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The Evening Brief: Jan. 29, 2013

Your evening reading: Perry's State of the State avoids hot topics; Cornyn, Cruz vote against Kerry's confirmation; poll shows Perry vulnerable in 2014

Flanked by state leaders, Gov. Perry begins his State of the State speech on January 29, 2013

New in The Texas Tribune

•    Perry Talks Water, Tax Relief in State of the State: "In his seventh State of the State address, Gov. Rick Perry ignored controversial issues and urged state lawmakers to do the nitty gritty work of government: fund water projects, build more roads and improve education."

•    Storify: Perry's State of the State Address: This Storify presentation reveals the instant reactions on social media by legislators, staffers, guests and journalists to Gov. Rick Perry's State of the State address.

•    Perry: Let South Texas Access Permanent University Fund: "In his State of the State address, Gov. Rick Perry called on lawmakers to vote in favor of giving South Texas access to the Permanent University Fund."

•    TEA Chief: Don't Give Up on Accountability System: "Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams called on educators Tuesday to hold the line on the state's accountability system amid a 'ranging conversation' at the Legislature about how to address concerns about the role of high-stakes testing."

•    Report: Employee Misclassification Costs State Millions: "A study on conditions in the construction industry says that more than 40 percent of construction workers in Texas — about 300,000 — are either misclassified or paid under the table."

•    Rate of Foster Kids on Psychotropic Drugs Falls: "Though reforms have improved the state’s health care system for foster children, child welfare advocates say, the rate of foster children prescribed psychotropic drugs remains high. This report includes graphs that provide a detailed look at pyschotropic drug prescriptions given to foster children in Texas."


•    Cornyn, Cruz cast 2 of only 3 votes against John Kerry (Houston Chronicle): "Senators from every other state voted to confirm John Kerry as Secretary of State. Once again, Texas stood alone. Texas Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz were among the three dissenters as the Massachusetts senator (and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee) was approved as the replacement to Hillary Clinton."

•    Perry looking highly vulnerable (Public Policy Polling): "Texas voters — even Republicans — have had enough of Rick Perry. PPP's newest poll finds that only 31% of voters think Perry should seek reelection next year, compared to 62% who think it's time for him to step aside. He's among the most unpopular Governors in the country, with only 41% of voters approving of him to 54% who disapprove. Perry could face great peril in a primary challenge next year. Only 41% of GOP primary voters want him to be their candidate again, compared to 47% who think it's time for someone else. And in a head to head match up with Attorney General Greg Abbott, Perry leads by only a 41/38 margin."

•    Obama Hails Bipartisan Plan to Overhaul Immigration (The New York Times): "Seizing on a groundswell of support for rewriting the nation’s immigration laws, President Obama challenged Congress on Tuesday to act swiftly to put 11 million illegal immigrants living in the United States on a clear path to citizenship."

•    Conservatives Expect Cornyn Primary Challenger (Roll Call): "The founder and director of a grass-roots conservative group said he expects Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, to face a primary challenge. Cornyn is up for re-election in 2014. 'I don’t know how good of a primary challenge he is going to get at this point, but he will get a primary challenge,' said Dean Wright, co-founder and director of New Revolution Now, based in Austin, Texas."

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