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TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

The best of our best content from March 30 to April 3, 2015.

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After an overnight debate that veered from polite disagreements to an angry outburst, the Texas House tentatively passed a $210 billion two-year budget early Wednesday morning with a 141 to 5 vote. 

Some of the most emotional, and uncomfortable, debate on the House budget Tuesday came when a state representative asked fellow lawmakers to move money from HIV and STD prevention to abstinence education. 

A scathing state investigative report of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission's $20 million deal for fraud tracking software has revealed "operational defects" within the agency's procurement process.

Often seen as a workers' rights issue, worker misclassification can have a direct impact on the state's child support collections. Some workers want to be classified as contractors to dodge wage garnishment.

A bill that would enact a statewide texting-while-driving ban is advancing in the Texas Legislature, and it could affect some local ordinances already in place. Here's a look at which municipalities currently have restrictions.

As expected, former U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, will run for Congress in a rematch against Rep. Will Hurd, R-San Antonio. Hurd ousted Gallego in 2014 by a 2-point margin. Hurd raised over $500,000 in his first quarter in Congress. The figure comes hours after Gallego announced he would challenge Hurd to a rematch.

One state lawmaker has an idea to encourage Texans to conserve energy: Stop charging them for doing so. Rep. Sylvester Turner's legislation would bar companies from charging customers for using too little energy – a common practice.

Texas has joined a growing number of states moving quickly to outlaw powdered alcohol, a new product that health officials say could make it easier for minors to conceal and consume alcohol.

A Tribune analysis of gun laws nationwide shows passing "open carry" legislation would make Texas an outlier among states with large urban populations. Many of the nation's biggest cities are located in states that prohibit it.

Hand-scraped wood floors. Custom ceiling tile. A shower. Those items may not sound like upgrades a cash-strapped agency would need, and new Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller ultimately didn't think so, either. After initially supporting a big renovation at the agency, Miller decided to nix it, officials say.

Tuesday's special election to replace former state Rep. José Menéndez appears to have set a record low for voter turnout in races of its kind.

Minorities are largely underrepresented among the state's health care professionals. Use these interactives to explore the demographics of some health professions by race/ethnicity, gender and age.

In an unusual, strongly worded report, a Travis County grand jury recommended this week that University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall be removed from office. 

In the Roundup: The House debates hundreds of budget amendments, and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz raises money and moves up in the polls in his first couple of weeks as a 2016 presidential contender.

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