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TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Conversations about the coming Hispanic majority and the 82nd session from our New Day Rising symposium, M. Smith on the latest tort reform battle, Galbraith on greater scrutiny of the gas industry, Ramsey on whether lawmakers will cut their own pay and benefits, Ramshaw and Aguilar on what's holding up abortion sonogram legislation, Aguilar on the ag commissioner's controversial new website, Philpott on what $9.8 billion in public education cuts looks like, Hamilton on a snippy exchange of higher ed letters and Grissom on the latest court decision in the Hank Skinner case: The best of our best content from March 7 to 11, 2011.

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At the Tribune's New Day Rising symposium on Feb. 28, former state demographer and former U.S. Census Bureau director Steve Murdock talked extensively about demographic change in Texas and four members of the Texas House talked about the issues affecting the Hispanic community — and all Texans — during the 82nd Legislative Session.

Advocates say requiring the losing parties in litigation to pay their opponents’ legal fees is the cure for courts choked with the costs of “junk” lawsuits.

Texas' renewed commitment to natural gas comes at a time of sharply increased scrutiny for the gas industry.

As they talk of cutting pension contributions and raising premiums for state employee health care and mandating layoffs and furloughs at state agencies, what are lawmakers doing to their own compensation and benefits?

The biggest hurdle getting an abortion sonogram bill passed this session may be good old-fashioned stubbornness.

Texans advocating extreme solutions to secure the border — including land mines and booby traps on Texas farmland along the Rio Grande — have a new forum to share their views: a website operated by the Texas Department of Agriculture. 

School districts won't know exactly what nearly $10 billion in state cuts means to them until lawmakers pass a new school finance bill. Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune takes a look at the first bill of the session that gives districts an idea of what to expect.

The Association of American Universities, widely considered the gatekeeper to coveted tier-one status, has strongly criticized the Texas A&M University System's new policy of tracking the money spent on and generated by each individual professor.

The U.S. Supreme Court has given Texas death row inmate Hank Skinner another chance at getting DNA testing done on evidence he says could prove he did not kill his live-in girlfriend and her two sons in 1993.

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Demographics Health care Higher education Public education State government Abortion Budget Education Larry Gonzales State agencies Texas Legislature