Texas

DALLAS — During his opening remarks Tuesday at a daylong conference on immigration and the economy, former President George W. Bush urged the nation’s leaders to debate immigration reform with compassion and kindness.

In a brief appearance at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Bush did not advocate for a specific solution. But his statements indicated he supports policies similar to those he championed during his presidency, when immigration reform was last debated in Congress.

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Democratic State Rep. Mike Villarreal filed legislation HB 238, which if passed would amend the Texas Labor Code to provide equal employment protections for gay and transgender employees.

"My question is," said Villareal: "Is this person showing up on time and doing their job? If they are, then they should be treated no differently than anybody else. Unfortunately, the LBGT community doesn't have the same protections in the state of Texas that they enjoy in other states."

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Take a quick look at some of the top stories from across Texas, from phony Salvation Army bell ringers in Austin to a formal border crossing opening inside Big Bend National Park, and more...

From High Plains Public Radio in Amarillo and the Panhandle:

Jeffrey Boyd will become the newest Texas Supreme Court justice, an appointment that scrunches the foreheads of Rick Perry critics who think it odd that the governor would name his chief of staff to the state’s highest civil court.

It’s the latest brick in a wall Perry has been building for a dozen years — a period that has seen him appoint 224 Texans to state district and appeals court judgeships.

His hold on the executive branch is well documented and regularly noted; Perry has been in office long enough to twice go through the entire cycle of six-year executive appointments.

Despite Gov. Rick Perry’s firm opposition to a key tenet of federal health reform — expanding the state’s Medicaid program for those with low incomes — Texas Democrats remain optimistic that the 2013 legislative session can yield a deal that brings in billions in additional federal dollars.

It will be a tough sell: No Republican lawmakers have gone on record supporting the Medicaid expansion, which would add an estimated 1.8 million Texans onto the joint state-federal health plan by 2022.

But state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, said fiscal conservatives have an incentive to reach an agreement “because the alternative is going to cost us much more economically and dig a much deeper hole in our budget.”

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