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The Brief: Jan. 9, 2015

The incoming governor on Thursday equated local efforts to regulate single-use plastic bags or fracking to forms of collectivism.

Incoming Gov.Greg Abbott speaks at TPPF's Policy Orientation session on Jan. 8th, 2015

The Big Conversation

Gov.-elect Greg Abbott on Thursday singled out local ordinances on single-use plastic bags, tree cutting and fracking as tantamount to turning the Lone Star State into California. As the Pace picante sauce spokesman might put it, "Get a rope."

“We are forming a patchwork quilt of bans and rules and regulations that are eroding the Texas model,” Abbott said, adding for good measure that such regulations were "a form of collectivism."

The comments, made to a policy conclave held by the free market-oriented think tank the Texas Public Policy Foundation, are interesting because they give a key early insight into how Abbott might navigate two tenets of conservative thought — private property rights and respect for local control — that at times run up against each other.

Critics were quick to call Abbott hypocritical on the issue.

“Governor Abbott is talking out of both sides of his mouth as fast as he can. On one hand, when it comes to the federal government telling states what to do, he says 'local control,’” Tom “Smitty” Smith of Public Citizen told the San Antonio Express-News. “And so we now have Greg Abbott declaring the state is more powerful than cities or local communities and their desires. It looks like a Stalinist dictatorship is beginning.”

Abbott did not include specifics on what he might like to see the Legislature do on the issue, but his comments made clear that he sees regulatory reform as a clear early priority of his tenure as governor.

The Day Ahead

•    The Texas Public Policy Foundation wraps up its three-day policy orientation with an appearance by Gov. Rick Perry at the closing keynote luncheon.

•    Gov.-elect Greg Abbott will be the featured speaker at the Fort Bend GOP 2015 Lincoln-Reagan Dinner at the Safari Texas Ranch in Richmond.

Trib Must-Reads

Presidential Hopefuls Have Deep Ties to Texas, by Abby Livingston, Annie Daniel and Jolie McCullough

By The Numbers: The Inauguration Celebration, by Reeve Hamilton

Texas Poised to Cut Some Specialty License Plates, by Eva Hershaw

Bill Looks to Prevent Gay Marriage From Becoming Legal, by Bobby Blanchard

Wasting Little Time, McRaven Plots His Course, by Reeve Hamilton

Texas Lawmaker Asks for Audit of Second Health Contract, by Terri Langford and Neena Satija

Marvin Nichols Reservoir Stays in State Plan, by Neena Satija

Discussing "Clear Mandate," Patrick Talks Tax Cuts, by Morgan Smith

Abbott: Replace Sunset Commission With Citizen Panel, by Ryan McCrimmon


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US farmers will push Congress to end embargo on Cuba, The Associated Press

Quote to Note

"Texas is being California-ized and you may not even be noticing it."

— Gov.-elect Greg Abbott on Thursday, arguing that local jurisdictions should have their ability taken away to implement bans on things like single-use plastic bags or fracking

Today in TribTalk

2015: An agenda for immigration, by Ali Noorani

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Conversation With Senate Caucus Chairs Kirk Watson and Joan Huffman on Jan. 12 at The Austin Club

•    Meet the New Guys in the House: Reps. Celia Israel, Linda Koop and César Blanco on Jan. 14 at The Austin Club

•    A Conversation With House Public Education Chair Jimmie Don Aycock on Jan. 22 at The Austin Club

•    A Conversation With Lt. Gov.-elect Dan Patrick on Jan. 27 at The Austin Club

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Energy Environment Politics Greg Abbott Rick Perry Ted Cruz