The Big Conversation

While the relationship between U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn has been described by many observers as “disconnected,” their fates may be unexpectedly intertwined in 2016.

The Tribune’s Abby Livingston wrote that the pair “represents the visceral divide raging in the party: Cornyn is the consummate establishment team player, while Cruz is the Tea Party insurgent.”

Policy differences between the two have surfaced in the upper chamber. While Cornyn has focused much of his energy on criminal justice reform, Cruz has opposed Cornyn’s bid to overhaul sentencing policies and reduce recidivism rates.

And Cornyn, Livingston added, has publicly chided Cruz in the latter's most bombastic moments — most notably on the Senate floor in July, when the normally unflappable Cornyn took biting aim at Cruz for accusing Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of lying.

As Cruz’s presidential campaign enters a new phase, Livingston wrote, his base won’t be enough to secure the nomination. At some point, he could need the support of establishment Republicans to defeat billionaire frontrunner Donald Trump and any other potential contenders in a convention-floor fight.

Cornyn, the Senate’s majority whip, could help with that.

But Cruz has yet to directly ask Cornyn for help, according to two Cornyn sources, and there is little evidence that Cornyn would take the initiative.

Trib Must Reads

Slaying Fuels Parent Demands to Make UT, Drag Safer, by Terri Langford — In emails and posts on a private Facebook page, parents are responding to last week's killing at UT-Austin by demanding something be done about the homeless, especially along the Drag.

Libertarian Eyes a Third-Party Presidential Chance, by Jim Malewitz — Most U.S. voters are Libertarian, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson says, and the jaw-dropping 2016 presidential race may just help them realize that and vote for him.

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Cruz's Relationship with Cornyn Seen as Disconnected, by Abby Livingston — The widely held perception in Washington is that Ted Cruz and John Cornyn are the two same-state senators who least like each other. The most frequently used word observers use to describe the relationship is “disconnected.”

Lawmakers Pledge Support for Hurricane Plan, by Kiah Collier — Meeting for only the second time in two years, a panel of Texas lawmakers pledged financial and political support to efforts at developing a plan to protect the Houston-Galveston region from a devastating storm surge.

Cruz Prepares for Possible Last Stand in California, by Patrick Svitek — The California Republican primary is still nearly two months away, but Ted Cruz held his first public rally there Monday. As he and Donald Trump fight to the end for delegates, Cruz says California may pick the winner.

Analysis: A Tough Day for the Class of 2014 in Texas Politics, by Ross Ramsey — Some of the state officeholders elected in 2014 face struggles to gain control of their government, political and legal duties. They're looking like the gang that couldn’t shoot straight, or the 1962 Mets. But the stakes are more serious than that.

Sid Miller's Communications Director Resigns, by Terri Langford — Lucy Nashed, communications director for Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, has resigned after the agriculture department gave contradictory reports on whether Miller had used state funds to compete in a rodeo.

Hutchison, Fenves Decry Dwindling State Support for Higher Education, by Matthew Watkins — Before meeting with state and higher ed leaders, UT-Austin President Greg Fenves and former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison said Monday that universities, state governments and the private sector need to take action to preserve public colleges' strengths.

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Abbott Names New Leaders at Embattled Child Welfare Agency, by Edgar Walters — At a time of heightened public scrutiny of Texas’ embattled child welfare agency, Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday appointed new leadership of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

SEC Charges Ken Paxton With Securities Fraud, by Patrick Svitek and Morgan Smith — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has been charged in federal court with allegedly misleading investors in a technology company.

The Day Ahead

•    The House Investments & Financial Services Committee meets at 1 p.m. at the University of Dallas in Irving. Invited testimony will discuss the current state of cybersecurity of financial institutions in Texas, the impact of consolidating banks in communities and they will identify barriers to investment opportunities faced by business and investors. 

•    In a state district court hearing, a group of people suing the state over cuts to children's physical and speech therapy services will try to persuade a judge to let it also apply the lawsuit to Superior, a prominent health insurer. Texas contracts with Superior to provide coverage to some people in Medicaid.


The Strangers Next Door: How Amarillo Became a Refugee Haven, Texas Observer 

Fight ramps up to stop Medicaid cuts to disabled Texas children, Austin American-Statesman

Lawmakers offer perspectives on border vision, safety concerns, McAllen Monitor

Kasich: Cruz delegate tactics in Michigan 'weren't appropriate,' Politico 

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Fort Worth school district settled with Chesapeake for $1 million, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Uber, Lyft donate nearly $2.2 million to effort to pass Prop. 1 in May, Austin American-Statesman

The best school district in Texas is also ridiculously wealthy, Houston Chronicle 

New SEC accusations complicate future for Ken Paxton, Houston Chronicle

San Antonio smog now exceeds federal limits, San Antonio Express-News  

UT-Dallas’ campus carry rules will allow guns in classrooms, some student housing, The Dallas Morning News 

Texas town rallies around cannabis oil venture, KVUE

Exclusive: Dallas plans to close Tent City permanently by May 4, The Dallas Morning News 

Quote to Note

“Hillary would beat him from jail.”

Tim Miller, who works for the anti-Trump Our Principles PAC, saying how easy it will be for Hillary Clinton to defeat Donald Trump thanks to his unpopularity.

Today in TribTalk

How Texas can grow with grace, by Laura Huffman — Understanding and responding to Texas' rapidly growing population is vital to ensuring communities across the state continue to enjoy a high quality of life. 

Trib Events for the Calendar

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

•    A Conversation with Dawn Buckingham on April 21 at the Austin Club

•    A Conversation on San Antonio & the Legislature: The Issues in the Interim on April 26 at the University of Texas at San Antonio

•    A Symposium on the Texas Economy on April 29 at the University of Houston

•    The Texas Tribune's third Texas-centric Trivia Night on May 1 at The Highball in Austin

•    A Conversation on Mental Health Matters on May 10 at KLRU Studio 6A in Austin