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Gov. Perry and his lead attorney, Tony Buzbee, walk to Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Center for his booking on Aug. 19, 2014.
Gov. Perry and his lead attorney, Tony Buzbee, walk to Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Center for his booking on Aug. 19, 2014.

In Trial Lawyer, Perry Finds Tenacious Advocate

Tony Buzbee, who is leading Gov. Rick Perry's defense, has made a fortune being the kind of lawyer the governor has spent much of his time in office villainizing. But Buzbee rejects the suggestion that he was an unconventional pick.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, speaks to crowd during a campaign stop at East Austin restaurant Juan in a Million on May 6th, 2014
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, speaks to crowd during a campaign stop at East Austin restaurant Juan in a Million on May 6th, 2014

Davis Draws Praise, Criticism for Education Reform Plans

While receiving praise from education leaders in Austin and fending off fresh criticism about her tax return, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis promoted the latest additions to her education reform proposals.

Between cities, school districts and counties, more than half of all Texans live in areas where the bill for taxpayer-supported debt, including expected interest, totals more than $1 billion, according to state data analyzed by The Texas Tribune.
Between cities, school districts and counties, more than half of all Texans live in areas where the bill for taxpayer-supported debt, including expected interest, totals more than $1 billion, according to state data analyzed by The Texas Tribune.

Local Debt Climbs as Cities Deal With Growth

Texas cities, counties and school districts are relying more on debt to maintain services in a fast-growing state. While critics argue communities need to work harder to live within their means, local officials say the issue is not that simple.

Davis Draws Praise, Criticism for Education Reform Plans

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, speaks to crowd during a campaign stop at East Austin restaurant Juan in a Million on May 6th, 2014
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, speaks to crowd during a campaign stop at East Austin restaurant Juan in a Million on May 6th, 2014

While receiving praise from education leaders in Austin and fending off fresh criticism about her tax return, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis promoted the latest additions to her education reform proposals.

Local Debt Climbs as Cities Deal With Growth

Between cities, school districts and counties, more than half of all Texans live in areas where the bill for taxpayer-supported debt, including expected interest, totals more than $1 billion, according to state data analyzed by The Texas Tribune.
Between cities, school districts and counties, more than half of all Texans live in areas where the bill for taxpayer-supported debt, including expected interest, totals more than $1 billion, according to state data analyzed by The Texas Tribune.

Texas cities, counties and school districts are relying more on debt to maintain services in a fast-growing state. While critics argue communities need to work harder to live within their means, local officials say the issue is not that simple.

Featured Data

Local Debt Explorer

Guard's Arrival on Border Brings Relief, Concerns

Texas Department of Public Safety officers patrol Anzalduas Park as part of Operation Strong Safety. Texas National Guard soldiers deployed to the area on Monday will help DPS in its mission, officials said.
Texas Department of Public Safety officers patrol Anzalduas Park as part of Operation Strong Safety. Texas National Guard soldiers deployed to the area on Monday will help DPS in its mission, officials said.

The arrival of the Texas National Guard to the border has been met with praise by some who say the state is taking the lead in securing the border. Others say the deployment is overkill that only serves to hamper the local economy.

Analysis: Despite the Calendar, Campaigns Are Taking a Back Seat

Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg refused to step down after her April 2013 drunken driving arrest, and Gov. Rick Perry vetoed funding for the public integrity unit, which is housed in the Travis County DA's office.
Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg refused to step down after her April 2013 drunken driving arrest, and Gov. Rick Perry vetoed funding for the public integrity unit, which is housed in the Travis County DA's office.

This is the time of a political year when voters start — slowly — to pay attention to the candidates, issues and arguments ahead of a general election. But this year, there is something else to watch instead. 

The Brief: Aug. 26, 2014

Gov. Perry's legal team, including, l to r,  David Botsford, Tony Buzbee, Bobby Birchfield and Ben Ginsberg meet the press on Aug. 18, 2014.
Gov. Perry's legal team, including, l to r, David Botsford, Tony Buzbee, Bobby Birchfield and Ben Ginsberg meet the press on Aug. 18, 2014.

Team Perry on Monday began what it hopes to be a swift effort to nullify the felony indictments brought against the governor earlier this month.

Lawmakers Take Closer Look at Earthquakes in North Texas

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A road in the Eagle Ford Shale area in South Texas. The natural gas drilling boom is straining the region's rural roads. More than 1,000 loaded trucks are needed to bring a single well into production.
A road in the Eagle Ford Shale area in South Texas. The natural gas drilling boom is straining the region's rural roads. More than 1,000 loaded trucks are needed to bring a single well into production.

A major uptick in earthquakes in Texas over the last several years has been linked to the state’s oil and gas boom. A Texas House subcommittee on seismic activity met on Monday to hear what state regulators are doing about it. 

Analysis: Crime, Politics and Travis County

Gov. Rick Perry speaks to reporters on Aug. 16, the day after a grand jury indicted him on two felony counts related to his veto of public integrity unit funding.
Gov. Rick Perry speaks to reporters on Aug. 16, the day after a grand jury indicted him on two felony counts related to his veto of public integrity unit funding.

Accusations about criminalizing politics go hand in hand with indictments of political figures. But prosecutors in Travis County have fumbled enough big cases to give the officeholders they chase some room for argument.

In West Texas, Energy Bills Show Unexpected Costs of Drilling Boom

Oil production in West Texas has grown faster than the infrastructure needed to meet the region's new electricity demands. As a result, congestion costs are being passed onto customers' electric bills.
Oil production in West Texas has grown faster than the infrastructure needed to meet the region's new electricity demands. As a result, congestion costs are being passed onto customers' electric bills.

In West Texas, oil and gas development is surging, but it's also fueling a huge demand for electricity that the current infrastructure struggles to meet. The result? A congested grid and higher electricity bills for consumers. 

The Brief: Aug. 27, 2014

Gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis addresses supporters before they canvass for her in East Austin.
Gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis addresses supporters before they canvass for her in East Austin.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis released her full 2013 tax return on Tuesday, changing course after previously not allowing the document to be shared or published in full.

Education Commissioner: "The System Needs to Catch Up"

Education Commissioner Michael Williams, a former railroad commissioner, is shown at a TribLive event on Jan. 27, 2011.
Education Commissioner Michael Williams, a former railroad commissioner, is shown at a TribLive event on Jan. 27, 2011.

UPDATED: Asked why the state had delayed a transition away from lower passing standards on state exams, Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams told state lawmakers Tuesday that classroom instruction had failed to meet the rigor demanded by the new tests. 

Davis Releases Full Tax Return

State Sen. Wendy Davis, the Democratic nominee for governor, addressed supporters on Saturday, July 13, 2014, in East Austin as she concluded her "Texans Deserve to Know" tour.
State Sen. Wendy Davis, the Democratic nominee for governor, addressed supporters on Saturday, July 13, 2014, in East Austin as she concluded her "Texans Deserve to Know" tour.

On Tuesday, as the Tribune was preparing to write a story about Wendy Davis' limited release of her 2013 tax return, her campaign agreed to its full publication. You can find it here