State government

The Polling Center: Our Inaugural Election Survey

The results of the first UT/Texas Tribune poll, which was in the field from October 20-27 and sampled 800 Texans who identified themselves as registered voters, shows Texas slowly turning their attention to the 2010 elections. Perhaps more to the point, they have become extremely skeptical about the direction of the federal government. Today we’ll focus on the election match ups and what they tell us about the state of play a little less than six months out from the March primaries.

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Photo courtesy of the Howson family

Disabled students restrained, injured in public schools

Texas educators routinely pin down students with disabilities to control them, according to state data. Disability rights advocates say the restraints point to a crisis in special education, and that teachers are resorting to physical violence because they aren't properly trained.

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TribBlog: Permanent School Fund Rebounds. But Will Schools Benefit?

The state’s permanent school fund, which spins off money for textbooks and the like each year, has recaptured billions of dollars after a frightening downward spiral this spring.

Trouble is, the increase in the fund may produce no increase at all in education spending. The real beneficiaries of the fund often are the state legislature and its priorities outside education.

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Rick vs. Kay: Battle of the Titans

Today is Election Day for 11 propositions on the constitutional ballot in Texas, but most of the state’s political attention is focused on next November’s gubernatorial election—and the brightest light is squarely on the Republican primary battle between incumbent Governor Rick Perry and U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. Ben Philpott, who's covering the governor’s race for Austin public radio station KUT-FM and the Tribune, reports on the battle of the titans taking place in the GOP and what its aftermath could mean for the party in power ... and the Democrats' chances next fall.

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Exit notices for some, but not all

On the day Gov. Rick Perry removed three forensic science commissioners, citing their expired terms, at least 100 appointees whose time was also up remained in their jobs.

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Texas educators vent at feds over teacher test mess

Annoyed at a recent federal ruling that could nullify the credentials of thousands of public school teachers, Texas education advocates want Washington to waive a technicality they say would cause teachers and districts needless headaches.

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Teacher Credentials May Be Nullified By Feds

Thousands of "highly qualified" Texas public school teachers don't actually meet the federal definition for that standard — which could jeopardize their jobs and will certainly cause bureaucratic headaches for them and their school systems.

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Shapleigh's out and then what?

El Paso state Sen. Eliot Shapleigh's surprise announcement that he won't seek another term in the Texas Senate in 2010 set off speculation about his plans for higher office — and a vigorous fight to replace him.

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Keeping Count

Texas should create a committee to promote participation in the 2010 U.S. Census, state Rep. Mike Villarreal told Gov. Rick Perry in a letter Tuesday.

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Ross Ramsey

Is there a doctor on the line?

Emergency medical technicians and entry-level nurses could be cut out of the telemedicine equation under a proposal the Texas Medical Board is considering. The change would prohibit anyone but doctors, physicians' assistants and advanced practice nurses from presenting patients for care via long-distance videoconferencing – a move rural hospitals and prison doctors adamantly oppose.

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Ross Ramsey

Too busy for a review

Just days before it was set to review a case in which the state has been accused of executing an innocent man, Gov. Rick Perry replaced the chairman and two other members of an independent state forensics panel.

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Ross Ramsey

State technology chief resigns

The executive director of the state's data and information technology agency stepped down last month. Brian Rawson, who spent the last three years overseeing the state's data consolidation and telecommunications efforts for the Department of Information Resources, will run "statewide data initiatives" for the Texas Education Agency.

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Goin' to the chapel

Wedding bells rang for state Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso, this weekend in the tiny old mining town of Shafter, near Big Bend National Park.

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