The Big Conversation
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick gave the green light Wednesday on a push for open carry legislation in the Senate, a day after he indicated in a Texas Tribune interview that the votes weren't there for passage.
The Tribune's Morgan Smith has the rundown:
Patrick's change of course is a small symbolic victory for open carry advocates, who until now appear to have only stumbled in their interactions with lawmakers.
In a statement issued late Wednesday, Patrick, a Republican, walked back comments he made Tuesday at a Texas Tribune event saying open carry didn’t reach the “level of prioritizing” or have the votes to pass.
Announcing he had referred to committee another firearms bill — one allowing concealed handguns to be carried on university campuses by those with appropriate licenses — Patrick said he was now free to “focus on other Second Amendment issues, including open carry, which I have consistently supported."
Going into session, it appeared that momentum was building for Republicans to pass an open carry bill with Gov. Greg Abbott promising in November to sign legislation on the topic. The biggest obstacle, it has turned out, has been some of the most fervent open carry activists.
"But the open carry movement has so far tripped over differences in tactics, and disagreements over how far changes to the current law should go," Smith wrote. "Barely two weeks into the legislative session, their antics have led to the installation of new panic buttons in legislative offices, a security detail for at least one lawmaker and a public display of bipartisan solidarity on the House floor."
The Day Ahead
• Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller is the keynote speaker at the Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association's Texas Drought Summit in San Antonio.
State of Mind: A Twist in Property Tax Reform Talk, by Alana Rocha and Justin Dehn
Analysis: An Early Ethical Message, Intentional or Not, by Ross Ramsey
What Next For Perry Campaign, Criminal Case?, by Terri Langford
Tesla Motors, Car Dealers Clash Over Franchise Law, by Bobby Blanchard
Reps Wear "I'm Poncho" Stickers for Safety, Solidarity, by Ryan McCrimmon and Morgan Smith
Abbott: State Agencies Must Make Contracting Changes, by Edgar Walters
Day After Judge's Ruling, Perry Vows to Keep Fighting Indictment, by Terri Langford and Aman Batheja
Scathing audit paints sex offender agency in disarray, Houston Chronicle
Lawmakers: Tax cuts for business may be divisive — and difficult, Austin American-Statesman
Irving seeks state help, funding to find source of its earthquakes, The Dallas Morning News
Dallas hospitals among nation’s most expensive, U.S. report says, The Dallas Morning News
Florida tops Obamacare sign-ups; Texas lags, USA Today
Indiana Will Allow Entry to Medicaid for a Price, The New York Times
Quote to Note
“I might disagree with him on a bill, but we need to have debates and not threaten people for their views. Ours was a show of solidarity that we’re not going to let outside sources threaten us with violence.”
— State Rep. Drew Springer, R-Muenster, who conceived the idea of having House members wear "I'm Poncho" stickers after their colleague Alfonso "Poncho" Nevárez, D-Eagle Pass, received a DPS detail in the aftermath of a confrontation in his office with open carry activists
Today in TribTalk
Texas again playing politics with women's lives, by Cecile Richards
News From Home
As our reporters follow bills on key social issues during the 84th legislative session, they'll keep you updated on gay rights legislation. 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