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TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

The best of our best content from May 18 to 22, 2015.

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Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Joe Straus announced the terms of a $3.8 billion tax relief package — a move that followed weeks of testy negotiations. Top House and Senate negotiators sealed up the final unresolved issues on a two-year budget deal, including removing controversial language that would have killed a proposed Dallas-Houston bullet train.

Four large donors to the American Phoenix Foundation, which has been secretly recording Texas lawmakers, are well-known backers of conservative causes.

The 84th Legislature started with ambitious plans for reforming public education. Now it's make-or-break time for many of the major initiatives still alive. Here's a roundup of where things stand.

The state's 50 community college systems are one of the few areas targeted for cuts in state funding over the next two years. As a final budget is hashed out in the Legislature, school leaders are hoping to reverse their fiscal fortune.

The House-Senate budget conference committee adopted its compromise on health and human services funding Wednesday, pleasing fiscal conservatives and giving little cheer to advocates for the poor and disabled.

Full video of our conversation with state Reps. Sarah Davis, R-West University Place; Jeff Leach, R-Plano; and Poncho Nevárez, D-Eagle Pass.

Businesses are joining consumer advocates in sounding the alarm about a proposal that critics say would stack the deck in favor of insurance companies at the expense of businesses and homeowners.

After a Dallas hair braider's decades-long battle with the state to practice and teach African hair braiding in Texas, lawmakers passed a measure Wednesday to drop industry restrictions and sent the bill to the desk of Gov. Abbott.

Saying Texas needs to avoid a “patchwork of local regulations” that threaten oil and gas production, Gov. Abbott on Monday signed legislation that would pre-empt local efforts to regulate a wide variety of drilling-related activities. 

In his first veto, Gov. Abbott on Monday killed a seemingly routine resolution honoring mental health workers after finding a surprise hiding in the text.

Texas suburbs continue to dominate as the fastest-growing areas of the state, according to new population estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Iowans got one last chance this week to size up former Gov. Rick Perry's shot at redemption before a likely June 4 presidential announcement. In nearly a dozen events across the state, Perry gave them plenty of reasons not to count him out.

U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry is one of the most powerful players on Capitol Hill. But his new gavel as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee comes with scrutiny.

After four years of trying out a new way of awarding state contracts known as design-build, lawmakers aren't sure taxpayers get a better deal, and Texas businesses say they're being muscled out of jobs by larger, out-of-state companies.

In the Roundup: Lawmakers endorse allowing epilepsy patients to use cannabis oil for treatment, pharmacies that supply the state its drugs will not be disclosed, and Gov. Abbott wastes little time signing the "Denton fracking bill" into law.

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