TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 4/22/13

After the discovery that the state spent millions of dollars on fraudulent Medicaid dental care, lawmakers have filed a handful of bills to reform how Texas addresses the issue. But progress on those measures hasn't been as swift as some would like.

Some Texas lawmakers and stakeholders are taking issue with aspects of the federal immigration reform bill filed last week, with some questioning why the measure was crafted without mechanisms to avoid a future inflow of illegal migration.

As lawmakers debate how much money to leave in the state's Rainy Day Fund, Gov. Rick Perry is relying on a very specific figure: 7.5 percent.

Four months after a fire shut it down, a nuclear reactor at the South Texas Project in Bay City is being restarted. That is the second prolonged shutdown at the plant in two years, prompting critics to demand closer scrutiny of the operation.

Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, said he is "disappointed and frustrated" that his bill to allow people with concealed handgun licenses to carry firearms in college campus buildings has not been scheduled for a hearing.

A bill in the Legislature could result in as many as 731,000 additional children in Texas receiving free breakfasts through their schools. Nutrition activists have praised the measure, which makes breakfast free for all students in schools where 80 percent of the student body qualifies for free or reduced-price meals.

State lawmakers have filed roughly 100 gun bills this session — many drafted in the wake of the deadly December shooting in Newtown, Conn. Use our interactive to review the measures by subject and see which are getting the most traction in the Capitol.

One of the most exalted elected positions in Texas politics — that of the law-and-order district attorney — doesn't come with as much job security as it used to. District attorneys in some of the state's biggest counties are fighting for their jobs. 

The oil industry vigorously opposed efforts to list the threatened dunes sagebrush lizard as an endangered species. But three oil company lobbyists were given day-to-day oversight of the effort to save the reptile.

On April 19, I talked with former House Public Education Committee chairmen Rob Eissler and Kent Grusendorf, former vice chairman Scott Hochberg and attorney David Thompson about the perennially unresolved question of how the state should fund public education.

Against the recommendation of school leaders and amid skepticism from some lawmakers, the Texas Education Agency will continue working toward a transition to a public school accountability ratings system with grades of A through F.

Hurricane Ike rammed into the Texas coast in 2008, causing more than $50 billion in damage. Nowhere was the impact more evident than Galveston. The city still faces challenges related to Ike, but many leaders are optimistic about rebuilding efforts. 

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