Good morning y'all, and thanks for reading The Brief, The Texas Tribune’s daily newsletter that prepares you for the day ahead. If you have friends who might want to join our list, please forward this email. They can click here to sign up. – BB
Two key senators announce support for secretary of state nominee Tillerson
Two powerful U.S. senators announced they would back the secretary of state nomination of Rex Tillerson, a native Texan.
Analysis: Luckily for Texas, voters don’t get report cards
A recent study of mayoral races — those important but rarely epic meat-and-potatoes exercises in civic responsibility — revealed some ugly facts about voters in general and Texas voters in particular.
In West Texas, abandoned well sinks land, sucks tax dollars
Land around a West Texas roadway used to be flat. Now, it’s fissured, sinking and has cost taxpayers more than a million dollars — all because of a water well that was left unplugged.
Tens of thousands participate in Texas women's marches
The day after the inauguration of President Donald Trump, tens of thousands of Texans took part in marches across the state Saturday during Texas’ multiple iterations of the Women’s March on Washington.
Brownsville jurors shown cash and safe as Border Patrol agent's murder trial continues
Hoping to bolster their murder case against Border Patrol Agent Joel Luna, prosecutors showed jurors a safe they say he used to store $90,000 in smuggled money.
Travis County sheriff announces new "sanctuary" policy
A Friday announcement by newly-elected Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez that her office would reduce cooperation with federal immigration authorities will set up a showdown with Texas Republican leaders, especially Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
After GOP appeal, Texas Supreme Court agrees to take up same-sex marriage case
The Texas Supreme Court reversed course and agreed to take up a case involving benefits for married same-sex couples after Republican leaders urged the court to reconsider its earlier decision to let a lower court decision stand.
What you need to know
Former Exxon CEO and native Texan Rex Tillerson got the support of two key U.S. senators this weekend: John McCain and Lindsey Graham. With their support, Tillerson likely has the votes needed for confirmation from the Senate, though he faces another potential hurdle with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee expected to vote on his nomination today.
- Both senators had initially expressed skepticism of Tillerson because of his ties to Russia. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, intensely interrogated Tillerson in a senate committee earlier this month over these very ties. Rubio remains a Tillerson holdout.
- McCain still seemed uneasy with Tillerson while speaking on ABC's "This Week." "This wasn't an easy call," McCain said. "But I also believe that when there's doubt, the incoming president gets the benefit of the doubt."
- Another Texan likely to win nomination: Former Gov. Rick Perry. After his confirmation hearing last week, Perry emerged relatively unscathed. But some of his answers may put him at odds with President Donald Trump.
Other stories we're watching today
- The Texas Senate meets at 2 p.m. on Monday. Follow Texas Tribune reporter Jim Malewitz for updates, and watch live on our site here.
What we're reading
(Links below lead to outside websites; paywall content noted with $)
El Chapo's new home: a jail that held mobsters, terrorists, The Associated Press
With executive order, Trump tosses a 'bomb' into fragile health insurance markets, The Washington Post ($)
DPS: Terrorism threat level 'elevated' in Texas, The Houston Chronicle ($)
Could this be the year for school vouchers in Dallas?, The Dallas Morning News ($)
Foreign payments to Trump firms violate constitution, suit will claim, The New York Times ($)
Photo of the day
Women's March demonstrators move down Congress Avenue in Austin on Jan. 21, 2017. Photo by Marjorie Kamys Cotera. See more photos on our Instagram account.
Quote to note
"It seems with all the attention given to recent court decisions over gender rights, the Affordable Care Act and other political “hot buttons,’ dogs were forgotten and tossed to the street."
— Attorney Steve Fischer, proposing legislation to compensate owners for reckless pet deaths via TribTalk
The Brief is written and compiled by your morning news baristas, Bobby Blanchard and Sanya Mansoor. If you have feedback or questions, please email email@example.com. We're a nonprofit newsroom, and count on readers like you to help power newsletters like this. Did you like what you read today? Show your appreciation by becoming a member or making a donation today.