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The Evening Brief: Feb. 15, 2013

Your evening reading: George P. Bush says he'll announce political intentions before end of session; scrutiny of Cruz continues; Lamar Smith calls meteor a reminder to fund space programs

George P. Bush at the state Capitol on Jan. 7, 2013, the day before the beginning of the 83rd session.


•    George P. Bush says Republicans don’t have to "sell out" to win Hispanic votes (The Dallas Morning News): "George P. Bush said Friday that conservative Republicans could compete for Hispanic voters and still remain true to their core values. 'We don’t have to sell out our principles to win the Hispanic vote,' Bush told the Institute for Policy Innovation, a group formed decades ago by former Republican Rep. Dick Armey. … Bush said he would announce his political [intentions] before the end of the legislative session in May. 'We want to make sure we’re going for the right office. Our activists are excited to get started, but we want to visit with key decision makers in the party.' Bush said before his speech. 'The internal timetable is sometime before the end of session.'"

•    Lone Star rising (Politico): "California fancies itself as a trendsetter and Florida prizes its claim as a microcosm of America. But when it comes to politics — both present-day battles and future trends — ground zero right now is the fastest-growing of the mega-states: Texas. … How inflamed are conservatives looking at four more years of Obama? One longtime Texas congressman even said he expects every GOP member of the delegation to face some kind of primary next year."

•    A Very Junior Senator’s Bomb-Throwing Debut (The New York Times): "In just two months, [Ted] Cruz, 42, has made his presence felt in an institution where new arrivals are usually not heard from for months, if not years. Besides suggesting that Mr. Hagel might have received compensation from foreign enemies, he has tangled with the mayor of Chicago, sandbagged the Senate’s third-ranking Democrat on national television, voted against virtually everything before him — including the confirmation of John Kerry as secretary of state — and raised the hackles of colleagues from both parties."

•    Rep. Lamar Smith calls Russian meteor 'stark reminder' to fund space research (Houston Chronicle): "Space has the been topic of discussion today as two ethereal objects, one smashing into the Earth’s surface, have garnered worldwide attention. Texas Rep. Lamar Smith used the incidents to drive home the importance of maintaining funding and support to space research. 'Today’s events are a stark reminder of the need to invest in space science,' said the San Antonio representative and Chairman of the House Space, Science, and Technology Committee."

•    Rick Perry in radio ads. Again. (The Dallas Morning News): "The Lone Star Project, a Democratic affiliated group, is taking another ding at Gov. Rick Perry and his trip to California in a small radio ad buy that’s running this morning in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin."

•    Gondolas in Round Rock? City Council members say they love the idea (Austin American-Statesman): "Will airborne gondolas one day ply the skies of Round Rock, shuttling passengers on a transit-system-of-the-future? That was the pitch made Thursday to the Round Rock City Council, whose members said they loved the idea, even if for now it is just that."

New in The Texas Tribune

•    Renewable Energy Faces Hurdles in Legislature: "Renewable energy advocates are bracing to defend critical policies that have helped Texas become the leading wind-power state. The ascendancy of the Tea Party, an abundance of cheap natural gas and tighter budgets have reduced the sway of the wind industry. Solar power advocates anticipate limited gains at best."

•    Existing School Transfer Program is Underused: "A scholarship to help students trapped in failing public schools attend another of their choice is near the top of the legislative agenda for top Republican leaders. But Texas has a similar existing program, and it is dramatically underused."

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