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TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Aguilar on Kay Bailey Hutchison’s immigration proposal and an answer to it, Batheja on the rise of toll roads and Murphy’s interactive toll road map, Galbraith on the pushback against “smart” electricity meters, Grissom on snitches in criminal trials, Hamilton finds Florida following Texas on cheap degrees, KUT’s Philpott looks at the next state budget debate, Ramshaw examines efforts to get a medical school in South Texas, E. Smith corners Todd Hunter and Blake Farenthold, and M. Smith takes a look at the state’s report card on high school dropouts: The best of our best from Nov. 26 to 30, 2012.

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Outgoing U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison on Tuesday introduced a bill that would provide legal status for immigrants brought to the country illegally as minors. She made clear that the proposal does not guarantee citizenship. A day later, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus laid out its own goals for reform.

Amid a lack of public financing to meet the state's transportation needs, Texas officials are increasingly looking to toll projects, some boosted by investments by private firms.

Our interactive map highlights every existing toll road in Texas and all toll projects currently in development. Charging drivers for the ability to avoid traffic is spreading from the state's biggest cities to every corner of the state.

Millions of "smart" electricity meters have been installed in homes, but now some Texans say the program should be optional. And some lawmakers are listening.

Reform advocates argue that a bill banning "snitch" testimony would help prevent wrongful convictions. But critics of the measure say that current rules protect defendants and that eliminating such testimony could tie prosecutors’ hands.

Even in gubernatorial circles, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Just ask Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who recently announced a $10,000 degree challenge modeled after the approach of his Texas counterpart, Gov. Rick Perry.

After the Legislature cut billions of dollars from the state budget in 2011, some hoped to see at least some of the funding restored in 2013. But with the next legislative session quickly approaching, others are pushing to limit that spending.

South Texas health leaders say they've waited long enough to establish a medical school in the Rio Grande Valley. But they've got some major hurdles to cross to get from blueprints to bricks and mortar.

At our Hot Seat conversation at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, state Rep. Todd Hunter, R-Corpus Christi, and U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi, talked state and national politics and previewed both the 83rd session and the 113th Congress.

While skeptics say reporting requirements for state graduation rates contain too many loopholes, other education policy experts say Texas deserves credit for implementing innovative programs to keep students in school.

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