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The Brief: Jan. 14, 2015

A video of a confrontation between open-carry activists and a lawmaker drew attention to the group's tactics on Tuesday.

Justin Delosh, r, of Lone Star Gun Rights stands with petitions to be delivered to legislators on the first day of the Texas Legislature on Jan. 13, 2015.

The Big Conversation

Joe Straus breezed to re-election as House Speaker with 87 percent of the vote from his fellow House members. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst got choked up in his farewell speech to his fellow Senate members.

In other words, no fireworks in either chamber on the first day of the 84th Legislature. What happened outside the chambers, though, was a different matter. Here's the account from the Tribune's Morgan Smith of a run-in Tuesday between a House member and a group of open-carry activists:

The behavior of open-carry advocates attempting to drum up votes for a measure by Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, repealing handgun licensing requirements prompted one lawmaker to escort them from his office 

State Rep. Poncho Nevárez, D-Eagle Pass, told the Tribune he had to ask a group of open-carry advocates to leave his office after they grew increasingly confrontational when he said he was not supporting the bill.

Gun-rights activist Kory Watkins posted video of the exchange to Facebook, which drew disapproving comments from former Land Commissioner and author of the state's concealed carry law Jerry Patterson.

Smith talked to Watkins, who said that the lawmaker "was very rude to us, very sarcastic, definitely didn’t care what we had to say. Everything was very good until we went into that office — a lot of respect from others, even if they didn’t support the cause, they still were very respectful."

Another gun-rights activist told Smith, though, that the behavior of Watkins' group had been out of line during their visits Tuesday to legislators' offices. “I just can’t believe the utter lack of professionalism, tact and really common courtesy, that I saw today,” C.J. Grisham told Smith. “It was intimidation, it was talking down, it was speaking over, it was childishness, and it did absolutely zero to even engage in conversation.”

The Day Ahead

•    The Sunset Advisory Commission meets at 9 a.m in the Capitol Extension. On the agenda are commission decisions on the Department of Family and Protective Services, the Texas Workforce Commission and the Texas Facilities Commission.

•    A coalition of business leaders, activists and affected students hold a 2 p.m. press conference on the south steps of the Capitol to announce an effort to preserve the Texas DREAM Act. Expected to speak are state Reps. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, Ana Hernandez, D-Houston, and Texas Association of Business President Bill Hammond.

•    The 10th annual Texas Transportation Forum begins what will be three days of presentations, meetings and speeches in Austin.

•    Join us for a breakfast discussion with three incoming members of the Texas House: state Reps. Celia Israel, D-Austin; Linda Koop, R-Dallas; and Matt Rinaldi, R-Irving. The conversation begins at 8 a.m. at the Austin Club. We will livestream the event for those unable to attend in person.

Trib Must-Reads

The 84th Texas Legislature, By the Numbers, by Alexa Ura and Jolie McCullough

Runoff Next for Kolkhorst's House Seat, by Bobby Blanchard

Video: Day One of the 84th Legislature, by Alana Rocha and Justin Dehn

Analysis: These Voters Were Not Looking for Change, by Ross Ramsey

Straus Re-elected House Speaker Over Tea Party Challenger, by Aman Batheja

Gun Advocates Take Up — and Make — Arms at Texas Capitol, by Morgan Smith

Weber Apologizes for Comment Comparing Obama, Hitler, by Abby Livingston

Storify: The First Day of the 84th Legislative Session, by Jim Malewitz and Ryan McCrimmon


Government predicts shale slowdown as oil falls, The Associated Press

Texas job growth will slow even more this year, The Dallas Morning News

Jack Stick and 21CT CEO first met years before previously disclosed, Austin American-Statesman

Conservative Revolt Splits House GOP Group, National Journal

Castro coy on future political plans, San Antonio Express-News

Texas Weighs How Free Markets Should Be as Tesla Seeks Foothold, Bloomberg

Mystery surrounds Perry's Capitol portrait, Houston Chronicle

Bridges remembered as trailblazer among educators, Corpus Christi Caller-Times

Quote to Note

“A small number sought to divide us with misleading and personal attacks. But you cannot effectively govern this House by dividing it."

— House Speaker Joe Straus, speaking after his election to a fourth term as the chamber's presiding officer. The record vote, which was pushed by conservatives dissatisfied with Straus, was the first held to select a speaker in 40 years.

Today in TribTalk

2015: An agenda for business, by Bill Hammond

News From Home

This isn't just week one of the 84th legislative session — it's also the kickoff of our new afternoon email report, one we’ll be offering as a new benefit for subscribers to our premium newsletter for political insiders. And here’s a quick reminder of another incredible new perk for subscribers of Texas Weekly: a yearlong digital subscription to The Washington PostSubscribe now to receive your first Blast the same day. Don't miss a single edition!

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    Future Forum: The Future of Texas on Jan. 21 at the LBJ Library in Austin

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

•    Higher Ed: The Next Five Years on Jan. 26 at the Texas Tech University Alumni Center in Lubbock

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

•    A Conversation With Adm. William McRaven, UT System Chancellor on Feb. 5 at The Austin Club

•    Houston & the Legislature: Previewing the 84th Session on Feb. 12 at the Wortham Center in Houston

•    A Conversation With U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro on Feb. 19 at The Austin Club

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Energy Environment Politics Public education David Dewhurst Joe Straus Julián Castro Lois Kolkhorst Randy Weber Rick Perry