- Associated Press - Saturday, January 31, 2015

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Although he’s just another private citizen now after 14 years as governor, Rick Perry is still being chauffeured around in a hulking black SUV that’s a dead ringer for a state security vehicle.

But the Department of Public Safety says the agency only offers security to current office holders, and Perry spokesman Travis Considine confirms his boss’ entourage no longer includes a state security detail.

Perry could have the Secret Service fill the void if he runs for and wins the White House in 2016 - and he insists he’ll have an announcement in a matter of months, even though a Texas judge on Tuesday refused to dismiss a felony abuse-of-power case against him.

He remains defiant, but the longer the case drags on, the more of a drag it’ll be for Perry. Already trying to live down a short-lived presidential run in 2012, the ex-governor may have an even tougher time getting top donors to write him checks if he’s spending so much of his war chest on legal bills.

Here’s a look at who else had a tough week in Texas politics - and who fared better.

WHO’S UP

Border Security Proponents

It’s been a banner year for border security spending since Perry deployed the National Guard amid an influx of immigrant families and unaccompanied children illegally pouring into Texas this past summer, mostly from Central America. That spike has plummeted, but the funding will likely keep flowing. In its draft 2016-2017 state budget, the Senate proposed an additional $815 million for border security, enough to keep guardsmen deployed for two more years. The House’s budget blueprint doesn’t spell out border funding, but could yet accommodate a major increase.

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Rep. Poncho Nevarez, D-Eagle Pass

Opening day of the session featured a tense confrontation between Nevarez and activists backing proposals to allow Texans to openly carry handguns. Nevarez has since been assigned a DPS security detail, while some pro-guns groups have used the incident as a rallying cry. But word of the extra protection prompted dozens of lawmakers from both parties to hit the House floor Wednesday wearing “I am Poncho” nametags in solidarity with their colleague.

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WHO’S DOWN

Planned Parenthood

The Senate’s draft budget could further freeze out an organization that’s been a longtime target of the GOP-controlled Texas Legislature. It includes language that first priority for funding go to public entities providing cancer screening for low-income Texans. Planned Parenthood provides screening, but isn’t public. In 2011, lawmakers took aim at Planned Parenthood by barring clinics associated with abortion providers from receiving state health funding.

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WHO’S IN-BETWEEN

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick

He stepped back on open carry, then waffled to where he started again. The new lieutenant governor said Tuesday that open carry proposals didn’t have the votes to pass the Senate. But a day later, Patrick released a statement noting that another hot-button bill, this one allowing licensed students, faculty and staff members to carry handguns on college campuses, was on its way to a swift floor vote. He added that the chamber could now focus on other Second Amendment staples “including Open Carry, which I have consistently supported.”

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