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The Evening Brief: April 1, 2013

Your evening reading: press conferences highlight Medicaid expansion debate; FBI assisting Kaufman County murder investigation; House freshmen target budget to free up money for retired teachers

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, l, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Gov. Rick Perry at a Capitol press conference on M…

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•    Leaders Make Case For, Against Expanding Medicaid Under ACA: "The Texas rhetoric around a key tenet of federal health reform reached a high-water mark on Monday, with back-to-back press conferences at the Capitol featuring political leaders on both sides of the aisle."

•    House Freshmen Launch Coordinated Strike on Budget: "About a dozen freshman Republicans in the Texas House have filed dozens of amendments to the state budget with the same goal: defunding various programs and agencies and putting that money toward retired teachers."

•    Thousands Sign Up for UT-Austin's First EdX Courses: "On Thursday night, the University of Texas at Austin opened four massive open online courses for registration. By Monday morning, total enrollment in the free courses stood at 14,000 — and counting."

•    Lawmakers Grapple With End-of-Life Legislation: "Texas lawmakers have grappled year after year over whether families or medical professionals should make the final decision on when to end a terminally ill patient’s life-sustaining care. This year, they seem closer to a compromise. 'There are times when medical treatment is inappropriate and death is inevitable,' said state Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville."

Culled

•    Who's killing Texas prosecutors? Chilling mystery leaves county on edge (CNN): "Kaufman County is on edge. Two prosecutors killed in two months, including the district attorney, gunned down in his home over the weekend. What's going on? Is someone assassinating prosecutors? As armed guards surround the Kaufman County Courthouse and police shrouded some public officials in around-the-clock protection, it seems there are as many questions as answers. Several dozen FBI agents are now assisting the investigation, a bureau spokeswoman said."

•    Perry, on Kaufman County slayings, says violence against criminal justice officials "a clear concern" (The Dallas Morning News): "Gov. Rick Perry says a weekend attack that left the Kaufman County district attorney and his wife dead highlights 'a clear concern' Texans should have about violence against prosecutors and others working in the criminal justice system."

•    Poe: White supremacist gang likely behind murder of Kaufman County DA, wife (Houston Chronicle): "Texas Rep. Ted Poe today said there is 'a great possibility' that a white supremacist group is behind the deaths of a Texas district attorney and his wife fatally shot in their home over the weekend."

•    With Hutchison gone, money for Texas may be, too (San Antonio Express-News): "For nearly two decades, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison delivered thousands of federal projects to Texas that added billions of dollars to the state's economy. The leader of a bipartisan approach known as 'Team Texas,' Hutchison worked with Democrats and Republicans to send federal dollars to Texas, even if it occasionally got her in trouble with spending hawks in her party. Now, in Hutchison's absence, Texans in Washington are struggling to come up with a unified strategy to return Texas taxpayers' dollars to the Lone Star State."

•    Next immigration hurdle: Citizenship's fine print (Politico): "It’s not the inclusion of a pathway to citizenship that has immigration reform proponents worried — at this point, it’s clear that this will be part of any deal Senate negotiators produce. It’s how difficult they choose to make it."

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