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The Evening Brief: March 11, 2013

Your evening reading: at education rally, Davis knocks Combs over revenue estimate; committees hear $2 billion water plan proposal; Garcia sworn in to Senate seat

A public education rally at the Capitol on March 11, 2013, sponsored by the Texas chapter of the American Federation of Teachers.


•    Senator blames state comptroller for school funding cuts (The Dallas Morning News): "A Democratic senator Monday laid part of the blame for the massive funding cuts to public schools over the past two years on state Comptroller Susan Combs. Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, told nearly 3,000 teachers at a rally in front of the Capitol that Combs, a Republican, did a 'colossally bad job' of estimating state revenues that were available to the Legislature two years ago."

•    Water financing proposals get hearing at Capitol (Austin American-Statesman): "Legislative proposals to transfer $2 billion from the state’s rainy day fund to establish a revolving loan program to pay for major water infrastructure projects got hearings in Senate and House committees this morning."

•    The Senate has 31 members again with Garcia’s arrival (Houston Chronicle): "Sen. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, took her place in the Texas Senate chamber Monday to succeed the late Mario Gallegos. 'We have 31 members. We are complete,' said Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio. Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, said, 'Mario would be proud of this moment.'"

•    NRA confab will feature Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Ted Cruz (The Dallas Morning News): "The National Rifle Association is coming to Houston, and two Texas leaders will be on hand to rally the gun rights loving troops. Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Ted Cruz are confirmed speakers on May 3, opening day of the three-day annual convention. Given their outspoken advocacy for the Second Amendment, both are sure to be wildly popular."

New in The Texas Tribune

•    Former Lawmaker Blasts Her Successor in Email: "Former state Rep. Vicki Truitt says she's over her primary loss to Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake. But an email she sent to 'selected friends' early this month indicates she's still harboring resentment over the bruising campaign."

•    Freshman Lawmaker Gets a Lesson in Pack Behavior: "The general rule is that new legislators are supposed to be seen and not heard — especially, as it turns out, when the subject is legislative ethics. Tarrant County Republican Giovanni Capriglione learned that lesson with a bill that would require lawmakers to disclose whether their family members' businesses depend on government contracts."

•    On the Records: Texas Sets Curve on Transparency Report Card: "Texas received an A in government transparency from the nonprofit Sunlight Foundation. The state picked up the most points for providing an easy way to collect data on filed bills during legislative sessions."

•    The Polling Center: California's Conservative Migration to Texas: "The wave of migrants coming from California are coming for the economy, and it is not safe to assume this is a pack of West Coast liberals who want to change Texas politics."

•    After Quarter-Century on the Job, UTEP President is Still Making Waves: "After 25 years at the helm of the University of Texas at El Paso, Diana Natalicio sees no end to her work in sight. Instead, she has recently taken on a bigger role in the national conversation about higher education."

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Politics Public education