Tribune Today

In diverse Fort Bend, election raised prospects for Democrats
In the suburban enclaves southwest of Houston, Hillary Clinton carried Fort Bend County in what Democrats hope is a sign of things to come in the onetime GOP stronghold.

Lawmaker seeks to pass "constitutional carry" gun bill in 2017
House Bill 375 would give all Texans the right to openly carry a firearm — with or without a permit. If passed, Texas would be the 11th state to allow "constitutional carry."

8 border security secrets state and federal officials don't want to reveal
Trying to get beyond the rhetoric on border security or immigration at the state or federal level is often a fool's errand. Here are eight secrets in those often shadowy arenas.

Texas winegrowers fear new herbicides will wipe out industry
Competing against millions of acres of cotton, winegrowers fear federal approval of new herbicides to be used on genetically modified cotton seeds will wipe out the wine industry in the Texas High Plains. 

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Texas judge issues injunction on federal transgender health mandate
A Texas judge issued a preliminary injunction Saturday against a federal mandate aimed to protect transgender people, finding that the federal health rule violates existing law.

The Big Story

After being hit by a stray bullet fired into the air in the early morning hours of New Year's Day, Rep. Rep. Armando Martinez, D-Weslaco, said Monday he's planning to file a bill in the coming legislative session to reduce or prevent celebratory gunfire. Here's the story:

Martinez was north of Weslaco with family and friends for a New Year's Eve celebration when he was reportedly hit with a bullet on his head. He underwent surgery on Sunday connected to a gunshot wound, according to The Monitor. Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra confirmed to the newspaper that Martinez underwent surgery to remove the object from his head. He was listed in stable condition Sunday night, and in a Monday morning phone interview from the Valley Baptist Medical Center shortly before he was released, he said he was "doing great."

• Martinez said many people in the area celebrated the start of the new year by firing guns in the air before he was hit. “I think that’s something that definitely needs to change.” Martinez said. “Growing up, we grew up around guns. You know, I have a [concealed handgun license]. I’m a hunter. But everybody knows better than to get a gun and fire it up in the air because what goes up must come down.”

• What exactly the forthcoming legislation will look like is unclear, but it would possibly work to regulate or prevent celebratory gunfire, he said, adding, "I need to talk to our sheriff’s department and maybe our [district attorney] and see exactly what type of ideas they have as well, so that way we can get an idea of how we’re going to do it and propose it."

What We're Reading

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In Texas, even blind children can’t always get special educationHouston Chronicle

Lawmakers and advocates seek to undo Texas Supreme Court rulings that concealed public records, The Dallas Morning News

Pension reform plan has some concernedHouston Chronicle

North Texas Dreamers worry about future under Trump administrationFort Worth Star-Telegram

Texas law enforcement faces ‘recruiting crisis’ after deadly yearKXAN

Trib Events for the Calendar

•   Trivia Night on Jan. 8 at The Highball 

•   A Conversation with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Jan. 11 at The Austin Club 

•   A Conversation with the University of Houston's Renu Khator on Jan. 12 at The Austin Club

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•   A Conversation with Reps. Dustin Burrows & Drew Darby on Jan. 19 at Howard College – West Texas Training Center

•   A Conversation on Mental Health on Jan. 26 at The Austin Club

•   A Conversation with Sen. Kel Seliger & Rep. Brooks Landgraf on Feb. 17 at Odessa College – Saulsbury Campus Center

•   A Conversation with Reps. Senfronia Thompson & James White on March 31 at Prairie View A&M University – W.A. Tempton Memorial Student Center

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