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TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

The best of our best content from April 27 to May 1, 2015.

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State Rep. Dennis Bonnen has become a go-to mouthpiece for House leadership, and the votes for his legislation are indicative of how closely in step with him his colleagues are. If he were off the leash, someone would yank it. Nobody has.

Outgoing UT-Austin President Bill Powers said this week that he felt he always acted in the best interest of the school and is proud of the reforms he helped implement. He also defended his actions related to university admissions.

The rate of Texans without health insurance has fallen 8 percentage points since enrollment began in the federal Affordable Care Act, according to a new study.

After months of little movement in the Texas Legislature on proposals to further restrict abortion, the pace is picking up as a flurry of bills moves to the House and Senate floors.

Gov. Greg Abbott only made matters worse by wading into long-simmering paranoia over a military training exercise scheduled to begin this summer in Texas. He has asked the State Guard to keep an eye on the operation, a fascination of conspiracy theorists.

Here's an updated breakdown of House Bills 1-20 and Senate Bills 1-20, showing where House Speaker Joe Straus and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick are placing their priorities for the 84th legislative session.

Full video of our conversation with state Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, vice chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and a candidate for Houston mayor.

As the Texas Legislature ponders ethics reforms to increase transparency and reduce conflicts of interests among its members, a key state lawmaker is facing new questions about whether his private business affairs are impacting his public duties.

Members of a House committee used "Twitter language" as they discussed legislation Tuesday to designate three official social media "hashtags" for the state, including the widely used #txlege. Lawmakers voted "hashtag yes" on the measures.

Texans in Congress are trying to balance party loyalties, distrust of the president and the interests of their districts as they decide whether to give President Obama fast-track authority on a Pacific Rim trade deal.

State Sen. John Whitmire is asking questions about a program for at-risk youths run by the Texas Military Department where more than half of the applicants are truant students referred by justice of the peace courts or from the schools themselves.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Thursday called for the repeal of a state program that requires drivers convicted of certain traffic offenses to pay annual surcharges to keep their driver's licenses.

The budget conference committee will hash out a compromise of the chamber’s respective 2016-17 budget plans. Committee members include two Democrats who rank as the most experienced budget negotiators on the panel.

As the U.S. Supreme Court prepared to hear oral arguments in four same-sex marriage cases on Tuesday, Texas Republicans were already looking for loopholes in hopes of getting around a possible decision that effectively legalizes gay marriage. 

In the Roundup: As state lawmakers enter the last month of the 84th Legislature, they advanced a number of measures that would further restrict abortions, drug test political candidates and facilitate engagement with constituents on social media.

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