TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 8/6/12

Aaronson and Aguilar on deferred deportation beneficiaries in Texas, Aguilar on Republicans and Latinos, Grissom and M. Smith on a move unlikely to improve frosty relations between two State Board of Education rivals, Hamilton on meningitis vaccines at Texas colleges and universities, Murphy on what each vote cost the winners and losers in last month’s primary runoffs, M. Smith on claims and counter-claims of flaws in standardized school tests, Tan on a legislator’s reaction to the Tribune’s request for his recent personal income tax returns, Grissom on lax security at the state’s juvenile prisons and Dehn’s Weekend Insider on meningitis vaccines and birth control on the border: The best of our best from Aug. 6 to 10, 2012.

With Transparency, There's Room to Improve

State Rep. Charlie Geren, the head of the House Administration Committee, wrote a letter to his fellow House members saying that they were "under no legal obligation"to accommodate a Texas Tribune request to submit three years of tax returns.
State Rep. Charlie Geren, the head of the House Administration Committee, wrote a letter to his fellow House members saying that they were "under no legal obligation"to accommodate a Texas Tribune request to submit three years of tax returns.

Lawmakers say they want transparency and that the public should be able to see their finances. But state requirements allow officeholders to report their financial interests vaguely enough to hide conflicts.

Meningitis Vaccine Mandate Could Get Tweaked in 2013

Medical assistant Patricia Jaramillo holds a vial of the meningitis vaccine, August 7, 2012 in Houston at Legacy Community Health Services. Each vial contains one dose.
Medical assistant Patricia Jaramillo holds a vial of the meningitis vaccine, August 7, 2012 in Houston at Legacy Community Health Services. Each vial contains one dose.

In 2011, Texas became the first state to mandate that all students who come onto college campuses be vaccinated against bacterial meningitis. But even supporters may be pushing for a few revisions to the statute next session.

Amid Texas Drought, a Sweet Silver Lining

Triple-digit temperatures and parched lands may not be ideal for Texas farmers. But the dry conditions this summer have bestowed an unexpected gift on farmers' fruit and vegetable crops: enhanced flavor.

Private Space Industry Eyes State's Open Spaces

Jennifer White, a public relations liaison for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, looks over a map of Boca Chica Beach in South Texas. The map shows the protected area’s privately owned parcels; one could become a SpaceX launchpad site.
Jennifer White, a public relations liaison for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, looks over a map of Boca Chica Beach in South Texas. The map shows the protected area’s privately owned parcels; one could become a SpaceX launchpad site.

Home to NASA's Johnson Space Center, Texas is no stranger to the field of space exploration. But now the state could become a hub for a new space economy — one based in the private sector.

TABC Changes What it Means to Be a Beer

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For years, beers sold in Texas have had to have special labels if they contained a certain amount of alcohol. After a rule change finalized by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission last month, brewers can now just call a beer a beer.

Castro, Cruz Put Texas Hispanics in Spotlight

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June 8th, 2012: Mayor of San Antonio, Julian Castro gives keynote at the Texas Democratic Convention in Houston, Texas
June 8th, 2012: Mayor of San Antonio, Julian Castro gives keynote at the Texas Democratic Convention in Houston, Texas

They're both rising political stars, Hispanic and scheduled to speak at their party's respective national conventions this year. So what do Ted Cruz and Julián Castro's politics — and political futures — mean for the state's Hispanic population?