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The Brief: What will a border wall do to the environment?

What will a border wall do to the local environment? We investigate with Reveal.

At dusk, Border Patrol agents place mobile floodlights along the levee-fence in Hidalgo County.

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Scientists say Trump's border wall would devastate wildlife habitat
At the U.S.-Mexico border, scientists say existing fencing is hurting endangered wildlife and warn that a continuous wall could devastate many species.

Professor recruitment program — a top Abbott initiative — could lose funding
Draft budgets by both the Texas House and Senate have zeroed out funding for the Governor's University Research Initiative, a project started by Gov. Greg Abbott in 2015.

Civil asset forfeiture debate pits property rights advocates against Texas law enforcement
Critics say the procedure deprives citizens of property without due process. Law enforcement officials say they are stopping crime.

Analysis: The Texas legislative tales that (almost) got away
The big bills and arguments and personalities in the Texas Legislature catch most of the attention and headlines, but little things deserve their time in the spotlight, too.

Sandra Bland Act would change processes for law enforcement, jails
The bill's proposals include limiting police searches during stops, adding reporting requirements for racial profiling and creating an independent ombudsman to monitor inmates' rights and services.

Democrat Collier to challenge Patrick for lieutenant governor
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is getting a Democratic challenger for re-election in 2018.

U.S. Senate confirms Rick Perry as Trump's energy secretary
The U.S. Senate approved the confirmation of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry as the next secretary of the Department of Energy on Thursday.

Judge again dismisses SEC case against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton
A federal judge has again thrown out securities fraud charges against Attorney General Ken Paxton, effectively ending one of two legal battles that have dogged Paxton for more than a year.

After Huberty's comments, school choice advocates lobby state Republican Party
House Public Education Chairman Dan Huberty's comments about school choice legislation being a "dead" issue this legislative session have angered Texas supporters of the voucher-like programs.

Cruz: Firestorm over U.S. Attorney General Sessions is a "nothingburger"
In a television interview on Thursday, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz said the uproar over Attorney General Jeff Sessions' previous meetings with the Russian ambassador is nothing more than "political theater."

What you need to know

For more than 70 years, the government and conservation groups have bought land along the U.S-Mexico border in efforts to preserve habitats for endangered animals. Much of that land is now bisected by a border fence, and scientists warn a continuous wall could devastate many species

News from home

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What we're reading

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

Pence used personal email for state business — and was hacked, USA Today

Trump's EPA budget proposal targets climate, clean water programsReuters

Trump cabinet member will visit Beaumont, Beaumont Enterprise

Texas bathroom bill already costing San Antonio convention business, San Antonio Express-News ($)

Mayoral candidates face off on wide range of issuesSan Antonio Express-News ($)

Are Texas lawmakers using border security fears to pad the DPS budget?, Austin American-Statesman ($)

For your calendar 


Join us online today for a daylong symposium on public education in Texas. 

Bring your friends and join us for happy hour and conversation about the Texas Legislature at "On the Record" at The W Austin Records Room Tuesday, March 7. 

Photo of the day

People gathered outside the Capitol on March 2 to show their support for the Sandra Bland Act, a measure announced by state Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston. See more photos on our Instagram account

Quote to note

“Navigating the health care system is complicated. Even diligent patients who ask all of the right questions can get hit with surprising out-of-network medical bills. We can’t afford to let doctors and insurers keep blaming each other for the problem while patients foot the bill.”

— Gregory Phillips, primary care physician, about surprise medical billing 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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