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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 11:50 am 

Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2013 10:58 am
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Things are getting started! This article ran this morning in the Texas Tribune.

The Big Conversation

Guns were a big topic of conversation inside the Capitol and outside of it on Monday.

Nineteen of the 20 Republicans in the Senate filed legislation on Monday that would allow concealed handgun license holders to carry on public college campuses. The show of strength was a clear signal that Republicans in the chamber feel they have the votes to push campus carry legislation all the way to enactment.

Helping their efforts was the move last week to change the rules of the Senate to make it easier to bring up legislation.

"Last session, a weaker version of campus carry — allowing state college and university campuses to opt out of allowing guns — failed in the Senate when supporters were unable to get 21 senators to agree to a floor vote on a House-passed bill," wrote Chuck Lindell of the Austin American-Statesman. "New rules this session, however, require only 19 senators to allow a floor vote. What’s more, in the 2013 session, several Democratic senators said Republican colleagues had asked them to help kill campus carry. Such strong GOP support in 2015 would seem to preclude a repeat this session."

Meanwhile, a group that advocates for allowing the open carry of handguns without a permit, also known as constitutional carry, rallied outside the Capitol, according to the Houston Chronicle's Lauren McGaughy. They were joined by state Reps. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, and Molly White, R-Belton, as well as a survivor of the 2009 Fort Hood shootings.

The protesters made their position known by brandishing empty gun holsters, with some of them filled by bananas, copies of the Constitution or cans of hairspray, per a report from The Associated Press' Jim Vertuno.

Still to be determined is whether open carry activists can coalesce around a single legislative approach this session. Other advocates are pushing for allowing open carry with a permit, more like what exists today with a concealed handgun license.

The Day Ahead

• The House convenes at 10 a.m.; the Senate convenes at 11 a.m.

• The canvass for the HD-13 special election will be held at 4 p.m. at the Governor's Mansion. With this action, the governor will be free to set a date for the runoff to settle the contest.

• A consortium of civil liberties groups holds a briefing in the Capitol extension on consequences of proposed constitutional amendments that would replace the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1999.

• House Speaker Joe Straus at 5:30 p.m. will address the Texas Society of CPAs legislative reception marking the 100-year anniversary of the CPA profession, the TSCPA and the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy.

• Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick drops by the Austin Club for a conversation with Tribune CEO and Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith. We will livestream the 8 a.m. event for those unable to attend in person.

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