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Law Enforcement Will Receive Training on Dog Encounters

Throughout August, The Texas Tribune will feature 31 ways Texans' lives will change because of new laws that take effect Sept. 1. Check out our story calendar for more. One dark day has haunted Cindy Boling for more than three years. On a May afternoon in 2012, a police officer responded to a call in Fort Worth.

Change in the air in Virginia

In April, we learned that schoolchildren in Virginia have been referred to police at almost three times the national rate – and many of these students have special needs or are African American. Susan Ferriss of The Center for Public Integrity introduced us to Kayleb Moon-Robinson, a sixth-grader with autism who was charged with disorderly conduct and felony assault based on incidents at school. We catch up with Kayleb and take a look at the impact this story has made since it first aired. Local and state officials now are re-examining how children are dealt with in schools. DIG DEEPER
Graphic: See how many minority and disabled students your state refers to police and courts.

The con man and his mentor

Do you remember Ted Liming? He's a truck driver from North Dakota we met in an earlier episode. He was looking for a safe place to invest a substantial sum of money and stumbled upon secureinvestment.com when searching online for, well, secure investments. Spoiler alert: It was a scam. Ted's not-so-excellent adventure into the world of foreign exchange trading led David Evans, an investigative reporter for Bloomberg Markets, to another story that's affected thousand of people and, more specifically, their wallets.

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Virginia pursuing school policing reforms following Center probe

Potentially sweeping school police reforms are taking hold in Virginia, a state that was the focus of an investigation last April by the Center for Public Integrity and Reveal radio. The investigation found, based on an analysis of data, that Virginia ranked first among states in the rate at which schools refer students to law enforcement agencies in connection with a variety of indiscretions. The Virginia rate was about three times the national rate. Reaction to the story — including a state government initiative to reduce student arrests — is featured in the August episode of the public radio program Reveal, which will air on stations nationwide throughout the month. “We are all eager to work together to find substantive solutions to reduce the number of students who are referred to the justice system,” Virginia Director of Juvenile Justice Andrew Block told the Center recently.

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A few new faces — but not many — among megadonors to presidential super PACs

Houston Texans Chairman Robert McNair gave to super PACs supporting Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham. (AP Photo/Paul Spinelli)
The 2016 presidential race may be a whole new ball game in terms of fundraising, but most of the players' names are awfully familiar — even if their faces are a bit more lined. Very few of the top donors to the super PACs backing one of the many GOP White House hopefuls or handful of Democratic candidates are new to giving substantial political gifts, according to a review of Federal Election Commission data by the Center for Responsive Politics, and many have been active for decades. The relative absence of new faces in the very small pool of really big donors magnifies the impact of ultra-wealthy individuals who have been participating in the process for years — the Robert McNairs, Jeffrey Katzenbergs and Richard Uihleins of the fundraising world. But they are anteing up more than ever before as their favored candidates' campaigns become ever more intertwined with the super PACs, announcing combined fundraising totals and splitting up activities, like voter outreach, that once were firmly functions of the campaign committees — not the supposedly independent outside groups.

Judge rejects Douglas hospital’s last-ditch attempt to keep doors open

Cochise Regional Hospital's last-ditch attempt to keep its doors open has been rejected by a federal judge, who refused to order Medicare to keep funding operations of the Douglas facility. Problems cited by the agency included failure to monitor patients, lack of prescribed medications, failure to properly transport patients and an inability to troubleshoot malfunctioning equipment.

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Super PAC doppelgangers eclipse candidates in campaign money chase

Presidential super PACs operating expansive shadow campaigns — buying ads, hosting town hall meetings and hiring canvassers — have raised more than twice as much money as the candidates themselves, newly filed campaign finance documents show. About three dozen such super PACs collectively raised more than $266 million from January through June while the campaigns of 2016 presidential hopefuls collectively raised just half that much — about $130 million — according to a Center for Public Integrity review. The total raised by super PACs is about 17 times more than comparable groups raised during the same period four years ago, when the term “super PAC” had yet to make it into the dictionary. Super PACs, made possible thanks to the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, can accept unlimited donations from corporations, unions and individuals. They may use the funds to support or oppose candidates, but are prohibited from coordinating their spending with campaigns.

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Scott Walker’s office ‘obstructed’ probe of missing veterans funds, investigators allege

Lukas Keapproth / Wisconsin Center for Investigative JournalismInvestigators in the closed John Doe probe argued in a federal court brief that Scott Walker's county executive staff “obstructed” its efforts to investigate missing donations in his office. Walker has denied such allegations in the past. The Milwaukee County executive's office under Scott Walker “obstructed” a criminal investigation into missing donations to a veterans fund, two investigators alleged Friday in a federal court brief that includes recently unsealed investigative records. The documents provide new information about the extent of the now-closed John Doe criminal investigation into the activities of Walker and his staff before he was elected governor in 2010. The filing came in response to a lawsuit filed by one of the Republican governor's former top aides, Cindy Archer, who claims she and others have been targeted by Democratic Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm because of their work on behalf of Walker.

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Fixing ‘moving’ dam near Kremmling could cost $15M

Brent Gardner-Smith / Aspen JournalismThe upstream side of Ritschard Dam, which forms Wolford Reservoir. GLENWOOD SPRINGS - It could cost $15 million to dig up and recompact the rocks on the downstream side of the dam that creates Wolford Reservoir, north of Kremmling, in order to stop the dam from moving slightly, but steadily. “It is a pretty significant surgery of the dam," John Currier, chief engineer at the Colorado River District, told the district board July 22 during a presentation. Ritschard Dam was built for the river district in 1995 by D.H. Blattner and Sons of Minnesota for $42 million. The dam is 122 feet tall and 1,910 feet wide.

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McCaskill chairs Senate hearing marking Medicare’s 50th anniversary

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., believes Medicare needs a few tweaks, but must remain to provide health care coverage to the tens of millions of Americans.A panel largely made up of local medical experts agreed with her. “Medicare has been very successful in achieving its basic mission,” said Brit Pim, Vice President & General Manager of Government Programs for Express Scripts Inc.

California Latinos Closing Gap in Health Coverage

SAN FRANCISCO – After the end of the second open enrollment period in health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), enrollment rates between Latinos and whites are not that different, according to a study out this week.Eligible Latinos (74 percent) are now enrolling at similar rates as whites (79 percent) according to a study by the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation.This stands in stark contrast to 2013, when Latinos in California were half as likely as whites to have health insurance. Latinos represent 41 percent of California's population, but represent 57 percent of its uninsured population.“We are encouraged by these findings, which show California's continuing leadership in the successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act,” said Daniel Zingale, senior vice president of The California Endowment, a private statewide health foundation. “But the survey results also demonstrate the work we still need to do, to make sure the remaining uninsured get the access they need to affordable, quality health care.”The Kaiser Family Foundation followed more than 1,100 uninsured Californians from September 2013 through the first two coverage enrollment periods, the second of which ended in February.About two-thirds of Californians who were uninsured in 2013 now have health insurance, according to the study. That represents a 58 percent increase from the end of the first open enrollment period in spring 2014.The ACA has significantly increased the number of people with health insurance in three main ways: the state's online marketplace Covered California, Medi-Cal (California's Medicaid, the insurance program for low-income people), and employer-sponsored insurance. Yet according to the foundation, the prospects of bringing more uninsured into the insured pool are not very bright.That's because those who remain without coverage are a harder to reach group, observed Mollyann Brodie, the Kaiser Family Foundation's senior vice president and executive director for public opinion and survey research.