Daily Digest: Sept. 19

Our daily digest is a mid-day update on the stories we’re following in Texas politics today. Here’s what we’re watching:

 

Straus Calls for Removal of Confederate Plaque:

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, is joining a growing number of state lawmakers calling for the removal of a controversial Confederate plaque inside the State Capitol.

It’s tucked in the Capitol’s East wing and many say it’s inaccurate because it claims the Civil War wasn’t about slavery.

In a letter to the State Preservation Board, Speaker Straus wrote:

“Texans should expect to see an accurate depiction of history when they visit their state Capitol. As I have stated before, I also believe that Preservation Board Staff should study the historical accuracy and context of other symbols on the Capitol grounds.”

Democratic Rep. Eric Johnson started the push to remove the plaque shortly after the end of the special session in the wake of the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville that turned deadly.

Johnson says Speaker Straus placing his support behind the plaque’s removal sends a powerful message.

“I think it tells everyone, ‘look guys, it’s ok.’ It’s not about Republicans versus Democrats or Conservatives versus Liberals, this is about people who value truth,” Johnson said.

Johnson will also be meeting with Governor Greg Abbott to discuss Confederate monuments on the Capitol Grounds. Abbott has condemned the actions of white nationalists but says removing symbols won’t erase the past.

Join us at 7pm for an in depth look at the issue and where Confederate statues exist in Texas.

 

Lead Levels in Texas Schools:

Lead levels have been detected in almost 800 Texas schools. That’s according to an environmental advocacy group that is now calling for more testing.

The group, Environment Texas, wants all school districts to ‘get the lead out.’

They held a news conference today in Austin, shining light on the school district itself here in the Capital City, which tested all of its 130 campuses and found lead present in seven different campuses.

That includes five elementary schools and two sports facilities.

Austin ISD says it took several steps, including swapping out a drinking fountain at Zavala Elementary in East Austin, which they say tested high for lead.

After test that with a new fountain, they said there was no lead present.

Environment Texas says that may not be a true sign that the lead is gone from the system altogether.

They say there are problems with the pipes–not only in schools, but in neighborhoods themselves.

They are calling on local water utilities across Texas and the EPA to make sure they hold up the highest standards for drinking water, especially where students spend most of their days.

We have reached out to other school districts across the region. We will bring you their updates on Capital Tonight at 7pm.

 

Congressman Lloyd Doggett Discusses GOP Health Care Bill:

The Trump administration says it’s “all in” in a last ditch effort by Republicans to repeal Obamacare.

A chief sponsor of the bill says he’s feeling good about where they’re at — but stopped short of predicting the GOP has the votes to pass it.

The so-called Graham-Cassidy bill would keep much of the Obamacare tax structure in place. But it would give the money back to the states in the form of temporary block grants, allowing states to design their own health care systems.

Sen. Lindsay Graham says Republicans are out of options — and need to pass this bill.

“You can have different opinions about the quality of this bill. At the end of the day, this is the only process left available to stop a march toward socialism. We have between now and the end of the month to have a vote and a debate about whether this is better than the status quo,” Graham said.

Opponents say it will mean millions will lose coverage including Democratic Texas Congressman Lloyd Doggett. He joins us tonight to discuss his opposition to the bill, DACA discussions and redistricting.

 

Bill Miller Talks Abbott Staff Shake-up:

When Gov. Greg Abbott announced his staff shake-up yesterday, aides and other officials called it a natural transition at this point in the Governor’s tenure.

Two years in — and heading into his reelection bid, longtime Austin lobbyist Bill Miller joins us to discuss the changes and what it signals moving forward.

 

Capital Tonight airs weeknights at 7pm.

 

Posted by Karina Kling

@KarinaKling

 

 

 

 

Daily Digest: Sept. 13

Our daily digest is a mid-day update on the stories we’re following in Texas politics today. Here’s what we’re watching:

 

Bipartisan Tax Reform:

Many Americans think of April 15th when they think of taxes, but Congressional leaders say the week of September 25th is the next big date on the calendar when it comes to how much you may pay Uncle Sam.

