Editor's note: If you'd like to read The Brief in your inbox every weekday, sign up here.
Land dispute lies at the heart of bullet train battles
In both courthouses and at the state Capitol, opponents of a private company’s plans to build a Dallas-Houston bullet train have zeroed on in the firm's claim that it has the authority to take land by condemnation if necessary.
Texas' rural roots and urban future are on a high-speed collision course
A private firm's proposed Houston-Dallas bullet train would connect two of America's biggest metropolitan areas. But the 240-mile line would require a lot of country land that many Texans don't want to give up.
How to pay for a $12 billion bullet train without asking Texas for money
Texas Central says global interest in American infrastructure will fund and finance a high-speed rail line from Dallas to Houston. Experts and critics are more skeptical.
Rio Grande Valley officials welcome federal lawmakers' visits but keep expectations low
Local leaders say the many members of Congress who have visited the region recently won't glean a clear perspective of border life in a one-day visit.
Citing sex-trafficking series, Texas Dem urges Paxton to stop fighting foster care suit
“If there was ever a call to action for state officials to get serious about reforming foster care, this was it,” state Rep. Chris Turner said about problems plaguing the child welfare agency.
Trump rescinds protections for transgender students
The Trump administration withdrew Obama administration guidelines meant to provide protections for transgender students in public schools.
Child welfare bill heads to Senate floor
Senate Health and Human Services Committee members voted unanimously Wednesday morning to send a bill aimed at overhauling the state's child welfare system to the full Senate for a vote.
Senate panel takes step toward repealing college financial aid law
The Texas Senate Education Committee took an early step in the Senate's efforts to eliminate a rule that forces universities to set aside a portion of tuition revenue to fund scholarships for the needy.
U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of Texas death row inmate
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of prisoner Duane Buck, agreeing that his case was prejudiced by an expert trial witness who claimed Buck was more likely to be a future danger because he is black.
What you need to know
A private company wants to build a 240-mile Dallas-Houston high-speed rail that could whisk Texans between the two metropolitans in 90 minutes. But the proposed project has drawn ire from some lawmakers and rural landowners.
- Two years ago, a group of Texas Republicans tried to change state law to kill the private firm's bid to build the nation's first high-speed rail line in Texas. The battle was revived this session as 10 lawmakers filed more than 20 bills aimed at the project.
- Texas Central — the private company behind the project — has fought back criticism about land ownership. They were quick to point out they don't plan to use eminent domain on any parcels except as a last resort.
- There are other questions about the project, like financing. Texas Central says it can fund the $12 billion project privately, and turn a profit someday. Opponents are skeptical.
News from home
Help us report on sex trafficking in Texas: Over the past five months, The Texas Tribune has investigated the hidden world of sex trafficking. Now, we want to hear about your experiences.
What we're reading
(Links below lead to outside websites; paywall content noted with $)
Undocumented woman with a brain tumor locked up by ICE, The Daily Beast
Immigrants fearing deportation under Trump change routines, The Associated Press
San Jose mayor admits failures in flood evacuation order, The Associated Press
Congressional town halls get hot in Texas as national 'resistance' spreads, The Houston Chronicle ($)
Austin no. 1 in U.S. - for non-criminals arrested in ICE raids, Austin-American Statesman ($)
What's it like to be a woman at Baylor? 6 speak out on sexism, feminism and campus chivalry, The Dallas Morning News ($)
Seeing double: Phillip Huffines could seek to join twin Don in Texas Senate, The Dallas Morning News ($)
For your calendar
Join us in person or online Thursday for a conversation with state Rep. John Zerwas, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
Quote to note
"The president has an excellent opportunity to show compassion towards drug offenders and to trump President Obama, who could and should have included Muñiz on his long list of pardoned non-violent drug offenders."
— Steve Fischer, an attorney, about freeing Ramiro "Ramsey" Muñiz 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 firstname.lastname@example.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.