Aman Batheja, Texas Tribune

Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

Outraged members of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus left a reception at the Governor’s Mansion this week after facing what they described as  heavy-handed and offensive security procedures. One of the lawmakers said he won’t return to the stately residence until the policy is changed.

Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

An assortment of state lawmakers, county officials and energy industry leaders are working this session to fix the growing number of roads torn up as a result of increased drilling activity.

“Roads that are designed for a 20-year-life are being used in five years,” said DeWitt County Judge Daryl Fowler, who is pressing Austin to come up with a fix this session on behalf of several counties in the Eagle Ford Shale.

Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

The Texas Legislature will have $101.4 billion to haggle over in crafting its next two-year budget, along with an extra $11.8 billion in the Rainy Day Fund, Comptroller Susan Combs announced Monday morning. (Listen to her full announcement here.)

Combs’ official biennial revenue estimate sets the limit of the state’s general fund, the portion of the budget that lawmakers have the most control over. The general fund typically makes up nearly half of the state’s total budget.

Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

AUSTIN – Despite organized efforts to unseat him, Texas House Speaker Joe Straus said Wednesday he is confident his colleagues will re-elect him to the post so he can focus the 2013 legislative session on “serious issues” for a fast-growing state.

Speaking to reporters after a luncheon held by the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce and Opportunity Austin, Straus said he enjoys the "vast majority of support from members of both parties," though he has not publicly released any names or a headcount to back it up. His opponent, state Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview, officially launched his campaign for speaker this week, and he has not released names or a headcount either.  

Todd Wiseman & Mikhail Popov, Texas Tribune

The Texas approach to doling out financial incentives to businesses faced fire on multiple fronts Tuesday, adding momentum to calls for broad reform of the state’s economic development programs.

In the Capitol, the Senate Economic Development Committee discussed adding more transparency and accountability to the state’s patchwork of incentive programs and heard support from attendees for such reforms.

Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

The billions of dollars in incentives that Texas hands out to businesses each year are set to draw fresh scrutiny this week on the heels of a New York Times series that raised new questions about the practice while also ruffling some feathers.

On December 3, the Times devoted Part 2 of its three-part “United States of Subsidies” series to Texas. The article alleged that the state gives out $19.1 billion a year in business incentives, far more than any other state. (Disclosure: The Texas Tribune has a content partnership with The New York Times.)