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The Evening Brief: March 8, 2013

Your evening reading: hearing exposes divide over Medicaid expansion; Texas' uninsured rate still highest in nation; Patrick files tax credit scholarship legislation

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, moves away from the podium after moving to briefly postpone discussion on SB1 the budget bill on June 9, 2011.

New in The Texas Tribune

•    House Panel Reveals Divide on Medicaid Expansion: "A House Appropriations Committee hearing on Friday provided the clearest picture yet of how divided the Texas House is on expanding Medicaid, a key tenet of federal health reform."

•    Patrick Presents Details of Tax Credit Scholarship Plan: "State Sen. Dan Patrick has filed legislation to create an Equal Opportunity Scholarship Program, which would allow economically disadvantaged and at-risk students who attend public schools to transfer to private schools."

•    UT/TT Poll: Texans Show Support for Ending Federal Election Oversight: "Texans favor ending federal oversight of state election laws, according to the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll. And an overhaul of federal immigration laws that includes a pathway to citizenship for people who are now in the country illegally would have the support of a narrow majority."

•    Legislature May Restrict Use of Cell Phone Records by Law Enforcement: "Texas lawmakers are considering a bill filed by Rep. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, that would require police and prosecutors to prove there is a probable cause of illegal activity before obtaining suspects' cell phone records. Some law enforcement officials say the new requirement would limit their ability to catch criminals."

•    Conservatives Revive Proposal for Term Limits: "With a Republican majority in the state House, Senate and state congressional delegation, it seems like a strange time for conservatives to renew a push for instituting term limits. But some conservatives are doing just that."


•    Texas Uninsured Rate Drifts Further From Other States (Gallup): "For the fifth straight year, Texas has the highest uninsured rate in the country — the 28.8% of adult Texans lacking healthcare coverage in 2012 is the highest for any state since Gallup and Healthways started tracking insurance coverage in January 2008."

•    Sequestration halts efforts to make Bushes’ Midland home a national historic site (Houston Chronicle): "There’s an unlikely victim of the sequester: The Bush family. Apparently, the across-the-board spending cuts brought on by our budget impasse in DC have put a crimp in Rep. Michael Conaway’s plans to get the childhood home of former President George W. Bush designated as a national historic site."

•    Senator from Connecticut asks NASCAR to reject NRA’s sponsorship of April race at Texas Motor Speedway (The Dallas Morning News): "NASCAR is drawing fire from critics questioning the group’s decision to let the National Rifle Association sponsor an April 13 race at Fort Worth’s Texas Motor Speedway. In a letter to NASCAR, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said families impacted by the fatal shootings of 20 children and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown deserve better."

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