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The Brief: Some Texas congressional districts are illegal, federal judges say

A handful of Texas' 36 congressional districts violate either the U.S. Constitution or the federal Voting Rights Act, federal judges ruled Friday.

Tourists wander through the state Capitol rotunda in Austin on Jan. 9, 2017, the eve of the 85th Texas Legislative Session.

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Tribune today

Mayors say Texas, U.S. politics increasingly undermine city needs
A major source of division among cities and state officials is differing opinions on what local control means — and to whom it provides the power to govern.

Analysis: A week to test local powers in Texas
The Texas Legislature is going to be busy this week with issues that ordinarily belong to other governments, as it considers the wisdom of local ordinances on restrooms, ride-hailing, short-term rentals, sanctuary cities and plastic bags.

With proposal to penalize men for masturbating, legislator aims to shake up health debate
State Rep. Jessica Farrar, a Houston Democrat, filed House Bill 4260 Friday, which would fine men $100 for masturbating.

At SXSW, Joe Biden pledges to work with Trump to end "cancer as we know it"
In Austin on Sunday, former Vice President Joe Biden said he hopes the Trump administration will be committed as the Obama administration was to the goal of eradicating cancer.

At Dallas County GOP event, Donald Trump Jr. says Texas “came through for this country”
Donald Trump Jr, the Dallas County Republican Party’s Reagan Day Dinner keynote speaker, said Texans’ fundraising efforts were key in helping his father secure a victory in the 2016 presidential election.

Federal panel rules some of Texas' congressional districts illegal
Some of the state's 36 congressional districts violate either the U.S. Constitution or the federal Voting Rights Act, a panel of three federal judges ruled Friday.

Tesla tries a new, ambitious approach at Texas Capitol
A pair of bills filed Friday would allow any vehicle manufacturer to sell directly to Texans — bypassing the middleman dealers — in the biggest challenge yet to a longstanding state ban on the practice.

Lawmaker blasts Abbott appointee, health agency over contracting; agency fires back
State Rep. Giovanni Capriglione is demanding to know why dozens of large Texas Health and Human Services Commission contracts don't appear in the state's budget watchdog's database. The agency says it isn't responsible for the problem.

House proposal could claw back billions Texas voters approved for roads
The Texas House’s chief budget writer filed legislation Friday that would pave the way for lawmakers to claw back billions of dollars that voters approved for state highways, freeing them up for other budget needs.

Texas lawmakers say more study needed before “hog apocalypse”
Two Texas lawmakers have filed bills after outcry from hunters and meat processors over the state's approval of a new poison for feral hogs.

What you need to know

A handful of Texas' 36 congressional districts violate either the U.S. Constitution or the federal Voting Rights Act, federal judges ruled Friday. The panel of federal judges ruled that the Texas Legislature must redraw the political maps it most recently used for the 2016 election.

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What we're reading

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

Immigration tensions seep into South by Southwest music fest, The Associated Press

States scramble for funding to upgrade aging voting machines, The Associated Press

Winter Texans blocking immigrant children shelter, The Monitor

Wildfires are 3rd largest in state historyAmarillo Globe-News

'Lauren's Law' bill filed to change capital murder, Times Record News

GOP governors are unimpressed with GOP healthcare plan, Governing

ACLU app takes aim at police accountabilityThe Houston Chronicle ($)

'Fearfully and wonderfully made': What one transgender man wants lawmakers to know, The Dallas Morning News ($)

Living in no man's land, Austin-American Statesman ($)

Adrift, San Antonio Express-News ($)

Quote to note

"The stresses associated with poverty, such as childhood trauma, have tangible, serious effects on children’s ability to learn and often manifest into what adults see as bad behavior."

— Plácido Gómez, a teacher, about teacher preparation in Texas classrooms 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 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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