Edgar Walters, Texas Tribune

Reporter

Edgar Walters is a reporter with the Texas Tribune.

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Illustration by Jacob Villanueva/Laura Skelding

On Oct. 17, Brenda Brantley, an employee at Texas' Health and Human Services Commission, was in her second-floor office at the agency’s Austin headquarters when she received an unexpected visitor.

The beady-eyed infiltrator — a brown rat of the species Rattus norvegicus — scurried down the carpeted hallway before ducking behind a filing cabinet, employee correspondence shows.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

In her first public appearance since being cleared of criminal charges, state Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, said Tuesday she had been maligned by the Travis County district attorney, other Austin-area Democratic lawmakers and the news media.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Prosecutors dropped one of their felony charges against state Rep. Dawnna Dukes on Wednesday, acknowledging that their case against the Austin Democrat has weakened since a grand jury indicted her on that and 12 other felony counts earlier this year.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed the state’s two-year budget Monday, giving his approval to the $217 billion document crafted by the Legislature.

The Texas Tribune

Both chambers of the Texas Legislature voted Saturday evening to approve a $217 billion, two-year budget that would boost funding for the state's beleaguered child welfare agency, increase the number of state troopers on the Texas-Mexico border and avoid serious reforms to the state's much-criticized school finance system. 

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