The Evening Brief: May 16, 2013
Your evening reading: budget negotiations back in limbo; Perry signs Michael Morton Act; senator says Kitzman unlikely to win confirmation
New in The Texas Tribune
• Democrat Says Republicans Reneged on Budget Deal: "A budget deal remained in jeopardy Thursday, hours before budget negotiaters were set to hold a hearing to finalize details. A House Democrat says that Republicans have gone back on a deal regarding education spending."
• Perry Signs Michael Morton Act: "With exoneree Michael Morton by his side, Gov. Rick Perry on Thursday signed a measure that aims to avoid wrongful convictions by preventing prosecutors from suppressing evidence."
• Senator: Kitzman Unlikely to Win Confirmation: "Texas Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman is unlikely to win confirmation before the end of the session, a key senator said Thursday. That would end her nearly two-year tenure as head of that agency."
• Senate Sponsor Significantly Rewrites Franchise Tax Bill: "House Bill 500, the Legislature's most sweeping attempt at reforming the franchise tax this session, was drastically rewritten Thursday morning by its Senate sponsor, state Sen. Glenn Hegar, R-Katy."
• Senator Says Innocence Commission Bill is in Trouble: "Two days after an advocate for a bill establishing a commission to review wrongful convictions lashed out at a state senator who voiced opposition to the bill, the measure's Senate sponsor says he doesn't have the votes to move the legislation forward."
• Amended South Texas University Bill Passes Senate: "The Texas Senate on Thursday unanimously passed a controversial committee substitute to House Bill 1000, which creates a new university and medical school in the Rio Grande Valley."
• Coordinating Board Nears End of Tough Sunset Process: "House lawmakers on Wednesday put their stamp of approval on a measure that would keep the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in business for another 12 years. But they tacked on a few more amendments."
• Diana Davids Hinton: The TT Interview: The University of Texas of the Permian Basin professor and expert on Texas oil history on the current fracking boom and how it compares to the great booms of the past, as well as the strange way in which the Railroad Commission came to regulate oil and gas drilling.
• Activists irked by amendment on student groups (Houston Chronicle): "An amendment tacked on to a higher education bill is drawing criticism from progressive and gay rights groups Thursday as opening a path for college student groups to discriminate. The Republican author argues the provision would strengthen student organizations and guarantee free speech."
• Bill would require flags in charter schools (The Associated Press): "Charter schools would be required to display state and U.S. flags under a proposal advancing in the Texas Legislature. The Senate approved the measure in a unanimous vote Thursday."
• Democrats in Texas: The waiting is the hardest part (The Economist): "And so, with more time behind him in office than in front of him, many have started wondering not just what next, but how high. Though [Julián] Castro says that he is 'just happy to be part of a city on the rise' and 'in no hurry' to move on, not all Democrats in Texas share his calm."
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