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The Evening Brief: April 11, 2013

Your evening reading: UT regents agree to turn over records to lawmakers; Cornyn and Cruz vote to block debate on gun bill; state Senate to consider spending half of Rainy Day Fund

UT System Chancellor Dr. Francisco Cigarroa listens as UT Regents announce the turning over of records to legislators on Apr…

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•    UT Regents Vote to Give Records to Lawmakers: "The University of Texas System regents voted unanimously Thursday to turn over documents to state legislators that they had considered withholding and to have the attorney general conduct a review of the University of Texas Law School Foundation."

•    Lawmakers Respond to UT System Regents' Vote: "Lawmakers reacted positively to the University of Texas System regents' unanimous vote on Thursday to turn over requested documents to legislators, but they also indicated that tensions had not been entirely laid to rest."

•    Plan to Expand Charter Schools Clears Senate: "A significantly altered version of Senate Education Chairman Dan Patrick's legislation expanding the state's charter school system quickly passed out of the upper chamber Thursday afternoon."

•    Senate Sets Up Debate on Rainy Day Fund Spending: "The full Texas Senate will consider a plan to spend about half of the projected $11.8 billion balance in the state's Rainy Day Fund for transportation and water projects, though Democrats plan to push for money for schools as well."

•    Report: 2.6 Million Texans Could Get Health Insurance Subsidy: "Nearly 2.6 million Texans could qualify for tax credits to purchase health insurance in 2014, according to a report released Thursday by a nonprofit advocacy group."

•    Michael Morton Act Handily Passes Senate: "Senators passed Senate Bill 1611, also known as the 'Michael Morton Act,' which would require prosecutors to turn over evidence to defense lawyers in criminal cases. The chamber erupted in applause following the vote."

•    House to Feds: Pressure Mexico to Release Water: "The Texas House on Thursday voted to formally ask the U.S. State Department to apply pressure on the Mexican government to release water owed to Texas under the terms of a treaty signed in 1944."

•    Senate Passes Unemployment Drug-Testing Bill: "Under a bill by Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, applicants for unemployment benefits could be subject to drug testing if their responses to a questionnaire raise red flags."

•    Elon Musk: The TT Interview: The CEO of Tesla Motors, who came to the Texas Capitol this week to lobby legislators to allow him to sell his electric cars directly to Texans, on his effort to get an exemption from state antitrust laws, the state's business-friendly reputation and SpaceX's plans to build an orbital launch facility near Brownsville

Culled

•    Cornyn, Cruz explain their votes to block debate on gun legislation (Houston Chronicle): "Texas’ two senators, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, were on the losing side of a vote today to proceed with debate (and a final vote) on gun legislation. What might be a bit surprising is the number of Republicans (16) who voted to choke off a potential filibuster threatened by Cruz and supported by Cornyn."

•    Growing war chest for Texas Sen. John Cornyn (The Dallas Morning News): "Texas Sen. John Cornyn has amassed a $4.2 million war chest as he gears up for a reelection bid next year. An aide to the senior senator said today that Cornyn raised $1.85 million in the first three months of 2013."

•    Mark Zuckerberg immigration group puts big pieces in place (Politico): "After weeks of anticipation and a shaky start, the new political advocacy group backed by Mark Zuckerberg will launch Thursday with a list of top Silicon Valley CEOs and a notable team of strategists."

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