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The Evening Brief: July 29, 2013

Your evening reading: Transportation bill fails in House; Cruz says Republicans "scared" of defunding Affordable Care Act; Martinez Fischer attends White House meeting on voting rights.

Gov. Rick Perry presenting the Governor's Award for Historic Preservation to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Wildland Firefighting Teams.

New in The Texas Tribune

•    Transportation Bill Fails in House: "A compromise transportation funding plan failed 84-40 in the House on Monday afternoon amid bipartisan opposition. Gov. Rick Perry quickly criticized those who voted against the measure but did not say if he would call a third special session."

•    Cruzing: From Texas to Iowa in Just One Year: "It has been a year since Ted Cruz vanquished Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in a primary runoff, but the darling of Texas Republicans is already getting a serious look from conservative voters in early presidential primary states. His climb has made him the patron saint of long-shot candidates and the stuff of nightmares for seemingly safe incumbents."

•    After Facing Prostitution Charges, Inmates Get Help in Starting Over: "Twenty women at the Harris County Jail are working to ensure that they won't fall back into prostitution when they finish their sentences. A specialized program is helping them gain the tools to do just that."

•    Technical College Faces Questions and a Makeover: "Amid talk of expanded technical education in the state, Texas State Technical College West Texas has been shrinking. But administrators tie the decline to a pending transition to a new funding model based on students' earnings."

•    WGU Texas Names New Chancellor: "Ray Martinez, a familiar face in Texas higher-education circles, has been named the new chancellor of WGU Texas, the state's online university that was launched in 2011."


•    Ted Cruz: D.C. Republicans 'scared' (Politico): "Sen. Ted Cruz believes Republicans can defund 'Obamacare' if they stand together, but he said 'scared' Republicans are standing in the way. 'What I can tell you is there are a lot of Republicans in Washington who are scared. They’re scared of being beaten up politically,” Cruz (R-Texas) told Glenn Beck on TheBlaze radio show Monday.'"

•    Obama assures civil rights groups he’ll fill Voting Rights void; Trey Martinez Fischer upbeat after White House meeting (The Dallas Morning News): "President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder assured civil rights leaders Monday afternoon that they will aggressively protect minority voters in Texas and other states, in the wake of a Supreme Court ruling that ended decades of federal election scrutiny. … State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, joined two dozen other activists for the private meeting at the White House. He, too, came away optimistic that that administration will do what it can to fill the void created by the Supreme Court. 'If you look at an issue as contentious as the Voting Rights Act, you want an all of the above strategy,' Martinez Fischer, chairman of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, said outside the West Wing. 'You want to have a congressional plan, you want to have an outreach plan, you want to have a litigation plan.'"

•    Congressional Black Caucus recommends Sheila Jackson Lee for Homeland Security Secretary (Houston Chronicle): "Conservative bloggers went wild Monday when they got wind of the Congressional Black Caucus’ suggestion that President Obama pick Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Houston for the post of Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security."

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