Skip to main content

The Brief: What to expect from Greg Abbott's State of the State

Gov. Greg Abbott will give his State of the State address today. In a session already filled with priorities — Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is aggressively pushing 25 — Abbott may add some clarity.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks to the Convention of States gathering at the Texas Capitol on Dec. 6, 2016

 

Tribune today

Survey of Texans in Congress shows most Republicans back Trump's travel ban
As of late Monday, nearly all of the 38-member Texas congressional delegation had taken a position on President Trump's travel ban executive order. Most Republicans backed the measure, while Democrats viscerally opposed it.

Hundreds attend vigil for refugees at Austin church
Hundreds of people packed the First English Lutheran Church in Austin on Monday evening as part of an interfaith vigil in support of refugees.

Hope turns to heartache for Texas volunteers looking to help refugees
President Trump’s executive order restricting travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries and halting refugee admissions left many refugee resettlement agencies wondering what was left of their mission. But they were undeterred.

Juvenile justice advocates look to raise age of criminal responsibility to 18
Seventeen-year-olds can't vote, join the military or buy cigarettes or alcohol, but they're treated as adults in criminal cases in Texas. About 200 people rallied at the Capitol on Monday to change that.

Texas lawmakers fired up about state CPS and foster care woes
On Monday, the Senate Finance Committee scrutinized Department of Family and Protective Services budget requests while the House Workgroup on Child Protective Services floated a proposal to make the department a standalone agency. 

Two Texas mosques burned to the ground this month
The Islamic Center of Victoria was destroyed by a massive fire Saturday, less than three weeks after the partly constructed Islamic Center of Lake Travis suffered the same fate.

Dallas freeway becomes national target for highway teardown movement
After spending years as a target of Dallas activists, I-345 is now among a list of U.S. highways that a national group thinks should be torn down. But a lot may have to happen before city leaders decide the freeway's fate.

School choice bill pitches savings accounts, tax credit scholarships
Sen. Larry Taylor on Monday filed Senate Bill 3, which pushes education savings accounts and tax credit scholarships to subsidize private school tuition and other education expenses.

House Republican eyes alternative approach to "bathroom bill"
A Republican in the Texas House is pitching an alternative to the “bathroom bill,” saying he wants to focus more on local control than bathrooms. 

Texas rep placed under state protection after filing bill to ban abortions
State Rep. Tony Tinderholt, R-Arlington, has been placed under the protection of the Texas Department of Public Safety after getting death threats following his filing of a bill to criminalize abortion in Texas. 

Former President George H.W. Bush discharged from Houston hospital
Former President George H.W. Bush, who was admitted to the hospital this month for shortness of breath, was discharged Monday.

Democrats make Texas central to 2018 midterms strategy
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced Monday morning that the party intends to target two longtime GOP incumbents next year: U.S. Reps. Pete Sessions of Dallas and John Culberson of Houston.

What you need to know

Gov. Greg Abbott will give his State of the State address at 11 a.m. today. Watch the livestream live on our site and follow Texas Tribune reporters Patrick Svitek, Marissa Evans and Matthew Watkins for updates.

  • In his speech, Abbott is expected to announce "emergency items" for lawmakers to consider. In a session already filled with priorities — Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is aggressively pushing 25 — Abbott may add some clarity.
  • What's an emergency item? It is a chance for the governor to set priorities. Lawmakers are not allowed to pass legislation in the first 60 days of session unless it is an emergency item the governor has declared.
  • While Abbott has been tight-lipped about his speech, there are a few things to expect. He wants lawmakers to revisit ethics reform, reform the state's child protective services system and pass resolutions calling for a convention of states. 

Other stories we're watching today:

News from home

  • If you know someone affected by Trump's refugee ban in Texas, we want to talk to you
  • Join the engineers who keep our site buzzing! We're hiring a software developer. Apply here.

What we're reading

(Links below lead to outside websites; paywall content noted with $) 

I'm a Syrian refugee in Texas. I have no idea when I'll see my children again, Vox

Texas Senate cites 'decorum' to increase distance between legislators, reporters, Columbia Journalism Review

Trump's voter fraud expert registered in 3 statesThe Associated Press

Trump wants to enlist local police in immigration crackdownThe Associated Press

Senator from Berkeley demands release of Melania Trump's immigration documents, San Francisco Chronicle

Obama joins fray over Trump order, The Hill

Texas clerks look to derail web-based public access to court records, Austin American-Statesman ($)

Disability advocates threaten to sue Texas over special education cap, The Houston Chronicle ($)  

Prayers and protests as Dallas faithful react to Trump's immigration ordersThe Dallas Morning News ($)

Misleading stats fuel Republicans' effort to cap local property taxesThe Dallas Morning News ($)

Trump fires acting Attorney General who defied himThe New York Times ($)

For your calendar 

The Texas Tribune will hold a conversation with state Sens. Van Taylor and Kirk Watson and state Rep. Giovanni Capriglione on ethics, transparency & open government at 8 a.m. today at The Austin Club. Watch live here.

For a complete list of upcoming events, visit our site here

Photo of the day

Syrian refugee family Abdul Ghani, his wife Sana Alaama and their daughters, Laila Alaama and Sama Alaama, attend a vigil at the First English Lutheran Church in Austin on Jan. 30, 2017. Photo by Shelby Knowles. See more photos on our Instagram account

Quote to note

"Eliminating protection of teacher-student communication will almost certainly place LGBTQ students in situations in which they are forced to choose between seeking out the support of a trusted teacher and running the risk of being outed to potentially rejecting parents, or to remain silent about an important part of who they are."

— Adam McCormick, assistant professor of social work at St. Edward's University, about Sen. Konni Burton pushing legislation that mandates teachers provide parents with certain information students have confided in them 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 thebrief@texastribune.org. 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.

Quality journalism doesn't come free

Yes, I'll donate today