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The Evening Brief: May 23, 2013

Your evening reading: fight breaks out in House over attempt to expand gun rights for lawmakers; Railroad Commission in peril; Democrat takes issue with electric-bill refunds in budget deal

The crowded House floor during debate on SB 1 April 4, 2013.

New in The Texas Tribune

•    House Halts Attempt to Expand Lawmakers' Gun Rights: "Many self-proclaimed gun enthusiasts in the Texas House aren't ready to expand their own gun rights if they can't do the same for their constituents."

•    Will Lawmakers Save the Railroad Commission?: "If lawmakers don't do something quickly, the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates oil and gas in the state, could disappear."

•    Budget Agreement Leaves About $8 Billion in Fund: "The budget deal that took a step closer to passage Wednesday evening would spend $3.9 billion from the state's Rainy Day Fund. That would leave more in the fund than many lawmakers or Gov. Rick Perry had earlier proposed."

•    Amendment Targeting Medicaid Expansion Unlikely to Stick: "The House on Thursday knocked down a nonbinding motion to instruct conferees to keep an 'anti-Medicaid expansion' amendment when they meet with Senate members to work out the final language of Senate Bill 7."

•    Ahead of Perry Decision, Abbott's Campaign Already in Motion: "Gov. Rick Perry hasn’t yet said whether he’s running for re-election — but Attorney General Greg Abbott doesn't appear to be waiting for him to make up his mind."

•    Governor Playing Role in Testing Bill Talks: "Leaders from both chambers are working with Gov. Rick Perry in the legislative session's dwindling days to ensure a major bill changing high school testing and graduation requirements is not endangered when it reaches his desk."

Culled

•    Democrat 'will not be held hostage' on budget deal (San Antonio Express-News): "A key House Democrat indicated Thursday that the issue of issuing electric-bill refunds from an account meant to help needy people with their utility bills is a deal-breaker in state budget negotiations. Rep. Sylvester Turner, a Houston Democrat who is on the budget conference committee, said that he considered it 'disingenuous' for Senate Finance Committee Chairman Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, to link extra spending on education to the electric-bill refunds in legislation approved Wednesday."

•    Rep. Marc Veasey and members of the Congressional Black Caucus take redistricting concerns to Texas Gov. Rick Perry (The Dallas Morning News): "Members of the Congressional Black Caucus on Wednesday asked Gov. Rick Perry to protect the congressional districts currently represented by black officials."

•    New training could be mandated for Texas prosecutors (San Antonio Express-News): "Thanks to some prodding by Bexar County District Attorney Susan Reed, a bill that would require all Texas prosecutors to undergo training to ensure evidence isn’t withheld in most felony and misdemeanor criminal cases is on its way to Gov. Rick Perry’s desk."

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