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Is the State's Budget Lower Because of Falling Oil Prices?

The Texas Legislature is in full swing. And, while lawmakers typically wait until the waning weeks of the session to get anything done, we're answering some of your questions about what goes on under the granite dome for our TXDecides project .

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To celebrate Black History Month, the Texas State Historical Association has highlighted black Texans who made political, cultural and social strides for African Americans in the state and across the country.

The Texas Legislature is in full swing. And, while lawmakers typically wait until the waning weeks of the session to get anything done, we're answering some of your questions about what goes on under the granite dome for our TXDecides project.

Today's question:

When a bill is introduced, is there an initial estimate made of how much it will cost the state government to implement it?

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Charles Collins and his wife, Joyce, were cruising down one of the main streets in Milwaukee's North Side one spring evening in 2014, headed home after a day of babysitting their infant granddaughter. They had just dropped the little girl off with his son.

"You know how you have a leisurely ride?" Collins said this week by telephone. "That's just what we were doing, just enjoying my lady."

A Georgia judge has sentenced Kayla Norton, 25, and Jose "Joe" Torres, 26, to spend a combined 19 years in prison for their role in a group's racist rampage at an 8-year-old's birthday party — an assault that included shouting racial slurs, making armed threats and waving Confederate battle flags.

"I'm so sorry that happened to you," Norton told the family that endured the assault, weeping in the courtroom at Monday's sentencing. "I am so sorry."

To celebrate Black History Month, the Texas State Historical Association has highlighted black Texans who made political, cultural and social strides for African Americans in the state and across the country.

The Texas Legislature is in full swing. And, while lawmakers typically wait until the waning weeks of the session to get anything done, we're answering some of your questions about what goes on under the granite dome for our TXDecides project.

Today's question:

When a bill is introduced, is there an initial estimate made of how much it will cost the state government to implement it?

____________________________________________________________

One of the great treats of following an Agatha Christie mystery (my favorite being Hercule Poirot) is that you know there will be an "Aha!" moment at the end. The fastidious, mustachioed detective will pull together all the disparate facts and present a compelling answer.

When President Trump delivers his speech at the Capitol on Tuesday, he'll be looking out at a GOP-controlled Congress. It's now new DNC Chairman Tom Perez's job to coordinate the opposition to change that dynamic.

The former labor secretary was elected on Saturday in Atlanta.

Perez tells NPR's Steve Inskeep Democrats have a lot of work to do.

Three of the five people who were aboard a small plane when it crashed into a neighborhood in Riverside, Calif., have died, in a crash that occurred shortly after the craft took off Monday afternoon. Residents were not at home when the plane hit one house; fire destroyed another.

Republicans are looking to President Trump to use his address to Congress Tuesday evening to define the party's path forward on how to deliver on the long-promised pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare.

The White House has, so far, ceded the decision-making to congressional leaders who are trying to unify competing moderate and conservative lawmaker demands behind a plan that can pass with narrow majorities in both chambers.

In 1890, Sir Thomas Lipton arrived on the island of Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, to purchase a plot of land that would become the first tea estate in his global tea empire. These days, in the Ambadandegama Valley located just a few miles from Lipton's original estate, another experiment in tea production is unfolding.

Tressie McMillan Cottom studies for-profit colleges as a sociologist at Virginia Commonwealth University. She's analyzed large data sets, scrutinized financial filings, interviewed students and staff. But she has also helped enroll students at two different for-profits herself.

They're not named, but known only as "Beauty College" and "Technical College," in her new book, Lower Ed.

NPR Ed has covered both the rise, and some of the travails, of this form of education. We called up Cottom to hear her thoughts. Here's an edited version of our conversation.

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