House Speaker Joe Straus is shown on Sept. 20, 2014, during an interview at The Texas Tribune Festival.
House Speaker Joe Straus is shown on Sept. 20, 2014, during an interview at The Texas Tribune Festival.

Straus Says Fix, Don't Ditch, Enterprise Fund

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus is straying from the Republican crowd on what to do with the Texas Enterprise Fund. Though critical of past mistakes, he wants to keep deal-closing incentives that bring business to the state.

 
Dr. Brett Giroir, director of the Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response, speaks during the panel's first public hearing on Oct. 23. At left is Dr. Kyle Janek and at right is Dr. David Lakey.
Dr. Brett Giroir, director of the Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response, speaks during the panel's first public hearing on Oct. 23. At left is Dr. Kyle Janek and at right is Dr. David Lakey.

Ebola Task Force Chief: "This is the New Normal"

Texas needs to be better prepared to respond to emerging infectious diseases like Ebola, the director of a new state task force on such diseases said Thursday.

Ebola Task Force Chief: "This is the New Normal"

Dr. Brett Giroir, director of the Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response, speaks during the panel's first public hearing on Oct. 23. At left is Dr. Kyle Janek and at right is Dr. David Lakey.
Dr. Brett Giroir, director of the Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response, speaks during the panel's first public hearing on Oct. 23. At left is Dr. Kyle Janek and at right is Dr. David Lakey.

Texas needs to be better prepared to respond to emerging infectious diseases like Ebola, the director of a new state task force on such diseases said Thursday.

 

The Brief: Oct. 22, 2014

Gov. Rick Perry visiting soldiers at Fort Hood on Oct. 9, 2014. The 36th Engineering Brigade is preparing to deploy to Liberia to assist in the effort to control the Ebola outbreak.
Gov. Rick Perry visiting soldiers at Fort Hood on Oct. 9, 2014. The 36th Engineering Brigade is preparing to deploy to Liberia to assist in the effort to control the Ebola outbreak.

Criticism by state leaders of the Obama administration for failures in the response to the Ebola virus omits mention of the tools at the state's disposal that were not used.

New in TribTalk: Scheck on Max Soffar

In 1981, Max Soffar was sentenced to death for the murder of three people at a Houston bowling alley. Soffar, who has spent three decades on death row, says his confessions were coerced. Prosecutors say that the case against him is solid, and police officers deny accusations of coercion.
In 1981, Max Soffar was sentenced to death for the murder of three people at a Houston bowling alley. Soffar, who has spent three decades on death row, says his confessions were coerced. Prosecutors say that the case against him is solid, and police officers deny accusations of coercion.

Let Max Soffar — an innocent man on death row in Texas who is dying of liver cancer — spend his last days at home, writes Barry Scheck of the Innocence Project.

State Fights Release of Race Records

Glenn Johnson, 55, was injured in a smelting accident near Amarillo in 1997 in which a furnace filled with molten metal exploded, crushed him and left major burns over 90 percent of his body. His left arm was amputated and all but two the muscles in his right forearm were removed.
Glenn Johnson, 55, was injured in a smelting accident near Amarillo in 1997 in which a furnace filled with molten metal exploded, crushed him and left major burns over 90 percent of his body. His left arm was amputated and all but two the muscles in his right forearm were removed.

The Texas Department of Insurance is fighting the Tribune’s request for records that could shed light on why the agency has failed to collect racial data on injured workers, despite a 1993 law that requires it. 

At First Bullet Train Meeting, Location is Everything

The Japanese Shinkansen is a high-speed trail used by JR Central in Japan. A private company is planning to build a rail line between Dallas and Houston using the same trains.
The Japanese Shinkansen is a high-speed trail used by JR Central in Japan. A private company is planning to build a rail line between Dallas and Houston using the same trains.

Attendees at the first public meeting on a proposed high-speed rail line between Dallas and Houston told federal officials they're for the project — so long as the stations are conveniently located downtown. 

Oil Price Tremors Not Rattling Texas. Yet.

Don Tymrak, city manager of Karnes City, in his downtown office. He says the recent tumble in oil prices shouldn't affect the South Texas city's conservative plans for development – at least not yet.
Don Tymrak, city manager of Karnes City, in his downtown office. He says the recent tumble in oil prices shouldn't affect the South Texas city's conservative plans for development – at least not yet.

A steep drop in crude oil prices threatens to slow drilling in some U.S. oilfields, but officials in Texas' hottest shale plays say they're not worried.