I've been away from TI stuff for a long time, but I can some work done today.
On AtariAge, Tursi noted that strings like ">6000" were mysteriously being converted to "$6000". That was due to fairly dumb text replacement code in GAS. Since GAS doesn't understand hex constants like >6000, and ">" is treated as a logical operator, I needed to transform the incoming text before it gets parsed for assembly. Unfortunately, I didn't make sure these constants in text strings were not affected.
So that's now fixed.
I started looking into named sections, and it turns out that I don't really need to do any work here. GAS already has support for ".section" and the GCC support just had to be uncommented in the config file. Handy!