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TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

The best of our best content from Jan. 12 to 16, 2015.

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Adding to our robust suite of Texas legislative tools, we've rolled out a new 84th Lege Page — complete with an upgraded bill tracker and curated lists of the must-watch issues of the session across nearly a dozen different policy areas. 

Full video of our live conversation with state Sens. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, and Kirk Watson, D-Austin — the chairs of the Senate Republican and Democratic caucuses.

With the backing of 85 percent of the Texas House, San Antonio Republican Joe Straus was re-elected to his fourth term Tuesday. Straus drew 128 votes for re-election against challenger state Rep. Scott Turner, R-Frisco, who drew 19 votes.

House Speaker Joe Straus said the House's base budget plan, released Thursday, holds "spending in check while addressing some very important challenges related to our rapid growth." The Senate's base budget is expected to come out next week.

The behavior of open-carry advocates trying to drum up votes for a measure repealing handgun licensing requirements prompted one lawmaker to escort them from his office Monday.

What does the Texas Legislature look like? A lot like this, according to a Tribune analysis of demographics under the Pink Dome. While the makeup of the Lege is changing by the session, it remains out of whack with the Texas population.

In what some saw as a tune-up for his next presidential bid, Gov. Rick Perry bade farewell to lawmakers with a rhetorical highlights reel of his record-setting tenure.

From the first day of the new legislative session, here's a selection of tweets that journalists, lawmakers and others have shared, along with the Tribune's on-the-ground reporting from the Texas Capitol.

On Wednesday, the Obama administration announced another major plan to combat climate change that aims to slash emissions of methane gas in the next decade by almost a half. Here’s why that’s a big deal for Texas.

Gov.-elect Greg Abbott announced Wednesday the creation of an independent "strike force" to review the state's largest health agency, specifically how it awards contracts to private vendors.

Amid calls for Texas Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek to resign over a contracting scandal, sources close to Gov.-elect Greg Abbott say Abbott won't decide on Janek's future until after the completion of state investigations. A judge heard arguments Thursday on a request to halt a White House immigration policy that could affect hundreds of thousands of Texans living in the country illegally. The judge did not indicate when he would make a ruling.

When Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller granted amnesty to cupcakes on Monday, he pointed out that state rules that once banned such treats from classrooms were repealed last summer. But cupcakes have been allowed for a decade.

Prospects for Democrats in Texas might seem grim at the moment, but from his Washington perch, U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey thinks things will turn his party's way. Eventually.

In the Roundup: The 84th Legislature's long-awaited kickoff, gun rights advocates make weapons at the capitol and Gov. Rick Perry bids lawmakers farewell after more than a decade in office.

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