Here is your Morning Brief for March 17, 2015.

William Thomas Cain, Getty Images
William Thomas Cain, Getty Images

Casino Gambling in Texas?

Will casino gambling in Texas become a reality? Maybe someday in the future but not during this legislative session. That didn't stop one Democrat from filing a bill though that would allow casino gambling in Texas. However, the bill is a joke as it would only allow eight casinos to be built and only on the Texas coast. According to the Beaumont Enterprise, the tax revenues would help fund the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association.

Deshotel, who does not have a House co-sponsor yet, also said Texans leave the state for Louisiana or Oklahoma for legal casinos there. With them goes revenue that Texas could use.

"The plan is fairly simple. Full Las Vegas-style casinos will be permitted within a first-tier coastal county or second-tier county or in a county where its county seat is within 100 miles from a first- or second-tier county.

Jefferson County is a first-tier, or coastal, county. Hardin County is a second tier county. Huntsville, for example, in Walker County, could be within 100 miles of Jefferson County.

Resulting net tax revenues would be earmarked for the Catastrophe Reserve Trust Fund in TWIA to keep it out of deficit. Funds in excess of the amount needed to erase the deficit would go to general revenue.

What a sad piece of legislation. First, there should be no cap on the number of casinos built and the Texas coast shouldn't be the only place that allows for a casino to be built. Second, stop earmarking gambling money! Haven't we learned anything from the Lottery? You can't count on the revenue. Instead, have the revenue flow into the general fund and go from there.

I have no problem with casino gambling in Texas, as I believe grown adults should be able to enjoy a legal activity. We already have gambling in Texas in the forms of a lottery and horse tracks. Allowing casinos just makes sense. It may not stop people from heading to Las Vegas, but it could stop some from heading to New Mexico or Louisiana.

Why I support casino gambling in Texas, it needs to be done correctly. Picking winners and losers is wrong. This bill is wrong.

Rand Paul Opens Austin Office

Senator Rand Paul continues to march towards a 2016 campaign and yesterday showed just how important Texas is for Paul. While other candidates have spent time in New Hampshire, Paul opened his Austin office on Monday. According to the Texas Tribune, Paul told a crowd that he wanted to be where the talent was.

"People keep asking, 'Why are you in Texas and not in New Hampshire?'" the Kentucky Republican said, nodding to the influx of his potential presidential rivals this past weekend into the Granite State. "Well, because I think if you want talent, you've got to go where the talent is."

Housed in downtown start-up incubator Capital Factory, the outpost for now will be staffed by Vincent Harris, Paul's chief digital strategist, and Rachel Kania, senior field and technology strategist. Both are working for RANDPAC, the political action committee that has been laying the groundwork for Paul's 2016 run, which he is expected to announce within the next few weeks.

Paul, who was raised in Texas and attended Baylor University, touted the office as an early investment in an area where his party lagged during the last presidential race. He said the GOP did "too little too late" to counter President Barack Obama's tech-friendly campaign, and the office sends the signal "we plan on getting organized at an early date, having an office here and collecting the best minds."

Senator Paul has spent time this past weekend speaking to those at South by Southwest and touring Austin. Paul knows that Texas could be a big player in the Republican primary and that technology will play a huge role in the race.

Rand Paul is all over social media and online. His team knows how to connect with people which makes him dangerous come 2016.

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