TribWire

Stanford: Is Texas Losing ‘Fertilizer Happens’ Attitude?

The arc of history is long, but it does not always bend towards justice. In Texas, it usually veers off and gets lost. A year ago, 15 people died in the fertilizer plant explosion in West, forcing the Texas legislature to pass regulations, but these new laws had jack squat to do with fertilizer plants. Instead, the legislature passed a bill regulating women’s uteruses.

House Bill 5 Brings Opportunity for Technical Colleges

Last year, the Texas Legislature passed a bill that led to a significant overhaul of the state’s high school curriculum. At the state’s technical colleges, the controversial changes in House Bill 5 have been met with a sense of excitement — and anticipation that the shift could lead to significant expansion.

Paxton Campaign Reviewing Disclosure Lapses | The Texas Tribune

State Sen. Ken Paxton, the leading Republican candidate for attorney general, has launched an internal review of his disclosures to state regulatory authorities and the Texas Ethics Commission to determine whether he violated any laws by failing to report several business and professional relationships.

Jeb Bush’s Rush to Make Money May Be Hurdle

Mr. Bush left public office seven years ago with a net worth of $1.3 million and an unapologetic determination to expand his wealth, telling friends that his finances had suffered during his time in government. But his efforts to capitalize on his résumé and reputation have thrust him into situations that may prove challenging to explain should he mount a Republican campaign for the White House.

Texting while driving a divisive issue

Republican candidate for governor and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s campaign spokesman said he wouldn’t support a broad statewide ban. A spokeswoman for the campaign of Democratic nominee state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, said Davis supported the 2011 bill.

Indigent defense system debated: Other Texas counties take judges out of process

Other counties in Texas and around the country have encountered issues with the way private defense attorneys are appointed to represent the poor. And the counties that are changing their system are adopting an American Bar Association recommendation from 2002 that encourages the legal community to keep judges out of the "selection, funding and payment of defense counsel" to maintain the independence of the judiciary and prevent perceived or real conflicts of interest.

Wichita Falls looks for other sources of water

Wichita Falls is still waiting for state approval to begin tapping its supply of treated wastewater, but this city 100 miles northwest of Fort Worth is already thinking about what comes next. If it gets approval to recapture and recycle 5 million gallons of effluent, Wichita Falls believes the city will have about a two year supply of water if the drought doesn’t let up.

Ideas for Dallas ISD ‘home rule’ have been tried in other states

If supporters of a home-rule plan for Dallas ISD succeed, the district will join a few large districts in the nation that have pursued nontraditional approaches. A group called Support Our Public Schools wants to employ a never-used section of Texas law that would turn Dallas into something very much like a multi-campus, open-enrollment charter school. The move would free Dallas from some state-imposed restrictions on governance, contracts and curriculum.

Is Wendy Davis linked to FBI probe into toll authority?

But Gregg Cox, director of the Public Integrity Unit, told the American-Statesman that the FBI’s Dallas division has an ongoing probe into the North Texas Tollway Authority, which the complaint alleged gave legal work to Davis, a state senator from Fort Worth, in exchange for her vote on legislation that mattered to the toll authority — a charge Davis says is baseless.

Investigation of Gov. Perry picks up momentum

Last week, the investigation began getting national play from bloggers, news networks and The New York Times as Perry has remained on the national radar since seeking the Republican nomination for president in 2012. His gubernatorial term ends in January, and he has not ruled out another presidential run. At the same time, though, several law scholars and experts caution that any case against Perry is no legal slam-dunk. They say they are unconvinced he stepped over any legal line — and add that if he did, that line was razor-thin.

Lab delays create Texas’ unknown exonerees

In all, the American-Statesman has identified 21 such cases throughout Texas, including an exoneration granted this week for which limited information was available. All share the same template. After the 14 men and seven women were arrested and charged — typically with possessing a small amount of drugs, many mere dustings — samples of the confiscated substances were sent to public labs for conclusive identification. Before the results came back, however, the defendants pleaded guilty, usually within days, and began serving their jail or prison sentences.

After 28 years at UT, labor law expert Julius Getman steps down as professor

A sort of Johnny Appleseed of labor law, Getman has through the decades sprinkled proteges all over the country. Many of them followed Getman into academia. Many of them chose their professor’s specialty even if they’d planned on practicing another kind of law before they took Getman’s basic labor law class which, 2011 graduate Elliot Becker recalled, “some of us called ‘Story Time with Grandpa Jack.’”

Jefferson: Is Tesla project a Dream Factory?

By several accounts, local officials overcame the city's also-ran status in the early stages of Tesla's site selection. They finally coaxed the electric-car maker into taking a serious look at San Antonio for the project, which the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company announced in late February. Now, San Antonio may be considered the strongest potential site in Texas.

Ayala: Jeb Bush now his party's most reasonable man

But the real politician who was missing was the one who has made the most sense on the issue lately, one who has employed a tone far too lacking and who perhaps is the politico willing to risk the most political ground to reach and teach his own party — Jeb Bush, son of President George H.W. Bush and brother of President George W. Bush.

Davis trails in poll, but GOP trying to give her a chance

Just the latest example is “Boats 'N Hoes,” a political action committee created by a Republican that sank when savvier fellow Republicans got wind of it. The name was apparently from a song in the movie “Step Brothers” with lyrics that can charitably be described as explicit. It was so radioactive that Abbott's camp proactively called my colleague Kolten Parker as he worked on the story to offer the attorney general's denunciation of “any person or entity that uses such offensive language.”

New book on fracking explores an industry revolution

A senior energy reporter for the Wall Street Journal, the Austin-based Gold has spent more than a decade following the rise of fracking - from windy North Dakota prairies to the Big Oil boardrooms, from pipelines to infrastructure hubs, from fractivists worried about air and water pollution to energy insiders anxious to drill, drill, drill.

Inmate stuck in legal limbo for more than three decades

Of all the odd criminal cases from Texas that make their way into national news, perhaps none is more tangled and perplexing than that of Jerry Hartfield, a 57-year-old prison inmate who has spent more than three decades in prison without a lawful conviction on the books.

Boom for Brazoria economy may spell doom for town

About 10 years ago, Cornelison was on the losing end of a battle against Houston-based Freeport LNG, the company behind a liquefied natural gas import facility just a quarter mile from her home. Now, it wants to build again - this time to send gas overseas in response to the changing dynamics of the global natural gas market.

Rick Perry’s extreme makeover

  • suggested by Evan Smith

It’s impossible to exorcise the memories of 2012. But Rick Perry is going all out to present a new and improved version of himself — the swaggering big-state governor of old, with a dash of seasoned wise man thrown in.

Brazos Watermaster Hotly Contested

For decades, water wars have been rare in East Texas, where annual rainfall can be twice that of West Texas. But as drought keeps its grip on the entire state, the Brazos River is bucking that trend, forcing regulators to scrutinize its users in ways that could have implications for many in-demand Texas waterways.