TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 9/24/12

Our brand-spanking-new higher education data app, E. Smith interviews Rick Perry about Satan and talks the future of politics with Julián Castro and Ted Cruz at The Texas Tribune Festival, Aaronson maps the state's uninsured, Batheja on truck drivers who may not drive 85, Hamilton on Perry's proposed tuition "guarantee," Ramsey on the race to succeed Ron Paul in Congress, Root on his Perry presidential campaign tell-all and M. Smith on how budget cuts have affected Texas schools: The best of our best content from Sept. 24-28, 2012.

Davis' Legal Work At Issue in Senate Race

State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, leaving the Senate chamber with colleagues Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, and Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, after a press conference on May 30, 2011.
State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, leaving the Senate chamber with colleagues Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, and Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, after a press conference on May 30, 2011.

In state Sen. Wendy Davis' hotly contested bid for re-election, her legal practice — and, in particular, her closely held list of government and quasi-public clients — is drawing heat from her Republican opponent, state Rep. Mark Shelton

Death Penalty Witness Condemned by Courts

A.P. Merillat has spent more than 20 years as an investigator of prison crimes and been a go-to expert for prosecutors seeking the death penalty. In June, the courts reversed a second death penalty conviction based on his inaccurate testimony.
A.P. Merillat has spent more than 20 years as an investigator of prison crimes and been a go-to expert for prosecutors seeking the death penalty. In June, the courts reversed a second death penalty conviction based on his inaccurate testimony.

Prison investigator A.P. Merillat's court testimony about the violence inmates serving life sentences can inflict has helped send at least 15 murderers to death row. Now, his credibility has been condemned by the state’s highest criminal court. 

Texas Inmate Demands Kosher Food

Jewish prison inmate Max Moussazadeh is demanding that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice serve him kosher food. On Monday, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear his case.

Like $10,000 Degree, Perry Tuition Plan May Not Fit All

Texas Science Scholar Wesley Powers, a junior chemistry major from Midland, Texas, works on a 3-hour-long lab experiment at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin in Odessa, Texas. Powers is obtaining his chemistry degree in order to attend pharmacy school.
Texas Science Scholar Wesley Powers, a junior chemistry major from Midland, Texas, works on a 3-hour-long lab experiment at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin in Odessa, Texas. Powers is obtaining his chemistry degree in order to attend pharmacy school.

As with Gov. Rick Perry’s $10,000 degree proposal, his latest call for reducing the price of college — locking in tuition for four years — may prove difficult to implement uniformly in a state as diverse as Texas.

Pipeline Case Still Hanging in Texas Courts

On Friday, a Beaumont county judge will rule on yet another case involving TransCanada, the company building the Keystone XL pipeline. Despite all the court action, some say recent eminent domain rulings still haven't clarified where private-property rights end.

Perry Downplays Sleep Apnea That Office Confirmed

The second annual Texas Tribune Festival kicked off with with a conversation between Texas governor Rick Perry and Tribune founder and CEO Evan Smith in the Grand Ballroom of the AT&T Conference Center in Austin, Texas on September 21, 2012.
The second annual Texas Tribune Festival kicked off with with a conversation between Texas governor Rick Perry and Tribune founder and CEO Evan Smith in the Grand Ballroom of the AT&T Conference Center in Austin, Texas on September 21, 2012.

Gov. Rick Perry is downplaying the effects that a previously undiagnosed sleep disorder had on his ill-fated presidential campaign, days after his office confirmed the ailment.