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The Brief: Jan. 26, 2015

The Tribune's Abby Livingston has the details on how Rick Perry spent the rest of his weekend in Iowa following his high-profile appearance at Saturday's Iowa Freedom Summit.

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry campaigns at a Pizza Ranch in Indianola, Iowa.

The Big Conversation

The Tribune's Abby Livingston has the details on how Rick Perry spent the rest of his weekend in Iowa following his high-profile appearance at Saturday's Iowa Freedom Summit.

She writes, "About 40 people —  double the number Perry's aides projected — showed up at his Sunday event, which was held at a local chain called Pizza Ranch. Most of the attendees were alerted to the event by an email from the local Republican Party. ... He also peppered his off-the-cuff remarks with facts and figures ranging from the number of physicians in Texas to the geographic layout of the Marcellus Shale to the names of various Republican officeholders in Iowa. His unstated message was clear: There will be no 'Oops' moment this time around."

Among those giving Perry a second look was Karen Lambert, a former caucus goer for Mike Huckabee (2008) and Ron Paul (2012).

"She largely ignored Perry in 2011 because of his troubled campaign. But she said she felt drawn to the pizza gathering because she was impressed with his speech at the Iowa Freedom Summit on Saturday in Des Moines. Unsolicited, she also brought up the topic of Perry’s legal troubles. 'I don’t blame him for it,' she said of his indictment last year in a case stemming from his veto of funding for the state's public integrity unit. 'I think it’s ridiculous.'”

And, yet, that pending felony case retains the potential to seriously affect Perry's aspirations.

The San Antonio Express-News' Peggy Fikac talked to University of Iowa political science professor Tim Hagle, who said: "If the charges get dismissed and it just goes away, that’s just going to be seen as kind of a blip and no big deal. But if it hangs on, it then could be more of a problem down the road, even if it’s seen as purely political ... Even if there isn’t really much to it, the fact that something like this is ongoing provides plenty of fodder for people in the other party to continue to use it to generate negative news and comment … and eventually may destroy that person’s candidacy."

The Day Ahead

•    The House convenes at noon; the Senate convenes at 2 p.m.

•    Open Carry Texas holds a Carry to the Capitol rally on the south steps of the Texas Capitol, beginning at 10 a.m.

•    Comptroller Glenn Hegar addresses the Texas Association of Broadcasters at its legislative day conference in Austin.

•    The Texas Tribune presents the first in a statewide series of public events looking ahead five years in eight major policy areas. This discussion, which will happen at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, focuses on the future of higher education. We will livestream the event beginning at noon for those unable to attend in person.

Trib Must-Reads

Analysis: Legislators' Expenses and Schmoozing, Linked, by Ross Ramsey

Nondiscrimination Ordinance Battle Goes Statewide, by Bobby Blanchard

GOP Hopefuls Eyeing the Texas Hispanic Vote, by Alexa Ura

John Bolton: The TT Interview, by Abby Livingston

Cruz, Perry Make a Splash at Iowa GOP Summit, by Abby Livingston

Cecilia Abbott, George P. Bush Headline Anti-Abortion Rally, by Eva Hershaw

HHSC Ditching Anti-Fraud Initiative Started by Stick, by Terri Langford

Elsewhere

Politics, lack of funding hobble Texas universities’ climb to top tier, Austin American-Statesman

Texas again in minority on key marriage case, Austin American-Statesman

Rules, committees changes signal Senate path under Patrick, Houston Chronicle

Lobbying case headed back to court, San Antonio Express-News

Lighting up at the Texas Capitol?, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

How open is North Texas government?, The Dallas Morning News

Bell launches mayoral bid, promises to fill potholes and fix roads, Houston Chronicle

Congressmen glimpse Southwest border security, San Antonio Express-News

Quote to Note

"We're short about three Lake Meads."

— Earth scientist Gordon L. Wells on the loss of 84 million acre-feet of water in Texas in the most recent drought. The state has since recovered just 10 percent of that.

Today in TribTalk

2015: An agenda for criminal justice, by Derek Cohen and Marc Levin

News From Home

As our reporters follow state budget and tax issues during the 84th legislative session, they'll keep you updated on legislation related to the business franchise tax, also known as the margins tax. Stay caught up during the session with our 84th Lege page.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Conversation With Lt. Gov. 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

•    Meet the Mayors: Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price on March 12 at The Austin Club

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