TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 7/11/11

Yes, we know Rick Perry isn't a declared candidate for president — yet. But on the theory that it's better to be prepared than not, we've created a one-stop, curated home for data and information on all things Perry. It's called Perrypedia.

Gov. Rick Perry, a no-apologies conservative known for slashing government spending and opposing all tax increases, is about as Republican as you can get. Except when he wasn't.

Following our Tuesday night screening of Incendiary: The Willingham Case, Evan Smith talked about the science of fire, guilt and innocence and death penalty politics with the filmmakers, Steve Mims and Joe Bailey Jr.; former Forensic Science Commission Chairman Sam Bassett; former Texas Governor Mark White; and Acting Corsicana City Attorney Terry Jacobson.

In recent months, the various forces in Gov. Rick Perry’s conflicted higher ed history have come to a head. The result: an overwrought public identity crisis in the higher education community, the resolution of which could define the governor’s legacy on the topic.

David Dewhurst might be the safest bet for the U.S. Senate since former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist. But nothing is guaranteed in politics. Just ask Crist.

Along the Texas-Mexico border, colonias residents tell identical stories: of migrating with dreams of safety and prosperity, of getting swindled into buying worthless land, of sticking it out so their children will get educated. And of getting sick.

Even as it is coping with deep reductions to its own budget, the Texas Education Agency faces criticism from school districts and lawmakers, although not necessarily for the same reasons — vivid evidence of the pressure on the TEA.

The Legislature passed a $5-per-patron strip club fee in 2007, which it said would raise $40 million in the first year to finance important social programs. Which clubs have paid the state and which ones haven't? Check our interactive.

The tiny East Texas town of Alto recently made headlines when it furloughed its five-man police department. But Alto is hardly the only Texas city struggling to fund public safety in a tough economy.

Some Texas Republicans are embracing a cross-border trucking agreement between the U.S. and Mexico that labor unions worry could kill jobs and drastically reduce border security.

The Texas drought is already a significant natural disaster. What can the government do to help those who are hit hardest?

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