TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 10/31/11

From the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll: Herman Cain leads Gov. Rick Perry by a single point, 27 percent to 26 percent, among GOP presidential primary voters in Perry's home state of Texas; Texas voters are more likely to attribute the state's economic success to its natural resources and long-standing pro-business policies than to Gov. Rick Perry's leadership; half of all GOP voters haven't decided who should be their nominee for the U.S. Senate; more than one in five Texas voters say most of the people they know would not vote for a Mormon presidential candidate even if they agreed with him or her on the issues; and Texas voters think the economy is the biggest problem facing the country but immigration is the most pressing issue facing the state.

Herman Cain’s troubles could be big enough to threaten his top-tier candidacy — and perhaps give a badly needed boost to the governor of Texas.

Texans have elected Rick Perry governor three times. But not all of the state's prominent Republicans are supporting his presidential campaign, which could be politically risky, whether he makes it to the White House or comes home.

Want to see where in Texas Gov. Rick Perry, his GOP opponents Mitt Romney and Ron Paul or President Barack Obama have received the most financial support? Explore our visualization of presidential contributions broken down by ZIP code.

Voters will have 10 state constitutional amendments to consider on Election Day next Tuesday. Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports on Proposition 7, which would create a parks system in El Paso County, and Proposition 6, which would allow the land commissioner to transfer hundreds of millions of dollars to public education.

As the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College, which have operated as one institution for 20 years, prepare to separate, major questions concerning logistics and governance remain to be answered.

The Texas Youth Commission terminated its contract Friday with a psychologist who testified repeatedly in death penalty cases that Hispanic and black men were more likely to be dangerous in the future.

Over 12 months of the worst drought in recorded Texas history, U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul was Austin's sixth-largest water user. It's a disappointing record, critics say, at a time when many Texas leaders are urgently calling for conservation.

Environmental groups are fighting a proposal that would grant U.S. Border Patrol greater authority to operate in public parks and on environmentally protected land, saying it would circumvent regulations designed to protect natural resources.

This interactive shows the dramatic drop in employment at Texas state agencies from the third quarter of fiscal year 2011 to the last quarter, right before $15 billion in cuts to the 2012-2013 biennium budget kicked in Sept. 1.

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