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The Brief: Here's what's next for "sanctuary cities"

In a 20-11 party line vote, the Senate preliminary approved legislation Tuesday night that would ban sanctuary cities in the state.

Sen. John Whitmire D-Houston holds up a letter from the city of Houston chief of police as he ask Sen. Charles Perry R-Lubbock questions regarding SB4 on February 7, 2017


Tribune today

Texas Senate gives preliminary approval to anti-"sanctuary" legislation
After an afternoon of debate, the Texas Senate late Tuesday voted 20-11 along party lines to advance a controversial immigration measure to ban sanctuary cities in the state.

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Senate approves new UT System regents 29-0
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U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, the top House Republican on homeland security issues, strongly criticized the Trump administration Monday for the chaotic rollout last month of a travel ban of mostly Muslim countries.

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High-speed train developer withdraws lawsuits against Texas landowners
Texas Central says it will return to negotiating with property owners whose land may be needed for a rail line from Dallas to Houston, rather than seeking a court order to survey the land.

What you need to know

In a 20-11 party line vote, the Senate preliminary approved legislation Tuesday night that would ban sanctuary cities in the state, penalizing local governments that don't work with federal officials to enforce immigration laws. 

  • Proponents of the legislation say it will ensure the same procedures are enforced by every law enforcement agency. Opponents say the policy would instill a "blanket of fear" in immigrant communities and discourage interactions with law enforcement.
  • Attorney General Ken Paxton called the measure legal right before a Senate vote. “Our review of the law concludes CSSB 4 is constitutional, there are viable methods for covered entities to avoid liability regarding invalid detainers, and the remainder of the legal concerns are unfounded,” Paxton said in the letter.
  • After final passage in the Senate, the ban heads to the House next. But the House isn't moving as quickly on legislation, and it is unclear if lawmakers in the lower chamber will accept the bill as is. 

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 $) 

Army to allow completion of Dakota Access oil pipeline, The Associated Press

Donald Trump's cuts could increase illegal immigrationThe Daily Beast

State contributions wane as indigent costs continue to climb for McLennan CountyWaco Tribune-Herald

Rounding up votes for the Senate's 'bathroom bill,' The Houston Chronicle ($)

Republicans vote to impugn Elizabeth Warren, saying she impugned Sessions's characterThe Washington Post ($)

Trump team bashed media's attention to terrorism; here's how The News played it, The Dallas Morning News ($)

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

Photo of the day

For the Almohammad family, who arrived in Austin from Syria late Monday, a hold on President Trump's refugee ban meant they were finally able to reach Texas and meet the volunteers who would help them call the state home. Photo by Erika Rich. See more photos on our Instagram account

Quote to note

"Taking the position that we only have the funds for CPS costs and not for prevention would be the equivalent of making minimum payments on a high-interest credit card because we don’t want to touch our savings account. That would be madness."

Madeline McClure of TexProtects via TribTalk

The Brief is written and compiled by your morning news baristas, Bobby Blanchard and Cassi Pollock. 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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