TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of Apr. 25, 2011

Aguilar and Weber on a subdued debate over homeland security, Galbraith on rising concern about natural gas drilling, Grissom on a controversial psychologist, Hamilton on the aftermath of the Rick O'Donnell episode, Philpott on the comptroller's apology, Ramshaw with more on the statewide database of child abusers, E. Smith interviews Lance Armstrong, M. Smith on what House budget cuts would mean for school districts, M. Stiles on how redistricting would change things for each House member, Tan on the Senate's wobbly attempts to approve a budget and my interview with David Dewhurst: The best of our best content from April 25 to 29, 2011.

A proposed map for redrawing Texas House district boundaries could help fortify the Republican majority in the lower chamber in 2012.

If the House has its way, there will be 7.8 billion fewer state dollars headed to Texas public schools. Here's our searchable database built from state Rep. Scott Hochberg’s projections of how the funding cuts would hit 1,024 school districts across the state.

You wouldn't know it by the miniscule amount of debate Thursday, but the Senate approved what some lawmakers called the most significant piece of homeland security legislation filed this session, a measure civil liberty groups worry is a major encroachment on civil rights.

Texans pride themselves on being the heart of the nation’s oil and gas business. But even here, public concern about the environmental consequences of natural gas drilling is growing.

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Harris County paid a forensic psychologist who was reprimanded earlier this month more than $300,000 to test defendants for intellectual disabilities from 2002 until 2008.

One week ago, Rick O’Donnell’s employment at the University of Texas System came to an abrupt end after 50 days marked by tension and confusion in the higher education community — especially at the University of Texas at Austin. So what happens now that he’s gone?

Comptroller Susan Combs now says she takes full responsibility for the data exposure. Some of her initial comments criticized the agencies that sent the data to her office. Today she says, "We're the last door. We're it. And as head of the agency, I am responsible."

More than 2,000 people listed in a statewide database of people who mistreat children are caught in a backlog of cases waiting for appeals, many with their careers and families hanging in the balance.

Lance Armstrong talks about the need to protect cancer research funding in austere times and his advocacy on behalf of an indoor workplace smoking ban.

Waiting for the Senate budget debate? Get comfortable. Plans to bring the Senate’s substitute for the House’s budget, HB 1, up for a vote on the floor this week have been pushed back.

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With less than five weeks left to go in the session, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst talked with the Tribune about his future political plans, the status of the budget in the Senate and in the biennial parley between the Senate and the House, redistricting and the tug-of-war over the Rainy Day Fund.

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