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Elise Hu

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House Ethics Panel on Speaker's Race Threats

In a House Ethics Committee meeting Tuesday, state Rep. Chuck Hopson, R-Jacksonville, revealed that state Rep. Larry Phillips, R-Sherman, is the man behind an alleged threat that lawmakers who fail to support Speaker Joe Straus for re-election could face retribution through redistricting. Hopson named Phillips before the panel went into a closed executive session to discuss the allegation.

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 Graphic by Ben Hasson

Interactive: The Speaker's Race!

We’ve reached a point in the soap opera known as the House Speaker’s Race at which it's tough to track all the characters and their connections. To keep his post, current Speaker Joe Straus is actively campaigning for the votes of House members who will elect him — or his replacement — in January. In recent weeks, two of his fellow Republicans have emerged as challengers, and the involvement of sundry outside interests make for an increasingly tangled web. As the House General Investigating and Ethics Committee prepares to hold a hearing today about alleged threats made against one minor player in the drama, we present this handy interactive to help make sense of it all.

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TribBlog: AG to TWIA: Make Numbers Public

The Texas attorney general's office is weighing in on the back-and-forth between the Texas Windstorm Insurance Agency and Democratic attorney Steve Mostyn, who has been fighting in the courts to keep Hurricane Ike settlement details private.

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 Todd Wiseman

We Lose?

Citing performance issues and alleging a conflict of interest, critics blasted Friday's decision by the Texas Lottery Commission to renew a 10-year operations contract worth up to $1 billion with Rhode Island-based GTECH Corporation, the state’s primary lottery vendor since its 1992 inception.

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 Bob Daemmerich

Derision Points

To the list of things that Rick Perry shows contempt for — Barack Obama’s leadership abilities, excessive federal regulation, coyotes that interrupt his morning jog — add this surprising one: George W. Bush’s ideological disposition. The governor seems to go out of his way to criticize his predecessor as insufficiently conservative. Bush, for his part, makes no mention of Perry in his memoir. "There's certainly no love lost between these two men," says UT presidential scholar Bruce Buchanan.

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 Bob Daemmrich

TribBlog: Straus Rebuffs Patrick

State Sen. Dan Patrick issued a release saying he would host a sit-down meeting of the three candidates for speaker in a "neutral" location. But House Speaker Joe Straus' office says it never agreed to to the meet-up.

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"Grandiose Cuts" to Higher Education?

The session hasn't started yet, but the battles have. In a heated exchange over possible cuts to higher education at a post-election debrief, Democratic consultant Matt Angle spars with Gov. Rick Perry's campaign manager, Rob Johnson.

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 Caleb Bryant Miller/Bob Daemmrich

TribBlog: Straus to Chisum: "Have You No Shame?"

The speaker's race drama continues! House Speaker Joe Straus is hitting back — hard — at challenger state Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, calling on Chisum to "stop the threatening letters, mean-spirited emails, and angry phone calls."

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 Elise Hu

The Crackdown Begins

Republican state lawmakers, buoyed by their party’s resounding victories on Election Day, have filed several bills ahead of the next legislative session that signal how far they're willing to go in tackling illegal immigration. State Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-Tomball, filed a nine-bill bundle that included a proposal to require picture IDs at polling places.

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 Illustration by Todd Wiseman

2010: Donna Howard Wins in a Squeaker

It appears state Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, will keep her seat in the Texas House. After overseas ballots were counted Monday, the final vote tally gave Howard a 16-vote victory over Republican challenger Dan Neil.

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 Elise Hu

HuTube: First to File

It's the first day to prefile bills for the next legislative session, and lawmakers lined up early to get in their legislation. (Some lawmakers were more eager than others.) Our latest HuTube post has the action from inside the House clerk's office.

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 Caleb Bryant Miller/Bob Daemmrich

TribBlog: Straus on the Offensive

House Speaker Joe Straus is moving quickly to squelch any talk of a speaker's race. His office released two letters this afternoon — one from conservative leaders expressing support for him, and another that emphasizes his strengths as House leader.

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