State government

Caleb Bryant Miller

The Secret Pardon

Barring the intervention of the U.S. Supreme Court, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles is Hank Skinner’s last hope for reprieve from the poison-filled syringe he is set to meet on Wednesday. The board makes life-or-death decisions, recommending to the governor whether an execution should be delayed, called off or carried out, yet it’s one of the least transparent agencies in state government.

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Graphic by Abby Rapoport

The Runoffs: SBOE District 10

One candidate touts her education policy expertise; the other, his conservative political credentials. This race for retiring incumbent Cynthia Dunbar's seat on the State Board of Education may come down to campaign money vs. Christian grassroots muscle.

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Bob Daemmrich

A Border Runs Through It

At the heart of America's symbiotic relationship with Mexico is a long-standing and sometimes tense agreement over an issue more far-reaching than homeland security and immigration: water.

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Caleb Bryant MIller

TribBlog: AZ Lab Offers Free Testing for Skinner

Chromosal Laboratories, a DNA testing lab in Phoenix, Ariz., told Gov. Rick Perry that it will test evidence in the Hank Skinner case for free and within 30 days if he grants a reprieve of the convicted murderer's March 24 execution date.

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Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Ranking the Recession

A new study from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas compares the 2008-09 recession to other downturns — and puts it at the top of the list. Ben Philpott filed this report for KUT News and the Tribune.

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Comedy Central

TribBlog: Colbert on the State Board of "Edjukashun"

The Colbert Report joins the media fray over Texas history standards, joking "You see, Jefferson coined the term 'separation of church and state.' So Texas has coined the term, 'separation of Jefferson and history.'”

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senate.state.tx.us

2010: Officially, Sibley's In

Former Sen. David Sibley, R-Waco, wants his old job back. The senator-turned-lobbyist has been hinting for a couple of weeks and now says he'll be a candidate for his former seat now that Kip Averitt is resigning.

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Marjorie Cotera

Re-Educating Austin

Austin ISD chief Meria Carstarphen talks bluntly about the poisonous politics between the state and the district over the bungled “repurposing” of Pearce Middle School (spoiler alert: she blames the state) and how it informs her efforts to reform the city's failing schools.

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The Runoffs: HD-47

Republicans in southwest Travis County still need to choose between Paul Workman and Holly Turner before setting their sights on State Rep. Valinda Bolton, D-Austin, in November. Ben Philpott, covering the 2010 elections for KUT News and the Tribune, filed this report.

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Skipping the Beach

Members of the UT-Austin University Democrats said goodbye to a Spring Break filled with fun in the sun... and hello to the vacant stares of congressional staffers today.

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2010: Al Edwards Calls for Recount

Who will represent Houston's HD-146 in the Texas House next session is still in question. State Rep. Al Edwards, D-Houston, filed for a recount after perennial foe and former state Rep. Borris Miles beat him by just eleven votes.

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Jacob Villanueva

Driven to Repeal

The Driver Responsibility Act, which levies hefty surcharges on minor offenders, has cost 1.2 million Texans their licenses, and most of the fees that were supposed to be collected have not materialized. At the direction of state lawmakers, the DPS is trying to get people to pay up and square things with the law. But critics want the program ended altogether.

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U.S. Census Bureau

Let the Counting Begin

Census Bureau questionnaires arrive at 8.4 million Texas homes this week. "Fill that sucker out," the bureau's regional director says, "so we don't have to come and knock on your door."

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Caleb Bryant Miller

The SBOE vs. Itself

When no one was paying attention to the State Board of Education, the theory goes, the reelection of incumbents was virtually assured, just as it is in any down-ballot races. Now that its controversial doings are the stuff of national headlines, change is in the air. Or is it?

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TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Thevenot on the non-stop wonder that is the State Board of Education and its latest efforts to set curriculum standards, E. Smith's post-election sit-down interview with Bill White at TribLive made some news and got the November pugilism started, Ramshaw on whether it makes sense for the state to call patients and remind them to take their pills, and on the state's botched attempt to save baby blood samples for medical research, Hamilton's interview with Steve Murdock on the state's demographic destiny, M. Smith on whooping cranes, fresh water, and an effort to use the endangered species act to protect them both, Grissom on potties, pickups, and other equipment purchased with federal homeland security money and Stiles' latest data and map on where that money went, Aguilar on the "voluntary fasting" protesting conditions and treatment at an immigrant detention facility, Kreighbaum on football, the new sport at UTSA, and Philpott on Rick Perry and Bill White retooling their appeals for the general election. The best of our best from March 8 to 12, 2010.

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Caleb Bryant MIller

TribBlog: Skinner Asks Perry for Reprieve

Lawyers for death row inmate Hank Skinner sent Gov. Rick Perry a letter yesterday asking him for a 30-day reprieve from Skinner's scheduled March 24 execution. The lawyers also asked Perry to order DNA testing on evidence that Skinner says could prove his innocence.

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