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The top 10 Texas Tribune reads of 2017


The Texas Tribune thanks its sponsors ... aggressively pursued a border fence — 2007 — the Department of Homeland Security cut unfair real estate deals, secretly waived legal safeguards for property owners and abused the government’s extraordinary ...


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Looking to catch up on your reading this holiday season? You've come to the right place. Here, in no particular order, are our curated picks: the top Texas Tribune storytelling of 2017.      by Emily Ramshaw Dec25, 2017 12 AM 2   This graphic humorously references a trip that top state liquor regulators took to the National Conference of State Liquor Administrators in 2015 at a cost of more than $7,000 in taxpayer moneyThe illustration was created by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission during work hours on a state computer with input from top agency officials, records showPictured from left to right are TABC Director Sherry Cook, Licensing Director Amy Harrison, Analyst Jesse Valdez and then-TABC technology contractor Jim Andrews  Illustration by TABC The Texas Tribune thanks its sponsors. A lively legislative session — and a special session — that featured fights over bathroomsLegal battles over abortion, immigration policy and political mapsA devastating hurricane2017 was filled with nonstop news in TexasHere are the highlights. More in this series  Looking to catch up on your reading this holiday season? You've come to the right place. From prescient coverage of a devastating hurricane to a high-impact investigation into taxpayer-funded alcohol regulators to heartbreaking tales of teenagers sold for sex, The Texas Tribune's storytelling this year was simply extraordinary.   Here, in no particular order, are our curated picks: the top Texas Tribune reporting and writing of 2017.  1.  In Harvey's wake The Texas Tribune thanks its sponsorsBecome one. In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey's devastating flooding — a natural disaster The Texas Tribune and ProPublica had predicted in late 2016 — our reporters dove into action, telling crucial stories from the coast that held local, state and federal leaders accountable and followed the money in relief efforts.  2The TABC scandal Our investigation into the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's overreach and mismanagement — including boozy junkets and a now-notorious illustration of top officials guzzling beer on a plane — unraveled nearly the entire executive layer of the taxpayer-funded agency.  3Sold Out Tribune reporters spent several months embedded with young Texas women who were sold for sexIn a series of powerful stories, they revealed how the state's crusade against sex trafficking has left child victims behind, and spurred state officials into action.       4The Taking The Texas Tribune thanks its sponsorsBecome one. In collaboration with ProPublica, our reporters revealed that the last time the federal government aggressively pursued a border fence — 2007 — the Department of Homeland Security cut unfair real estate deals, secretly waived legal safeguards for property owners and abused the government’s extraordinary power to take land from private citizens. 5. Rent at your own risk  A Texas Tribune partnership with NerdWallet exposed how Texas' rent-to-own industry turns disputes over love seats or big screen TVs into criminal offense reports, trips to jail and even felony theft chargesLawmakers immediately pledged to change the law that allows it.   6. An unsuccessful bathroom bill  The fight over a bill regulating bathroom access for transgender Texans was the talk of the 2017 legislative sessionOur reporters deftly humanized the issue for our readers, telling moving tales of kids coming to testify in the wee hours, using interactive tools to explain the specifics of legislation and letting affected people tell their own stories through photos and audio. 7An opioids conflict  At the same time Texas public health officials were grappling with an opioid overdose epidemic, GovGreg Abbott's office was working to score an economic development deal with drug company McKesson — to the tune of a nearly $10 million grantNow he's facing a big conundrum: the state is investigating that drug company and others, and could file suit.  8Beyond The Wall The Texas Tribune thanks its sponsorsBecome one. No issue stirred more passion in the 2016 elections than border security and immigrationIn Beyond The Wall, a Texas Tribune documentary that aired on TV stations and screened at film festivals, we looked past the heated rhetoric to explore why people — and drugs — keep pouring across the border.   9. A pass to poison Our data-heavy investigation into some of Texas' biggest industrial companies found few — if any — consequences when these polluters spewed noxious chemicals into the air, drastically exceeding the emissions limits in their state-issued permits.  10UT System endowment The fracking boom has fueled a giant endowment at the University of Texas SystemBut our reporters revealed that it hasn't led to a windfall for studentsJust a sliver of that money is going to student financial aid, while hugs sums are being spent on administration and a series of controversial projects.     Read related Tribune coverage: No issue stirred more passion in the 2016 elections than border security and immigrationIn Beyond The Wall, a Texas Tribune documentary, we look past the heated rhetoric to explore why people and dope keep pouring across the border[Full story] Texas industrial polluters rarely face sanctions when they spew noxious chemicals into the air during malfunctions and other unplanned incidents, exceeding the emission limits of their state-issued air permits[Full story] Texas leaders have publicly battled sex trafficking for more than a decade, but they’ve devoted hardly any resources to helping victims[Full story] Get The Brief Never miss a moment in Texas politics with our daily newsletter. Hide all comments Comment Policy The Texas Tribune is pleased to provide the opportunity for you to share your observations about this storyWe encourage lively debate on the issues of the day, but we ask that you refrain from using profanity or other offensive speech, engaging in personal attacks or name-calling, posting advertising, or wandering away from the topic at handTo comment, you must be a registered user of the Tribune, and your real name will be displayedAll comments are shown in Central TimeThanks for taking time to offer your thoughts. You must be logged in to leave a comment| Login | Sign Up Your Comment Read More Comments Most Read Republish this story Find out how you can put this story on your website. Be a citizen,not a spectator. Support independent, fact-based journalismDonate to our 501(c)(3) nonprofit newsroom. Donate today by visiting: texastribune.org/donate The Texas Tribune thanks its sponsors. Donate Contact Us Advertise

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