News For Friday, May 7, 2010

Party Crashers

Two candidates hope to unseat Republican Party of Texas chair Cathie Adams at next month's state convention in Dallas. The biggest issue isn't their ideological differences — there are none. It's the effectiveness of the party in organizing voter support, and, to a lesser degree, how willing the GOP should be to reach across the aisle and seek common ground.

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Graphic by Employee Retirement System of Texas

Benefits and Drawbacks

The insurance plan for state employees will have a $140.4 million shortfall next year — and that's the least of its problems. The projected shortfall for the two years after that is $880 million, and it will take another $476 million to replenish the legally required contingency fund. The Employee Retirement System and state leaders are surprisingly mellow about the red ink, saying growth in the cost of health benefits has actually stabilized at around 9 percent. But steady and large increases in costs threaten to erode the program, leaving policymakers to consider cuts in benefits, to negotiate lower prices or to find vast amounts of new money.

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Laura Bush on Midland

As part of a special report for KUT News, Texas Monthly editor Jake Silverstein talks to former first lady Laura Bush, whose memoir, “Spoken from the Heart,” hit bookstores this week. Full Story 

TribBlog: Capitol CPR

Lawmakers and state employees are getting trained in CPR and defibrillator use today — almost a year after Rep. Edmund Kuempel, R-Seguin, suffered a heart attack and collapsed in a Capitol elevator. He was saved by his colleague, Rep. John Zerwas, an anesthesiologist who resuscitated him with CPR. 

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Texas Supreme Court

TribBlog: O'Neill Signs Off

Texas Supreme Court Justice Harriet O'Neill, who isn't seeking reelection to the court, also isn't finishing her term. She told Gov. Rick Perry and the other members of the court today that she will step down from the bench on June 20.

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