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The Brief: Jan. 15, 2015

Gov. Rick Perry will close the door on 30 years of state government work with a farewell address Thursday afternoon to the Legislature.

Gov. Rick Perry leaves the House chamber after speaking and visiting with members on May 13, 2013.

The Big Conversation

Gov. Rick Perry will close the door on 30 years of state government work with a farewell address Thursday afternoon to the Legislature.

In that speech, Perry plans to tout the state's successes during his tenure as governor, the longest in Texas history. That would include the state's use of drug diversion programs to cut crime as well as the high job growth rate of recent years, reported the Tribune's Reeve Hamilton.

Perry, who has said on multiple occasions that he expects to make a decision on a second run for the White House in a few months, will also include a call for bipartisanship in finding solutions to the state's challenges.

"There is room for different voices, for disagreement," he plans to say, according to prepared remarks provided to the Tribune. "Compromise is not a dirty word if it moves Texas forward."

The Day Ahead

•    Gov. Rick Perry addresses a joint session of the Legislature at 2:30 p.m. We will livestream the speech from the House chamber.

•    Lt. Gov.-elect Dan Patrick holds a 9 a.m. press conference just off the floor of the Texas Senate.

•    Elon Musk of Tesla Motors sits for a keynote interview with Tribune CEO and Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith at the 10th annual Texas Transportation Forum. We will livestream the noon event.

Trib Must-Reads

First Test for Abbott's Case Against Immigration Policy, by Julián Aguilar

Marc Veasey Sees a Future for Texas Democrats, by Abby Livingston

Greg Abbott Gives Back 21CT Campaign Donation, by Terri Langford

Dream Act Supporters Rally Against Repeal Efforts, by Ryan McCrimmon

Commissioner Gets Cupcake Policy Wrong, Combs Says, by Eva Hershaw

Obama's Methane Plan: Why It Matters for Texas, by Neena Satija and Jim Malewitz

Straus Aims to Expand Authority for House Investigations, by Aman Batheja

Abbott Calls for Independent HHSC Review, by Edgar Walters


Eight Prisoners, Two Officers Killed in West Texas Prison Bus Wreck, Odessa American

Janek pressed for health contract extension, Houston Chronicle

FBI, special ‘strike force’ investigating state contracting scandal, Austin American-Statesman

San Antonio-based driller cutting 20 percent of workforce, Houston Chronicle

Battleground Texas replaces field director, San Antonio Express-News

Staff's lost health coverage, late paychecks show depth of Prime Prep's woes, The Dallas Morning News

Conservatives shrug off Bush and Romney, remain confident in base-friendly hopefuls, Washington Post

Quote to Note

"It's still possible to pass open-carry legislation. What the House needs is to pass a bill to ban Kory Watkins from the Capitol."

— Open carry activist CJ Grisham on the blowback from the circulation of a video showing a confrontation on Tuesday between gun rights activists led by Watkins and state Rep. Alfonso "Poncho" Nevárez, D-Eagle Pass, in the lawmaker's office

Today in TribTalk

2015: An agenda for transportation, by Deirdre Delisi

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 Health care Politics Dan Patrick Greg Abbott Joe Straus Marc Veasey Rick Perry