House Committee Considers E-Cigarette Ban for Minors

E-cigarettes vaporize a liquid solution for inhalation. They have grown steadily in popularity since they were introduced in 2005.
E-cigarettes vaporize a liquid solution for inhalation. They have grown steadily in popularity since they were introduced in 2005.

The House Public Health Committee on Tuesday discussed five bills that would extend current restrictions on tobacco products to vapor products like e-cigarettes. The Senate passed similar legislation last week.

$209.8 Billion Budget Plan Headed to House Floor

State Rep. John Otto (right) proposes a constitutional amendment to use Rainy Day Fund money to pay off state debt during a news conference on Jan. 15, 2015. At left is state Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen.
State Rep. John Otto (right) proposes a constitutional amendment to use Rainy Day Fund money to pay off state debt during a news conference on Jan. 15, 2015. At left is state Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen.

The House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday backed a $209.8 billion two-year budget that would leave $8.4 billion on the table, along with billions more in the state’s savings account. The budget plan now goes to the full House.

Lawmakers Say Sports Shaped Their Political Careers

Students at North Forney High School work through football practice on the first day of school in Forney, Texas, in August 2010.
Students at North Forney High School work through football practice on the first day of school in Forney, Texas, in August 2010.

Five state lawmakers — all former college athletes — gathered at the University of Texas at Austin to talk about the parallels between athletics and governing and the lessons they learned from high school and college sports.

Blood Lessons: Survivors Remember Texas City Disaster

Dave Leining, who was badly injured in the 2005 BP refinery explosion, stands outside of the refinery which is currently owned by Marathon Petroleum on Tuesday, March 10, 2015, in Texas City.  The trailer where Leining was working flew apart, burying him and co-workers in rubble.
Dave Leining, who was badly injured in the 2005 BP refinery explosion, stands outside of the refinery which is currently owned by Marathon Petroleum on Tuesday, March 10, 2015, in Texas City. The trailer where Leining was working flew apart, burying him and co-workers in rubble.

Ten years after the 2005 Texas City refinery explosion, hear from two workers who survived it — but lost many of their friends. These videos and vignettes are part of a collaboration between The Texas Tribune and the Houston Chronicle.

Report: Smart Lawn Watering Could Save Big

A green lawn in the Olmos Park neighborhood of San Antonio, shown on June 5, 2012.
A green lawn in the Olmos Park neighborhood of San Antonio, shown on June 5, 2012.

Even Texans with the greenest of lawns are watering them too much, experts say. And if everyone would turn on the sprinklers only twice a week — still probably more than necessary — the water savings would be significant, according to a report released Tuesday.

Confusion Swirls Over Bill to Clarify Drilling Rules

Local control activists and the Campaign for the Environment rally with a mock-up oil rig at 11th and Congress during action on Mar. 23, 2015.
Local control activists and the Campaign for the Environment rally with a mock-up oil rig at 11th and Congress during action on Mar. 23, 2015.

After Denton voters decided to ban fracking in their town, it seemed likely this Legislature will do something to rein in cities that try to regulate oil and gas production. But one likely approach by Rep. Drew Darby is stoking local fears.