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The Brief: An Unlikely Figure Emerges in Campus Carry Debate

The spotlight continues to shine brightly on Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg after he announced this week his intent to defy the state’s new campus carry law.

On Nov. 10, 2015, University of Texas at Austin faculty and students protested the new campus carry law that will allow concealed handgun license holders to carry handguns into campus buildings.

The Big Conversation

The spotlight continues to shine brightly on Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg after he announced this week his intent to defy the state’s new campus carry law.

But, as the Tribune’s Madlin Mekelburg reports, the attention brought to the University of Texas at Austin’s only Nobel Prize winner makes him uncomfortable.

“I hadn’t been trying to become a local hero,” he said Tuesday. “I didn’t do it for that reason, and I’m a little embarrassed by it.”

Saying his stance stems from safety concerns, Weinberg said “he will stand by his decision if faced with a lawsuit from an angry student, or even one from the state. He said he has not considered pursuing legal action of his own against the university if he is forced to allow guns,” but would instead consider retirement.

“I’m way past the age of retirement,” he said. “I love teaching, I want to go on teaching, but I can quit teaching.”  

Weinberg won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1979, and is the only Nobel Prize winner currently employed at UT. He said he typically teaches one upper-level undergraduate class each semester.

Campus carry laws go into effect Aug. 1 and universities are currently in the process in drawing up rules to govern concealed weapons on campus. While some rooms or buildings can be declared gun-free, those declarations can’t have a cumulative effect of banning guns campus-wide.

Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin is a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

Trib Must Reads

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State Rep. Ruth McClendon Submits Letter of Resignation, by Jamie Lovegrove — State Rep. Ruth McClendon, D-San Antonio, has submitted a letter of resignation to Gov. Greg Abbott, effective Feb. 1, the governor's office confirmed Tuesday.

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The Day Ahead

•    The Senate Transportation Committee meets at 9 a.m. in the Capitol extension to hear testimony on the state’s vehicle inspection program and the driver responsibility program.

•    The Senate Property Tax Reform & Relief Select Committee meets at 10:30 a.m. at the University of Texas at San Antonio to hear testimony about property taxes.

•    Seven candidates running to replace state Sen. Troy Fraser in Senate District 24 are set to meet at the Hill Country University Center in Fredericksburg at 6:30 p.m. for a forum.


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State comptroller: Oil prices aren’t wrecking Texas budget, Austin American-Statesman

Who Needs Megyn Kelly? Ted Cruz Says He'll Debate Donald Trump One on One, The New York Times

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Cruz backer Steve King suggests Trump is buying endorsements, Politico

Duncan: Texas Tech trying to follow 'spirit of the law' with campus carry, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

Republican Lujan captures South Side special legislative election, San Antonio Express-News

Quote to Note

“Be real people, Lujan will never cast a vote in the legislature — he is San Antonio's version of the Walking Dead.”

Ed Espinoza, executive director of Progress Texas, on the special election runoff in San Antonio between Republican John Lujan and Democrat Tomas Uresti.

News From Home

•    If you've received a campaign mailer, let us know about it. You can loop us in by sending an electronic version to this email address. Help us collect campaign communications ahead of the vital March 1 primary elections.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Conversation on Health Care: Bending the Cost Curve on Jan. 28 at the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth

•    The Texas Tribune's second Texas-centric Trivia Night on Jan. 31 at The Highball in Austin

•    A Conversation with Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer on Feb. 4 at the Austin Club

•    A Conversation with Sen. José Menéndez on Feb. 11 at the Austin Club

•    The Ticket: A Live Recording and Democratic Primary Debate Watch Party on Feb. 11 at KUT Public Media Studios in Austin

•    A Conversation with Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. and Rep. Jose Manuel Lozano on Feb. 25 at Texas A&M University-Kingsville

•    A Conversation with Sen. Carlos Uresti and Rep. Poncho Nevárez on March 23 at Sul Ross State University in Alpine

•    Symposium on Transportation on March 29 at Texas A&M University in College Station

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