New in The Texas Tribune
• Cruz Files Amendments to Immigration Reform Measure: "U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has jumped into the immigration reform debate by filing several amendments to the legislation put forth by the 'Gang of Eight.' His proposals call for additional fencing on the border and blocking a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants."
• Judge: High School Cheerleaders Can Display Religious Messages: "A state district judge ruled Wednesday in favor of cheerleaders at an East Texas high school in their national headline-grabbing lawsuit to display religious messages during athletic events."
• Perry Gives Lawmakers Roadmap to Timely Departure: "It’s still too early to start putting odds on the likelihood of a special session in Texas, but Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday gave lawmakers a roadmap to avoid one."
• With Bill Pending, School Choice Supporters Rally: "As major charter school legislation awaits consideration in the House, school choice supporters gathered at a Capitol rally to hear from several lawmakers, including Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston."
• As Clock Ticks, Medicaid Expansion Dwindles: "With the prospect of Medicaid expansion on life support, protesters gathered at the Capitol on Wednesday to urge state leadership to expand coverage to poor adults, and state Democrats announced that they’re still searching for a legislative vehicle to expand coverage."
• Villarreal Urges Action on Payday Lending: "Payday lenders could see the expansion of local lending regulations across the state, lawmakers warned at a press conference on Wednesday, if a bill that would that would create statewide regulations fails."
• Legislature Honors World War II Vets, Including Perry's Father: "The House and Senate took time on Wednesday to honor the state's living World War II veterans, including Gov. Rick Perry's 88-year-old father, Ray Perry."
• Pitts: budget talks between House and Senate 'broken up' (San Antonio Express-News): "House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Pitts said Wednesday that budget talks have 'broken up,' asserting that the Senate is unwilling to negotiate. 'Conference is broken up … When the Senate is ready to negotiate in good faith, the House is ready to meet,' Pitts, R-Waxahachie, said in an interview. 'They don’t negotiate. It’s Senate, Senate, Senate. Higher, higher, higher.'"
• Texas Senate OK’s teacher pension changes to shore up fund (Austin American-Statesman): "The financial burden of improving the financial footing of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas will be shared by the state, school districts and members under a Senate deal struck Wednesday. Everyone will chip in a little more to shore up the $117 billion pension fund for school and university employees to quiet political rumblings that the state’s pensions are not sustainable."
• Rate of Black Voters Surpassed That for Whites in 2012 (The New York Times): "The turnout rate of black voters surpassed the rate for whites for the first time on record in 2012, as more black voters went to the polls than in 2008 and fewer whites did, according to a census report released Wednesday. The survey also found that Hispanics and Asians continue to turn out at much lower rates than other groups, and that women turn out at higher rates than men. The increase in black turnout was driven in significant part by more votes from black women."