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The Brief: April 24, 2014

The chairman of the state agency in charge of treatment and housing of violent sex offenders who can't be reinserted into society resigned on Tuesday.

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The Big Conversation

The chairman of the state agency in charge of treatment and housing of violent sex offenders who can't be reinserted into society resigned on Tuesday. In his resignation letter, Dan Powers said the agency's small size had made it difficult to deal with a slew of recent challenges.

As the Houston Chronicle's Mike Ward and Anita Hassan reported, "The agency has been under fire for weeks for its decision in March to relocate more than two dozen violent sex offenders into an Acres Homes boardinghouse without giving lawmakers or residents any advance notice, and for moving to contract with a Houston firm about the same time to build a center to house as many as 100 of the offenders in rural Liberty County, without any advance notice to the public."

The spotlight continues to shine on the agency's executive director, Allison Taylor, who remains on the job, according to the governor's office. But she has lost the backing of key lawmakers with oversight of criminal justice issues. State Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, told the Tribune's Terri Langford and Brandi Grissom on Tuesday that "I just have lost confidence in the agency and its director to do what's in the public interest."

The Day Ahead

•    Texas Democrats' nominee for governor, Wendy Davis, and lieutenant governor, Leticia Van de Putte, will attend the Annie's List Annual Austin Luncheon scheduled for 12 p.m. at the Hilton Austin.

•    GOP gubernatorial nominee Greg Abbott is in Victoria at 3 p.m. to lay out the second phase of his "Educating Texans" policy.

•    The House Ways and Means and Technology committees hold a joint interim hearing at 10 a.m. in the Capitol Extension (agenda) with the Technology committee holding a separate hearing at 1 p.m. (agenda)

•    The House Economic and Small Business Development Committee holds an interim hearing at 10 a.m. in the Capitol Extension. (agenda)

•    The House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations meets at 1 p.m. in the John H. Reagan Building. (agenda)

Today in the Trib

Voters Could Approve Billions in Debt in May Elections: "Cities and school districts across Texas are asking voters to approve more than $6.6 billion in local debt in next month's bond elections."

Third Chief in a Month to Be Named at Juvenile Justice Department: "The Texas Juvenile Justice Department on Thursday is set to name its third leader in a month at a meeting of the board that oversees the agency."

El Paso Struggles with Lack of English-Speaking Foster Homes: "On the heels of an expansion of Fort Bliss, El Paso is seeing an increase in the number of children who can't be placed in foster homes because there aren't enough English-speaking homes available."

U.S. Border Patrol Agents Ramp Up Efforts in Valley: "U.S. Border Patrol agents say the illegal traffic on public and private land in the Rio Grande Valley has triggered the need for additional resources in the region. In response, an influx of agents from California, Arizona and Laredo have arrived in the area."


Abbott proposes state takeover of low-performing schools, Houston Chronicle

New Ann Richards film holds lessons for Greg Abbott-Wendy Davis race, The Dallas Morning News

Regent gives $1 million to Texas A&M School of Law, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Eagle Ford could last decades, San Antonio Express-News

Study: Sales taxes took bite out of Amazon's sales, The Hill

Kinky Friedman: Put wild hog on a plate, San Antonio Express-News

Robert Heard, newsman wounded in UT Tower shooting, dies at 84, Austin American-Statesman

Quote to Note

"As a GOP politician, I would not want to go to trial in Travis County."

— Attorney Dick DeGuerin, on how the Democratic leanings of Travis County residents make it difficult for Republican politicians facing investigation by a grand jury

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Panel Discussion on Keeping the Lights on in Texas at St. Mary's University in San Antonio, 4/29

•    The Texas Tribune Festival On the Road presents a one-day symposium on STEM Education at UT-Dallas, 5/5

•    A Conversation With Rep. Dan Branch, Candidate for Attorney General at the Austin Club, 5/8

•    A Conversation With U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway at Midland College in Midland, 5/13

•    A Conversation With Steve Patterson, UT Men's Athletic Director at the Austin Club, 5/15

•    A Conversation With Sen. Glenn Hegar, Candidate for State Comptroller at the Austin Club, 5/29

•    Save the date for the 2014 Texas Tribune Festival: 9/19-9/21

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Energy Environment Politics Ann Richards Greg Abbott Wendy Davis