Trib Investigates

Injury Data by Race Goes Uncollected in Texas

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.
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.

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. 

Critics Say Bond Elections Lack True Transparency

Keller ISD Superintendent Randy Reid spoke during an Aug. 11, 2014, town hall meeting, where attendees debated whether to put a $175 million bond up to Keller ISD voters in the general election.
Keller ISD Superintendent Randy Reid spoke during an Aug. 11, 2014, town hall meeting, where attendees debated whether to put a $175 million bond up to Keller ISD voters in the general election.

Texas voters approve billions of dollars in new local debt each year. A growing group of critics argues that voters wouldn't be so agreeable if they were more clearly informed of the debt that's already owed in their name.

Local Debt Climbs as Cities Deal With Growth

Between cities, school districts and counties, more than half of all Texans live in areas where the bill for taxpayer-supported debt, including expected interest, totals more than $1 billion, according to state data analyzed by The Texas Tribune.
Between cities, school districts and counties, more than half of all Texans live in areas where the bill for taxpayer-supported debt, including expected interest, totals more than $1 billion, according to state data analyzed by The Texas Tribune.

Texas cities, counties and school districts are relying more on debt to maintain services in a fast-growing state. While critics argue communities need to work harder to live within their means, local officials say the issue is not that simple.