New in The Texas Tribune
• Justice Department Seeks to Restore Voting Law Restrictions on Texas: "The U.S. Department of Justice will ask a federal court to require Texas to seek permission before the state can change its election laws, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a speech to the National Urban League on Thursday. Holder told the group that the Texas Legislature was found to have intentionally discriminated when it drew congressional and legislative redistricting maps in 2011 and suggested that that evidence should be enough to subject the state to a 'bail in' provision in the federal Voting Rights Act."
• With Time Running Out, Lawmakers Scramble on Road Plan: "With less than a week left in the current special session and Gov. Rick Perry threatening to call them back for another one, the Texas House and Senate are set to meet this afternoon with lawmakers hoping to hash out a transportation funding compromise."
• Turner: Needy Should Apply for Electricity Rebates: "Thousands of low-income Texans this year will be eligible for discounts that could shave hundreds from their monthly electricity bills beginning in September, but the program that makes those savings possible will soon be ending. Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, at a press conference Thursday, urged low-income Texans to apply to the program, known as LITE-UP Texas, before Aug. 10, the deadline to receive assistance for September."
• TxDOT Plans to Convert Some Roads to Gravel: "Citing a funding shortfall and the impact of a historic oil drilling boom, Texas Department of Transportation officials on Thursday announced plans to move forward with converting some roads in West and South Texas to gravel."
• Texas GOP pans Holder move (Roll Call): "Texas Republicans on Thursday hammered the Obama administration's push to block their state’s new voting laws, arguing the president was singling out the Lone Star State. The lawmakers say Thursday's surprise move by Attorney General Eric Holder asking a court to require 'preclearance' of new Texas laws steps on states' rights, wastes taxpayer dollars and defies the Supreme Court's June decision to scrap a key part of the Voting Rights Act."
• Dems welcome Wendy Davis to D.C. (Politico): "One month after Wendy Davis’s abortion bill filibuster, congressional Democrats feted the Texas state senator as she swung through Washington to raise cash. They said Davis did not indicate what she is planning to do in 2014, when she could defend her seat in the state legislature or launch an underdog bid for statewide office — perhaps even for governor. 'She didn’t, but I did: I told her she should run for governor,' said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) outside Davis’s breakfast fundraiser, blocks from the U.S. Capitol."
• Ted Cruz poll: Dems have edge over GOP among Hispanics in Texas (Washington Examiner): "Sen. Ted Cruz lost the Hispanic vote in Texas by about 20 percentage points, but out-performed GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, according to post-2012 election polling shared with the Washington Examiner."
• Obama honors ex-Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison by signing 'Hutchison IRA' bill into law (Houston Chronicle): "President Obama signed a bill into law today that renames a subsection of the Internal Revenue Code after former Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison."
• Harless withdraws from senate race, blames party leaders (Houston Chronicle): "Sam Harless surprised supporters — and even his wife — when he announced Thursday he was withdrawing from the race for Senate District 7 only a couple weeks after saying he would run. Harless said he canceled his campaign to spare his family and supporters from wasting time on a seven-month primary battle he argues party leadership have sealed prematurely."