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The Evening Brief: April 16, 2013

Your evening reading: House lawmaker outlines alternative to Medicaid expansion; Cruz introduces his own gun legislation; details of federal immigration bill emerge

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New in The Texas Tribune

•    Zerwas Proposes Alternative to Medicaid Expansion: "Amid hours of testimony from advocates in support of Medicaid expansion on Tuesday, state Rep. John Zerwas, R-Simonton, described his proposal for an alternative program to provide health coverage for the poor and uninsured."

•    House Panel Debates Medicaid Expansion Proposal: "Despite Gov. Rick Perry remaining strongly opposed to expanding Medicaid, a House panel on Tuesday considered legislation that would expand coverage to poor adults under the Affordable Care Act."

•    Senator Criticizes National Media Outlets, Testing Lobby: "At a hearing Tuesday, Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, slammed national media coverage of the Legislature's effort to change high school diploma requirements and reduce high-stakes exams."

•    Bill Outline Shows Sweeping Immigration Overhaul: "Details of a sweeping federal immigration reform bill emerged Tuesday. The plan includes a path to citizenship that lasts more than a decade, beefed-up border security and an expanded visa system."

•    Bill Would End Diversion of Auto Theft Prevention Funds: "A bill by state Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, would restore dedicated funds to a state agency that has helped recover 1.6 million stolen vehicles in Texas. In recent years, lawmakers diverted the funds to help balance the state budget."


•    Sen. Cruz introduces alternative gun bills (The Hill): "Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Monday introduced two gun bills, one of which is co-sponsored by a group of 10 Republicans, many of whom signed a pledge earlier this month to filibuster attempts to pass gun control. The measures provide an alternative to the gun control bill the Senate will begin debate on this week, which would expand background checks on gun purchases, crack down on gun trafficking and beef up security in schools. GOP senators have vowed to block that bill, claiming it goes too far and infringes on the rights of gun owners."

•    Cornyn: American response to Boston bombings must be 'firm and unequivocal' (Houston Chronicle): "Texas Sen. John Cornyn today praised the heroic first responders who ran toward the mayhem in Boston and pledged a 'firm and unequivocal' reaction from the U.S. government. 'We still don’t know who is responsible for this terrible atrocity, but we do know that the people of Boston responded to this attack with courage and compassion. As the smoke rose, the American people saw their fellow citizens running toward, not away, but toward, the scene of the blast,' Cornyn said Tuesday morning on the Senate floor."

•    Senate panel votes to form water account; money question lingers (The Dallas Morning News): "Legislation creating a revolving loan fund for state water plan projects won unanimous approval in the Senate Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday. But a big question remains: Will some Republicans insist on getting cover from voters before spending money from the Rainy Day Fund on the water plan?"

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