Political Points: Abbott's Inauguration, Confederate Plaque Update, Castro's Announcement

Good morning!Here are the top political headlines from Austin, Dallas, Washington and the 2020 campaign trail.Points from Austin1. As he prepares to be sworn in for a second term Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott is focused intently on two big goals — restraining property tax increases and improving the way Texas funds its public schools.Abbott acknowledges that he and other newly re-elected Republicans who control the Texas Capitol will be trying to thread a political needle this session: Allocate more money to schools to ease pressure on property-tax bills, but in such a way that the new funds prod schools to improve, the Republican governor said.You can find details about the inauguration and watch it live at 11 a.m.2. The Children of the Confederacy plaque is officially gone. The controversial marker that claimed slavery was not the underlying cause of the Civil War was removed from its spot in the state Capitol on Saturday, a spokesman confirmed Monday. The State Preservation Board's governing members voted on Friday to take the plaque down.3. Texas will send out federal food assistance early amid the government shutdown and concerns about running out of funding, state officials announced. Recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will see February benefits on their Lone Star Cards by Sunday, officials said.4. We're trying to make it easier, and more fun, to stay informed on what your state representatives and senators are up to. In the spirit of Schoolhouse Rock, we've started a video series about politics. The first installment is about how the state Legislature works.5. At our new site, Texas Tracker: Your Guide to the State Legislature, you'll find stories, analysis and more from the Capitol. If you're a Dallas Morning News subscriber, you can customize your feed. Sign in, click the issues you want to follow, and you'll see only posts matching those topics.Bob's breakdownBob Garrett is the Austin bureau chief for The Dallas Morning News. A fifth-generation Texan, he has covered state government and politics for decades. Here, Bob offers his analysis from the Capitol.• It's a party. The inaugural festivities for Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick began Sunday night with a bash at iconic blues venue Antone's Nightclub for Abbott's campaign aides, consultants and vendors and continued Monday with a "candlelight dinner" for top donors at the Fairmont Austin Hotel.• Parties cost money. In 2015, Abbott's inaugural committee raised $4.7 million. The 2019 committee's tallying the numbers and will release them soon, Abbott spokesman John Wittman said. • At his first inaugural, Abbott showcased his alma mater, Duncanville High. This time, he's highlighting another place he lived as a boy, Longview. Members of the Longview Boy Scout troop to which he once belonged will lead the Pledge of Allegiance on Tuesday, Wittman said.Points from the trail  Continue reading...

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