Nov 20th - 8:38 pm
State Board of Education members are busy this week, coming up with the best way to implement new graduation requirements approved as part of a curriculum overhaul last session. Lawmakers reduced the number of standardized tests high school students must pass from 15 to five, and they rewrote course requirements to promote vocational training.
In Wednesday’s Capital Tonight, we looked at where the process stands now, and why Algebra II is the main sticking point.
The state’s new abortion law has survived another test in court, but a newly published article in the journal Contraception argues that its real-world implementation could be negatively affecting women’s health.
We spoke to Daniel Grossman and Joseph Potter of the Texas Policy Evaluation Project about the data they’ve seen.
50 YEARS LATER
In the days leading up to President John F. Kennedy’s visit to Dallas 50 years ago, the working media all had their assignments, eager to capture history. Ahead of our special coverage this week, we looked back at a young radio reporter who wasn’t prepared for the news he had to deliver to listeners across the state.
Nov 19th - 8:56 pm
In Tuesday’s Capital Tonight, we spoke to an undocumented University of Texas student about what he hopes to see in the larger political debate.
The David Dewhurst campaign is out with its first statewide TV ad, touting the Texas miracle. Our capital commentators, Harold Cook and Ted Delisi, weighed in on where Dewhurst stands in his bid for another term as lieutenant governor.
While most of the Republican races for statewide office have multiple candidates, few have dared to challenge a member of the Bush family in the race for land commissioner. We sat down with David Watts to talk about why he’s giving it a shot
Nov 19th - 6:12 pm
In a 5-4 ruling today, the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to block parts of a Texas abortion law.
The law took effect on Oct. 31, after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a temporary injunction put in place by a lower federal court. It requires doctors who provide abortions to obtain admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and provides strict oversight for the way abortion-inducing drugs are administered. Planned Parenthood joined several other abortion providers in a lawsuit in September, claiming the law placed an undue burden on women and would force nearly a third of the state’s abortion facilities to close.
A lawsuit over the law’s constitutionality remains on appeal in a federal appeals court. A three-judge panel will hear arguments on that case in January.
Oct 31st - 7:13 pm
An appeals court has overturned the decision of a federal judge who blocked parts of a controversial abortion bill.
A three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals issued the ruling Thursday night, allowing the law requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals to take effect while a lawsuit over the restriction continues.
The ruling comes just three days after District Judge Lee Yeakel ruled that the same provision serves no medical purpose. Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers had argued that the regulations were unconstitutional, and sought to have them delayed through a temporary injunction.
Instead, the new requirements will likely go into effect immediately.
Oct 29th - 8:30 pm
In Tuesday’s Capital Tonight, we look back at the state’s record of success with the appeals court, and look ahead to where the fight is likely headed from there.
TAPPING TEXAS DONORS
New fundraising numbers are out this week from groups working to get the word out about Proposition 6. The Water Texas PAC has raised a total of $2.1 million, adding more than a million to what it raised in the last filing period.
It’s a good sign for supporters of the ballot initiative, but some groups are raising questions about where the support is coming from and why. We sat down with Andrew Wheat with the watchdog group Texans for Public Justice to look at the bigger picture.
Conservative business owners, faith leaders and policymakers met Tuesday in Washington to try to revive immigration reform efforts. We checked in on where the issue stands now.
Oct 28th - 3:48 pm
The political reaction was quick to today’s court ruling that parts of the state’s abortion law are unconsitutional.
Republican Gov. Rick Perry indicated the abortion debate does not end with Monday’s decision.
“Today’s decision will not stop our ongoing efforts to protect life and ensure the women of our state aren’t exposed to any more of the abortion-mill horror stories that have made headlines recently,” the governor said in a press release. “We will continue fighting to implement the laws passed by the duly-elected officials of our state, laws that reflect the will and values of Texans.”
Democratic State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio also issued a statement soon after the ruling.
“I’m grateful that a Texas court agreed today that House Bill 2 would have had harmful effects on women’s access to care and affirmed that the Republican-controlled Legislature went too far in its attacks on women” she said. Van de Putte is considering a run for lieutenant governor.
Oct 28th - 2:26 pm
A federal judge has ruled that parts of the state’s new abortion law are unconstitutional, meaning they won’t go into effect Tuesday as planned.
District Judge Lee Yeakel made the ruling today.
His decision follows a three-day trial over the law, which requires abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and regulates the way doctors can administer abortion-inducing drugs. Lawyers for Planned Parenthood argued that the regulations would shut down a third of the abortion clinics in Texas. The state has argued that the law protects women and the life of the fetus.
The attorney general’s office is expected to file an appeal to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Oct 22nd - 8:17 pm
Meanwhile, a hearing of a different sort continued in federal court. Women’s health groups are suing the state to stop the enforcement of some provisions of a new, stricter abortion law.
Both cases tie into longstanding political battles — whether it’s abortion, the upcoming governor’s race or the power struggle over UT Austin’s leadership. Our Capital Commentators, Harold Cook and Ted Delisi, joined us to talk about the larger implications.
New unemployment numbers are out from the Labor Department, and while they show slight improvement, many economists worry they’re a sign of a sluggish economy. Plus, our Washington bureau checks in on impending cuts to food stamp programs.
Oct 21st - 7:58 pm
One of the most controversial laws passed this legislative session saw its first day in court Monday. Women’s groups are challenging House Bill 2, which enacts some of the strictest abortion laws in the country.
In Monday’s Capital Tonight, we heard from the plaintiffs about why they believe the law should be put on hold, and why state attorneys say their case is strong. Plus, we spoke to county election officials about how the newly implemented voter ID law will work at ground level.
We’ve talked a lot about the water initiative known as Proposition 6 leading up to the Nov. 5 election, but there are other measures to consider, including one constitutional amendment that could drastically change the process of home ownership among our aging population. We sat down with Scott Norman of Texans for Proposition 5 about why he supports the measure.
The government shutdown is over, but another federal hangup continues. The website where people can shop for health insurance is still seeing heavy delays, a problem for which President Barack Obama says there’s no excuse. We heard from the president about what’s being done to fix it, and got an update from local enrollment organizers about how the effort is going closer to home.
Sep 27th - 1:11 pm
More than a dozen women’s health providers are suing to block key provisions of a controversial new abortion bill. Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed their challenge Friday in an Austin federal court. The plaintiffs claim stricter regulations enacted last legislative session are unconstitutional and “dramatically reduce women’s ability to access safe and legal abortion in Texas.”
The plaintiffs are attempting to specifically block two provisions of Texas House Bill 2. Those include a requirement that doctors who perform abortions have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and restrictions on the use of abortion medication. This lawsuit does not challenge the requirement that abortion clinics be upgrades to surgical center standards or the ban on abortion after 20 weeks.
In a statement, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards said:
“We’re in court today to stop a terrible situation for women in Texas from getting even worse. Politicians are interfering with the personal medical decisions of women who already have the least access to birth control and preventive health care. If this law goes into effect, there is no doubt it will end access to safe and legal abortion for many women, leaving some to resort to desperate and dangerous measures. We won’t let that happen.”
Attorney General Greg Abbott has not yet responded to the lawsuit.