TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of May 23, 2011

His nickname around the Texas Capitol is "mucus." It’s a play on Michael Quinn Sullivan’s initials — MQS — but the moniker underscores how much of an irritant the conservative activist has become to politicians who dare buck his Tea Party orthodoxy. It also says something about his staying power.

A threat from the federal government to shut down Texas airports or cancel flights may have killed legislation by Tea Party conservatives in the Capitol to prohibit federal agents from conducting "invasive searches."

The state’s contentious sanctuary cities bill failed to move out of the Senate late Tuesday — a move some senators said effectively killed one of the most controversial measures the Texas Legislature has considered this session.

After a lengthy discussion, the Texas Senate unanimously voted to require drilling companies using hydraulic fracturing techniques to disclose on a public website the chemicals they use in the process.

In a state that bans same-sex marriage, it would seem to be easy to know who can legally marry. Texas county clerks will tell you it is not — at least when it comes to the issue of transgendered applicants.

At a meeting of the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents, chairman Richard Box appeared to shrug off a controversial set of “breakthrough solutions” for higher education, saying it is time to "move on."

We've added 27 new entities — including university systems, transit authorities, and appraisal and school districts — to the Tribune's government employee salaries database and updated 30 others, bringing the total number to 129, with salary data for 660,000 public employees.

Legislature has just a few days to get the state budget, the most important bill of the session, passed and to the governor's desk; a check on the final items needed to send lawmakers home on time.

Gov. Rick Perry has delivered his fiscal message loud and clear: Balance the cash-strapped state budget with cuts, not with the Rainy Day Fund or new taxes. Yet some of his most loyal advisers, past and future, are representing clients beating a very different drum.

The TribLive interview with three veteran lawmakers — state Rep. Myra Crownover, R-Lake Dallas, state Rep. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, and state Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands — about how they and their GOP colleagues fared this session.

Legislation on textbook funding approved by the Senate today breathed new life into left-behind education bills, including three languishing charter school measures.

The U.S. Census Bureau this week released new data detailing how many people moved into and out of Texas between 2009 and 2010. In all, about 510,000 people moved to Texas, while about 380,000 moved away — a net gain of 130,000 residents, according to bureau estimates.

Budget negotiators adopted a report that cuts state spending by $15 billion. The measure is scheduled for a vote on the House and Senate floors as early as Saturday afternoon. 

Want a quick recap of some of the happenings this week in the Texas Legislature? We've made it easier for you with our weekly video rundown of the action under the dome.

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