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TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Ramsey discusses efforts to address budget diversions, Ramshaw on a Tea Party leader's previous title, Galbraith on recycling oilfield water, Grissom with complete coverage of the Norwood trial, Murphy maps district voting age populations, Ramshaw and Batheja on a gold rush, M. Smith finds that gains on state tests don't guarantee success nationally, Hamilton on a tense UT System board meeting, Aguilar profiles a successful Democratic strategist, and Schneider on the potential impact of sequestration on special education programs: The best of our best content from March 18-22, 2013.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 3/18/13

The state balances its budget by counting nearly $5 billion in unspent funds that were raised for specific programs. To change their ways, lawmakers would have to go back to what they were trying to avoid: choices between taxes and cuts.

As recently as 2003, the president of the Greater Fort Bend County Tea Party had a different title: director of propaganda for the American Fascist Party. James Ives says he was working undercover doing research for a book he never wrote.

In Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale, natural gas companies recycle water as a matter of course. But recycling is only getting started in the Texas oilfields because using freshwater for hydraulic fracturing is cheap.

The trial of Mark Norwood, who is accused of the 1986 murder of Christine Morton, is under way. We've had complete coverage of the trial's first week.

Having each House or Senate district match the others in size masks big differences in voting age populations that greatly affect politics and elections. Use our maps to explore the numbers and see how House and Senate districts compare to statewide averages.

Call it the Rick Perry gold rush: The governor wants to bring the state’s gold reserves back from a New York vault to Texas. And he may have legislative support to do it.

When the state closes a decade's worth of testing under the TAKS exams in April, it will mark the end of a period that saw students’ scores on the standardized tests soar. But that success hasn't translated to improvement on national measures.

Longtime employees of the University of Texas System could not recall a split vote on the board of regents, which has traditionally settled differences behind closed doors and presented a unified front. That changed on Wednesday.

After successfully leading the campaigns for two state senators and a state representative, campaign strategist Terrysa Guerra has emerged as a secret weapon for the Democratic Party.

The automatic federal spending cuts known as the sequester could hit special education and programs for low-income students hardest. State lawmakers are unlikely to come up with cash to fill the federal hole. 

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