René Oliveira

Chris Higgs, left, president of the Texas Association of Rental Agencies (TARA) testifies at a House of Representatives Committee on Business and Industry hearing on Wednesday, April 4, 2018 at the Capitol in Austin. In the background, Matt Grynwald, general counsel for Rent-A-Center, waits to testify.
 Laura Skelding for The Texas Tribune

Lawmakers weigh changing Texas law that lets rent-to-own stores file criminal charges on customers

The chairman of the House Business & Industry Committee said he was "stunned" to learn there is an obscure law that makes it easy for rent-to-own companies to file criminal charges against customers who fall behind on payments. The committee is looking at changing the law after a joint investigation by The Texas Tribune and NerdWallet.

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Glenn Johnson, 55, was injured in a smelting accident near Amarillo in 1997 in which a furnace filled with molten metal exploded, crushed him and left major burns over 90 percent of his body. His left arm was amputated and all but two the muscles in his right forearm were removed.
 Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson

Injury Data by Race Goes Uncollected in Texas

The Texas Division of Workers' Compensation is not maintaining race data on all valid worker injury claims, despite a law requiring it. Advocates say without the data it's impossible to tell if injured minorities face discrimination at work.

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Former state Sen. Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock, shown in 2011, took the reins as chancellor of the Texas Tech University System in 2014.
 Marjorie Kamys Cotera

Updated: The 2012 Holdouts List

Some are waiting to see what the courts will do. Others want to see if any opponents surface. Regardless, with six days to go until the filing deadline, how many incumbents haven't filed yet? A whole bunch.

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Mind the Gap

The Texas Department of Health and Human Services is holding a public hearing today to present proposed cuts to its budget and to hear feedback. The five-percent reductions are in response to a request for state agenices to slash costs in light of a projected multibillion-dollar state budget shortfall. Ben Philpott, who's covering Texas politics and policy for KUT News and the Tribune, says lawmakers have also started looking for ways to increase revenues.

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