TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 6/6/11

A series of email exchanges between Republican Party boosters and the office of Gov. Rick Perry indicate some conservatives believe passing the contentious "sanctuary cities" bill may cripple efforts to recruit more Hispanics to their ranks.

We break down the cost to taxpayers of the regular and special sessions. It's not chump change, but one political science expert argues the relatively low pay for lawmakers keeps many Texans from being able to run for higher office.

Environmentalists lost several battles this legislative session — there will be no statewide solar rebates, and no overhaul for the Texas Railroad Commission. But one bright spot, they say, is energy efficiency.

A small church in an impoverished south side San Antonio neighborhood became a place of fear and shame for children who allege they were victims in the 1980s of sexual abuse by a prominent priest. One of those alleged victims is death row inmate Humberto Leal.

During the regular session, Gov. Rick Perry’s top legislative priority for higher education was the implementation of a new financing system that rewards universities for graduating more students, not just for getting students into classes. Why didn't that happen?

 

If you wanted to know where the governor, the lieutenant governor and the speaker of the House would stand at the end of the legislative session, you could have seen it all months ago.

State Sen. Wendy Davis' controversial decision to torpedo the 82nd legislative session with a filibuster has catapulted the Fort Worth Democrat into the spotlight, which she has seized to try to mobilize the state’s downtrodden and outnumbered Democrats.

Gov. Rick Perry, who has made economic populism the cornerstone of his political ambition in Texas, has jumped headfirst into America’s culture war as he ponders whether to run for president of the United States.

Expect the Texas House to revisit old battles over school finance — and open a new one, for the lower chamber at least, over pre-kindergarten accountability — when it takes up Senate Bill 1 today on the floor.

While you were sleeping Thursday night, lawmakers in the Texas House were engaged in a passionate debate over "pansexual" politics that nearly killed the entire fiscal matters bill, which is pretty much the main reason they're having a special session.

 

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