TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 5/6/13

Aaronson on Medicaid expansion's dim prospects, Aguilar on Ted Cruz and immigration reform, Batheja and Rocha on President Obama's visit to Austin, Galbraith on the sharp drop in groundwater levels, Hamilton on the latest plans for a South Texas medical school, Murphy's map of ammonium nitrate storage facilities in Texas, Ramsey and Swicegood on bills that are dead or comatose, Ramshaw and Root on the tobacco tax, Root on how to avoid a special session and my sit-down with three Tea Party freshmen: The best of our best content from May 6-10, 2013.

Graphic by Todd Wiseman

With the prospect of Medicaid expansion on life support, protesters gathered at the Capitol on Wednesday to urge state leadership to expand coverage to poor adults, and state Democrats announced that they’re still searching for a legislative vehicle to expand coverage. 

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has jumped into the immigration reform debate by filing several amendments to the legislation put forth by the “Gang of Eight.” His proposals call for additional fencing on the border and blocking a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

President Obama said Thursday that Austin was the perfect spot to kick off his “Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity” tour because the city was doing so many things right economically. Obama stopped by Manor New Tech High School and also visited a pair of Austin companies, Applied Materials and Capital Factory.

Groundwater levels in Texas dropped considerably between 2010 and 2011, according to a report published recently by the Texas Water Development Board. The Ogallala was among the major aquifers experiencing significant declines.

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After months of waiting, there is finally movement on legislation to create a new university and medical school in South Texas. But now disagreements are emerging over who will decide where the medical school is located.

More than 110 facilities across Texas store ammonium nitrate in some form, according to state records. Use our interactive to see where in the facilities are located and how far they are from schools and hospitals.

Another major House deadline has gone by, ending that chamber's consideration of major legislation filed by its own members. We've updated our House Bill tracker, showing which bills stalled in committee and which ones stalled in the full House.

Small cigarette manufacturers would face new state fees on their sales under a measure that passed the Texas House in a preliminary vote on Monday — a big win for Big Tobacco

It’s still too early to start putting odds on the likelihood of a special session in Texas, but Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday gave lawmakers a roadmap to avoid one.

Full video of Evan Smith's 5/9 TribLive conversation with first-term state Reps. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, and Steve Toth, R-The Woodlands.

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