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TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Grissom on threats to re-entry programs for criminals, Hamilton on the tempest over the direction of UT, E. Smith's interview with Joe Straus, Stiles and Chang's new lobbying app, M. Smith and Weber on where state officeholders send their children to school, Aaronson on allowing new nuclear power plants, Aguilar on how Hispanic Republicans are handling immigration issues, Ramshaw talks abortion with Planned Parennthood's Cecile Richards, Tan and Dehn on tapping the Rainy Day Fund and Galbraith on San Antonio and its water: The best of our best content from March 14 to 18, 2011.

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Criminal justice advocates say proposed cuts from rehabilitation and treatment programs would reverse years of reforms in Texas that have helped reduce recidivism and drive down the size of the prison population.

Our latest TribLive conversation featured Speaker of the Texas House Joe Straus, to talk about budget cuts, possible sources of revenue, hot-button social issues and more.

Top officials at the University of Texas System say that they are moving quickly to allay the concerns regarding the direction of UT, starting with the reassignment of Rick O'Donnell.

Lobbyists spent more than $1.2 million in the first two months of 2011 trying to influence lawmakers and state officials, according to the latest ethics filings, which are now accessible in our new lobbying data application.

Tribune readers, wondering what was personally at stake for the state’s education policy makers, asked us to check where lawmakers send their children to school. We obliged, and posed that question to all 181 members of the Legislature and 15 members of the State Board of Education.

In its first hearing since an earthquake and tsunami crippled Japan and threatened nuclear meltdown at several reactors, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission heard testimony today on whether to give early-stage approval to a new nuclear plant in Texas.

Calling on Washington to fix the country’s “discriminatory” immigration system, Hispanic Republicans in the Texas Legislature also fired off the first salvos in what could be a divisive battle within the party over immigration legislation.

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood and daughter of the late Democratic Gov. Ann Richards, on Republican lawmakers’ efforts to defund her organization, a Texas attorney general’s opinion she says will keep low-income women from preventative care, and how her mother would’ve handled all of this.

Does tapping the Rainy Day Fund have 90 House votes to move on to the Senate — and how much will the process of getting there damage the even bigger task for lawmakers of setting the next biennium's budget?

Despite tough economic times, San Antonio is continuing an unusual and aggressive program to protect its aquifer, by using public money to purchase land or easements to prevent development in critical areas.

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Demographics Energy Environment Health care Higher education Immigration Politics Public education State government Abortion Budget Education Joe Straus Rainy Day Fund State agencies Texas Department Of Criminal Justice Texas Legislature Water supply