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The Evening Brief: May 7, 2013

Your evening reading: bill pushing alternative to Medicaid expansion likely dead; Republicans knock Obama's upcoming visit to Austin; GOP donor to file suit over federal health care reform

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•    As Clock Ticks, Medicaid Expansion Dwindles: "With the lower chamber’s window to approve House bills closing, the likelihood of Texas expanding Medicaid coverage — even through a private market alternative — is looking slim. State Rep. John Zerwas said his House Bill 3791 is all but assured not to move in the lower chamber by Thursday's midnight deadline. 'It's probably dead in the water,' he said."

•    Hotze to File Suit Over Federal Health Reform: "The Supreme Court’s ruling that penalties under the ACA qualify as taxes has opened the door to another constitutional challenge, Houston physician and Republican donor Steve Hotze said Tuesday. And he's filing suit."

•    Bill Banning "Double Dipping" Dies in Committee: "An effort to ban 'double dipping' by elected officials, a practice brought to light during Gov. Rick Perry's run for president, has gone on life support."

•    Bill Would End Environmental Compliance History Program: "A program that gives the public information about the compliance history of facilities overseen by the state's environmental agency would end under a bill House lawmakers will consider this week."

•    Groundwater Levels Suffer Sharp Drop, Study Finds: "Groundwater levels in Texas dropped considerably between 2010 and 2011, according to a report published recently by the Texas Water Development Board. The Ogallala was among the major aquifers experiencing significant declines."


•    Texas Republicans, Fox News criticize Obama’s choice of Austin to kick off jobs tour (Houston Chronicle): "Texas Republicans aren’t sure whether to roll out the welcome mat or roll their eyes at President Obama’s selection of Texas to kick off a national tour highlighting the American job-creation turnaround. 'We welcome President Obama to Texas – he will find a state that has been very successful in creating jobs and a healthy state economy,' said Gov. Rick Perry, a longtime Obama antagonist."

•    Senate dean blocks SpaceX bill (Houston Chronicle): "A must-pass proposal for the state to keep entertaining the idea of SpaceX building a rocket launch site in South Texas has met its first roadblock in the Legislature: Senate dean John Whitmire."

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