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The Brief: Jan. 20, 2015

Festivities are the order of the day as the state's newest governor and lieutenant governor are sworn in.

Shown the day before Abbott and Patrick were inaugurated, an ocean of seats surrounded the podium.

The Big Conversation

At a few minutes past 11:30 a.m., Greg Abbott is scheduled to take the oath of office for governor on the south steps of the state Capitol, and Texas will have a new chief executive for the first time since December 2000.

For Abbott and incoming Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, it will be a day filled with festivities, ranging from the traditional barbecue on the Capitol grounds to the parade down Congress Avenue. The evening will be highlighted by the "Future of Texas Ball" at the Austin Convention Center.

For all the pomp, though, the Houston Chronicle's Lauren McGaughy writes that the party today won't hold a candle to what transpired in 1939 with the inauguration of Pappy O'Daniel.

Abbott's team has raised more than $4 million to pay for the events, a record-breaking amount for modern times.

Pappy, however, might have found the numbers laughable.

More than twice the amount of meat was offered to the hungry Texans who gathered after O'Daniel took the oath of office that day. News accounts remarked that 19,000 pounds of meat (including buffalo the governor claimed to have shot himself) were cooked in massive pits dug into the mansion grounds. O'Daniel, who built his stardom as a radio personality and band leader, also made sure a free breakfast was available.

Patrick Svitek, posting on the San Antonio Express-News politics blog, writes that Abbott will highlight his life story in a speech expected to emphasize biography rather than policy prescriptions.

The Associated Press' Paul J. Weber, meanwhile, has the details on the growing mystery surrounding the Bible on which Abbott will take the oath of office. It turns out, apparently, that the Sam Houston Bible might never have belonged to Texas' founding father.

Trib Must-Reads

State of Mind: A New Bid to End Texting While Driving, by Alana Rocha and Justin Dehn

Years Later, Perry Finally Spends BP Spill Gift, by Jim Malewitz and Neena Satija

Mexican Governors Won't Be at Abbott's Inauguration, by Julián Aguilar

Elsewhere

Moving out: Perry leaves Texas Capitol for the last time as governor, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

On to Plan B as Oil Work Stalls in Texas, The New York Times

Ted Cruz builds his White House team, Washington Examiner

Austin school district expects to lose 4,000 students over next decade, Austin American-Statesman

Texas prisons try telemedicine to curb spending, The Dallas Morning News

Adversity hasn't stopped Rep. McClendon, San Antonio Express-News

Jeb Bush kept key roles in Florida firm amid signs of trouble, Washington Post

The Education of Jeb Bush, The New Yorker

Quote to Note

"You would think that if he (Houston) had given the bible to the court, and journalists are writing stories about it in the late 1800s, they would have mentioned that."

— Texas Supreme Court Clerk Blake Hawthorne, casting doubt on the provenance on the Sam Houston Bible, used by Texas governors to take the oath of office

Today in TribTalk

2015: An agenda for public education, by David Anthony

News From Home

Our 84th Lege page is a one-stop shop for all of your Texas legislative needs. Among its features are the must-watch issues of the session — curated by our reporters — across nearly a dozen different policy areas, or hot lists. This week, our featured hot list is Budget & Taxes.

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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