State government

 Ben Philpott

2010: Short on Seed Corn

The Democratic primary for agriculture commissioner is going to have to run on star power and free media — neither of the candidates has the money to make a statewide TV campaign out of this thing.

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 Campaign

2010: Game On in HD-76

A little insight into state Rep. Norma Chavez's Democratic primary race out in El Paso can be gleaned from the campaign finance reports filed yesterday, and it looks like she could have a real fight on her hands.

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Ticked

The worst outbreak of fever-tick infestations in South Texas in four decades has ranchers and animal-health officials scrambling to prevent not just a loss of billions to the state cattle's industry but an outright ban on our cattle.

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TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

The death penalty and DNA testing in a 16-year-old triple murder in the Texas Panhandle. The second debate between the three Republican candidates for governor. Charter schools are having a hard time hanging on to the employees that matter the most: Teachers. The possibilities and perils of a switch to electronic medical records. A rundown of top races. Who's giving to candidates, and how much? Social networks and politicians. Ballots: The slow reveal. And a new and highly requested feature makes its debut. The best of our best from January 23 to 29, 2010.

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File Not Found

In the Information Age, it still takes the major political parties in Texas three weeks to figure out who should be listed on their state ballots.

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Case Open: The Investigation

It took a crew of eight Northwestern University students to bring national attention to questions about Hank Skinner's death sentence. But his legal pleas for more DNA testing of crime scene evidence — and his lawsuit against the Gray County district attorney — have gone nowhere. Unless the U.S. Supreme Court intervenes, he'll be executed on Feburary 24.

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 Caleb Bryant MIller

Case Open

Hank Skinner is set to be executed for a 1993 murder he's always maintained he didn't commit. He wants the state to test whether his DNA matches evidence found at the scene, but prosecutors say the time to contest his conviction has come and gone. He has less than a month to change their minds.

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Charter Churn

Teachers quit Texas charter schools at nearly three times the rate of traditional public school districts, according to state data. Dozens of individual schools lost well over half their teachers in the latest year.

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Social Studies

Thanks to sites like Facebook and Twitter, we know the elected officials who represent us better than ever — sometimes in weirdly intimate ways. You can find out that Dan Patrick had to put his dog down, that Wayne Christian is a fan of real estate wunderkind and reality TV star Chad Rogers, and that Bill White just finished listening to a book on tape. But woe to the pol who hasn't updated her status in a year.

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2010: Michael Williams Rails

... against Washington, of course, and the less-than-resolute wing of his party: An interview with the Texas Railroad Commissioner, who'd like very much, thank you, to be the next Marco Rubio.

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