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The Evening Brief: April 19, 2013

Your evening reading: in surprise, Perry presses House to break spending cap; regulations in spotlight after West explosion; State Board of Education urges Legislature to reject vouchers

Gov. Rick Perry at the state Capitol on Dec. 19, 2012.

New in The Texas Tribune

•    Perry Stuns Lawmakers by Urging House to Bust Spending Cap: "Gov. Rick Perry told House Republicans in a private meeting this week that he could support a budget that breaks the state's constitutional spending cap, according to several attendees. But many are still wary of doing so."

•    West Explosion Raises Regulatory Questions: "As investigators search for the cause of the explosion, environmentalists said that the situation highlighted lax regulations in Texas for plants handling dangerous chemicals — especially those located near schools."

•    State Education Board Urges Legislature to Reject Vouchers, Tax Credits: "The Texas State Board of Education voted 10-5 on Friday to urge the Legislature to reject proposals that would result in public funds being allocated for private educational institutions."

•    Politics Could Determine Travis County DA's Future: "Democratic Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg's decision not to resign over her drunken driving conviction may have its roots in party politics; Republican Gov. Rick Perry would get to appoint her replacement."

•    Court of Inquiry Concludes With Arrest Warrant for Anderson: "Judge Louis Sturns ordered the arrest of former prosecutor Ken Anderson after ruling there was probable cause to believe committed a felony by withholding critical evidence from defense lawyers in Michael Morton's 1987 trial."

•    Instead of New Ethics Laws, a Study — Again: "Lawmakers started the legislative session talking about changes they would like to make in the state's ethics laws. Now — and it is not the first time — they're sending some of the most delicate items back for more study."

•    Amid Fireworks, Cigarroa Focused on Framework: "In 2011, University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa calmed turbulence in the higher ed community with his 'Framework for Advancing Excellence.' New conflicts have emerged, but Cigarroa said he's sticking to his plan."


•    Gohmert: U.S. should deport Chechen immigrants with violent proclivities (Houston Chronicle): "Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert said the United States should crack down on Chechens coming to the United States, following the ongoing pursuit of two Chechen brothers believed to be involved in the Boston Marathon bombings. 'We should be taking a look at Chechens coming here … if there’s violence in their background they need to be deported,' Gohmert said Friday afternoon on Glenn Beck’s The Blaze."

•    Boy Scouts Move to Lift Ban on Gay Youth Members (The New York Times): "Seeking an elusive middle ground on an issue that has divided its ranks and drawn heated national debate, the Boy Scouts of America on Friday proposed ending its longstanding ban on openly gay scouts but continuing to bar gay adults from serving as leaders. The decision must be approved by the roughly 1,400 voting members of the Scouts’ National Council at a meeting in Texas the week of May 20."

•    Senate begins redistricting process, opposition emerges (The Dallas Morning News): "A Senate committee held a hearing Thursday on a bill that would make permanent the interim electoral boundaries developed last year by a federal panel. The State Affairs Committee listen to testimony, much of it against the plan. It appears Democrats in the Senate, and perhaps some Republicans, want to wait until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on a Voting Rights Act case before taking up the often messy issue of redistricting."

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