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The Brief: Trump Makes Surprising Appearance in Ruby Red Texas

GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump is in Texas today, squeezing a rally on the east side of Austin in between fundraisers in Fort Worth and Austin.

Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event in The Woodlands on Friday, June 17, 2016.

The Big Conversation

GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump is in Texas today, squeezing a rally on the east side of Austin in between fundraisers in Fort Worth and Austin.

What has observers buzzing, though, is the decision by the Trump camp to spend time in reliably red Texas instead of in a swing state that the GOP nominee will need if he hopes to win the White House this fall. The Dallas Morning News pointed out that the last time a major party nominee held a public event in Texas this late in the election cycle was Bob Dole in 1996.

As the Tribune's Patrick Svitek reports, some observers are pointing to the potential for Trump to get significant televised coverage of the Austin rally, which would make the Texas setting a secondary concern. GOP political consultant Ted Delisi told the Tribune, "there is something to be said for the fact that in the modern presidential campaign, when you’re on television delivering a message, you’re on television delivering message."

The real reason for Trump's appearance are those fundraisers, which, as the Houston Chronicle reported, are expected to net about $3 million for the Trump campaign. Trump supporter Roy Bailey told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that Trump is “going to win Texas by a lot. And Texas is a great place to raise money. If he weren’t here, it would be a missed opportunity.”

Trib Must Reads

How UNT-Dallas' Grand Law School Experiment Could Be Overruled, by Matthew Watkins — The University of North Texas at Dallas wants to be a different kind of law school. But could the system that it hopes to change bring it down before it fully gets up and running?

East Dallas High School Plants, Nurtures College Dreams, by Neena Satija — On the first day of a new school year, Bryan Adams High School teacher Krystal Morrow greeted the next crop of students she will try to help overcome the financial and confidence hurdles that keep many of the school's students from attending college.

Lawmakers Push Back on Railroad Commission Overhaul Proposals, by Jim Malewitz — State lawmakers on Monday considered a host of recommendations to reshape and rename the Texas Railroad Commission, a powerful agency that oversees a host of oil and gas activities but not railroads.

Judge Denies State's Request to Toss STAAR Suit, by Kiah Collier — After a group of parents sued the Texas Education Agency over the 2016 administration of STAAR exams, state lawyers argued they had no standing and asked the courts to drop the case. A Travis County district court judge has denied their request.

Judge Denies UT-Austin Professors' Attempt to Block Campus Carry, by Edgar Walters — A federal judge has denied three University of Texas at Austin professors’ initial attempt to keep guns out of their classrooms under the state’s campus carry law.

EPA: North Texas Earthquakes Likely Linked to Oil and Gas Drilling, by Jim Malewitz — Federal regulators believe “there is a significant possibility” that a recent surge in North Texas earthquakes is linked to oil and gas activity, even if state regulators won’t say so.

Fort Worth Judge Blocks Obama Transgender Guidelines, by Kiah Collier — A federal judge in Fort Worth has blocked Obama administration guidelines directing the nation’s public schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms and other facilities that align with their gender identity.

The Day Ahead

Lawmakers have a busy day planned at the Capitol with several legislative interim hearings scheduled. The highlights include the Senate Higher Education Committee taking another look at financial aid programs known as tuition set-asides where a certain portion of tuition paid to schools is committed to helping low-income students. And on the House side, the Licensing & Administrative Procedures Committee will take up the increase in use of powdered alcohol and its impact on underage drinking.

Elsewhere

(Links below lead to outside websites; content might be behind paywall)

UT campus carry protest to feature sex toys, calls for repeal, Austin American-Statesman

Unclear if lege will toughen oil spill regs, El Paso Times

Report: Black women in Texas face the greatest risk from pregnancy related death, Houston Chronicle

Texas owes the Medicaid program $57.8 million, report says, The Dallas Morning News

How Zika could change the politics of late-term abortion, Politico

Feds cracking down on ‘unsafe’ hot air balloons following crash, The Hill

Inside the Conservative Push for States to Amend the Constitution, The New York Times

Quote to Note

“It’s hard for the props not to overshadow the message. The Texas Legislature is trying to normalize gun culture. We’re trying to normalize sex culture. This is something that is completely harmless and represents part of the male anatomy.”

— UT-Austin sophomore Ana López on the protest featuring the open carrying of sex toys that she's helping organize against the state's campus carry law

Today in TribTalk

Time to talk about the hidden property tax, by Daniel Gonzalez — How many times have you heard the news that the tax rate is going down, only to get your bill and find that your taxes have actually skyrocketed?

News From Home

The full program for the 2016 Texas Tribune Festival, featuring conversations about the future of health care, the sharing economy, Zika, abortion, standardized testing, higher ed funding, border security and, of course, Donald Trump, is now available. To view the Festival schedule & purchase tickets, visit texastribune.org/festival.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•   A Conversation with state Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa and state Reps. Terry Canales and Bobby Guerra on Aug. 26 at UT-Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg

•    San Antonio & the Legislature: The Election and Beyond on Sept. 14 at University of Texas at San Antonio – Downtown Campus

•   The Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 23-25 at the University of Texas at Austin

•   TribFeast: A Dinner To Support Nonprofit Journalism on Sept. 24 at the University of Texas at Austin's Etter-Harbin Alumni Center

•   A Conversation with state Reps. Four Price and John Smithee on Oct. 4 at Amarillo College in Amarillo

•   A Conversation with state Reps. Andrew Murr and Jason Isaac on Nov. 14 at Schreiner University in Kerrville

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