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Funding Program Shields Nursing Homes From Lawsuits

Hundreds of Texas nursing homes have transferred their ownership to local government entities in order to secure more federal Medicaid funding. Critics of the arrangement say it shields negligent nursing homes from lawsuits, putting needy patients at risk.

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New in Texas Weekly: Budget Negotiators Finish Work

State Cemetery Could Soon Be Under New Management

The Texas State Cemetery is home to more than 900 Texans who have shaped the civic and political life of the state, including 13 governors and Stephen F. Austin, the so-called Father of Texas.
The Texas State Cemetery is home to more than 900 Texans who have shaped the civic and political life of the state, including 13 governors and Stephen F. Austin, the so-called Father of Texas.

Lawmakers are aiming to restructure the chain of command at the Texas State Cemetery. But longtime caretakers of the famous graveyard think a measure moving through the Capitol goes too far in shifting power.

OSHA Chief: Fine for Deadly Leak in Texas "Petty Cash" For DuPont

DuPont's chemical plant in La Porte. In November 2014, a toxic gas leak killed four workers inside a unit that manufactures a popular insecticide called Lannate.
DuPont's chemical plant in La Porte. In November 2014, a toxic gas leak killed four workers inside a unit that manufactures a popular insecticide called Lannate.

Seven months after a toxic gas leak killed four workers at DuPont’s chemical plant in La Porte, a top U.S. labor official blasted the company’s commitment to workplace safety, saying he wished he could hand out a stiffer punishment.

 

Senate Unanimously Backs "Right to Try" Legislation

Capitol lobbyist Andrea Sloan waged a public battle with ovarian cancer, seeking federal permission to try an experimental treatment in 2013. She died Jan. 1, 2014.
Capitol lobbyist Andrea Sloan waged a public battle with ovarian cancer, seeking federal permission to try an experimental treatment in 2013. She died Jan. 1, 2014.

The Senate gave a unanimous vote of support on Friday to a measure that would allow terminally ill patients to try experimental drugs that have received preliminary approval by the FDA.

In Iowa, Voters Size Up Perry's Shot at Redemption

Former Gov. Rick Perry greets Iowans Monday in Sioux Center. The stop at a Pizza Ranch came during a five-day swing through the Hawkeye State for Perry.
Former Gov. Rick Perry greets Iowans Monday in Sioux Center. The stop at a Pizza Ranch came during a five-day swing through the Hawkeye State for Perry.

Iowans got one last chance this week to size up former Gov. Rick Perry's shot at redemption before a likely June 4 presidential announcement. In nearly a dozen events across the state, Perry gave them plenty of reasons not to count him out.

Contracting Experiment Drawing Mixed Reviews

Design-build contracts allow the engineering and construction of a project to be done by a single company.
Design-build contracts allow the engineering and construction of a project to be done by a single company.

After four years of trying out a new way of awarding state contracts known as design-build, lawmakers aren't sure taxpayers get a better deal, and Texas businesses say they're being muscled out of jobs by larger, out-of-state companies. 

After Another Gun Fight, Open Carry Passes Senate

Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita, Falls, center, and Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas, speak to Karina Davis the Senate Parliamentarian on March 16th, 2015
Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita, Falls, center, and Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas, speak to Karina Davis the Senate Parliamentarian on March 16th, 2015

Legislation moving Texas closer to allowing open carry of handguns finally cleared the state Senate late Friday evening after the chamber was thrown into hours of tense debate over a controversial amendment limiting the power of police to stop people visibly carrying guns. 

Senate Approves State Employee Pension Funding Plan

State Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, co-chair of the House Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations, is shown calling an executive session on May, 12, 2014.
State Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, co-chair of the House Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations, is shown calling an executive session on May, 12, 2014.

The Texas Senate on Friday voted to beef up the state’s underfunded retirement system for state employees by adding about $440 million to the program, a plan that has received mixed reviews from state employee advocacy groups.

With HB 40 Signed, Denton Fracking Resumes

A gas well last fracked in March sits less than 400 feet from a home in Denton, which just became Texas' first city to ban fracking.
A gas well last fracked in March sits less than 400 feet from a home in Denton, which just became Texas' first city to ban fracking.

The first Texas town to ban hydraulic fracturing is poised to be fracked again. Vantage Energy plans to resume fracking operations at eight gas wells in Denton on June 1, the Colorado-based operator has told city officials.

 

Abbott: Texas Will Work to Comply With Anti-Prison Rape Law

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says he has problems with a proposed state budget that includes significant business franchise taxes during a Tax Day press conference on April 15, 2015.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says he has problems with a proposed state budget that includes significant business franchise taxes during a Tax Day press conference on April 15, 2015.

In a shift away from his predecessor Rick Perry, Gov. Greg Abbott has informed the U.S. justice department that Texas plans to comply as much as possible with a federal law that aims to prevent prison rape.