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The Brief: March 22, 2013

He's been out of office for months, but one of Ron Paul's pet issues — gold — may be gaining traction in the Texas Legislature.

Ron Paul speaks at a Tea Party rally at the Texas Capitol on May 6, 2012.

The Big Conversation

He's been out of office for months, but one of Ron Paul's pet issues — gold — may be gaining traction in the Texas Legislature.

As the Tribune's Emily Ramshaw and Aman Batheja report, a push by Gov. Rick Perry to bring the state's gold reserves from the Federal Reserve in New York to Texas has found some support among state lawmakers. 

State Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, a first-term Republican from Southlake, has filed a bill that would establish the Texas Bullion Depository, a state-based bank that would house $1 billion worth of gold owned by the University of Texas Investment Management Company, or UTIMCO.

And Paul, the newly retired congressman long known for his fondness for the gold standard, likes what he's hearing.

"If you think gold is a hedge, or a protection, you always want it as close to the individual and the entity as possible," Paul told the Tribune on Thursday. "Texas is better served if it knows exactly where the gold is rather than depending on the security of the Federal Reserve." 

In an appearance on Glenn Beck's radio show this week, Perry said the state should be able to decide for itself where its gold is stored.

"If we own it, I will suggest to you that that’s not someone else’s determination whether we can take possession of it back or not," he said.

Under Capriglione's proposal, the state's gold in New York would not be physically transported to Texas but rather — due to logistical concerns — be sold and then repurchased within the state. Capriglione said he was still in discussions with UTIMCO over the amount of gold that should be stored in Texas.

Whether his bill will score any bipartisan support, however, remains unclear. Though state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, called the idea "an interesting concept," state Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, was less charitable.

“We’ve got plenty of real problems that we’re not going to deal with this session," Burnam said. "Let’s deal with them.”

Culled

•    Longtime GOP activist announces run for governor (Austin American-Statesman): "At the age of 69, Tom Pauken has a rich history in conservative Republican politics. … On Thursday, Pauken filed papers with the Texas Ethics Commission allowing him to raise money to run for governor in 2014. He declared, in an interview, 'We just need a different style of leadership and a different approach to addressing the issues.' It is long-shot candidacy by a relatively little-known candidate, but one that might further clarify the choice awaiting Perry when he decides, after the legislative session, whether to seek another term as governor."

•    Senate Democrats reject Ryan budget (Politico): "Senate Democrats defeated Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget on their floor Thursday night, a vote the majority party forced to make a political point. … Five Republicans broke with Democrats to oppose the House Republican’s budget: Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Ted Cruz (Texas), Dean Heller (Nev.), Mike Lee (Utah) and Rand Paul (Ky.)."

•    Suspect in Colorado Killing Is Shot in Texas (The New York Times): "A man who was grievously wounded after a gun battle and high-speed chase with Texas law enforcement officers on Thursday is suspected of being tied to the killing of the head of Colorado’s prison system, who was shot to death at his home on Tuesday evening, Texas officials said. The man, who was being kept alive by artificial means and had not been identified, was pulled over about 65 miles northwest of Dallas at 11 a.m. on Thursday."

•    Charter school limits remain in Senate bill (Austin American-Statesman): "The Senate’s Education Committee chief Thursday backed off his push for no limits on new charter schools in Texas, and argued with tearful indignation that politics is getting in the way of doing right by students. Chairman Dan Patrick, R-Houston, unveiled changes to Senate Bill 2 that this year would allow 10 new charter schools, which are privately managed schools that receive public dollars. Next year, another 20 could be added, and 35 each year thereafter."

•    Senate Gang of 8 close on immigration deal (The Associated Press): "A bipartisan group of senators is nearing agreement on a comprehensive immigration bill that would put illegal immigrants on a 13-year path to citizenship, officials with outside groups keeping up with the talks said Thursday. The legislation also would install new criteria for border security, allow more high- and low-skilled workers to come to the U.S. and hold businesses to tougher standards on verifying their workers are in the country legally, according to outside groups and lawmakers involved. Together, the measures represent the most sweeping changes in immigration law in decades."

Quote of the Day: "It’s a bad day not to bring a hanky." — State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, during an emotional hearing over charter schools on Thursday

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