News For February, 2011

Illustration by Todd Wiseman

Medicaid Cuts Worry Texas Nursing Homes

Texas agencies facing the budget ax say the only thing left to cut are the services they fund. Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports on fears that many of the state's nursing homes could be forced to dramatically cut back or even close as a result.

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Jacob Villanueva

Lawmakers Mull Reductions to Pension Plans

As Texas lawmakers look to slash billions in state spending, pension plans have become fair game. Mose Buchele of KUT News reports on a legislative proposal to decrease state contributions to two retirement plans that collectively serve hundreds of thousands of Texans.

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Illustration by Todd Wiseman

Sam Houston, Texas Secession — and Robert E. Lee

No secession ball will mark the day. But 150 years ago today, on Feb. 1, 1861, a state convention voted overwhelmingly to secede from the Union, against the fervent wishes of Gov. Sam Houston. Caught in the mess was one Robert E. Lee, a federal officer in what had become a rebel state.

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Graphic by Todd Wiseman

Lawmakers Propose Raiding Auto Theft Fund

House and Senate budget writers have proposed closing a little-known state agency that helps prevent and solve automobile theft and burglary. The catch? While they’re planning to kill the agency, they're not planning to stop collecting the fee you pay to keep it going.

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Kinch family

Sam Kinch Jr., 1940-2011

Sam Kinch Jr., the founding editor of Texas Weekly and a former political and government correspondent for The Dallas Morning News, died shortly after midnight, according to a spokesman for the family. He was 70, and had been battling pancreatic cancer, emphysema and congestive heart disease.

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Illustration by Todd Wiseman

Few Obstacles Face Voter ID in the Legislature

Both sides cite stats and research papers to support their positions, with Democrats saying the photo voter ID law will suppress minority voting, and Republicans saying it won't do anything but stop fraud. Whatever it is, it's on its way into the law books.

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Marjorie Kamys Cotera

Testimony Under Way in HD-48 Fight [Updated]

More than a dozen witnesses took the stand today to testify about where they lived and how they voted in the House District 48 contest in the November 2010 election.

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Bob Daemmrich

The Midday Brief: Feb. 1, 2011

Your afternoon reading: Senate hears testimony on foster kids, Howard-Neil fight under way, and Shapiro files school-mandate bill

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Bob Daemmrich

Suehs Warns Lawmakers On Health Cuts

Health and Human Services Commissioner Tom Suehs pulled no punches when he warned Senate lawmakers today what proposed budget cuts will mean: either cutting the number of people served, or the money paid to those who care for them.  

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Marjorie Kamys Cotera

Election Contest in HD-48 Begins

A Texas House investigation to determine the winner of the District 48 race between state Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, and Republican challenger Dan Neil has begun. Testimony is expected to last at least a couple of days. Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports.

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