• Ted Cruz Will Be Closing Speaker at CPAC (U.S. News & World Report): "Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas will be the closing speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference this March, an annual political conference that draws more conservatives than any other event in the country."
• Democrats paint Sen. Ted Cruz as latter-day McCarthy over Hagel insinuations (The Dallas Morning News): "Fellow senators today compared Texas freshman Ted Cruz to the infamous Joe McCarthy, accusing him of sleazy tactics aimed at tarring Defense nominee Chuck Hagel. Republicans managed to delay Hagel’s confirmation today, as Democrats were unable to muster the 60 votes needed to force a final vote. On Tuesday, as the Senate Armed Services Committee approved the nomination on a 14-11 party line vote, Cruz suggested that Hagel – a former Republican senator – has taken money under the table from adversaries."
• Medicaid IOU bill not destined to be school finance battleground (Houston Chronicle): "The must-pass budget legislation to pay Texas’ lingering, giant Medicaid IOU and some money owed to public schools shouldn’t become a vehicle for a bigger education funding battle, the House decided Thursday."
• Gov. Perry appoints Texas Tech System regents (Lubbock Avalanche-Journal): "Gov. Rick Perry has appointed three members to the Texas Tech University System Board of Regents for terms to expire Jan. 31, 2019. L. Frederick 'Rick' Francis of El Paso was reappointed to the board, and two new members were appointed, according to Perry’s office."
New in The Texas Tribune
• House Might Restore Some Education Cuts to Current Budget: "Members of the Texas House are in talks to add some money to public education in the current two-year budget. The Texas Legislature cut $5.4 billion from education last session."
• Patterson Doesn't Rule Out Backing Statewide Property Tax: "In a candid TribLive interview on Thursday, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson explained his opinions on gun control, immigration and a statewide property tax. He also evaluated his potential competition in the 2014 race for lieutenant governor."
• Gay Rights Bill Filed on Valentine’s Day: "On Valentine's Day, state Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, joined numerous lawmakers who have already filed bills that would extend rights to same-sex couples."
• Williams Seeks Higher Ed Input on High School Requirements: "Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams implored higher education leaders Thursday to engage in discussions about the state’s high school requirements."
• UT System Approves Four-Year Tuition Guarantee Plan: "The University of Texas System Board of Regents on Thursday approved a measure that would require its nine campuses to offer four-year guaranteed tuition plans as an option to students."
• Fraser Seeks Overhaul of Water Development Board: "In addition to the discussions of water infrastructure funding at the Capitol, an even more basic issue is also on the table: whether to restructure the Texas Water Development Board. Currently the board is run by six part-time members. State Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, wants it headed by three full-timers."