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TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

The best of our best content from Dec. 15-19, 2014.

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Just a few years ago, Texas was shipping millions of dollars in food and goods to Cuba. The White House's decision to ease sanctions could reignite the state's once-flourishing economic ties with the island nation.

The Texas House hasn't held a contested record vote for speaker since 1975, but state Rep. Scott Turner aims to change that. Turner is looking to unseat House Speaker Joe Straus, who has held the office since 2009.

A bill filed Monday could create a financial incentive for students to become mental health care providers. Senate Bill 239 would create a loan reimbursement program for certain licensed mental health workers who assist the underserved.

Texas Tech University expelled Tim Cole after he was arrested in 1985 and charged with rape. Cole died in prison, but DNA evidence cleared the way for a posthumous pardon in 2009. Now there's a push for Tech to award Cole an honorary degree.

The Health and Human Services Commission has canceled a second contract involving Jack Stick, who resigned as the agency's top lawyer amid concerns over a $110 million contract that was not competitively bid.

State Sen. John Whitmire asked the state's public integrity unit on Thursday to investigate deals between the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and 21 Century Technologies.

U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold's office is facing a lawsuit in which a former staffer has alleged sexual harassment. A Farenthold spokesman has denied the accusations, but operatives are mulling what could happen to the congressman on Capitol Hill.

The Railroad Commission wants to beef up oversight of oil and gas wells in cities, and ease tension between the industry and the growing number of urban Texans living next to well pads, compressor stations and disposal wells.

Gov. Rick Perry has proposed addressing a joint session of the Legislature one more time before he leaves office, a spokesman for the governor's office confirmed Sunday.

Full video of our conversation with U.S. Rep.-elect Will Hurd, R-San Antonio, who talked about the CIA torture report, Cuba, the Sony hack, border security, the Aggie Bonfire and more.

A new governor who touts public schools as a top priority and plenty of money in the state bank account don’t mean everything will go smoothly as the 84th Legislature navigates public education policy.

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