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The Evening Brief: Feb. 19, 2013

Your evening reading: Cruz on offense during tour of Texas gun manufacturer; senators condemn state's testing system; Legislature to investigate UT regents' treatment of Powers

U.S. Sen Ted Cruz is welcomed at LaRue Tactical, a gun manufacturer in Leander, by founders Ellen LaRue, center, and Mark LaRue, right, on Feb. 19, 2013.

New in The Texas Tribune

•    Cruz Talks Guns, Deflects Hagel Accusations: "Calling President Obama’s recent gun control initiatives 'cynical' and 'wrong,' U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz said on Tuesday that lawmakers 'should focus our efforts on deterring and punishing violent criminals.'"

•    Texas Senators Slam State's Testing Regime: "State senators took turns publicly condemning Texas' student assessment system — the implementation of which one lawmaker called a 'colossal failure' — at a Tuesday Education Committee meeting."

•    Bill Calls for Emergency Alarms at Texas Schools: "Legislation filed by state Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, would require Texas school districts to equip their campuses with electronic emergency alarms that could contact the police directly in the event of a school emergency."

•    UT System Set to Bolster Disclosure Requirements: "In an effort to prevent the perception of conflicts of interest, faculty in the University of Texas System could soon be subject to more robust public disclosure requirements than lawmakers and even university system regents."

•    Senate Panel Backs Bill That Targets Medicaid Fraud: "The Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved a bill Tuesday that, among other steps, would set up a data analysis team to detect trends in Medicaid claims and take a proactive approach to identifying potential fraud."


•    Ted Cruz says attacks on fellow Republican Marco Rubio are racial (The Dallas Morning News): "Sen. Ted Cruz says some of the attacks on fellow Republican Sen. Marco Rubio by Democrats are motivated by race. Cruz said today the fact that Rubio is a Republican Latino poses a threat to political adversaries. 'I think Democrats and the media are afraid of Marco Rubio because he is a smart, intelligent, conservative Hispanic. And they are looking for any excuse they can to attack him, because that threatens them,' Cruz told reporters during a tour of a Texas gun manufacturing plant north of Austin. 'Look, he took a drink of water in a speech. And it dominated the news for days with one network saying it was a career ender.'"

•    Dewhurst: Hearings on Powers planned (Austin American-Statesman): "The Texas Legislature will hold hearings into allegations that University of Texas regents are improperly micromanaging UT President William Powers and may be trying to force him out, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said this morning."

•    Texas mayors make push for funding water projects (Houston Chronicle): "A parade of Texas mayors on Tuesday urged state lawmakers to invest $2 billion in reservoirs, pipelines and other water-supply projects. Houston’s Annise Parker, San Antonio’s Julian Castro and other mayors said the passage of House Bill 4, which would create a new fund to help pay for water-related infrastructure, is necessary to satisfy the demands of residents and businesses."

•    Poll results: 'The Pill is not fair game in the culture wars' (Houston Chronicle): "The Texas Freedom Network, which describes itself as a watchdog monitoring far-right issues, released a poll Tuesday showing strong support among Texans for state-funded family planning and birth control. Among its findings, the poll said 73 percent of Texans favor or somewhat favor state-funded family planning services, including birth control, for women. The network said it found support among 77 percent of Hispanics, 69 percent of Republican women and 66 percent of born-again Christians."

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