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The Evening Brief: June 3, 2013

Your evening reading: redistricting field hearings announced; Republican consultant fighting ethics bill; House adjourns until June 17

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•    House redistricting chief updates hearing schedule (San Antonio Express-News): "Rep. Drew Darby, chairman of the House Select Committee on Redistricting, today laid out a new tentative schedule for redistricting field hearings in San Antonio, Houston and Dallas. During a brief gathering of the full House, Darby said he now plans to hold a hearing in Dallas on Thursday, followed by informational sessions for the public in San Antonio on June 10 and a final hearing on June 12 in Houston. … The earliest the House redistricting committee could vote out a bill is June 14, Darby said. That aligns with plans for the full House to reconvene on June 17."

•    GOP consultant lobbying against ethics bill (The Dallas Morning News): "Allen Blakemore has launched an effort to recruit about 30 fellow Republican political consultants and their clients to push the governor to veto the omnibus ethics bill. Blakemore, who lobbies for the Conservative Republicans of Texas and Houston conservative crusader Steven Hotze, said his concern is a requirement to disclose who paid for the message on political ads."

•    Texas House remembers 'hero firefighters' (Houston Chronicle): "The Texas House had a moment of silence Monday for the four 'hero firefighters' who died in the line of duty battling a blaze in Southwest Houston."

•    'Texas 7' inmate among six death row cases sent by U.S. Supreme Court to lower courts for review (The Associated Press): "The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday sent the cases of six Texas death row inmates, including one of the infamous 'Texas 7' gang of escapees, back to a lower court for reviews of whether attorneys in earlier stages of appeals let the men down."

•    Presence of explosive chemicals often kept secret (The Associated Press): "Fears of terrorism have made it harder than ever for citizens to find out what dangerous chemicals lurk in their backyards, The Associated Press has found. Secrecy and shoddy record-keeping have kept the public and emergency workers in the dark about stockpiles of explosive material."

New in The Texas Tribune

•    Combs' Exit Spurs a Political Stampede: "The comptroller's announcement that she won't seek re-election prompted a flurry of declarations of interest, which in turn prompted other flurries, and so on. Pent-up interest among Republicans looking to move up the political ladder has a line forming for spots on the ballot. In the minds of Texas politicians, it's already 2014."

•    End of CSCOPE Presents Hurdles for Some Schools: "The state's decision to stop using CSCOPE is a victory for activists who say the lesson plans advanced an anti-American agenda. But small rural districts that relied on it say they'll now have to spend scarce funds on new materials."

•    Despite Acquittal, Winfrey Struggles Outside Prison: "Megan Winfrey spent six years — nearly all of the 25-year-old's adult life — behind bars before she was acquitted of murder. She faces the colossal challenge of starting her life without compensation for the years she lost in prison."

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