Barry Smitherman, the chairman of the Railroad Commission and former chairman of the Public Utility Commission, has earned praise as a smart and competent regulator. But he is also ambitious, and has been moving rightward with recent gun-friendly initiatives. Speculation is rife that he will make a bid for attorney general.
Kate Galbraith reports: http://trib.it/164dGvy
District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg’s story was primarily about a public fall from grace. When Gov. Rick Perry stripped funding from the public integrity unit she runs, it also became a story about a sharp-elbowed state official trying to force out a local prosecutor for political gain.
Ross Ramsey on a simple story made complicated by politics: http://trib.it/18KqEUy
From this morning’s Brief: “What we’re witnessing in the numbers is Cruz running ahead and reaching back for the baton, and Rick Perry has the baton. The only question is whether Rick Perry is ready to hand it to him.”
Ten years after he was sent to prison for sex crimes he didn’t commit, Steven Phillips and his wife divorced. In 2009, he was exonerated and awarded nearly $6 million in compensation. His ex-wife says she’s entitled to some of it.
Read Brandi Grissom’s story, and tell us your thoughts on the case.
As Gov. Rick Perry puts an end to the so-called “Kumbaya Session,” we begin our weekly news-inspired playlist with Alice Cooper’s “No More Mr. Nice Guy.”
Hear the full playlist on Spotify or here: http://trib.it/1af5qfL
Updated, Friday 2:30 p.m.:
An omnibus abortion regulations bill is headed to the full Senate for debate after receiving tentative approval Friday from a panel of senators.
Senate Bill 5 would ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, heighten regulatory standards for facilities that perform abortions, require doctors who perform abortions to have admitting procedures at nearby hospitals, and require doctors who administer abortion-inducing drugs to do so in person.
Shefali Luthra reports: http://trib.it/11BnVTL
The Senate on Friday approved a measure that would require judges and juries to sentence 17-year-olds convicted of capital murder to life in prison with the chance of parole after 40 years.
The measure that senators passed Friday in a 27-0 vote— Senate Bill 23 by state Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Southside Place — now goes to the House.
Brandi Grissom reports: http://trib.it/19A2agd
Through a transformational Medicaid waiver, Texas plans to launch 1,100 experimental projects over the next two years to change the way health care is delivered to the state’s poor and uninsured. This interactive shows the regional distribution of $3.2 billion for projects the federal government approved in May and the percent of each region that is uninsured.
Becca Aaronson created this useful interactive to accompany her earlier story (see below): http://trib.it/154i7UZ
Special sessions are the emergency rooms of legislation: much of the work done there could have been avoided if people had taken some care.
Attending physician Ross Ramsey explains how these patients’ wounds are mostly self-inflicted: http://trib.it/11izgcw
The federal government has approved 1,100 experimental projects that could transform health care delivery to the state’s poor and uninsured. But the plan has a big catch: Local health care entities in 20 Texas regions must pony up to get the federal dollars.
Becca Aaronson reports: http://trib.it/10gqSPD