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An oil rig at sunset in Midland, Texas Tuesday, June 27, 2017, in Midland.
The oilfield’s meth boom; how a loophole allows fundraising by the Governor and other legislators during the ongoing special session; the evolution of the Tea Party and how a local nurse lives with the same kind of brain cancer that recently struck U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona – all in this week’s in-depth and investigative reporting.
Eddy Lozoya, a recovering addict at 23, is among the thousands of oil field workers who have succumbed to the mix of money, boredom and drugs that often accompanies energy booms. Drillers of all sizes have poured billions of dollars into the prolific Permian Basin this year, rebuilding operations after a two-year oil bust that devastated the region. But for all the economic benefits of the industry’s high-paying jobs, the oil rush also is bankrolling an expanding market for illegal drugs. Along with the additional oil rigs have come additional drug seizures by the Texas Department of Public Safety.
With Republicans firmly in charge in both capitals, Texas’ tea party activists are shifting their focus to the next phase in their evolution: as a political movement that is now an established insider power player at the Capitol, despite its historic outsider bravado.
Senator Konni Burton (R-Colleyville) watches nominees get approval despite her vote of no on the UT Board of Regents before the Senate for confirmation on March 11, 2015.
Each year in the U.S., about 12,000 people are diagnosed with glioblastoma tumors, just like U.S. Senator John McCain. In 2015, Ben Andrews, a Houston nurse and father, was one of them. About 70 percent die within two years, others within just a few months. Some patients make it longer. Three years. Five years, if they’re lucky.
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Thirty years ago, following a bribery scandal involving a former speaker of the House, lawmakers banned members of the Texas Legislature from accepting campaign contributions during the regular biennial session. But it remains legal to fund raise during special sessions. And Texas Governor Greg Abbott and some legislators have been doing just that thanks to that legal loophole, though the House and the Senate leaders have pledged not to. In one email blast an Abbott aide wrote: “During the next 30 days, lawmakers are going to tackle important issues to Texans from out-of-control local regulations to skyrocketing property taxes to runaway state and local spending…Contribute right away if you support Governor Abbott’s special session agenda.”
Hundreds of patrol vehicles could be facing safety checks in Houston and Harris County after officers in Austin and other parts of the country apparently became ill from exhaust leaks while on patrol in special-edition Ford Explorers.
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