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The Lead: Former CPRIT Heads Skip House Hearing; UT to Offer Incentives to Four-Year Grads

Good morning. Austin’s in for temperatures approaching 80 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. A cold front is expected to blow into the region this weekend, bringing with it chances for showers and thunderstorms.  

Lead Story: Leaders of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas testified before a Texas house committee yesterday – but a couple of former leaders were noticeably absent.

House Appropriations Chair Rep. Jim Pitts says CPRIT’s former executive director and former chief scientific officer were asked not to testify by the Texas Attorney General’s Office and Travis County public corruption prosecutors.

Those offices are investigating millions of dollars in grants CPRIT awarded without proper review. Both executives resigned last year as accusations mounted over the agency’s grant review process.

Neither is accused of breaking any laws, but prosecutors said testifying publicly could create some legal complications. The appropriations committee is scheduled to meet today and tomorrow.

UT Offering Cash for Four-Year Grads : The University of Texas at Austin says it’s allocating $5 million to create financial incentives to encourage students to graduate on-time. 

It’s part of UT’s goal of graduating 70 percent of incoming students within four years. The specific awards include partial loan forgiveness, $1,000 bonuses for having an academically-successful freshman year, and extra summer help for at-risk students.

DPS Expanding Hours: Bad news for folks who lo e waiting in lines: the Texas Department of Public Safety is making it a little bit easier to get a drivers license.

DPS is expanding the hours of the licensing offices it calls “mega centers.”  They will now be open from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. – an hour later than before.

The region’s DPS mega center is located in Pflugerville.

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