TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

The best of our best content from Jan. 5 to 9, 2015.

 Graphic by Todd Wiseman

Of the two dozen or so politicos floated as serious presidential contenders, an uncanny number have a legitimate Texas connection.

Voting ended Tuesday night in three crowded elections — Senate District 26, House District 17 and House District 123 — and all are now headed for runoffs.

Gov.-elect Greg Abbott called for a citizen panel on government waste to replace the Sunset Commission. He said the Sunset system “seldom eliminates unnecessary agencies.”

Five days before the 84th legislative session begins, Lt. Gov.-elect Dan Patrick discussed his ambitious agenda — a lineup that includes tax relief, spending limits and education reform.

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Instead of trusting human smugglers or risking clandestine border crossings, an increasing number of people trying to enter the U.S. illegally are taking a more brazen approach. They try to slip through legal entry points using fake papers, or documents that belong to someone else.

Four days into his new job atop the UT System, Chancellor William McRaven likens it to his days as a Navy admiral. Trust helps, conflicts need to be settled and the troops — now it's the students — come first.

If fans of Dr Pepper and the Fort Worth Zoo don't get it in gear, their chance to buy specialty license plates might soon be gone. The Houston Rockets are hanging by a thread.

One of three Texas Health and Human Services Commission employees put on paid administrative leave amid a probe into the agency’s contracting procedures is facing a 50 percent cut to his salary. 

As they weigh the constitutionality of a Texas abortion law, federal appeals court judges on Wednesday challenged arguments presented by the state and abortion providers during more than an hour of tough questioning.

The plan to build the Marvin Nichols Reservoir has been a subject of contention between Dallas-Fort Worth officials and opponents in Northeast Texas. State officials voted Thursday to keep the lake in the state water plan, but the dispute is far from over.

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The Texas Tribune's Government Salaries Explorer received a long overdue update in 2014, and we're adding more agencies as we go. Use the explorer to look up salary information of employees in a number of state agencies, school districts and universities.

This week in the Roundup: The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals weighs in on two Texas cases — one on the state's same-sex marriage ban and another on a provision of the state's new abortion law. Also, three special legislative elections result in runoffs.