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The Evening Brief: Feb. 18, 2013

Your evening reading: Legislature honors Powers amid UT System controversy; Patrick files bill to expand charter schools; Google brings driverless car to Texas Transportation Forum

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•    Legislators Honor Beleaguered UT President Powers: "In the midst of ongoing turbulence between the University of Texas System regents and the leadership of its flagship institution, the Texas Senate and House honored University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers on Monday with resolutions acknowledging his accomplishments and his years of service."

•    Education Chairman Aims to Expand Charter Schools: "Legislation creating a new state board to oversee charter school applications and removing limits on the number of state charter contracts was filed Monday by Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston."

•    Call for a New Execution Date Revives Race Debate: "Harris County prosecutors will seek a new execution date on Monday for death row inmate Duane Buck. His defenders say race played a role in his death sentence. Prosecutors say courts have 'thoroughly reviewed' and rejected his claims."

•    House Democrats Aiming to Get Back Into the Game: "In 2011, Texas House Democrats were dejected, demoralized and badly outnumbered. Their numbers have improved. Now the question — for them and for a Republican leadership that appears to be willing to work with them — is whether they can move as a bloc."


•    Solution to Texas traffic consistent funding, TXDOT head says (Houston Chronicle): "Finding a stable, consistent way to pay for Texas’ road-building and repair needs is outside the control of transportation officials, but that isn’t stopping them from stating their case. 'The truth is, our transportation system has serious challenges,' said Phil Wilson, executive director of the Texas Department of Transportation."

•    Google brings its driverless car to Austin (Austin American-Statesman): "Google, which has been developing and touting the future of self-piloting cars, has parked a driverless car in front of the Hilton Hotel downtown, site of the three-day Texas Transportation Forum. The modified Lexus hybrid is equipped with all manner of sensors that allow it to be aware of everything occurring around it and instantly react to those obstacles."

•    Senate committee approves State Board of Education nominee (Austin American-Statesman): "State Board of Education Chair Barbara Cargill cleared her first big hurdle Monday when the Senate Committee on Nominations approved her appointment and sent it to the Senate floor for a full confirmation vote."

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