Johnathan Silver, Texas Tribune

Mesquite High School yearbook/Facebook

After a police officer fatally shot an unarmed 15-year-old in the Dallas area Saturday night, Texas lawmakers are considering whether pending bills could prevent similar deaths — or if any legislative solution is even needed.

Fourteen recommendations in the Texas House County Affairs Committee's recent report to lawmakers – including calls for them to increase police officer training for de-escalation and mental health awareness, to back jail-to-treatment diversion programs, and eliminate consent searches during stops – will be the foundation for the Sandra Bland Act.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

From the Texas Tribune: The Texas Department of State Health Services and the Cameron County health department announced Friday they've identified four more locally-transmitted cases of Zika in Cameron County.

In late November, the first such case in Texas, contracted by mosquito bite, was reported out of Cameron County.

Jennifer Whitney for Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: More than a year after state lawmakers told it to stop incarcerating so many teenagers, the Texas Juvenile Justice Department has diverted 52 juvenile offenders to local programs for help and rehabilitation instead of shipping them to state lockups.

From the Texas Tribune: The family of Sandra Bland — who died last year in a Waller County Jail cell — has reached a settlement with Texas officials in a wrongful death lawsuit, a lawyer for the family said Thursday.

Callie Richmond/Texas Tribune

Thirty years ago, a Williamson County murder set in motion a shoddy prosecution — one in which ignored witness accounts and withheld evidence led to the conviction of an innocent man.

Michael Morton spent 25 years in prison for his wife's bludgeoning death before DNA analysis finally freed him, a miscarriage in justice that still reverberates through the state's criminal cases.

Rob Crow via Texas Tribune

Almost 7,000 individuals in Texas have died while in police custody or behind bars over the past 10 years, according to an online report released Wednesday by a University of Texas at Austin research institute. Nearly 2,000 people who died had not been convicted of a crime, Institute for Urban Policy Research and Analysis data shows.

Robert Hart / Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott wants the targeted killing of a police officer to be deemed a hate crime in Texas and urged lawmakers to send him such a bill to sign during next year's legislative session. Abbott announced Monday his plan to lobby for adding his Police Protection Act to Texas law. 

Michael Stravato for the Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: Former Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Brian Encinia walked solemnly before a state district court judge Tuesday afternoon, and a few minutes later was out the door after pleading not guilty to a perjury charge stemming from his arrest of Sandra Bland last year.

Shelby Knowles/Texas Tribune

The Texas Forensic Science Commission on Friday recommended that prosecutors temporarily stop using bite-mark evidence in criminal cases until questions are answered about its scientific validity.

A panel of the commission has been investigating the reliability of bite-mark evidence following several exonerations across the country in criminal cases where convictions were won partly with bite-mark analysis. One primary concern is "the ability of human skin to record bite marks with sufficient fidelity" to be of use for future analysis, commission general counsel Lynn Garcia reported to the group.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: While placing bets on fantasy sports sites might involve skill, there is still an element of chance that equates such leagues with illegal gambling in Texas, Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a nonbinding opinion released Tuesday.

The "odds are favorable that a court would conclude that participation in paid daily fantasy sports leagues constitutes illegal gambling," Paxton said in the nine-page opinion. But "participation in traditional fantasy sport leagues that occurs in a private place where no person receives any economic benefit other than personal winnings and the risks of winning or losing are the same for all participants does not involve illegal gambling."

Texas Department of Public Safety

Waller County grand jurors indicted Department of Public Safety trooper Brian Encinia on a single charge of perjury Wednesday because they did not believe he was telling the truth about his actions during the arrest of Sandra Bland, special prosecutor Darrell Jordan confirmed.

The charge against the lawman stems from the trooper's statement at the time of her arrest on July 10 about why he felt he needed to pull her out of her own vehicle, Jordan told The Texas Tribune.