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The Brief: March 30, 2015

The reviews are in for Ted Cruz's first campaign swing this weekend through New Hampshire, a key early presidential primary state.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz attends a "Politics And Eggs" breakfast in Manchester, N.H. on March 16, 2015.

The Big Conversation

The reviews are in for Ted Cruz's first campaign swing this weekend through New Hampshire, a key early presidential primary state.

The New York Times: "Mr. Cruz, a Texas Republican who is the only announced candidate so far, seemed comfortable on the stump. Though not exactly altering his message, he brought out certain aspects of his persona and platform depending on the crowd in front of him. ... And he continued to find sizable and attentive audiences, with at least 100 people at each stop. A number said they felt an obligation to hear out each candidate. But many more seemed captivated by his fire-breathing, defiant conservatism."

The Washington Post: "On the ground in chilly New Hampshire, it seemed he had some reason for the sunny outlook, with his Granite State appearances this weekend greeted enthusiastically by rowdy crowds. ... Still, Cruz’s New Hampshire debut, much like the rest of his first week as a candidate, demonstrated both the promise of his presidential candidacy and the potential hurdles facing his uphill campaign."

And in an appearance on CNN on Sunday, Cruz appeared to swear off negative campaigning. Politico reported him as saying on State of the Union, "There may be other candidates who choose to throw rocks in my direction. I’m not going to engage in the personal mudslinging, in the negative attacks on people’s character.”

Trib Must-Reads

Analysis: Trying to Spark Ethics Reform, Without a Scandal, by Ross Ramsey — A frustrated regulator's letter suggesting the state drop enforcement of its ethics laws might spark some legislative action. That would be a gift for Gov. Greg Abbott, who wants ethics to be a signature issue this session.

Texas Scientists Find Antibiotic Resistance Blowing in Wind, by Eva Hershaw — In a study slated for publication next month, two Texas Tech University scientists may have made their biggest discovery yet: DNA from antibiotic-resistant bacteria in cattle feedlots is airborne.

Walker Makes His Pitch to Harris County Republicans, by Patrick Svitek — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, eyeing a run for the White House in 2016, touted his fighting spirit and Midwestern thriftiness in a Saturday night speech to Harris County Republicans.

Walker Denies Reversing Position on Immigration, by Patrick Svitek — At a Houston press conference Saturday, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker emphatically denied he recently shifted his stance on illegal immigration.

Wellinghoff: Texas Needn't Fret Over Climate Rules, by Jim Malewitz — Jon Wellinghoff, the former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chairman, talks about what looming federal climate regulations mean for Texas, whether the state should link its grid to others and how to incentivize energy conservation.

The Day Ahead

•    The House and Senate convene at 2 p.m.

•    The House Land & Resource Management meets on final adjournment to take up the topic of coastal barrier systems (E2.016). The House subcommittee on Special Water Districts takes up legislation on the development of brackish groundwater (E2.014).

•    Senate Health & Human Services meets at 9 a.m. with legislation up for consideration aimed at limiting the availability of e-cigarettes to minors (E1.016). Senate State Affairs is expected to take up ethics legislation that would withhold retirement benefits from an elected official convicted of a felony related to his or her public service and create a cooling-off period for lawmakers seeking to become lobbyists (Senate Chamber).


As state troopers surge border, tickets decline and accidents increase in Texas, El Paso Times

Sid Miller’s appointments include wife of longtime campaign consultant, Austin American-Statesman

State spent $30M on tuitions under program's loose rules, Houston Chronicle

Shuffle up and deal ... in Texas?, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Gaming bills face long odds, San Antonio Express-News

Bills brewing in Austin could help or hurt Texas craft beer, The Dallas Morning News

Garcia: Van de Putte dumps $300K from state coffers into mayor’s race, San Antonio Express-News

Alliance means a new 'Sylvester-John orbit' in Houston, Houston Chronicle

Turmoil threatens Dallas County DA Susan Hawk after 3 months on job, The Dallas Morning News

Early Texas primary may play vital role in 2016 GOP nomination battle, Austin American-Statesman

Rick Perry faces barriers on road to redemption, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

The Speaker Strikes Back: Boehner Cancels Gohmert's Travel, Roll Call

Quote to Note

“Our motto is ‘One Nation Under One God.’ If you’re Muslim, or whatever, then you’re not going to agree with us. The border’s that way.”

— Republic of Texas President John Jarnecke to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Bud Kennedy on his vision of what a separate Texas would look like

Today in TribTalk

School choice will help rural Texas, too, by Jeff Judson — Though school choice proposals enjoy the support of many GOP lawmakers and voters, opposition among rural Republicans is stirring tension and impatience at the grassroots and party leadership level.

News From Home

Check out the Texas Tribune's Texas Legislative Guide, your go-to resource for the 2015 Texas legislative session. You can stay updated on the issues our reporters are covering, look up bills, and watch livestreams of the House and Senate chambers.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Conversation With Sen. Robert Nichols and Rep. Joe Pickett on April 7 at The Austin Club

•    Transportation: The Next Five Years on April 10 at Austin College in Sherman

•    A Conversation With Sen. Kel Seliger and Rep. John Zerwas on April 16 at The Austin Club

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Greg Abbott John Whitmire Louie Gohmert Rick Perry Sid Miller Ted Cruz