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The Brief: Nov. 16, 2015

The attacks Friday in Paris that killed at least 129 people were quickly taken up over the weekend by U.S. presidential candidates.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke during a rally at Beaumont's Ford Arena on Nov. 14, 2015.

The Big Conversation

The attacks Friday in Paris that killed at least 129 people were quickly taken up over the weekend by U.S. presidential candidates.

That included GOP candidate Donald Trump, who brought up the subject at a Beaumont rally on Saturday. As the Tribune's Jordan Rudner reported, Trump suggested the attacks should spur the country to refuse to admit any refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria.

“We all have heart, and we all want people taken care of and all that, but some of them are going to have problems, big problems. ... You’d have to be insane” to allow so many refugees to come to the U.S., Rudner wrote.

He also blamed strict gun laws in France for the scale of the violence.

“When you look at Paris, you know, the toughest gun laws in the world, nobody had guns except for the bad guys, nobody,” Trump saidI’ll tell you what, you can say what you want, but if they had guns — if our people had guns — if they were allowed to carry, it would have been a much, much different situation.”

In South Carolina, GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz had a different take on the events in Paris: an unwillingness among U.S. leaders to call out "radical Islamic terrorism."

"We need a president that makes abundantly clear to any militant across the face of the earth, if you go and join ISIS, if you wage jihad against the United States of America, then you are signing your death warrant," Texas' junior senator said at an event at Bob Jones University, as reported by the Tribune's Abby Livingston.

The Washington Post's Katie Zezima, meanwhile, reported that Cruz drew a distinction at a different event in South Carolina between allowing the entry of Muslim refugees from Syria, which he called "lunacy," and allowing the entry of Christian refugees.

"There is no meaningful risk of Christians committing acts of terror. If there were a group of radical Christians pledging to murder anyone who had a different religious view than they, we would have a different national security situation," Cruz told reporters in a middle school gym. "But it is precisely the Obama administration’s unwillingness to recognize that or ask those questions that makes them so unable to fight this enemy. Because they pretend as if there is no religious aspect to this."

Trib Must Reads

UT/TT Poll: Texans Say Mental Health Top Cause of U.S. Mass Shootings, by Ross Ramsey – Mental health issues, gun laws, unstable families and media coverage get most of the blame for mass shootings in the U.S. in recent years, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

Analysis: A Test of the Two Republican Parties in Texas, by Ross Ramsey – The Republican Party has two factions: Plain old Republicans and the roughly 43 percent who say they would vote for the Tea Party's candidates if that was a separate designation. They'll be testing each other in the GOP primary in March.

Black Lives Matter Searches for its Next Step, by Johnathan Silver – More than two years after the heat of anger over Trayvon Martin's shooting in Florida fused into Black Lives Matter, an Austin chapter is trying to mold its energy into an agenda to influence state lawmakers.

Texas State Issues Recommended Campus Carry Rules, by Matthew Watkins – In recommending how Texas State University should comply with a new state campus carry law, a task force says it shouldn’t provide storage for handguns but should ban the guns from places where students are counseled or children come to campus. 

Is Texas Denying Health Coverage to Foster Youth?, by Edgar Walters – Advocates say Texas officials are routinely denying health care coverage to former foster children after they turn 21, even though federal law says the coverage should continue until they turn 26.  

The Day Ahead

•  The Texas Tribune will host a daylong higher education symposium at Baylor University in Waco starting at 8 a.m.. The symposium, presented in partnership with Baylor University, will include discussion of higher education issues from the 84th legislative session, how to address low completion rates and other related matters. 

•  Gov. Greg Abbott has called for the state of Texas to observe a minute of silence at noon to honor the victims of the attacks in Paris. It will take place at the same time as the moment of silence that will be observed by 28 nations of the European union. 


Border-security push is reshaping role of Texas game wardens, The Dallas Morning News

At Texas Facilities Commission, special treatment for someAustin American-Statesman

Beyond HERO: Transgender issues still befuddle votersHouston Chronicle

Fikac: Cruz’s ‘oops’ shows he has room for errorSan Antonio Express-News

George P. Bush first in line to get dad’s name on March primary ballotAustin American-Statesman

Travis County has no rules for registering lobbyistsAustin American-Statesman

What to know as Affordable Care Act coverage deadlines approach, The Dallas Morning News

History is not on Brady's side for sweeping tax reformsHouston Chronicle

Rick Perry looks for what’s nextSan Antonio Express-News

AG to decide where guns allowed at K-12 schoolsHouston Chronicle

Refugio mayor reported arrested on drug chargesVictoria Advocate

Garcia: Van de Putte, Andrade team up for high-powered consulting firm, San Antonio Express-News

Quote to Note

"It’s going to look beautiful. They’ll probably call it the Trump wall in the future.”

– Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaking on his plan to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico during a speech in Beaumont on Saturday. 

Today in Trib Talk 

Nondiscrimination is Key to a Prosperous Dallas, by Lee Kleinman – In Dallas, we ensure that city employees are treated equally in pay, benefits and opportunity to advance. We refuse to allow any characteristic — other than job performance — to stand in the way. We also ensure that our citizens are free from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation. It is shameful that some people would withhold this basic constitutional right.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A series of conversations about Bridging the Digital Divide on Dec. 4 at the Houston Community College, West Loop Campus. 

•    A conversation about Houston & the Legislature: What's Next? on Dec. 15 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston

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