•    Bills Would Protect Gays From Employment Discrimination: "Senate and House companion bills filed this session could add 'sexual orientation' and 'gender identity and expression' to the list of unlawful discriminatory practices in the Texas Labor Code."

•    Lobbyists Who Dine From Both Sides of the Plate: "Lobbyists are competitive creatures, and don't like it when somebody gets an advantage — like political consultants who lobby during the political off-season. But they haven't found a way to regulate the practice. Meanwhile, some consultants have found ways to talk to members about their votes without registering as lobbyists."

•    Despite Counsel, Amputee Hindered by Tort Laws: "Connie Spears, a double amputee, says Texas' tort reform laws obstructed her ability to find a malpractice lawyer and forced a judge to order her to pay thousands of dollars to cover some defendants’ legal bills."

•    Arson Reviewers Expect Small Number of Problem Cases: "The Innocence Project of Texas told the state Forensic Science Commission today that their investigation of old arson convictions for possible wrongful convictions has raised serious concerns in only a handful of cases."

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