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The Evening Brief: April 30, 2013

Your evening reading: Straus says House will find way to fund water plan; state, federal lawmakers to probe West plant explosion; Obama says opposition to health care law will hurt Texans

House Speaker Joe Straus during the seconding speeches for the 83rd session's speaker's race.

New in The Texas Tribune

•    Straus: House Will Find Way to Fund Water: "The morning after a major bill to authorize spending billions of dollars on state water projects faltered in the House, Speaker Joe Straus' office released a statement saying he wouldn't 'let a technicality seal the debate.'"

•    House Votes to Reduce State Exams in Lower Grades: "A measure taking aim at the firm that develops the state's standardized tests briefly stalled legislation reducing high-stakes exams for elementary and middle school students before it finally passed the Texas House on Tuesday."

•    Law Enforcement Officials Raise Concerns About Drone Bill: "State Rep. Lance Gooden’s bill to prevent unmanned drones from capturing indiscriminate surveillance — a measure that has more than 80 co-authors in the House — is facing opposition from some law enforcement officials."

•    State's Shale Boom Has Major Impact on Budget: "Besides boosting the economies of remote towns, the shale boom has big implications for the Texas economy and budget. Already, taxes on oil and gas production have soared above the comptroller’s estimates. Analysts say sales and property taxes are also set for gains, if oil prices stay high."


•    House committee to delve into West explosion (Houston Chronicle): "State lawmakers will begin the first formal inquiry Wednesday into the catastrophic explosion at the West Fertilizer Co. with invited testimony from officials representing eight state agencies."

•    California Sen. Barbara Boxer pledges investigation into West fertilizer plant explosion (Houston Chronicle): "California Sen. Barbara Boxer vowed on Monday to investigate the deadly West fertilizer plant explosion. Boxer, chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said she intends to hold an oversight hearing into the chemical explosion at the fertilizer plant and what chemical safety laws should be examined at similar facilities."

•    Obama says Texas Gov. Rick Perry makes Obamacare harder to implement, but resistance is futile (The Dallas Morning News): "Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s refusal to establish a statewide insurance exchange has hampered the new health care law, President Barack Obama asserted Tuesday. But it won’t stop the law from taking effect. 'I think it’s harder. There’s no doubt about it,' Obama told reporters at a news conference that marked the 100th day of his second term."

•    Marco Rubio: Gang of Eight’s immigration bill can’t pass the House (Politico): "Sen. Marco Rubio acknowledged Tuesday on a conservative radio talk show that the Gang of Eight’s comprehensive immigration reform bill won’t likely pass the Republican-led House. The comments from Rubio, perhaps the most influential congressional Republican on immigration, illustrate the challenges facing the prospects for reform after months of private negotiations by a bipartisan coalition of senators produced a wide-ranging, 844-page bill."

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