TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 7/14/14

As attention centers on the thousands of unaccompanied minors crossing the Texas-Mexico border, activists in the Rio Grande Valley are working hard to ensure that their ongoing campaigns continue to gain traction after the current crisis subsides.

As the recent surge of Central Americans entering the country illegally through Texas’ border with Mexico has drawn national attention, it has also become a major talking point for the 2014 candidates for lieutenant governor.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has appointed state Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, to chair the powerful Senate Finance Committee.

When Sam Monroe steps down next month as president of Lamar State College-Port Arthur, a two-year school in Southeast Texas, he will conclude the state’s longest tenure for a president of a higher education institution.

Ask Texas Attorney General and gubernatorial hopeful Greg Abbott about his record on government transparency and he will tell you it is one worth bragging about. Open government advocates say his record is more varied.

 

Among large, fast-growing cities, Austin is the only one with a shrinking African-American population, according to a report from the University of Texas at Austin.

Voters will decide whether Denton will become the state's first city to ban hydraulic fracturing after the city council rejected a proposal to ban the method of oil and gas extraction. 

The Houston Ship Channel has grown in recent years and is now one of the world's most important transportation waterways. But some scientists argue the bustling channel could be vulnerable to what they say are the effects of climate change.

Democrat Wendy Davis' campaign for governor boasted that it outraised Republican Greg Abbott over the last few months and had hauled in $13.1 million. The actual reports, published online, told a different story.

As state water planners prepare to spend $2 billion in public funds to address Texas’ water needs in the coming decades, scientists say state leaders' skepticism on climate change will only impair such planning.

The Dallas-Fort Worth region boasts a growing economy larger than that of many countries — but it also sports some of the worst air quality in the nation. Scientists fear the politics of economic growth is preventing improvements.

Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams told State Board of Education members Wednesday that said that when he approved a charter school's expansion into the Dallas area, he was following the spirit of a 2013 law.