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The Brief: June 3, 2015

With legislative business concluded, talk has immediately turned in some quarters to the next election season.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick hugs Sen. Kevin Eltife after he is sworn-in as President pro tempore of the Texas Senate on June 1, 2015

The Big Conversation

With legislative business concluded, talk has immediately turned in some quarters to the next election season.

Four House members — Sylvester Turner, D-Houston; Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen; Joe Farias, D-San Antonio; and Allen Fletcher, R-Cypress — formally told their colleagues in the last couple of days of session that they wouldn't be returning.

On Tuesday, state Sen. Troy Fraser joined that number. However, there is a potential race kicking up even more interest and that's in state Sen. Kevin Eltife's East Texas-based Senate District 1.

Per the Tribune's Patrick Svitek, a pair of House members are at least thinking about running for Eltife's seat. Longview Republican David Simpson spurred speculation on Tuesday with a revamped website and a promised announcement June 22 on his "next campaign."

Simpson did not confirm that he planned to make a run for the Senate when contacted by the Tribune. But he said he has "received encouragement for years" for such a run.

Also in the mix is Mineola Republican Bryan Hughes whose spokesman told the Tribune on Tuesday that the lawmaker is "seriously considering a run for Senate based on whether or not Sen. Eltife steps out."

Also waiting to see what Eltife does is Thomas Ratliff, who announced this week that he won't run again for State Board of Education. He is the son of former state Sen. Bill Ratliff.

For his part, Eltife told the Tribune that he'd make an announcement on his future "possibly within a couple of weeks."

As to why he might draw a challenger in the next primary election, Svitek notes, "Eltife was somewhat the odd man out in his party this past session, when he broke with GOP leaders intent on delivering a major property tax cut. Instead, Eltife advocated for first using the state's flush coffers to pay off debt and handle deferred maintenance."

Trib Must-Reads

At TxDOT, Concerns About Revolving Door Provision, by Aman Batheja — At the Texas Department of Transportation, employees have expressed concern about the impact of a bill aimed at reducing conflicts of interests in state contracting. Gov. Greg Abbott signaled Tuesday that he intends to sign the bill.

Abbott Touts Successful Session on Transportation, by Aman Batheja and Jim Malewitz — The day after lawmakers ended their legislative session, Gov.  Greg Abbott touted a successful session for transportation funding and issues, as he signed three bills on a heliport in Dallas.

Abbott Vetoes Overdose Defense, Emergency Detention Bills, by Patrick Svitek — Gov. Greg Abbott vetoed two bills on Monday, including one aimed at encouraging people to call 911 during drug overdoses, even if they are in possession of illegal substances themselves.


Denton council considers repealing anti-fracking ordinance, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Garcia: Cheney headlines S.A. private fundraiser for Hurd, San Antonio Express-News

Travis County ‘hoping for crowds’ after same-sex marriage ruling, Austin American-Statesman

Texas legislators mostly kept hands off local control, The Dallas Morning News

Coastal insurance bill awaits governor’s signature, The Monitor

Key Republican calls for oil export debate in Congress, Houston Chronicle

Texas Is All for Free Enterprise – Until the Lawmakers Show Up, Bloomberg

Strong-Armed Texas State Lawmaker Leaves Gavels in Pieces, The Associated Press

Hillary Clinton’s jam-packed fundraising schedule, Politico

13% Left Health Care Rolls, U.S. Finds, The New York Times

Quote to Note

"That was a big 'F' on the part of the person who made that decision for our parking garage."

— Houston Mayor Annise Parker, after an employee failed to close a flood gate at one of the city's underground parking garages during last week's rains. Sixteen city vehicles were damaged by water rushing into the garage.

Today in TribTalk

How to fix disaster recovery in Texas, by John Henneberger — In the aftermath of every disaster in Texas, we see everyday Texans step up to rescue neighbors and help the newly homeless find temporary shelter. We need our state government to do as good as job as them.

News From Home

•    During the 84th legislative session, lawmakers considered a variety of higher education issues, including tuition costs and in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants. See what happened to higher education issues this session in the Texas Legislative Guide.

•    For five months, you've watched lawmakers spar, shout and lob parliamentary bombs. But how well do you really know the members of the Texas Legislature? Take our Senate quiz and our House quiz to find out.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Conversation With Lt. Governor Dan Patrick on June 4 at The Austin Club

•    A Conversation With House Speaker Joe Straus on June 9 at The Austin Club

•    A Conversation About Texas Monthly's Best and Worst Legislators 2015 on June 18 at The Austin Club

•    A Conversation About Health Care and the 84th Legislature on June 24 at UT Health Science Center San Antonio

•    The Texas Tribune Festival on Oct. 16-18 at the University of Texas at Austin

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