- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The Latest on Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s State of the State address before the state Legislature (all times local):

12:25 p.m.

A “Muslim Day” rally at the Texas Capitol has wrapped up with few protesters and no interruptions.

The event Tuesday drew several hundred people and an increased security presence. Many of the people formed a human chain around the few protesters who did show up to keep them at a distance. Supporters of the demonstrators waived signs that read “Hate Has No Home Here.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott made no mention of President Donald Trump‘ temporary ban on immigrants from seven Muslim-majority nations during his State of the State address that was going on inside the Capitol.

A similar rally two years ago was marred by hecklers, including one who grabbed the microphone from a speaker and disrupted the event. Several Texas Democratic lawmakers, interfaith groups, nonprofits and Austin Mayor Steve Adler also attended in a show of support.

12:10 p.m.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is telling lawmakers to get to work on better funding the state’s beleaguered child welfare system and banning so-called “sanctuary cities.”

Abbott on Tuesday used his second State of the State address to echo President Donald Trump’s executive actions that would withhold taxpayer funding to local governments that don’t comply with federal immigration agents. But Abbott wasn’t specific about what a Texas anti-sanctuary law should look like.

Texas’ child welfare crisis has resulted in rising deaths and hundreds of allegedly abused or mistreated children going unseen by state investigators. The problem has worsened despite Abbott ordering an overhaul last year.

Abbott is also calling for a review of the state’s school finance system that the Texas Supreme Court ruled was only barely constitutional last summer. Abbott also called for school vouchers, an effort that has stalled repeatedly in Texas Legislature despite steadfast support from top conservatives.

10 a.m.

Several hundred people have begun gathering outside the Texas Capitol for a Muslim Day rally and lobbying activities.

Supporters wore t-shirts on a sunny and brisk Tuesday morning saying, “I stand with my Muslim neighbors.”

Only a single counter protester was seen in the early going, and there were no signs of tense interactions with rally participants.

Two years ago, a small, vitriolic group of hecklers formed during the Muslim Day rally. Before it started, one grabbed the microphone and proclaimed, “Islam will never dominate the United States!”

This year, rally participants surrounded the microphone and nearby areas to keep something similar from happening.

The biennial event was scheduled before Donald Trump won the presidency. But tensions have risen after Trump banned entries to the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority nations.


7: 40 a.m.

Muslim activists preparing to descend on the Texas Capitol are taking extra security precautions and bracing for counter protests fueled partly by Donald Trump’s rhetoric.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Texas arm is holding its biennial “Capitol Day” on Tuesday, as Gov. Greg Abbott delivers his State of the State address.

Organizers say activists from the Dallas-Fort Worth area will arrive on buses accompanied by private security escorts.

Off-duty Austin police officers will also be at a nearby church where the group plans to eat lunch and pray. The council’s Houston executive director, Mustafaa Carroll, says “security is going to be beefed up.”

A similar rally two years ago was marred by hecklers, and one proclaimed: “Islam will never dominate the United States!”

Trump’s anti-immigrant sentiments have added to tensions.


12 a.m.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is laying out a new agenda that’s expected to enthusiastically embrace President Donald Trump’s crackdown on so-called “sanctuary cities.”

Abbott on Tuesday will deliver his State of the State address to the Republican-controlled Legislature at a time when Trump’s executive actions on immigration and building a border wall promise to heavily impact Texas.

Abbott hasn’t commented on Trump banning immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries, which has sparked protests nationwide. Hundreds of Muslims are expected to rally outside the Texas Capitol before the governor’s speech as part of a lobbying event organized months before Trump’s executive order Friday.

One Trump policy Abbott clearly backs is denying funds to local governments that don’t fully cooperate with federal immigration agents. Abbott has said he also wants criminal penalties.

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