The Brief: July 13, 2015

The two-month Jade Helm 15 U.S. military training exercise is set to kick off on Wednesday, following months of headlines and conspiracy theories about a federal government takeover.

 Lain Yandahi

The Big Conversation

The two-month Jade Helm 15 U.S. military training exercise is set to kick off on Wednesday, following months of headlines and conspiracy theories about a federal government takeover. 

Part of the exercise will take place in the Bastrop area, but there's little protest there now compared to April's national headlines detailing some citizens' skepticism. As the Austin American-Statesman's Marty Toohey reports, there's "no sign at all, really, that Bastrop is enmeshed in the controversy":

Bastrop Mayor Ken Kesselus said there has been no sign that trouble is coming from protesters or activists who say they will conduct countersurveillance on Jade Helm. ...

Aside from the media, “I’ve only gotten one call about this, from a guy from South Texas who thinks (President Barack) Obama is a Muslim imperialist who is going to take our guns away,” Kesselus said. “That’s it. … Maybe there are people here upset about this, but I don’t know them, and I don’t know anyone who knows them.”

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The media will not be allowed to observe the start of the exercise, although some journalists may be able to view it later on, the Washington Post reported last week. The Houston Chronicle, meanwhile, reported on a citizen surveillance operation called "Counter Jade Helm" that will try to keep track of the exercise.

Trib Must-Reads

Analysis: Texas Schools, by the Numbers, by Ross Ramsey — You can peek at the state’s near future in the latest numbers from the Texas Education Agency: 51.8 percent Hispanic, 29.4 percent Anglo, 12.7 percent African-American, 3.7 percent Asian.

Vela: Guzmán's Escape an Insult to U.S. Law Enforcement, by Julián Aguilar — The prison escape of Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán is an affront to U.S. law enforcement, which has worked for years to build a case against the kingpin, a member of Texas' congressional delegation said Sunday. 

Schools, Courts Worry About New Truancy Law, by Terri Langford — Juvenile justice advocates applauded when the Texas Legislature decided this year that repeated school truancy will no longer be a crime. But school and court officials worry they are losing tools that have actually worked at keeping kids in school.

Hurd Holds Strong Lead Over Gallego in Fundraising, by Abby Livingston  — Former U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego raised $224,000 in his first three months as a 2016 House candidate, according to his campaign. He's well behind U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, who raised $458,000 in the same period.

Texas' New Wedding Capital Greets Gay Couples, by Liz Crampton — When Tavanya Wright and Amber Gregg got engaged, they weren't expecting to be able to get legally married in Texas. Now, their ceremony in the newly named wedding capital of Texas will be recognized by the state.

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Perry Supporters Say They've Raised Nearly $18 Million, by Patrick Svitek — Groups supporting former Gov. Rick Perry’s presidential effort have raised nearly $18 million, they announced Friday, cementing his status as a competitive, but certainly not dominant, fundraiser in the Republican field.   

Perry Consulting for Big Donor, by Patrick Svitek and Jay Root — Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry is reporting income of $250,000 from the company of top donor Peter Holt, helping boost the Republican presidential candidate’s family income past $700,000 over the last 18 months, new disclosures reveal.

Elsewhere

Cruz stage presence focuses on the fringes of America's pulpits, Houston Chronicle

Rick Perry tells crowd it's a 'show me, don't tell me' election, Des Moines Register

Dismay in US over Guzman's escape from Mexican prison, The Associated Press

Terry Keel brought plenty of familiar faces to Agriculture Department, Austin American-Statesman

As state employees get small raises, DPS managers enjoy larger salary bump, The Dallas Morning News

D/FW Airport to be among first users of FBI criminal history tracking effort, The Dallas Morning News

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Deadly biker shooting kicks up debate over gang label, Houston Chronicle

Tourism officials hope LGBT outreach can make Dallas a gay wedding destination, The Dallas Morning News

Rally held to support Richland High’s Rebel mascot, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Quote to Note

"Attendance will go down, and the drop-out rate will go up."

Mike Cantrell, the Dallas County commissioner, on the impact the state's new truancy law will have by making truancy a civil fine rather than a misdemeanor

Today in TribTalk

Stop throwing our tax dollars to big business, by Konni Burton — It seems as if everyone in Fort Worth — and Texas — is thrilled about Facebook coming to town. I wish I could celebrate with them.

News From Home

•    Take a look at the environmental issues we kept an eye during the 84th legislative session. You can also use our Texas Legislative Guide to see everything else we covered during the session.

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