The Week in the Rearview Mirror

In its final report, the federal Chemical Safety Board said that the Texas Legislature's efforts to beef up state oversight and avert deadly disasters, like the 2013 West fertilizer plant explosion, have been "not entirely adequate." The report describes in detail every misstep leading to the disaster that killed 15 people and injured more than 260 in the small town of West three years ago.

Despite a recent ad bashing Donald Trump for using eminent domain for a parking lot, Ted Cruz has backed the Keystone XL and other pipeline projects that would use the same controversial tool to displace landowners. This illustrates the tough terrain candidates walk when advocating for property rights, especially in Texas.

Republican John Lujan defeated Democrat Tomas Uresti in a special election runoff Tuesday in Texas House District 118 in San Antonio. Lujan becomes the 99th Republican in the House — one short of a supermajority — but will need to win again in the March primary and November general election to serve in the 2017 legislature.

A day after Lujan defeated Uresti in the long-held Democratic statehouse seat in San Antonio, state GOP leaders were crowing while Democrats swore the low-turnout special election was a non-repeatable fluke.

The Texas Transportation Commission is expected to approve a $1.3 billion plan Thursday aimed at funding 14 roadway projects designed to relieve gridlock in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio.

Ted Cruz is using a familiar tactic from his 2012 U.S. Senate campaign: pressuring his opponent to a one on one debate. Only this time instead of Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Cruz is targeting Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

State senators expressed bipartisan disapproval Wednesday of an unpopular program that levies large surcharges on drivers for traffic offenses, with several calling for broad changes or scrapping it entirely.

A new book from Mary Beth Rogers, a veteran of the last days when Texas Democrats were winning statewide elections, takes a hard look at what hasn't been working for the last 20 years, and what might get the party's candidates out of their long, long slump.

In 2008, losing superdelegate votes helped cost Hillary Clinton the Democratic presidential nomination. This time around, Clinton is way out in front of her opponent, Bernie Sanders, in locking up superdelegates to the party convention.

State Sen. Paul Bettencourt was unanimously selected by his fellow senate Republicans as the next chairman of their caucus.

State Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, D-San Antonio, has submitted a letter of resignation to Gov. Greg Abbott, effective Jan. 31, the governor's office confirmed Tuesday.

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz and some of his allies are increasingly signaling that they see more urgency than usual in prevailing in Iowa, where a win by rival Donald Trump could possibly send the billionaire on a path to the nomination.

As more details come to light about the criminal charges against the videographers that infiltrated a Planned Parenthood facility in Houston, it appears anti-abortion activist David Daleiden was indicted for the very crime he accused Planned Parenthood of committing.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Tuesday asked a federal judge to halt the resettlement of people fleeing war-torn Syria.

While Comptroller Glenn Hegar tried to assure lawmakers that plummeting oil prices do not mean the Texas economy is headed for a nosedive, some worried Hegar was being overly optimistic.

On Tuesday, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz gained some new company to join in his travels across Iowa: former Texas Gov. Rick Perry. The former 2016 presidential candidate endorsed Cruz Monday in Iowa.

Conservative media personality Glenn Beck on Saturday endorsed Ted Cruz for president, while urging Iowans to stop billionaire Donald Trump dead in his tracks.

U.S. Housing Secretary Julián Castro spent a day of campaigning for Hillary Clinton in Iowa waving off questions about whether she will pick him as her running mate.

Despite state Sen. Rodney Ellis' plan to seek the Harris County Commissioner's seat left open when Commissioner El Franco Lee died on Jan. 3, he will remain for now on the primary ballot for re-election in Senate District 13.

Underscoring how competitive the race has become between Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, the Cruz campaign and super PACs supporting him are launching their first TV ads taking aim at Trump.

Taking aim at a new Texas law making it a state felony to harbor undocumented immigrants, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund is suing the state. The civil rights group filed suit against Gov. Greg Abbott, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw and the Texas Public Safety Commission, which oversees the DPS.

State senators on Tuesday urged Texas' six university system chancellors not to single out students who carry guns on campus when the state's new campus carry goes into effect this August.

Disclosure: Planned Parenthood was a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune in 2011. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.