The Big Conversation

The Tribune's four-part "Hurting for Work" series exploring the flip side of the "Texas miracle" — workers getting hurt and not finding much help from a system set up to minimize government regulation of business — wrapped up on Wednesday. The stories, though, are collected on a dedicated website and well worth a review.

To recap, here are some of the series' main findings:

•    Texas stands alone in allowing employers to forgo workers’ comp insurance, and over 500,000 workers have no coverage if they are hurt or killed.

•    Texas doesn’t regulate private occupational insurance, which often provides fewer due process rights and stingier benefits than workers’ comp.

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•    More than 90 percent of employers without workers’ comp flout a requirement that they notify the state of their opt-out status.

•    Nearly half (45 percent) of all workers’ comp claims were initially denied or disputed in whole or in part from 2008 to 2013.

Trib Must-Reads

The Disappearing Rio Grande Expedition, by Colin McDonald, Erich Schlegel and Jessi Loerch

Bruce Zimmerman: The TT Interview, by Reeve Hamilton

Wichita Falls Considering Chemical for Drought Relief, by Edgar Walters


Why Wendy Davis Didn't Want Hillary to Attend Convention, Texas Observer

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Abbott says companies must release chemical info but state does not, Houston Chronicle

Abbott tells citizens to get chemical lists from businesses, not the state, WFAA

Rep. John Carter: FBI to investigate Temple VA, Austin American-Statesman

Perry urges Obama to visit border crisis during fundraising trip, The Dallas Morning News

Rick Perry Turns From Beloved Cowboy Boots, The New York Times

Renovations underway in Texas State Senate Chamber, KVUE

Quote to Note

“I lament the fact that our governor could now pass for a West Coast metrosexual and has embarrassed us all with his sartorial change of direction.”

— Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson to the Austin American-Statesman's Ken Herman on Gov. Rick Perry's decision to stop wearing cowboy boots to alleviate chronic back pain

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Today in TribTalk

As Texas woos business, where's the transparency?, by Sara E. Smith

News From Home

The Brief will be taking Friday off for the Independence Day holiday. We will return on Monday.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    The Texas Tribune Festival runs from Sept. 19-21 at the University of Texas at Austin. Tickets are on sale now.