The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has nearly doubled its number of administrative enforcement actions against polluters in the last five years — yet critics charge the agency still levies penalties too small to act as a deterrent.
This is the final day of early voting — a period in which many more energized and engaged Texans cast ballots for their favorite candidates than their counterparts did in 2006. During the last two weeks, we've published fifteen installments in our Primary Color series, analyzing the marquee contested party primaries for Texas House and Senate seats, for Congressional seats, and for slots on the State Board of Education and the Texas Supreme Court. Today we present the last five of our stories. Brian Thevenot reports on the face-off between very different GOP insiders to take on state Rep. Diana Maldonado, D-Round Rock, in House District 52. Julian Aguilar looks at the ideological purity test in HD-43, where incumbent Tara Rios Ybarra, D-South Padre Island, has been called a "closet Republican" by her Democratic challenger. Reeve Hamilton explains how Democrats have to choose between an Agriculture Commissioner candidate with ranching experience and one who's the consummate promoter. Andrew Kreighbaum weighs in on the six-way free-for-all to succeed retiring Supreme Court Justice Harriet O’Neill in Place 3. And Ross Ramsey contemplates the potential karmic payback of state Rep. Chuck Hopson, of Jacksonville, who quit the Democratic party and filed for reelection as a Republican, only to find two GOP primary opponents lying in wait.
Six Republicans — five judges from across the state and a former House member with no judicial experience — are touting their conservative credentials as they run for that rare thing in Texas politics: an open seat on the Supreme Court.
North Texas Democrats see GOP state Rep. Linda Harper-Brown's Irving seat as theirs for the taking in 2010 — the top target in their battle to take back the majority in the House. But first they have to settle on a candidate.