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The Evening Brief: March 25, 2013

Your evening reading: women's coalition wins federal family planning money; House adopts rule restricting budget amendments; Senate OKs Medicaid overhaul

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New in The Texas Tribune

•    Women's Coalition Gets Federal Money State Vied For: "The federal government has awarded family planning dollars that used to go into state coffers to a coalition of Texas women's health providers instead."

•    Senate Approves Overhaul of Long-Term Medicaid Care: "The Texas Senate on Monday unanimously approved an overhaul of long-term and acute care Medicaid services in an effort to expand care to more disabled Texans while saving millions of state dollars."

•    Arrest Warrant Issued for Reynolds Over Alleged Barratry Scheme: "Nearly a month after the Harris County DA dropped barratry charges against Rep. Ron Reynolds, the Montgomery County DA has issued a warrant for his arrest in connection with an alleged quarter-million-dollar kickback scheme."

•    Drought Response Sparks the Battle of St. Augustine: "The state's drought and the resulting need for conservation is starting to affect voters who are not usually aware of water shortages — people in the suburbs, with lush, thirsty lawns. Lawns aren’t the only problem with water, or even the biggest one. They are politically interesting, though, and hazardous for the average legislator or policy maker."


•    House sets budget debate rule: Undoing school cuts off limits (The Dallas Morning News): "The House has adopted a rule governing next week’s floor debate of the state budget that frustrates Democrats who want to undo last session’s education cuts, but also some tea party Republicans. The vote on the so-called calendar rule was 133-11. Among those voting no were nine Democrats, including Reps. Lon Burnam of Fort Worth, Trey Martinez Fischer of San Antonio, Armando Walle of Houston and Abel Herrero of Corpus Christi; and conservative Republicans David Simpson of Longview and Van Taylor of Plano."

•    Ballistics confirm same handgun used in Texas, Colorado shootings (Fort Worth Star-Telegram): "Ballistics tests released Monday have confirmed the handgun used by Evan Spencer Ebel in the shootout Thursday with authorities in Decatur was the same one that killed the head of a Colorado Department of Corrections. The El Paso County Sheriff's Office in Colorado issued a news release Monday that said the Colorado Springs Metro Crime Lab's analysis of shell casings recovered in Texas were also used in the killing of Tom Clements, executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections."

•    John Cornyn’s Texas constituents send Obama a clear message: 'Re-open the people’s house' (Houston Chronicle): "As lawmakers head into their two week spring break, Sen. John Cornyn is bringing attention to the Texas kids on their own spring breaks who are 'shut out' of the White House due to the sequester. Cornyn’s 90-second video uses testimonies from parents and children from Houston who want to take White House tours during spring break this week."

•    Challenge to Open Meetings Act ends (Austin American-Statesman): "A long-running challenge to the Texas Open Meetings Act ended Monday morning when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a lower-court ruling that upheld the law."

•    Education chief says he would keep at least eight high school tests (The Dallas Morning News): "State Education Commissioner Michael Williams said Monday he would keep more high school end-of-course tests than are currently being considered in separate House and Senate bills. Williams offered his opinion on the tests during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Nominations Committee."

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