TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 8/5/13

Since Greg Abbott received a settlement following his 1984 accident, lawmakers have erected hurdles for lawsuits in personal injury cases. There is disagreement about whether Abbott could get a similar settlement now.

Remarks Sen. Wendy Davis made Monday are fueling speculation that she's going to run for governor, giving Democrats renewed hope in GOP-ruled Texas. But breaking a 20-year losing streak won't be easy.

The new water bill has raised the profile of the Texas Water Development Board, which loans money for water projects and could be a powerful player in shaping water policy in the coming decades.

Cities, counties and rural water user groups across Texas submitted thousands of project ideas for the 2012 State Water Plan. Explore the most expensive projects regions submitted with our visualization.

Under a new accountability system, Texas schools are placed in two categories: "met standard" or "needs improvement." The state education agency announced Thursday that 93 percent of Texas school districts achieved the first designation.

In the 2013 legislative session, lawmakers sought to mitigate the impact of 2011 budget cuts by boosting women's health spending. But advocates have raised concerns that new abortion restrictions could create additional burdens.

During a conference on border-related issues Wednesday, U.S. and Mexican officials lauded the growing trade relationship between the two countries. But they added that out-of-touch lawmakers are hindering the economic relationship. 

Lawmakers have increased the Commission on State Emergency Services' budget by 33 percent. That will help update its 911 system, which serves 224 of Texas' 254 counties. 

With new laws increasing the penalties for drivers involved in hit-and-run fatalities or those who fail to stop and render aid, advocates hope there is more incentive for drivers to stay at the scene of accidents.

The Travis County district attorney’s office’s Public Integrity Unit is reviewing evidence that suggests a state lawmaker illegally released an inmate’s disciplinary file to a victims’ rights advocate in an effort to prevent a high-profile convicted murderer’s release from prison.

As tensions remain between the University of Texas at Austin leadership and the University of Texas System, the university focused on the positive when it announced that it had broken its single-year fundraising record.

Texas lawmakers have passed legislation that – pending voter approval – would mean an estimated $1.2 billion annual boost for TxDOT. But it's not yet clear what details the agency will have ready to offer the public before next year's election.

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