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The Brief: What Texans in Congress say so far about James Comey's firing

Last night, Donald Trump fired FBI director James Comey. Here's what Texans are saying about it.

FBI Director James Comey testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Intelligence Committee hearing into alleged Russian medd…

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Tribune today

• Houston's Police Chief is not happy with the new "sanctuary" cities law. But he's ready to reluctantly enforce it.

• Faith-based adoption agencies in Texas would be able to reject prospective parents on religious grounds under a bill the state House approved Tuesday over objections from Democratic lawmakers.

• From Ross Ramsey: As the Legislature grinds its way through the final three weeks of the regular session, the state's top three leaders are pushing and shoving, figuratively speaking, to the finale and beyond — to the 2018 elections.

• The Texas Senate has given preliminary approval to a bill that could disqualify transgender athletes from competing in  high school sports.

• Legislation that would make it easier for the state to hold immigrant families in detention centers for longer has tentatively passed the Senate. Opponents to the bill call these facilities "baby jails." 

• The Legislature finally passed a much-criticized bill that reforms the state's oil and gas regulatory agency — after shooting down a Democratic senator's attempt to beef it up.

• Abbott confirms it's true: He did urge pastors to pressure the Texas House over "bathroom bills." 

• Texas attorneys are already taking aim at Senate Bill 4. The border town El Cenizo and Maverick County have sued the state, claiming constitutional violations.

• The ACLU has slapped a "travel advisory" on Texas after Gov. Greg Abbott signed what critics have called the most extreme state-based immigration bill in history.

• Your results are in. Last week, House lawmakers passed a bill requiring high school students to pass the civics test that immigrants take when applying for citizenship. Here's how Texas Tribune readers fared on a similar quiz.

What you need to know

Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey Tuesday evening. Comey reportedly found out while addressing a group of employees in Los Angeles, as he glanced towards a television that flashed the news. He laughed — he thought it was a prank. He learned quickly that it wasn't. 

Comey was leading an investigation into any possible connections between Trump campaign associates and the Russian government. He is the latest official investigating Trump to be fired. It is early still, but some Texans in Congress have already weighed in on the news. Here's what you need to know:

• Democrats reacted swiftly to the news with outrage. Many said they had no advance warning that Comey was going to get fired. “It was a stunning development. I certainly didn’t have any advance notice,” U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, said on CNN Tuesday night. “It is a very suspicious action by the president.” U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett labeled the move a "Nixonian dismissal" and said it is "designed to obstruct further inquiry into collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia." 

• Democrats weren't the only ones taken aback by the news — U.S. Sen. John Cornyn said he was "surprised" by it. But he opined on Twitter that Democrats "were against Comey before they were for him." 

• Many Texans in Congress have yet to weigh in — and it might stay that way. Earlier this year, we asked Texans in Congress about the Trump team's alleged Russian ties and if they warranted further investigations. The responses mostly fell along partisan lines — with muted answers from Republicans. For updates today, follow Texas Tribune reporter Abby Livingston

News from home

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What we're reading

Links below lead to outside websites; we've noted paywall content with $.

Abbott bypasses the mainstream media with Facebook Live, Texas Monthly

Trump's public-private infrastructure vision rejected in Texas, Bloomberg 

Protest held against sanctuary cities lawThe Monitor

Citizens call on city council to add police officers, Corpus Christi Caller-Times 

Bid to revive ailing open-government bill sidetrackedAbilene Reporter-News

GOP colleagues' move to win 'at any cost' hurt hungry children, Dallas lawmaker says, The Dallas Morning News ($)

How Houston has become the most diverse place in AmericaLos Angeles Times ($)

Family sues Texas police officer in shooting death of 15-year-old Jordan EdwardsThe Washington Post ($)

For your calendar

Today: Join us for coffee and a conversation with author and political strategist Matthew Dowd at The Austin Club.

Quote to note

"I don’t believe we can sit back and ignore the fact that there are students who are transitioning and are taking legally prescribed medication from their doctors and they may be competing in UIL sports. I don’t think we should ever discriminate against these students."

— Sen. José Menéndez, about a bill that could disqualify transgender student athletes.

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.

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