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TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

The best of our best content from Feb. 23 to 27, 2015.

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Ted Cruz's wide lead over other contenders for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination in Texas has disappeared; he is now in a virtual tie with the surging Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll. Other findings:

• Most Texans support carrying guns in public, but only a minority supports carrying them openly, whether the carriers are licensed or not.

Property taxes clearly have the attention of Texas voters, and not in a positive way. And they are not particularly happy with business taxes, either.

• Voters like the state government slightly better than their local government — and a lot better than the federal government.

• Texans are divided along partisan lines over the state's policy offering in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants educated in Texas high schools.

• Texas voters overwhelmingly favor government-required vaccinations for children. And they rank vouchers lowest among a set of options for improving public education.

State agencies are operating on the honor system when it comes to former Gov. Rick Perry's December mandate that they use E-Verify to screen their workers. Two months after his order, there isn't a state office tasked with enforcement.

The last time lawmakers cut property taxes, it barely registered with most voters because appraisal increases and local tax hikes overwhelmed the savings. This year's cut will be smaller, but Republican leaders hope people will feel richer for it.

Senators grilled Gov. Greg Abbott's appointees to the University of Texas System Board of Regents for more than five hours, publicly rehashing the drama that has plagued the system's flagship university in recent years.

New Texas congressman John Ratcliffe on ousting the dean of his home state's delegation, making friends in Washington and his insistence that he won't "fit into a particular box."

Texas’ oil and gas industry is touting its record-breaking 2014 contributions to state and local government coffers, an effort to stay positive amid 2015's far gloomier revenue outlook.

Hell hath no fury like a Senate scorned, the head of the Texas Racing Commission found Wednesday when he tried to make peace with the Senate Finance Committee. The commission ignored lawmakers on a key racing vote, and its budget remains zeroed out. 

State Sen. Joan Huffman acknowledges that a lobby firm with ties to casino interests helped her draft a GOP caucus letter blasting a proposal to allow expanded gambling at horse tracks. Now a major proponent of the tracks is crying foul.

It’s kind of like Dallas Buyers Club: A group of sick Texans is seeking to gain access to experimental drugs — only this time, a flurry of state lawmakers is rushing to help them. In Austin, the movement hits a personal chord.

The Texas Department of Agriculture is supposed to ensure consumers aren't getting ripped off by fuel pumps, retail scanners or other measuring devices. But the agency is so cash-strapped that consumers are getting "screwed" due to a lack of oversight, the agency's new commissioner says.

A week after Gov. Greg Abbott put early education reform on the legislative fast track, top House lawmakers announced Thursday what is likely to become the major pre-kindergarten bill of the session.

After 24 years in the Legislature and a failed campaign for lieutenant governor, state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte bid an emotional farewell to her colleagues on Tuesday. She now faces a crowded field in the race to be San Antonio mayor.

This week in the Roundup, we take a look at the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll and a proposal by state Senate leaders to offer tax relief to property owners and businesses.

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