District Court Judge John Dietz of Austin is shown in his courtroom on Feb. 4, 2013, before he ruled that the state's school finance system was unconstitutional.
District Court Judge John Dietz of Austin is shown in his courtroom on Feb. 4, 2013, before he ruled that the state's school finance system was unconstitutional.

Analysis: School Finance Case Gives Candidates Something to Talk About

As candidates in the general election focus on making themselves known to voters, the latest school finance ruling provides their clearest marching orders yet. They have to figure out the balance between property taxes voters do not like and the public education system they demand. 

 
 

Abbott Opinion Murky on Plastic Bag Bans

An environmentalist dressed as a "bag monster" protests HB 2416 on March 20, 2013 by State Rep. Drew Springer, R-Muenster, banning local bag ordinances.
An environmentalist dressed as a "bag monster" protests HB 2416 on March 20, 2013 by State Rep. Drew Springer, R-Muenster, banning local bag ordinances.

Plastic bag bans in Texas cities such as Austin and Laredo may be legally sound, according to an opinion issued by Attorney General Greg Abbott's office handed down on Friday afternoon — that is, as long as they didn't ban bags for the purposes of "solid waste management."

New in TribTalk: Susan Griffin on Challenges to AP U.S. History

The new U.S. history framework is the first of what will be updates to all 34 AP subjects offered as a result of a redesign effort launched by the College Board in 2006.
The new U.S. history framework is the first of what will be updates to all 34 AP subjects offered as a result of a redesign effort launched by the College Board in 2006.

Susan Griffin, executive director of the National Council for the Social Studies, says Texas-based critics arguing that changes to AP U.S. history amount to historical revisionism are off the mark. 

The Brief: Sept. 2, 2014

Greg Abbott, the Republican nominee for governor, will spend his first day on the campaign trail after Labor Day unveiling a proposal to make it easier for students to get college credit for taking certain types of online courses.

Analysis: A Lot of Races, But Not as Much Drama

A voting precinct at the Parker Lane United Methodist Church in Austin is shown in November 2013.
A voting precinct at the Parker Lane United Methodist Church in Austin is shown in November 2013.

With fewer than 10 weeks remaining until Election Day, almost all of the Texas races for Congress and the Legislature are all but over. Just a handful of competitive races remain. 

Judge Strikes Down Texas Abortion Regulation

An abortion procedure room at the Whole Woman's Health ambulatory surgical center in San Antonio.
An abortion procedure room at the Whole Woman's Health ambulatory surgical center in San Antonio.

A federal judge on Friday struck down new requirements for Texas abortion facilities — a decision that could have shuttered all but a few abortion clinics in the state. The standards were set to go into effect Monday.

 

Space Travel Companies Compete for NASA Contract

SpaceX CEP Elon Musk, right, shows his delight on the return of the Dragon spacecraft as NASA chief Charles Bolden, left, listens on June 13, 2012.  SpaceX is considering building a spaceport in south Texas for future launches.
SpaceX CEP Elon Musk, right, shows his delight on the return of the Dragon spacecraft as NASA chief Charles Bolden, left, listens on June 13, 2012. SpaceX is considering building a spaceport in south Texas for future launches.

Four private space travel companies, including two with ties to Texas, are competing for a NASA contract that will have them ferrying astronauts to space "like a taxi." NASA will announce the winner of the contract in the coming weeks.

Taxpayer Tab Grows for Perry's Defense

Gov. Rick Perry talks with New Hampshire voters at a morning GOP rally in Stratham, NH on Aug. 25, 2014.
Gov. Rick Perry talks with New Hampshire voters at a morning GOP rally in Stratham, NH on Aug. 25, 2014.

The state tab for Gov. Rick Perry's criminal defense, previously thought to be $80,000, has hit $133,000. Perry has said he will pay for his lawyers with campaign money from now on.