News For Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Graphic by Matt Stiles

The Senate's Biggest Spenders

The 31-member body spent nearly $16 million last fiscal year on travel, staff and office expenses, according to records from the office of the Secretary of the Senate. Overall spending by individual senators ranged from $206,000, by Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, to $637,000, by Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston. 

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Matt Stiles

Counting the Counties

Only three states — Louisiana, New Mexico and Alaska — are returning the census form at lower rates than Texas. But two dozen Texas counties are outperforming the national average, according to our interactive map

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The Applicant

Can an energy regulator who’s on the board of an entity he oversees make a play for the top job there? Industry and government sources say that’s what Barry Smitherman, the chairman of Texas’ influential Public Utility Commission, is doing, though Smitherman won't say whether he's in the running.

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2010: What's on the Special?

Voters in Central Texas, Dallas and Plano will get to vote for the third month in a row in May, in special elections for the Texas House and Senate. Three officeholders — Sen. Kip Averitt, R-Waco, and Reps. Terri Hodge, D-Dallas, and Brian McCall, R-Plano — resigned before their terms were up. Today was the deadline for candidate filing.

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