TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 1/28/13

Use our county-by-county interactive to track annual local spending on unreimbursed health care costs, and to see how those figures compare to the federal dollars counties would receive under the Medicaid expansion.

President Obama on Tuesday offered his own plan for immigration reform, and his proposal earned both praise and criticism in Texas.

The $1.8 billion in tax relief that Gov. Rick Perry called for this week was short on details, but the few that are out there are already sparking questions.

Texas homeowners associations often require members to keep plush lawns. But some are easing their rules as the drought continues, and two Texas lawmakers have introduced legislation to prevent the groups from restricting xeriscaping.

A Montgomery County judge on Wednesday withdrew an order that had set the execution of condemned murderer Larry Swearingen for Feb. 27. Swearingen's lawyers have asked for more time to perform DNA testing.

The members of the Texas Senate have been placed in their committees, but where in the state do the committee members come from? Use this interactive to explore the geographic distribution of committee members in the Senate.

The governor stayed away from social issues and some obvious hot-button topics in his State of the State speech this week. But that doesn't mean it wasn't a political speech.

The common practice of lawmakers carrying bills or serving on committees that could directly affect their lives or livelihoods is permitted, so long as their efforts benefit all others in similar circumstances. But it still has vocal critics.

From Gov. James "Pa" Ferguson's impeachment to the Sharpstown scandal, Texas has weathered mighty ethics controversies. Despite reforms, the Legislature still faces criticism over lax disclosure rules and ties with lobbyists.

Full video of Evan Smith's 1/31 TribLive conversation with state Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, and state Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie.

Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams on Tuesday called on educators to hold the line on the state's accountability system amid a "ranging conversation" at the Legislature about how to address concerns about the role of high-stakes testing.

 

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