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The Evening Brief: May 6, 2013

Your evening reading: big win for Big Tobacco in Texas House; Perry compares opposing gays in Boy Scouts to fighting slavery; UIL says disqualified student didn't make religious gesture

Statte Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, explains an education funding amendment to SB 1 while House sponsor Chairman Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, talks with state Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, on April 4, 2013.

New in The Texas Tribune

•    Big Tobacco Beats Small Tobacco on Tax Vote: "Small cigarette manufacturers would face new state fees on their sales under a measure that passed the Texas House in a preliminary vote on Monday — a big win for Big Tobacco. The measure, which supporters say levels the playing field for tobacco companies, drew opposition from anti-tax conservatives but passed 85-53."

•    UIL: Disqualified Student Didn't Make Religious Gesture: "The University Interscholastic League has determined that a student's disqualification from a track meet had everything to do with the athlete's disrespectful behavior and nothing to do with his religious beliefs."

•    House Backs Prison Bill That Diverges From Senate Measure: "The House on Monday approved a bill that allows the state's sprawling prison system to continue operations but doesn't specifically shutter two privately operated lockups that legislators in the upper chamber have voted to close."

•    If the Legislature's in Town, Bills Aren't Dead: "The legislative session is in its last month and most bills will die. But setbacks for the big stuff — water, transportation and the like — are usually temporary."

•    Sale of Longhorns Sparks Debate on Breed's Future: "The recent sale of about 100 Big Bend Ranch State Park longhorns by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has triggered a debate on how to best protect the future of a breed that has stood as a symbol of the state."


•    Perry says Scouts’ no-gays policy akin to stand against slavery (The Dallas Morning News): "Gov. Rick Perry spoke via Skype to the Family Research Council’s 'Stand With Scouts Sunday' program, where he applauded the Boy Scouts for taking a principled stand against gay membership and leadership. Perry, an Eagle Scout who wrote the book On My Honor about the importance of scouting values, said the group should be respected for upholding its principles and likened the gay rights movement to a passing fad."

•    Heritage Foundation: Immigration reform will cost $6.3 trillion (Politico): "The Heritage Foundation is sounding the alarms about the cost of immigration reform again – but this time, the right is trying to shout them down. On Monday, the conservative think tank released a new study warning that the immigration bill by the Senate Gang of Eight would cost taxpayers $6.3 trillion in new spending on entitlements and social programs. It’s an update of a 2007 Heritage study that helped derail the last immigration reform bill that year."

•    George P. Bush heading to D.C. (Politico): "George P. Bush is coming to D.C. to fundraise both for his own campaign and for a fellow Texan. … He’ll also headline a fundraiser for freshman Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas), a family friend, on Thursday."

•    House OKs bill to remove Big Three from ETF tech awards (Houston Chronicle): "The Texas House on Monday tentatively passed a proposal to strip the state’s top three lawmakers from awarding multi-million grants to tech startups from one of Gov. Rick Perry’s controversial deal-closing funds."

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