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The Evening Brief: April 8, 2013

Your evening reading: prospects dim for bill that would cut early-voting period; Carona touts gambling measure ahead of committee hearing; Craddick says he meant to vote against anti-voucher amendment

State Rep. Patricia Harless, R-Spring, turns away from the front microphone after answering a question during voter ID debate on March 23, 2011.

New in The Texas Tribune

•    Bill That Cuts Early-Voting Period Likely to Be Pulled: "A bill that would slash the number of days allowed for early voting is likely to be pulled after scathing testimony Monday from opponents who said the bill was discriminatory and retrogressive. House Bill 2093, by state Rep. Patricia Harless, R-Spring, would limit the early-voting period in Texas to seven days before general and primary elections. Current law mandates 12 days."

•    Carona Sets the Stage for Hearing on Gambling Measure: "'You never really know when a major issue like this will find a break or an opportunity to be passed,' state Sen. John Carona said Monday of proposed legislation that could lead to the legalization of casino gambling in Texas."

•    Getting Serious About a Texas-Size Drought: "In a state fabled for its everything-is-bigger mentality, the idea of conserving resources is taking hold. Texas political and business leaders have realized that no water equals no business."

•    Texas Roads Paved With Taxes, Tolls and Debt: "Voters want better roads. Lawmakers want happy voters. Roads require taxes, tolls, debt or some combination of the three, which is why conservative officeholders are using those three dirty words."

•    The Medicaid Expansion Merry-Go-Round: "Republican legislators who want to use federal Medicaid expansion dollars are struggling to find common ground between the Perry administration in Texas and the Obama administration in Washington. But they're trying."


•    Study: Perry, Dewhurst and Straus Reap Millions from TEF donors (Houston Chronicle): "Texas’ top three lawmakers have collected more than $3.6 million in contributions from donors affiliated with companies that received millions in grants from a state incentive program, according to a new study from a state watchdog group. The study, released Monday by Texans for Public Justice, dives deep into the political spending of folks associated with 38 projects that drew a total of roughly $307 million in state grants from the Texas Enterprise Fund, a job creation program that has drawn the ire of lawmakers this session because of a perceived lack of transparency."

•    Craddick says he meant to be a no in anti-voucher vote (The Dallas Morning News): "Former Speaker Tom Craddick has said that, despite being recorded as a 'yea' on a vote to ban use of state funds for private school vouchers, he really meant to be a 'nay.' Craddick, R-Midland, attracted newspaper reporters’ attention on Thursday with his vote on Rep. Abel Herrero’s amendment to the state budget bill."

•    Attorney general challenges CPRIT foundation’s expenses (Austin American-Statesman): "The Texas attorney general is challenging some of the expenses charged by the foundation created to support the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. In a letter Monday, the state’s top lawyer disallowed $149,316, including more than $84,000 in retainers for Jennifer Stevens’ JHL Company, which managed CPRIT Foundation, as well as money for lawyers, a lobbyist and a public relations consultant."

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