The Evening Brief: June 7, 2013
Your evening reading: Texas Republicans lash out against government surveillance; Texas woman arrested in ricin letter case; Pauken calls Perry administration "government by sound bite"
• Texas Republicans say government surveillance destroys the American people’s trust (Houston Chronicle): "President Obama is playing defense — goal line defense — after the public uproar that has accompanied disclosures of massive government surveillance of phone calls and Internet usage in the U.S. Obama’s attempts to reassure Americans didn’t do much to reassure Texas lawmakers. Sen. Ted Cruz released the following statement today regarding the NSA phone surveillance: … 'We have discovered over the past few months an ongoing pattern of wanton disregard not only for Americans’ privacy, but for the truth.'"
• Texas lawmakers complain about domestic spying, but most voted to allow it (Houston Chronicle): "A lot of Republicans in the Texas delegation are griping today about the NSA’s domestic surveillance program. But over the past decade — in a series of five votes — very few current GOP members of the Texas congressional delegation have voted against requests by Presidents Bush or Obama to increase federal government power over Internet data and phone records."
• Pauken on Perry: Sound bites, not sound policy (San Antonio Express-News): "Former state GOP chairman Tom Pauken, who says he’s running for governor regardless of which giant he’ll be taking on, spoke more bluntly Friday about a conflict with Gov. Rick Perry over stimulus funds than he did as Perry’s appointed Texas Workforce Commission chairman. The conflict centered on Perry’s refusal to take $555 million in stimulus funds for unemployment, although Texas took a lot of other stimulus money to help balance its budget under Perry. … He said the difference in opinion was one of the things that led him to believe the current administration practices 'government by sound bite, not sound policies.'"
• Texas Woman Arrested in Connection With Ricin-Laced Letters (The New York Times): "Federal agents have arrested a Texas woman in connection with several ricin-laced letters sent last month to President Obama, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York and a Washington lobbyist who works on the mayor’s gun control campaign, according to three law enforcement officials."
• Who’s sabotaging immigration reform? Senate debate starts with lots of fingerpointing (Houston Chronicle): "As debate surrounding the 'Gang of Eight' immigration overhaul bill warmed up on the Senate floor this morning, Texas Sen. John Cornyn and Iowa Rep. Steve King continued to take heat from immigration activists who blame them for sabotaging reform efforts."
New in The Texas Tribune
• Redistricting is Harder Than It Looked at First: "Texas lawmakers set out to do a quick fix on the state's political maps. They soon found out there was nothing quick about it. Now, there are meetings scheduled across the state and new worries about how the messy map-making process might affect the 2014 elections."
• Subdivision Plans May Threaten Bat Colony: "Bracken Cave, north of the burgeoning San Antonio metropolitan area, has been the summer home to the world's largest colony of bats for thousands of years. But conservationists worry a developer's plan threatens the bats."
• UT System Prepares for Its Newest Member: "As soon as Gov. Rick Perry signs Senate Bill 24, which creates a new university in the Rio Grande Valley, 'the real work begins,' says University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa."
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