For this week's playlist of the news, we’re using our reporters' own predictions for 2015. Kicking things off: “The Best Is Yet To Come” by Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra, backed up by the Count Basie Orchestra.
The easiest way to enjoy the playlist is to download Spotify, a free program. But even without it, you can still follow along. Here are the other selections for the week:
Following the passage of a fracking ban in Denton, energy reporter Jim Malewitz thinks there might be a move in the 84th Legislature to ban further bans, which brought to mind Darryl Hall and John Oates’ “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do).” Reporter Alexa Ura sees the Legislature addressing the impending consolidation of state health agencies into one mammoth entity, so we thought of India.Arie’s “Get It Together.” Criminal justice reporter Terri Langford is looking for lawmakers to take up the definition of 17-year-olds as juveniles, so we went with Lake Street Dive’s take on “Seventeen.”
Reporter Morgan Smith expects expanding early education in public schools to be taken up by lawmakers in 2015, which reminded us of “School Days,” by Stanley Clarke. Transportation reporter Aman Batheja says the Legislature will likely consider how to divert needed billions to Texas roads — but they’re wary of losing flexibility with general revenue funds, which sent us looking for “Freeway Jam” by Jeff Beck. John Reynolds, who edits The Brief, Texas Weekly and our Trib+Water and Trib+EDU newsletters, says he’ll be following the Tea Party’s rise rise from insurgency to real power in both chambers, especially the state Senate, so Basie’s back, this time with Ella Fitzgerald as she leads the band though “Tea For Two.”
Alana Rocha, who monitors veteran’s affairs, foresees a tough balancing act for lawmakers as they grapple with burgeoning costs around the Hazlewood Act, which waives higher ed tuition and fees for veterans, so we turned to Texas’ own Stevie Ray Vaughan for “Tightrope.” Environmental reporter Neena Satija says lawmakers will probably be considering the state’s complicated groundwater laws. Increasing demands on a dwindling resource reminded us of Andy McKee’s instrumental take on Tears For Fears’ “Everybody Wants To Rule The World.”
Higher ed reporter (and TribCast host) Reeve Hamilton expects in-state tuition for undocumented students to be taken up. Signed into law in 2001, it’s an aspect of Gov. Rick Perry’s legacy that may not endure, so we went with “I Changed My Mind” by Billy Joe Shaver.
The Tribune’s newest reporter is Abby Livingston, our inaugural Washington bureau chief. In her first TribCast, she said she’ll be watching the U.S. congressional delegation — six members of the Republican Caucus will occupy prominent committee chairs. And with several Texans evidently running for president there’ll be plenty to keep her busy, so to welcome her we return to “The Best Is Yet To Come” — this time sung by Blossom Dearie. Happy New Year!