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The Evening Brief: Feb. 21, 2013

Your evening reading: Cornyn and Cruz call on Obama to withdraw Hagel nomination; House passes $4.5 billion Medicaid IOU bill; Perry names three new UT System regents

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•    Sen. John Cornyn leads push for Obama to drop Chuck Hagel’s Defense nomination (The Dallas Morning News): "Sen. John Cornyn, an early critic of Chuck Hagel’s nomination for Secretary of Defense, stepped up the pressure today, sending President Obama an open letter urging him to withdraw the nomination 'in the interest of national security.' Fourteen other GOP senators joined the letter, including fellow Texan Ted Cruz and his fellow tea partiers Mike Lee of Utah, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Marco Rubio of Florida and Tim Scott of South Carolina."

•    Texas senators want less protection for the Lesser Prairie Chicken (Houston Chronicle): "The prairie grouse may be 'lesser,' but that certainly doesn’t make it any less important to the senators from Texas. Texas Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz are among six lawmakers requesting an extension on listing the Lesser Prairie Chicken as a threatened species in an attempt to preserve the oil and gas, ranching, transportation, and wind development industries."

New in The Texas Tribune

•    House Passes Bill to Address $4.5 Billion Medicaid IOU: "With little debate on Thursday, House lawmakers passed House Bill 10, an emergency supplemental appropriations bill that needs to get to Gov. Rick Perry's desk by next month to avoid bills owed to medical workers going unpaid."

•    Three New University of Texas System Regents Named: "Gov. Rick Perry announced the appointment of Jeff Hildebrand and Ernest Aliseda, along with the re-appointment of Paul Foster of El Paso, to the University of Texas System Board of Regents on Thursday."

•    Bill Targets Domestic Partnerships in School District's Health Plan: "Pflugerville ISD made history last year when the board of trustees approved health benefits for domestic partners of its employees. In response, Rep. Drew Springer, R-Muenster, has filed a bill to cut their health care funding."

•    Texas Lawmakers Mixed on Charter School Proposal: "Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, brought in national experts in an effort to build consensus around an ambitious plan to reform the state's charter school system at a Senate education hearing."

•    Self-Driving Car is Miles Ahead of Texas Laws: "A Google self-driving car drove itself around Austin and across Texas over the last week. State laws don't yet appear to address the futuristic technology."

•    Attorneys Want Fixes to Legal Immigration System: "The debate over what to do with the estimated 12 million people living in the country illegally has dominated the discussion on comprehensive immigration reform. But attorneys say key fixes are needed to the legal immigration system as well."

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