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The Brief: Texas Senate will debate "sanctuary cities," ethics reform

The Senate is set to debate today two of Gov. Greg Abbott's emergency items: reforming ethics laws and banning "sanctuary cities."

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick talks with the media during a press conference on SB 6, also known as the "bathroom bill," on Feb. 6, 2017.

Happy Tuesday! 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

Tribune today

At the Texas Capitol, the union dues bill is back
Legislation to stop automatic payroll deductions for most public employee unions is back after failing two years ago. Supporters say the state shouldn't be involved in collecting union dues; opponents say the GOP is trying to cripple certain unions.

Texas families are struggling to pay for college — but so is the state
Rising tuition is making it hard for parents and students to pay for college in Texas. But state funding is strained, too. So where will the money come from to grow enrollment and elevate Texas universities?

Facing business opposition, Dan Patrick seeks to boost "bathroom bill"
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Tuesday decried as "bogus" a report indicating the potential economic impact that could result from the proposed "bathroom bill."

Dan Patrick calls on Texas Rangers to locate Tom Brady's missing Super Bowl jersey
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick asked the Texas Rangers and Houston Police Department to team up in finding New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's football jersey, which was stolen Sunday night.

What you need to know

Today, the Senate will take up two of Gov. Greg Abbott's emergency items: reforming ethics laws and banning "sanctuary cities." Watch the livestream on our site at 10 a.m. CST and follow Texas Tribune reporters Jay Root, Julián Aguilar and Sanya Mansoor for updates. 

Other stories we're watching today:

News from home

On Feb. 13, we launch Sold Out, a multi-part investigation into Texas' child sex-trafficking pipeline. Sign up to receive email alerts for this investigation and other special projects from The Texas Tribune.

What we're reading

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

The Swedish-inspired way American cities are trying to end pedestrian deaths, Governing

Texas 'bathroom bill' may pose big test for sports leagues, The Associated Press

Voucher proposals quickly run into the A-wordSan Antonio Express-News ($)

State database of officer-involved shootings is missing 12 cases, Austin American-Statesman ($)

Texas leaders want to punish 'sanctuary cities' but local agencies wouldn't lose much cash, The Dallas Morning News ($)

Insurers, plaintiff's lawyers lawyers square off in Austin over hail storm billThe Houston Chronicle ($) 

Justice Department urges appeals court to reinstate Trump's travel banThe New York Times ($)

For your calendar

Save the date: The Texas Tribune Festival is back for 2017! Join us for a weekend of Texas politics, policy and much more on Sept. 22-24 at UT-Austin. 

Join us online or in person at 8 a.m. CST to meet several new legislators, Rep. Briscoe Cain, R-Deer Park, Rep. Justin Holland, R-Rockwall, and Rep. Victoria Neave, D-Dallas.

Tonight at 6 p.m. CST, join us for happy hour at the W Austin Records Room for cocktails and a frank conversation about what to expect from state lawmakers this year. 

For a complete list of upcoming events, visit our site

Quote to note

"The uncomfortable fact for most people is that the Houston region is flood prone and engineering and infrastructure solutions will never reduce or prevent extreme rainfall events."

— Michael Bloom, manager of the Sustainability Practice for R.G. Miller Engineers, Inc. and Steve Stagner, President and CEO of ACEC Texas, about the impact of floods on the Houston region 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 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.

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