The article can be accessed directly from the Tribune's web site at http://www.texastribune.org/texas-education/public-education/shapiro-says-tea-can-waive-staar-requirement/ and the text of the senators' letter is posted below as a downloadable .pdf file. A key point is that the letter does not in any way indicate modification of graduation requirements associated with STAAR, only that the commissioner has authority, in the senators' view, to postpone implementation of the use of the scores as 15% of the weight in students' final course grades until after the first year of assessment has taken place.
Beneath the senators' letter is a response from the Texas Association of Business to the North Texas Consortium letter (accessible at http://www.txbiz.org/news/newsarticledisplay.aspx?ArticleID=30), which continues to assert that 1) students should be assessed "fairly" by being motivated by the 15% requirement and 2) those seeking to change that requirement wish to delay or weaken accountability. The fact that school or district accountability, students' graduation requirements, and the 15% requirement are mutually exclusive is not acknowledged. Implementation of the graduation requirements and of accountability (both AYP, which is still "on" in 2012, and state accountability in 2013) are unabated by any change in the implementation time line for the 15% requirement.
Finally, more news stories pertinent to the 15% requirement are accessible at the following links (and more may be added as the day progresses):
Posted as of 3:31 p.m. on 2-14, preliminary reports about House concurring with Sen. Shapiro letter: http://blog.chron.com/k12zone/2012/02/house-education-chief-agrees-with-delay-in-grade-mandate/
http://www.kvue.com/home/A-one-year-waiver-on-a-certain-aspect-of-STAAR-tests-could-occur-139259948.html (posted at 12:38 p.m.)