The Big Conversation:

A day of stops and starts in the state's redistricting fight ended on a familiar note: uncertainty over the state's primary date.

A federal panel in San Antonio had given the two parties at odds over the state's redistricting maps until Monday to agree on a set of compromise maps that could potentially preserve the state's April 3 primaries.

Early Monday afternoon, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott unveiled a compromise between the state, which is arguing for the state's Republican-drawn maps, and a coalition of advocacy groups, which say the maps discriminate against minorities.

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But the compromise — under which Hispanics would control two, rather than one, of four new congressional districts in the state — lacked the support of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, the Legislative Black Caucus, the NAACP, the so-called Davis plaintiffs and the Texas Democratic Party, which sued over the Senate district maps in Tarrant County.

"Until there’s a legitimate agreement among the parties, we support the court continuing to do its work," said Rebecca Acuña, a spokeswoman for the Texas Democratic Party.

And the federal panel in San Antonio rejected the proposal, instructing the parties to continue negotiations.

"The court previously urged the parties to continue negotiations in an attempt to reach an agreement on interim redistricting plans," the judges said in a court order. "However, in the absence of a general agreement between all plaintiffs and the state of Texas, the parties are reminded that they must comply with all previously ordered deadlines. The parties should continue their negotiations to the extent possible, but all deadlines remain in place unless or until the court is notified that an agreement has been reached."

The ruling again raises the prospect of a delayed primary, or a split primary in which some elections — including the presidential primary — are held in April and others are pushed to May or June.

The judges said in the court order that their hearing on primary dates and other ideas would still be held on Feb. 15 and not on an earlier date.

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Culled:

  • In his first public appearance since dropping out of the presidential race, Rick Perry said Monday at a Republican fundraiser in Round Rock that he would keep fighting for the conservative ideals he promoted on the campaign trail. “We’ve got plenty of work to do right here in the state of Texas," Perry said. "And I got plenty of fight left in this old 61-year-old body.” In a Fox News interview that aired Monday, Perry said the only regret he had about his presidential run was that he didn't enter the race "substantially sooner."
  • The Department of State Health Services will begin enforcing Texas' abortion sonogram law today, agency officials said Monday night. News of the enforcement came the same day U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks said in a ruling that despite his belief that the law is unconstitutional, a recent appeals court ruling had left him with no choice but to allow its enforcement.
  • An Austin lawyer has sued the state for paying a monthly salary to Railroad Commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones, saying she left her post when she moved out of the state's capital to run for state Senate against Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio. The Texas Constitution, the suit argues, requires statewide officeholders to reside in Austin.

"Prepare better, more debate prep. I'd do it all over again. I hope he will." — First lady Anita Perry to Fox News on the prospect of her husband running for president again

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