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The Evening Brief: March 20, 2013

Your evening reading: Senate passes $195.5 billion budget; Cornyn calls talk of pathway to citizenship premature; UT System votes to seek review of Law School Foundation

State Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, during a state budget debate on March 20, 2013.

New in The Texas Tribune

•    Senate Approves $195.5 Billion Budget, 29-2: "The Texas Senate approved a $195.5 billion budget Wednesday that even supporters called an intermediate step toward a final spending plan for the next two years."

•    TPPF Presents Plan to Reform Medicaid With Block Grant: The Texas Public Policy Foundation released a report on Wednesday detailing how Texas could use a block grant from the federal government to cut costs and fundamentally reform Medicaid.

•    UT System Votes for External Review of Law School Foundation: "In a tense meeting Wednesday, University of Texas System regents voted to seek an external review of the University of Texas at Austin's relationship with the University of Texas Law School Foundation."

•    State Leadership Allows CPRIT to Move Forward on Grants: "Despite an ongoing grant moratorium, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas received permission Wednesday from state leadership to move forward on contract negotiations for 25 grants."

•    Map: Not All Voting Age Populations Are Equal: Having each House or Senate district match the others in size masks big differences that greatly affect politics and elections. Though districts have the same number of people, they don't necessarily have the same number of adults — meaning not all voting age populations are equal. Use our maps to explore the numbers and see how House and Senate districts compare to statewide averages.

•    Christine Morton's Brother Testifies in Norwood Trial: "Christine Morton's brother John Kirkpatrick testified Wednesday in the trial of Mark Norwood, who is accused of beating Morton to death in 1986. Kirkpatrick told jurors how he found the bandana that links Norwood to the crime."


•    Immigration: Sen. John Cornyn still sees path to citizenship as premature (The Dallas Morning News): "Momentum may be building granting some path to citizenship for 11 million or so undocumented immigrants. But don’t expect Texas Sen. John Cornyn to jump on the bandwagon. … Cornyn said Wednesday he continues to see that as premature. 'How does that solve with what’s broken with our immigration system? That’s the basic fallacy of that sort of putting-the-cart-before-the-horse' approach, he said. 'I think it’s a mistake to focus on that.'"

•    Cease and desist powers for PUC slow House business (Houston Chronicle): "A proposal to give cease and desist authority to the Texas Public Utility Commission slowed State House passage Wednesday of a sunset advisory commission bill for the energy-regulating agency. As the bill, HB 1600, winded to the floor, members made an issue of an amendment by Rep. Matt Krause, R-Arlington, to remove a part of the bill giving the PUC board cease and desist powers during emergencies."

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