State government

 Bob Daemmrich

Data App: Let's Go to Prison

Our latest interactive database has records on each of the more than 160,000 inmates in Texas prisons, including their names, crimes, hometowns, height, weight and gender, the counties in which they were convicted and their sentencing dates. Explore them all.

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 BlueServo

HuTube: Border Cameras on TV

A multi-million-dollar plan gone bust? That's how our television partner in Houston, KHOU-TV, describes the governor's virtual border watch program, which has cost $4 million but has netted only a handful of arrests.

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TribBlog: Case Against DeLay Aides Will Proceed

Today the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals upheld criminal charges against John Colyandro and Jim Ellis, meaning the case against them related to their work for former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay’s political action committee will proceed at the trial court level.

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Isn't That Special?

On May 8, voters in Senate District 22 will choose one of these candidates as Kip Averitt's successor: a veteran lawmaker-turned-lobbyist in a bad year for that kind of hyphenate, a 9/11 Pentagon survivor with residency questions dangling over his campaign, a Tea-steeped nullification fan and ... a Democrat.

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Texas Sees Red

The Port of Houston Authority is poised to make the Lone Star State the top U.S. trade partner with communist Cuba after gaining permission for its container vessels to sail there.

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 Jacob Villanueva

Grade Stagflation

Hundreds of school districts can continue giving failing students inflated grades, after a Travis County Civil Court judge declined to rule in a lawsuit challenging the state’s interpretation of a new law mandating “honest grades.”

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 Graphic by Jacob Villanueva

Smaller is Better

In a new statewide ranking of public schools that we published yesterday, the Dallas Independent School District boasts seven of the top 25 high schools but also 18 in the bottom quartile. Not surprisingly, the best ones have a small student population, while the worst ones are megacampuses — an example of a larger trend in school rankings data.

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 Jacob Villanueva

TribBlog: Traffic Surcharges Attacked

Criminal justice advocates today told the Texas Public Safety Commission that their proposal to fix the broken Driver Responsibility Program fell far short of the comprehensive approach needed to help more than 1.2 million Texans who have lost their licenses because of the program's steep surcharges.

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Data App: 5,800+ Schools Ranked

We've built a searchable database of public school rankings based on data collected by the Houston-based nonprofit Children At Risk. In contrast to the Texas Education Agency's "ratings," which rely almost entirely on the percentage of students passing the TAKS test, the rankings blend 12 different measures for elementary schools, 10 for middle schools and 14 for high schools — including TAKS results, ACT and SAT scores, AP exams, attendance rates, graduation rates and the percentage of economically disadvantaged students on every campus. How does your school stack up?

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 Jacob Villanueva

The Big Stall

Since his appointment, the alternately amiable and peevish, typically cowboy-boot-shod chairman of the Texas Forensic Science Commission has comported himself as a virtuoso of the bureaucratic dawdle. With the commission's investigation of the now-notorious Cameron Todd Willingham case "still in its infancy," John Bradley has this to say about when it might conclude its review: "However long it takes, that’s however long it takes.”

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 Texas Senate

2010: Wentworth Says It Ain't So

Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, says he isn't going anywhere. A hot rumor has him quitting office or giving up his bid for reelection to pursue other ventures, but the senator says there's nothing to it.

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 Jacqueline Mermea

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

E. Smith interviews Gov. Rick Perry for the Trib and Newsweek, Philpott dissects the state's budget mess in a weeklong series, Hamilton looks at whether Bill White is or was a trial lawyer, M. Smith finds experts all over the state anxiously watching a court case over who owns the water under our feet, Aguilar reports on the battle between Fort Stockton and Clayton Williams Jr. over water in West Texas, Ramshaw finds a population too disabled to get on by itself but not disabled enough to get state help and Miller spends a day with a young man and his mother coping with that situation, Ramsey peeks in on software that lets the government know whether its e-mail messages are getting read and who's reading what, a highway commissioner reveals just how big a hole Texas has in its road budget, Grissom does the math on the state's border cameras and learns they cost Texans about $153,800 per arrest, and E. Smith interviews Karen Hughes on the difference between corporate and political P.R. — and whether there's such a thing as "Obama Derangement Syndrome." The best of our best from April 19 to April 23, 2010.

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 Caleb Bryant Miller

TribBlog: 13 Months of Sunset

For a certain kind of animal — i.e., the Policy Wonk — this is a gift: Sunset reports on insurance and utility regulators and on the capital city's transportation authority hit the internet this morning.

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Spies Like Us

Sign up for state agency e-mail alerts from, say, the Comptroller or TCEQ and they'll let you know when meetings are being held and when proposed rules are ready for review. But click a link in those e-mails and they have the ability to see who looked at which rule and which web page and who didn't look at all.

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 Bob Daemmerich

TribBlog: A Hearing on History Hearings

The Mexican American Legislative Caucus, the Senate Hispanic Caucus and the House Black Caucus are throwing a "special hearing" to stoke backlash to the State Board of Education's recasting of American history.

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