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What you need to know

After seven weeks of court filings, press conferences and statements, a federal lawsuit over the controversial new immigration enforcement law in Texas, known as Senate Bill 4, will be heard today in San Antonio. Little space and tight security are just two of the several things expected, so follow Texas Tribune reporter Julián Aguilar for updates. Here's what you need to know:

This fight started while the ink on the governor's signature was still drying. The day after Gov. Greg Abbott signed SB 4 into law, local governments began filing suit over the measure, which allows local law enforcement to question legally detained or arrested people about their immigration status and punishes officials who don't cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.

Houston joined the growing fight against SB 4 last week. The largest city in Texas on Wednesday added its name to the list of cities opposing the law, saying it violated the guarantees of free speech and equal protection under the Constitution. Other plaintiffs in the lawsuit include Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and several other municipal and county governments

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The Trump administration has dipped its toes into the legal battle, too. The U.S. Justice Department filed a statement of interest on Friday, arguing the bill is constitutional and valid — a move Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton called "reassuring" in a news release afterward. "I'm grateful for the DOJ's assistance in helping my office defend the lawful Senate Bill 4," Paxton said.

Today marks the first in what could be a long series of hearings. A lot can happen between now and Sept. 1, when the law is set to go into effect. On the other side of the fight lies Paxton's pre-emptive lawsuit asking a federal court to declare SB 4 constitutional. A court in Austin is set consider Paxton's request Thursday. 

Power Trips: We're launching a new series exploring the fight between state and local officials over regulatory power. Ride-hailing was the first issue we tackled, and there were mixed reactions to Texas taking over regulatory control of companies such as Uber and Lyft. Which local control issue should we explore next? Tell us here

Other stories we're watching today:

• The U.S. Supreme Court could issue rulings on two cases the Tribune has been following — one on a cross-border shooting case and another on death row inmate Erick Davila. Follow Cassi Pollock for updates on the shooting case and Jolie McCullough for updates on the Davila case. 

Tribune today

Private school choice? Still dead, says the top education leader in the Texas House

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• From Ross Ramsey: Legislators and lobbyists and the other bugs in the corners of the Texas Capitol are already whispering about who might succeed House Speaker Joe Straus.

The latest episode in the Texas vs. California culture wars — the latter deciding to ban state employee travel to the former — has created a bit of confusion in the realm of college sports. 

Pencil us in

Join us on July 19 for coffee and conversation previewing the 85th special legislative session with state Reps. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston, Drew Darby, R-San Angelo, and Matt Schaefer, R-Tyler. 

Register for the 2017 Texas Tribune Festival! Join us for three days of the best conversations in politics and public policy, Sept. 22-24. Register here

What we're reading

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

Analysis: Texas gave House GOP biggest gerrymandering bumpAP

Cruz to Panola GOP: Let's repeal ACA as promised, Longview News-Journal

No courthouse weddings in Waco for same-sex couples, 2 years after Supreme Court ruling, Waco Tribune-Herald

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Wallis calls on judge to jail, fine Bryan ISD officials, The Eagle

County appraisers cut sky-high property value increases in surprise move, Killeen Daily Herald

House Speaker Joe Straus not falling in line with Abbott, Patrick, San Antonio Express-News ($)

Democrats are fielding a glut of House candidates in 2018 but remain divided on how to win, The Washington Post ($)

To make sense of American politics, immigrants find clues from lands they left, The New York Times ($)

Photo of the day

As newly sworn-in city council members look on, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg speaks to the crowd at his June 21 swearing in at the Arneson River Theater on the San Antonio Riverwalk. Photo by Robin Jerstad. See more photos on our Instagram account

Quote to note

"I pretty much stand where I stood then."

— State Rep. Gary VanDeaver, R-New Boston, about remaining opposed to "private school choice" during the upcoming legislative session

Feedback? Questions? Email us at thebrief@texastribune.org. As always, thanks for choosing The Brief — if you liked what you read today, become a member or make a donation here

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