TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 2/20/11

The latest UT/TT poll's findings here, here, here and here, Root's interview with Rick Perry, Galbraith on a court ruling with big implications for water owners and users, Tan on the end of a program for insurance-seekers in Texas, M. Smith on the man behind the Supreme Court case over the use of race in college admissions, Ramshaw with the latest on the women's health program, Hamilton on why Texas A&M's chancellor is telling employees not to worry, Aguilar on the boom in Mexican methamphetamines and Aaronson on the state's challenge to federal insurance rules on contraceptives: The best of our best content from February 20 to 24, 2012.

Graphic by Allen Otto

According to the new University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania has a commanding lead over his Republican rivals in Texas, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is still the leader of the Republican pack running for U.S. Senate, and Ted Cruz is in second place; voters aren't sold on Gov. Rick Perry's idea of another term as governor; and at the national level, voters are concerned about pocketbook issues, while at home immigration is the top problem.

Perry said Tuesday he is leaning toward running for re-election in 2014 and possibly another stab at the White House two years after that.

In a case with potentially vast implications for groundwater rules, the court has unanimously ruled in favor of two farmers in the San Antonio area who challenged a local aquifer authority's restrictions on their well use.

A program created to help insurance-seekers in Texas cut through the complexities of federal health care reforms is shutting down in April, years before the law goes into full effect.

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Edward Blum's legal defense fund is behind Fisher v. University of Texas, which could halt the use of race in university admissions.

Texas Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Tom Suehs signed a rule this week that formally bans Planned Parenthood clinics and other "affiliates of abortion providers" from the Women's Health Program — likely ending the program.

Texas has joined six other states and a handful of Catholic organizations in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a new health care rule approved by the federal government that would require all employers to include coverage for contraceptives in employees' health care benefits.

Chancellor John Sharp is preparing for a massive privatization of services at Texas A&M University, from food service to grounds maintenance. But officials say that does not mean employees need to worry about their jobs.

There are signals that cartels south of the border aren’t looking at methamphetamine as merely a backup source for revenue anymore, analysts say.

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