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The Evening Brief: April 9, 2013

Your evening reading: Senate panel hears impassioned debate over school choice bill; Perry urges Obama to press Mexico to release water to Texas; Cornyn, McCaul file border security measure

Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, listens after questioning Chairman Dan Patrick, R-Houston, on SB 23 in Senate Education Committee April 9, 2013.

New in The Texas Tribune

•    Education Chairman Urges Panel to Support "Noble Cause": "State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, at a Tuesday hearing delivered an impassioned plea in support of the tax credit scholarship plan that is a critical part of the school choice reform package he has pushed this session."

•    Perry to Obama: Press Mexico for Water: "In a letter to President Barack Obama on Tuesday, Gov. Rick Perry urged the federal government to press Mexico to release more water to Texas under the terms of a 1944 treaty."

•    Cornyn, McCaul Introduce Border Security Measure: "U.S. Sen. John Cornyn and U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, talked Tuesday about the need for more drones and other technology to help secure the U.S.-Mexico border, and they said strict deadlines should be in place for the Department of Homeland Security to reach such goals."

•    Guest Column: The UT Story Not Being Told: "When the drama surrounding recent decisions by the University of Texas System regents dominates the conversation about higher education, the truly critical issues facing our students and their families are left unexamined."

•    Zaffirini Bill Would Clarify Open Records Obligations: "State Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, filed a bill on Monday to clarify the open records obligations of state agencies, including — some would say specifically — the University of Texas System."

•    Prosecutors, Defense Attorneys Spar Over Child Sex Crimes Bill: "A panel of House lawmakers on Tuesday heard prosecutors and defense attorneys debate a bill that would allow prosecutors in child sex crime cases to bring in evidence of prior offenses, including accusations by other children."

•    Proposal: Allow Private Firms to Provide Mental Health Services in Jails: "Private mental health care providers would be allowed into select jails to attempt to restore inmates to competency under a proposed pilot program. The restored inmates would then be able to stand for trial."


•    It’s official: Austin getting super-fast Google Fiber network (Austin American-Statesman): "It’s official now: Google Fiber is coming to Austin. Google Inc., the giant of Internet search, said this morning it will start offering customer service in Austin on its ultra-fast Internet access network around the middle of next year. The announcement followed days of intense Internet speculation about the project, which aims to satisfy some Internet users’ need for speed."

•    Obama group targets Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in ads urging support for gun background checks (The Dallas Morning News): "A liberal grassroots organization is running ads featuring the face of Republican Sen. Ted Cruz as it urges Americans to tell their senators to support universal background checks for gun buyers. Organizing for Action — President Barack Obama’s re-election-campaign-turned-nonprofit —  started running its online ads on Facebook and in search engines today."

•    House gives initial OK to fake air bag bill (Houston Chronicle): "The Texas House is looking to crackdown on crooked auto mechanics installing counterfeit air bags. A proposal from state Rep. Jose Menendez, D-San Antonio, to enhance criminal penalties for knowingly installing a fake air bag tentatively cleared the full House Tuesday on a voice vote."

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