TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 9/12/11

Aaronson on the rise in the state's unemployment rate, Aguilar on the push to mandate use of an electronic employment verification program, Galbraith on fears about the drought's impact on lake levels, Grissom on the latest in the Duane Buck case, Hamilton on the possible end of physics (academically speaking), Murphy updates our public employee pay app, Ramsey on David "Mitt" Dewhurst, Ramshaw on Rick Perry's campaign swing through Virginia and Iowa, Root on the deletion of gubernatorial emails and M. Smith on the teaching of safe sex where you'd least expect it: The best of our best content from Sept. 12-16, 2011.

Illustration by Todd Wiseman

The shining Texas jobs miracle that Gov. Rick Perry is touting on the presidential campaign trail may be dimming, according to statistics released today by the Texas Workforce Commission. Texas lost 1,300 jobs in August, marking the first month of employment decline in Texas in almost a year.

U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, took his efforts to require nationwide use of the electronic employment verification program, known as E-Verify, before his committee today. “Yes, E-Verify is a jobs killer, but only for illegal workers,” he said.

Fearing that this drought could reduce lake levels lower than ever before, the Lower Colorado River Authority's board will meet next week to discuss reducing or ending its water sales to downriver farmers next year.

At about 7:40 p.m. Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the execution of Duane Edward Buck. His trial was one of several cases in which a psychologist told jurors that his race made him more dangerous.

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The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board wants to eliminate degree programs with low enrollment — like physics. Critics, including many professors, say that could do lasting harm to the state.

We've posted a 2011 update to our government employee salary database, which now includes 140 entities and salary data for more than 664,000 public employees.

David Dewhurst is the Mitt Romney of the U.S. Senate race. He's the candidate who has climbed the ladder in an orderly way. If you go for this sort of thing — and the Republican party often does — it’s his turn.

Gov. Rick Perry spent Wednesday morning preaching to the choir at the world’s largest evangelical university. He spoke more like a minister than a politician, urging students to use their Christian values to wrest control of their futures from Washington.

Gov. Rick Perry wrapped up a job creation-touting, tough-talking, Mitt Romney-slamming cross-state tour in Iowa Friday, trading the debate drama of early this week for the small-town meet-and-greets where he’s at his best.

Gov. Rick Perry’s state office has temporarily stopped deleting emails every seven days, thanks to the efforts of Wisconsin-based political activist John Washburn. His request for the emails has shed new light on a controversial records destruction policy.

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Abstinence still rules on a state policy level, but from Midland to Spring Branch, a quiet message is spreading through Texas schools: It's time to start teaching students about contraception

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