The Big Conversation
A judge's decision on Tuesday not to dismiss two indictments against Rick Perry has both legal and political implications.
The Tribune's Terri Langford writes that despite Perry not getting what he hoped for — an outright dismissal — the judge's action also "was not exactly a slam-dunk win for the prosecutors. ... In his ruling Tuesday, [Visiting Judge Bert] Richardson, who last November was elected to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, had questions about exactly what prosecutors are arguing in each of those counts against Perry."
Also of note was Richardson's determination that one of the charges made against Perry was not a felony, as has been reported frequently, but rather a misdemeanor.
The Tribune's Ross Ramsey, though, writes that with Perry unable to put these charges in the rearview mirror as quickly as he hoped, the calendar becomes the greatest enemy of the potential presidential candidate.
"The year ahead would be a tough one for Perry under the best of circumstances," Ramsey writes. "He, like the other contenders, has to gain enough financial support to keep running, develop a network of people who will get them into the primaries and beyond, and find a political groove that could succeed in the primaries without spoiling chances in a general election. That is as difficult as it gets in politics. Every small advantage or disadvantage is important. So are the big ones — like having a contestant who is running with the extra weight of a criminal indictment."
The Day Ahead
• The House convenes at 10 a.m.; the Senate convenes at 11 a.m.
• Senate Finance holds an organizational meeting in the Capitol Extension at 9 a.m. (E1.036); Senate Natural Resources will receive an update from several agencies including the Railroad Commission of Texas and the Public Utility Commission at a 9 a.m. hearing in the Capitol Extension (E1.012)
State of Mind: Targeting Emergency Preparedness, by Alana Rocha and Justin Dehn
Interactive: Demographics of Texas' Undocumented Population, by Alexa Ura and Jolie McCullough
Amid Uncertain Future for TexasOne, New Effort Emerges, by Alexa Ura
Feb. 17 Runoff Set in Race for Kolkhorst's House Seat, by Bobby Blanchard
Texas Railroad Commission Revises Media Policy, by Jim Malewitz
State Auditor Sees Weaknesses in Agency Contracting, by Terri Langford
Lt. Gov. Patrick on Open Carry: The Votes Aren't There, by Morgan Smith
Nelson Emphasizes Property Tax Relief in Senate Budget, by Aman Batheja
Gun activists blast Patrick for open carry remarks, Houston Chronicle
Texas Rep. Poncho Nevárez gets DPS protection after threats, Austin American-Statesman
Kennedy: Gun-rights bills endangered by Open Carry’s misfires, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Texas Senate draft budget kills funding for racing commission, Austin American-Statesman
Garcia: MALDEF attorney ready in case Dist. 116 seat opens up, San Antonio Express-News
The Recowboybooting of Rick Perry, Bloomberg
Quote to Note
"I'm coming to his office Thursday. Tell them to get the panic buttons ready."
— Open Carry Tarrant County leader Kory Watkins, in a Facebook post, expressing his displeasure with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick for saying the votes are not there for the time being to pass open carry legislation in the Senate
Today in TribTalk
It's time to end the crude oil export ban, by David Porter
News From Home
As our reporters follow legislation on key social issues during the 84th legislative session, they'll keep you updated on bills related to gambling. Stay caught up during the session with our 84th Lege page.
Trib Events for the Calendar
• 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