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The Brief: April 30, 2015

A gathering of Hispanic evangelicals in Houston on Wednesday attracted two Republicans eyeing a run for the White House who repeated positions on immigration that have gotten them in hot water with party conservatives.

Former Florida Governor and potential 2016 presidential candidate Jeb Bush visits the Texas Capitol to discuss education i...

The Big Conversation

A gathering of Hispanic evangelicals in Houston on Wednesday attracted two Republicans who are edging toward a run for the White House.

And as the Tribune's Patrick Svitek reported, both former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee repeated positions on immigration that have gotten them in hot water with the conservative wing of their party.

There was this from Bush: "This country does not do well when people lurk in the shadows. This country does spectacularly well when everybody can pursue their God-given abilities."

And this from Huckabee: "This country has been a magnet for people throughout the ages ... (Americans should) get on our knees and thank God that we live in a country that people are trying to get into, not a country they're trying to get out of."

National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference leader Samuel Rodriguez, as Svitek wrote, "was unambiguous throughout the conference about holding Republicans' feet to the fire. The NHCLC counts more than 40,000 churches among its members and tends to line up with the GOP on social issues but sees immigration somewhat differently."

However it remained evident that GOP presidential hopefuls will have to navigate tricky waters when it comes to immigration and the GOP base.

Patrick noted: "Critics have nonetheless slapped the NHCLC with the label of 'pro-amnesty,' and organizations that have hardline positions on immigration reform view it with a skeptical eye. 'This is a group that has been pushing for mass immigration for a long time,' said Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform."

Trib Must-Reads

Teladoc Files Antitrust Suit Against Medical Board, by Edgar Walters — Dallas-based Teladoc is fighting tooth and nail to stop an impending rule change by the Texas Medical Board that could undermine the company's business model of having doctors consult with patients over the phone or internet.

Lawmakers Move to Speed Permits, Limit Protests, by Jim Malewitz — Business-friendly Texas still isn't quite friendly enough, Republican lawmakers say, and they're pushing legislation to curtail public input and speed up permits issued by state environmental regulators.

Coerced Abortion Bill Sent Back for Rewrite, by Alexa Ura — The craftsmanship of a measure by state Rep. Molly White, R-Belton, intended to address coerced abortions was met with skepticism on Wednesday by the chairman of the House State Affairs Committee.

House Moves to End High-Stakes Writing Tests, by Ryan McCrimmon — The Texas House Wednesday moved a step closer to changing end-of-course writing assessments for high school students that critics say are overly burdensome and prevent too many students from graduating.

Abbott, Patrick Boost Charter Schools at Rally, by Morgan Smith — The state's two top elected officials — along with a handful of other policymakers — appeared before a crowd of charter school supporters Wednesday to call for more of the publicly funded, privately managed schools.

Lawmakers Lend an Ear to Concerns Over Payday Loans, by Eva Hershaw — Lawmakers from both chambers gathered Wednesday to lend support to a range of bills that would limit the loan size and number of installments offered by payday and auto title lenders.

Analysis: How Private Opinions Can Diverge From Public Votes, by Ross Ramsey — Tax cuts and politics ethics legislation have this in common: When lawmakers have to vote in public view, they're often forced to set aside their private opinions.

UT Survey Finds Support for City Fracking Decisions, by Jim Malewitz — A hefty slice of Americans support local control over hydraulic fracturing, according to new University of Texas at Austin survey.

The Day Ahead

•    The Senate convenes at 8:30 a.m.; the House convenes at 10 a.m.

•    In House Economic & Small Business Development, lawmakers take up film incentives bills, including one to abolish the program altogether, one to switch the program to exclusively video game incentives, and one to block funding for R-rated films (E2.010).

•    At 9 a.m., Senate Education takes up HB 4, which creates a high-quality pre-K program (E1.028) and Senate Natural Resources & Economic Development takes up HB 40, which curtails municipalities' ability to regulate oil and gas activity within the limits of their jurisdiction (E1.012).

•    Tribune CEO and editor-in-chief Evan Smith will interview state Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, vice chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and a candidate for mayor of Houston. The 8 a.m. breakfast conversation will take place at the Austin Club and will be live streamed for those unable to attend in person.

Elsewhere

Lawmakers poised to back Abbott plan on business-luring funds, Houston Chronicle

Gender Bias Issue Could Tip Chief Justice Roberts Into Ruling for Gay Marriage, The New York Times

At Patrick's urging, Senate fast-tracks 'religious freedom' bill, Houston Chronicle

Bill easing high school graduation requirements wins final approval, Austin American-Statesman

House finally approves tax cuts, sends package to a wary Senate, The Dallas Morning News

Senate votes to curb homeowner lawsuits against insurance companies, The Dallas Morning News

Tea party support revives Democrat’s bill to kill controversial fees, Austin American-Statesman

Marijuana bills stall in committee, Corpus Christi Caller-Times

Cruz: Obama Has "Inflamed Racial Tensions", The Washington Post

For Perry and Luttrell, a Father-Son Relationship, The Washington Post

Quote to Note

“When I came into the Perry family, it was one of those deals where it was the only family I had. I didn’t have that father figure growing up like that, somebody who genuinely cared about me. . . . Gov. Perry taught me how to be a good man.”

— Former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, whose escape from a Taliban ambush was chronicled in the movie Lone Survivor, on the close relationship he developed with then Gov. Rick Perry and his wife, Anita, after he returned home from the war

Today in TribTalk

Texas homeowners deserve a break, not the blame, by Alex Winslow — Texas already has some of the highest insurance premiums in the country. Now, industry lobbyists are backing an outrageous piece of legislation that would punish customers even more.

News From Home

The Texas Tribune Spring Member Drive kicks off today and runs through Thursday, May 7. We’ve set an ambitious goal of enrolling 100 new members by 7 p.m. tonight. If you’re not already a member, help us reach this goal by joining today!

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Conversation With HUD Secretary Julián Castro on May 1 at The Austin Club

•    A One-Day Symposium on Health Care on May 4 at Huston-Tillotson University in Austin

•    A Conversation With John Sharp on May 7 at The Austin Club

•    A Conversation With Rep. Dennis Bonnen on May 13 at The Austin Club

•    How'd the House Do? A Conversation About the 84th Legislative Session on May 21 at The Austin Club

•    How'd the Senate Do? A Conversation About the 84th Legislative Session on May 28 at The Austin Club

•    A Conversation About Texas Monthly's Best and Worst Legislators 2015 on June 18 at The Austin Club

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