TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 10/21/13

Take a look back at Faking the Grade, our four-part investigative series on how Texas spent millions of federal dollars on private tutoring for the state's poorest students under a No Child Left Behind policy — and has little to show for it.

The federal government has endorsed a plan that Texas and four other states have worked on for years to protect the lesser prairie chicken, a rare bird threatened by oil and gas interests in West Texas and the Panhandle.

Move over, Texas Trial Lawyers Association. There's a new group in town: the Texas Association of Consumer Lawyers. Democratic mega-donor Steve Mostyn says he formed the group because he wants more cash to go straight into campaign coffers.

Texas is poised to reopen discussions about its border with Oklahoma after an episode involving a mollusk invasion, an idle water supply and a missing 74-year-old map.

Records requests that University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall filed with the University of Texas at Austin were the subject of hours of testimony during a legislative committee hearing this week, and the former general counsel for the UT System told members of the panel investigating Hall that some regents' "clear intent" was to "get rid of" UT Austin President Bill Powers.

A year after opening, a privately operated toll road in Central Texas may be in danger of defaulting next year, increasing the scrutiny of a funding model long touted by transportation advocates and state leaders.

In the Eagle Pass area, the number of juvenile felony cases referred to Chief Juvenile Probation Officer Bruce Ballou has fallen more than 40 percent since 2012. It's a sign, he says, that his rehabilitative approach is working.

With days remaining until new abortion regulations take effect in Texas, attorneys for abortion providers and the state of Texas presented their final arguments Wednesday on whether those restrictions meet constitutional muster.

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