TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 5/30/11

In the just-ended legislative session, freshman state Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview, made a name for himself — and not always a nice one — with his passionate push for the “anti-groping” airport bill and his outspoken stance against proposals he believed represented government intrusion into personal freedoms.

A decision by the U.S. Supreme Court last week upholding an Arizona law that punishes employers who hire illegal immigrants may give Texas lawmakers some newfound momentum to file immigration-related legislation.

Renewable energy companies are looking to this big, sunny state as the next frontier for solar power. But solar is expensive, and once again the Legislature did not pass a statewide solar incentive. Some companies and communities are forging ahead nonetheless.

State Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, walked the floor shaking hands and receiving hugs from his colleagues in the waning hours of the 82nd regular session, which — after 22 years in the Texas House — will be his last.

Under a new congressional redistricting map, U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, would lose 60,000 constituents who voted for President Barack Obama in 2008. Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune talked with Doggett about the proposal, which the congressman said "plunged a dagger into the heart" of Travis County.

Texas politicians with mistakes on their campaign finance reports will be able to correct them without penalties if the governor signs a bill approved during the regular legislative session.

Texas’ long-shot efforts to take control of Medicare and Medicaid — the health programs for the elderly, the disabled and the state’s poorest children — from the feds are back on the table.

There’s a sort of collective disbelief within the Texas political establishment about Republican Gov. Rick Perry testing the uncertain waters of a presidential campaign. But if critics have learned nothing else about Perry, they should know this: Underestimate him at your peril.

In the end, a late-night filibuster in the Senate killed school finance for the regular session. But SB 1581’s earlier crash-and-burn in the House is an odyssey worth revisiting as lawmakers take up the issue in their special session.

The Trib's multimedia team highlights some of the most memorable — and surprising — moments from the 82nd Legislative Session. Our lawmakers sure do love to make a statement, complete with finger pointing, yelling and props.

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