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The Brief: Texas Supreme Court will hear same-sex marriage case today

The Texas Supreme Court will hear oral arguments today around 9 a.m. in a Houston case challenging the city's benefits policy for married same-sex couples.

Couples embrace at the conclusion of the "Big Gay Wedding" ceremony on the south lawn of the Texas Capitol on July 4 after...

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Tribune today

Here’s how much Texas candidates spent per vote in the November elections
U.S. Rep Will Hurd, for example, spent big for his win, shelling out $29.12 per vote, among the highest in the state.

Check out the conflicts and interests of Texas elected officials
We've updated our Ethics Explorer, an interactive tool that lets you review the financial interests, property holdings and potential conflicts of interest of more than 260 Texas elected officials.

Recent raids drive immigrant families to passport scramble
Fearing deportation, immigrant families are crowding passport lines across the state, as undocumented parents seek U.S. passports for their American children.

Analysis: Voucher opponent protecting Texas legislators from voters
Lawmakers rarely get blamed for votes that never take place, and that's the basis for one of the oldest protection rackets in the legislative toolkit: Killing a controversial bill before it comes to the full House or Senate.

Trump water directive cheered by ranchers, blasted by environmentalists
State leaders and agriculture groups applauded an executive order issued by President Trump on Tuesday that suggests the controversial "Waters of the U.S." rule finalized under President Obama could be reversed.

Businesses oppose legislation limiting public information exemptions
Businesses opposed two bills at a public hearing Tuesday that would aim to apply state open records laws to a private entity that receives a government contract.

Texas Senate approves convention of states legislation
The Texas Senate approved a resolution Tuesday calling for a convention of states to amend the U.S. Constitution, one of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's four emergency items. 

Top Republican counsels against secret taping
After unconfirmed reports that House members were recording private conversations with colleagues, the Republican who oversees internal affairs in the chamber said he's asked members to refrain from any surreptitious taping.

Still no timeline for withdrawal of state troopers on border, Texas DPS chief says
The director of the Texas Department of Public Safety told lawmakers on Tuesday the agency can't predict when it will be able to scale back its border security operations in the Rio Grande Valley. 

What you need to know

The Texas Supreme Court will hear oral arguments today around 9 a.m. in a Houston case challenging the city's benefits policy for married same-sex couples. Follow Texas Tribune reporter Alexa Ura for updates. 

Other stories we're watching:

  • Barbara Pierce Bush, the daughter of former President George W. Bush, will be the keynote speaker at Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas' annual Fort Worth luncheon. 
  • The Texas House is set to take up bills that would reform the state's child welfare agency today. Lawmakers begin meeting at 10 a.m. Watch here and follow Texas Tribune reporter Marissa Evans for updates.

News from home

Do you have information the public should know? Securely send documents, photos or info our way. Here's how.

What we're reading
(Links below lead to outside websites; paywall content noted with $) 

Trump tones down the dark rhetoric, Politico

$115 million state funding bump would get Waco I-35 project rolling, Waco Tribune-Herald

River Road ISD to offer trade programs to high school studentsAmarillo Globe-News

Report: 'El Chapo' alliance preparing for war with rival cartel, Laredo Morning Times

Texas Supreme Court not lacking for input on gay marriage caseAustin American-Statesman ($)

Is ICE targeting Austin? Local leaders ask agency that question, Austin American-Statesman ($)

Syrian peace talks flounder as participants ask: Where is America?, The Washington Post ($)

For your calendar 

Join us in person or online for a symposium on public education at the University of Houston-Downtown on Friday.  

Photo of the day

State Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Humble, the newly appointed chairman of the House Education Committee, talks about public education at a Texas Tribune event on Feb. 28, 2017. Photo by Bob Daemmrich. See more photos on our Instagram account

Quote to note

"While there appears to be a notable deficit of top-tier Democratic talent interested in challenging Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in 2018, Democrats have a surplus of candidates — Reps. Castro and Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso — actively exploring 2018 challenges to Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz."

— Mark P. Jones of Rice University's Baker Institute about the Texas delegation to the U.S. House 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 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.

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