Jun 19th - 8:33 pm
Back to School
The state’s school finance problems were back before a court Wednesday, this time over changes both sides agree need to be included as evidence.
That evidence includes the $3.4 billion in funding restored this session, on top of numerous changes to testing and graduation requirements. District Judge John Dietz has set a new date to take state lawmakers’ changes into account. In Wednesday’s episode, we looked at what to expect from the trial.
Abortion law in Texas could be changed drastically if a new Senate bill makes it to the governor’s desk. We spoke to Whole Woman’s Health, a licensed abortion clinic in Austin, to find out what the changes mean.
Plus, a key player on immigration reform in Washington says he’s thinking of backing out.
Click the image below to see why Congressman John Carter says he has serious concerns with an immigration reform bill he helped draft.
Jun 18th - 8:53 pm
Fighting for Funding
Just days after Gov. Rick Perry’s veto stripped state funding for the Travis County’s Public Integrity Unit, District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg made her first public appearance since a high-profile DWI arrest.
She’s asking the county to help close the $7.5 million funding gap, and making it clear that she has no plans to resign.
In Tuesday’s show, we heard more from Lehmberg, plus commentary from attorney Kerry O’Brien, who has been a prominent voice in calling for her resignation.
The Senate took up the governor’s special session call to pass legislation that would further restrict abortion in the state Tuesday. Among the bill’s most controversial components was a measure known as the fetal pain bill, which would block abortions after 20 weeks. The bill’s author, Sen. Glenn Hegar, eventually agreed to withdraw the measure, saying he believes taking it out is the most practical way lawmakers can enhance the quality of care while protecting life with the amount of time left in the session.
Plus, our Capital Commentators weighed in on the ongoing battle over the Public Integrity Unit, along with the rest of the day’s political news.
Jun 13th - 8:43 pm
Two days after the governor added abortion regulation to the special session, a Senate panel heard public testimony from both sides of the issue.
Click the video link below to see the latest from Thursday’s committee hearing, plus an update from Gov. Rick Perry on what’s in store for the rest of the special session.
Sen. Dan Patrick joined us to evaluate where the special session stands and give his take on Texas Monthly’s “worst list.” He also talked the possibility of running for lieutenant governor.
Plus, Democrat Harold Cook and Republican Rob Johnson break down everything that’s happening under the pink dome.
Jun 10th - 7:28 pm
Gov. Rick Perry put pen to paper, officially signing a stack of education bills into law today, including House Bill 5.
Many were closely monitoring the fate of the graduation requirement legislation amid rumors that Gov. Rick Perry would veto the measure.
The Quorum Report’s Harvey Kronberg offered his thoughts on what Perry’s non-veto might mean and analyzes the governor’s decision to add transportation to the special session call.
On the Agenda
Capital Tonight’s Paul Brown sat down with the Lonnie Hollingsworth from the Texas Classroom Teachers Association. Click the video link below to get his take on the new law and hear what he says still needs to be done.
Jun 4th - 8:38 pm
Low Voter Turnout
A new report released by the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life shows Texas ranks near the bottom when it comes to voter turnout. It’s a fact both Republicans and Democrats say they’re working to change, but the process comes with its share of missteps.
View from Round Rock
State Representative Larry Gonzales joined us to talk about redistricting, roads and a new move by the Department of Transportation to save money.
Plus, our Capital Commentators weighed in on a controversial statement made by a Dallas-area Tea Party activist about the Republican Party’s standing with African American voters.
May 31st - 8:56 pm
Battle Lines Drawn
Despite calls for swift action, the special session call for redistricting could drag on.
The House Select Committee on Redistricting took up the issue Friday, a day after Senate lawmakers did the same. Gov. Rick Perry wants the legislature to act quickly to adopt interim court-drawn maps that were used last election, but so far, it looks like lawmakers have different plans.
While the interim maps are the only issue lawmakers are tasked with dealing with in the special session, even that is causing some confusion. Reeve Hamilton of the Texas Tribune and Ben Philpott with KUT’s Agenda Texas joined us to help sort things out.
Plus, Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul joined us in the studio.
Click the image below to hear his thoughts on the progress Washington is making on immigration reform and border security.
May 29th - 11:58 am
State Comptroller Susan Combs announced today she will not seek elective office in 2014. The announcement comes after months of speculation over her political future, including a potential bid for lieutenant governor.
“I want to make my intentions clear as soon as possible for prospective statewide candidates,” Combs said in a statement released Wednesday morning.
This means the race for lieutenant governor in the GOP primary will include the incumbent, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, along with Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples and Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson. All three have said they will run. Combs’ announcement also opens up the race for comptroller.
Combs indicated during a recent appearance on Capital Tonight that she would discuss her future plans with her husband over the Memorial Day weekend before making any decisions. She will be our guest on Capital Tonight this evening at 7. Her entire statement is below the jump.
May 24th - 4:38 pm
Updated to include Senate appointments
A key component to a final budget deal is now headed to conference committee. House lawmakers who will serve on that committee include:
- Rep. Jim Pitts – (R) House Appropriations Committee Chair
- Rep. John Otto – (R) Dayton
- Rep. Drew Darby – (R) San Angelo
- Rep. Trey Martinez Fisher – (D) San Antonio
- Rep. Rene Olivera – (D) Brownsville
- Sen. Tommy Williams – (R) Senate Finance Committee Chair
- Sen. Robert Duncan – (R) Lubbock
- Sen. Jane Nelson – (R) Flowermound
- Sen. Juan ‘Chuy’ Hinojosa – (D) McAllen
- Sen. John Whitmire – (D) Houston
May 15th - 8:51 pm
The state’s top budget writers have been meeting behind closed doors, hammering out the final details on a two-year plan. Tuesday, we got word that lawmakers are tentatively set on $2 billion dollar water plan, but money for transportation and education remain up in the air.
MALC Turns 40
The country’s oldest and largest Latino legislative caucus is turning 40. The Mexican American Legislative Caucus celebrated Wednesday with a free concert at the Capitol, but a birthday wasn’t the only thing members celebrated. A new poll hints that the Latino vote could easily overcome the Republican margin of victory, but not every MALC member sees it that clearly.
President Barack Obama has announced that the head of the Internal Revenue Service will be resigning, in the wake of a scandal involving the specific targeting of Tea Party groups’ applications for tax-exempt status.
Sen. John Cornyn appeared on the show to talk about that and more.
May 14th - 8:05 pm
Now that the House and Senate appear to have reached a deal on water and education funding, State Comptroller Susan Combs is weighing in on the process. In Tuesday’s episode, we spoke to Combs about how the session is shaping up and more.
Click the image below to see the full interview, plus updates on the Michael Morton Act, campus carry and the latest from Washington.