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The Brief: June 4, 2015

Later this morning in Addison, Rick Perry is expected to announce that he plans to run again for the White House, testing whether GOP voters across the country believe in extending him a second act in presidential politics.

Former Gov. Rick Perry poses with cadets after delivering a foreign policy speech at The Citadel, South Carolina's military college, earlier this year.

The Big Conversation

Later this morning in Addison, Rick Perry is expected to announce that he plans to run again for the White House, testing whether GOP voters across the country believe in extending him a second act in presidential politics.

The Tribune's Patrick Svitek writes, "He is ready, and he wants you to know it. He has spent hours quizzing policy wonks, logged thousands of miles in the early-voting states and assembled a staff that wants to put him in the White House, not just spearhead the Rick Perry Reputation Recovery Project."

Part of his pitch this time around will be a strong emphasis on his West Texas upbringing and his military service.

"He will be joined at Addison Airport by military heroes such as Marcus Luttrell, the retired Navy SEAL whom the Perrys befriended, and Taya Kyle, the widow of so-called 'American Sniper' Chris Kyle," Svitek writes. "After the announcement, he will head to early-voting Iowa to participate in a motorcycle ride that doubles as a fundraiser for the Puppy Jake Foundation, which provides service dogs to wounded veterans."

With that said, Perry faces several obstacles beyond whether voters will be willing to look beyond his "oops" moment from the last campaign. He must maneuver around an abuse-of-power indictment that has hung around since last summer. And he must also figure out a way to break out of the pack in a crowded field of experienced candidates all looking for the GOP presidential nomination.

Trib Must-Reads

In Houston, Clinton to Target Texas' Voter ID Law, by Patrick Svitek — In a Houston speech Thursday, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to call for expanded early voting across the country, and criticize states like Texas that have passed restrictive election laws.

On Death Row for 31 Years, Inmate Executed, by Terri Langford — A death row inmate who has proclaimed his innocence for three decades was executed Wednesday night in Huntsville. Lester Bower, 67, became the oldest death row inmate executed in Texas after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene.

Indictment Cuts Both Ways as Perry Launches Bid, by Patrick Svitek — Former Gov. Rick Perry will formally step into the presidential race still under indictment for two felonies. The case, which once made Perry a cause célèbre in some circles, has become more of a headache as he seeks money and votes in a crowded GOP field.

Straus Files for Another Term as Speaker, by Patrick Svitek — Texas House Speaker Joe Straus has filed the paperwork to officially seek another term presiding over the lower chamber. If he wins, it will be his fifth.

New UT-Austin President Supports Beer at Football Games, by Matthew Watkins — New UT-Austin President Greg Fenves ran through a long list of ambitious goals at his first-day press conference Wednesday. Then, he got to the real news: He said he supports beer sales at Longhorn football games.

After Fracking Ban, Denton Residents Ponder Next Steps, by Jim Malewitz — Frustrated Denton residents flooded a city council meeting Tuesday for a conversation about fracking that stretched late into the night. Now that state lawmakers have slapped down the city's fracking ban, residents wonder what else they can do.

The Day Ahead

•    Former Gov. Rick Perry is in Addison for an 11:30 a.m. event where he is expected to announce his second presidential run. The Tribune will carry a live stream of the announcement.

•    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is in Houston where she will speak at Texas Southern University about 1:30 p.m.

•    Gov. Greg Abbott is in Austin for an 11 a.m. bill signing ceremony at the University of Texas for several pieces of legislation related to higher education.

•    Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick begins his "Bold New Day in Texas" tour with several stops in the Rio Grande Valley.

•    Prior to that, Patrick sits for a breakfast hour interview with Tribune CEO and editor-in-chief Evan Smith. The 8 a.m. event at the Austin Club will be live streamed for those unable to attend in person.


Abbott wants lawmakers willing to ‘fight for ethics’, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Gov. Abbott to travel country, world, San Antonio Express-News

Lawmakers say they're nearly out of ideas for abortion restrictions, Houston Chronicle

Dallas ditches 5-cent fee on plastic shopping bags, The Dallas Morning News

As recovery continues, property owners and arborists focus on trees, Austin American-Statesman

Last debate ends with (awkward) handshake, San Antonio Express-News

Cruz super PACs claim to raise more than $37 million, CNN

Ted Cruz mocks Joe Biden, then rapidly apologizes, Politico

Trying to blaze a new trail, Perry stresses how much he’s changed, The Dallas Morning News

What Texas’ Economy Means for Rick Perry’s Presidential Ambitions, The New York Times

Rick Perry's wife explains 2012 flameout, CNN

Quote to Note

"Three words: Like a boss. The idea that Rick Perry would say, 'You don't get this funding for public integrity until you have some integrity yourself' — I just want to say, 'Hell yes, Rick!'"

— Iowa resident Althea Cole describing her unfazed reaction to seeing Rick Perry's mug shot after his indictment last year

Today in TribTalk

The brutal death of ethics reform in Texas, by Kirk Watson — This session was supposed to be big for ethics reform. Instead, it died a brutal death. What happened?

News From Home

•    Gov. Greg Abbott's call for meaningful ethics reform prompted heated debates this session on secret recordings, "dark money" and the lawmaker-to-lobbyist "revolving door." See what happened to ethics reform using our 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 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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Dan Patrick Greg Abbott Joe Straus Rick Perry Ted Cruz