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The Brief: Feb. 17, 2015

A Brownsville federal judge dropped a late-night legal bombshell Monday night, halting President Obama's executive action on immigration.

Attorney General Greg Abbott indicates his willingness to sue President Obama on immigration during a press conference Nov. 24, 2014.

The Big Conversation

A Brownsville federal judge dropped a late-night legal bombshell Monday night, halting President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration.

The Tribune's Julián Aguilar has the rundown:

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen ruled that the Obama administration did not "comply with the Administrative Procedure Act." The policy seeks to give as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants — including some 1.46 million in Texas, a work permit and temporary relief from deportation.

The decision was hailed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton:

Abbott, the state's former attorney general, filed the lawsuit in December before being sworn in as governor. Texas is part of a 26-state coalition that challenged the executive action, which was announced in November ...

"President Obama abdicated his responsibility to uphold the United States Constitution when he attempted to circumvent the laws passed by Congress via executive fiat," Abbott said in a statement, "and Judge Hanen’s decision rightly stops the President’s overreach in its tracks."

"This decision is a victory for the rule of law in America and a crucial first step in reining in President Obama's lawlessness," current Attorney General Ken Paxton said Monday night in a statement.

Those on the other side of the issue weren't giving up quite yet Monday night.

David Leopold, a past president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association ... had said that such a decision from Hanen wasn't necessarily the death knell for the executive action.

"He’s not the last word," Leopold said. "That is going to come from a much higher court whether it's the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals or the U.S. Supreme Court."

The upshot? There's still a few more chapters ready to be written in this story.

The Day Ahead

•    The House convenes at 10 a.m.; the Senate convenes at 10:30 a.m.

•    Gov. Greg Abbott gives his State of the State address at 11 a.m. to a joint session of the Legislature. We will livestream the speech.

•    House Appropriations subcommittees meet at 7:30 a.m. — Article III (E1.030) Article II (JHR 120), Articles VI, VII and VIII (E1.026) — and at 8 a.m. — Articles I, IV and V (E2.030); the House Government Transparency & Operation meets at 2 p.m. to discuss state contracting and procurement (E1.014); panels on Homeland Security & Public Safety (E2.014), Public Health (E2.012), Ways & Means (E2.010), Culture, Recreation & Tourism (E1.010), Urban Affairs (E2.028) and Public Education (E2.036) hold organizational hearings throughout the day and take invited testimony.

•    Senate Finance meets at 9 a.m. to continue reviewing budget items on higher education entities (E1.036)

•    Runoffs are being held in the special elections to fill vacancies in Senate District 26, House District 13, House District 17 and House District 123.

•    The Texas Association of Business' two-day annual conference begins today. The day's keynote address will be delivered by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

•    Southern Methodist University holds a daylong symposium on the presidency and the press in the digital age. Guests include New York Times White House Correspondent Peter Baker and Random House Executive Editor Jon Meacham. SMU student journalists will be live-blogging and live-tweeting the confab for those unable to attend in person.

Trib Must-Reads

Four Legislative Seats Up for Grabs in Runoff Elections, by Ryan McCrimmon

Abbott Expected to Renew Push for Ethics Reform, by Jay Root

Private Dallas College Plans to Put Students to Work, by Bobby Blanchard

Watson Wants More Disclosure of Wining and Dining, by Jay Root


Spotlight on Abbott for State of the State, San Antonio Express-News

Mayors to lawmakers: Don't mess with taxes, Houston Chronicle

UT Chancellor Bill McRaven asks for advice on admissions, Austin American-Statesman

State agency head defends embattled contract, Austin American-Statesman

Jury hears Routh’s bizarre confession to Texas Ranger, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Ivy Taylor running for mayor of San Antonio, joining a crowded field, San Antonio Express-News

75 percent of Texas police chiefs responding to survey oppose open carry, The Dallas Morning News

In historic move, woman named to lead A&M Corps of Cadets, Houston Chronicle

Quote to Note

“The first 60 days is like two-a-days for legislators.”

— State Rep. Cecil Bell, R-Magnolia, comparing the start of legislative session to the start of football training camp, a comparison that no doubt is familiar to many a Texan

Today in TribTalk

The myth of "conservative" Medicaid expansion, by Arlene Wohlgemuth

News From Home

Use our Texas Legislative Guide to stay updated on the issues that lawmakers are debating this legislative session. This week, our featured section is Immigration & Border Security.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Conversation With U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro on Feb. 19 at The Austin Club

•    Immigration: The Next Five Years on Feb. 27 at at the University of Texas at Brownsville

•    A Conversation With State Sen. Kel Seliger and State Rep. John Zerwas on March 5 at the Austin Club

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

•    A Conversation With UT-Austin Dell Medical School Dean Clay Johnston on March 26 at The Austin Club

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Explore related story topics

Higher education Politics Barack Obama Dan Patrick Greg Abbott José Menéndez Ken Paxton Trey Martinez Fischer