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TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

The best of our best from February 7 to 11, 2011.

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Texas has enough supplies of a key drug to carry out only two more executions. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice is exploring its options, including what other states are doing. But the drug alternatives are limited and would most likely still leave Texas reliant on nations that oppose the death penalty.

With just 56 students, Marathon ISD is one of the state's smallest. But its fate is critical to the West Texas town's survival. And if what is happening here works, it could serve as a model for other towns looking to shield their way of life from the death knell of school closures.

The Texas Ethics Commission now requires political candidates to document their political spending in specific categories — advertising, consulting, polling, etc. — allowing the public to better understand campaign-finance filings. This interactive bubble chart visualizes those spending categories by candidate, political party and election type in the second half of 2010.

Unlike the debate over voter ID, in which Senate Democrats stood united in their opposition, a combination of politics, religion and personal histories have made the sonogram bill more divisive in their caucus. 

Gov. Rick Perry has challenged Texas universities to develop a bachelor’s degree costing no more than $10,000, books included. As it turns out, there already is a $10,000 bachelor’s degree here — and the Legislature may be on the verge of eliminating it.

The vast majority of the state's wind turbines have gone up in West Texas. But several big wind farms have recently begun operating in the general vicinity of Corpus Christi, and more coastal projects are likely on the way — to the distress of bird-lovers and the military.

The proposed budget cuts Gov. Rick Perry laid out in his State of the State speech are more symbolic than lucrative and trivialize the cuts that are being made elsewhere in state services and programs.

In Our latest TribLive conversation, House Public Education Committee Chairman Rob Eissler talked about the coming cuts to public ed: how big they're likely to be, the prospect of tens of thousands of teacher and non-instructional-staff layoffs and whether new revenue sources are on the table.

More than 100 Texas doctors made a deal with the state: For four years, they would practice in underserved communities and treat the neediest patients — in return for having their med school debt forgiven. But now state officials may be backing down from their side of the bargain.

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