House Ways and Means Chairman and Texas Congressman Kevin Brady announced today that’s when key tax legislation writers, along with the White House, will have a proposal for a revised federal tax code.

Coming up at 7pm we’ll have more on talk of bi-partisan agreement in Washington and what it would take to lead to action.

 

Sen. Cruz’s Tax Reform Vision:

Sen. Ted Cruz also laid out his vision for tax reform today. The priorities include full and immediate write-offs of businesses’ capital investments and the repeal of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.

Cruz made his pitch at an event hosted by the conservative Tax Foundation. He called tax reform a “fundamental promise that Washington is grappling with.”

“The promise to remodel our antiquated, bureaucratic, ineffective tax system, with the objective of creating more jobs, higher wages, more opportunity,” Cruz said.

Cruz discussed tax reform frequently while campaigning for President in 2016. But he’s not a member of the Senate’s tax-writing committee.

The Texans most likely to be in the middle of the discussions — Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn and House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady.

 

DACA Discussions:

Bipartisan discussions dealing with DACA — the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — are also happening in Washington.

Speaker Paul Ryan, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and others met late this afternoon to talk about legislative options for DREAMERS.

Last Tuesday, President Trump announced he would end the program, but offered up a six month delay, giving congress time to come up with a plan to fix it.

Today he said a bipartisan approach could do just that.

“We want to see if we can do something in regard to immigration with regard to the 800,000 people that are now young people they aren’t children anymore, they were children but now they are young people, but we want to see if we can do something in a bipartisan fashion.”

The President will continue bipartisan discussions on DACA with Pelosi and Sen. Schumer tonight during a dinner at the White House.

 

Not in My State Campaign:

A coalition of Hispanic groups are launching the “Not in My State Campaign.”

The goal is to fight back against what they call anti-Latino policies being pushed across the country.

In Texas, that includes the state’s anti-sanctuary cities law, which has been temporarily blocked by a federal judge.

And they’re calling on lawmakers to find a fix for DACA…

“The climate that we’re operating in is unlike any that we’ve seen before which alludes to the launching of this initiative to say we’re done. We’ve had enough,” Rep. Celia Israel, D-Austin, said.

Similar campaign launches were also held today in at least nine other states.

Rep. Mary Gonzalez, D-El Paso, joins us at 7pm to discuss the campaign further.

 

Redistricting Latest:

Those hoping to see new state political maps ahead of the 2018 election have suffered a big set-back. Late Tuesday, a divided US Supreme Court blocked lower court rulings that ordered Texas to redraw some Congressional and State House districts.

The 5-4 decision means the state will likely hold elections next year in districts that were struck down as racially discriminatory.

 

Workers Comp for First Responders’ Families:

First responders have some of the most stressful and dangerous jobs. Whenever they answer a call, they put their lives on the line, along with their families, who face an uncertain future should they die in the line of duty.

At 7pm, our Victoria Maranan shows us how a new law gives these families a lifeline.

 

Political Analysts:

Democrat Harold Cook and Republican Ted Delisi are in to discuss the latest redistricting ruling and why Democrats still don’t have a candidate for governor.

 

Capital Tonight airs weeknights at 7pm on Spectrum News.

 

 

Daily Digest: Sept. 12

Our daily digest is a mid-day update on the stories we’re following in Texas politics today. Here’s what we’re watching:

 

Irma Congressional Response:

For the second time in three weeks, millions of Americans are reeling from a natural disaster.

As Texans start to rebuild after Hurricane Harvey, Floridians are just starting to get a glimpse of the devastation Irma left behind.

The people of Florida are relying on the federal government to help with the recovery. It will be up to Congress to approve emergency funds – but will it happen, and how quickly?

Our Washington bureau reporter Alberto Pimienta has the latest on the Congressional response at 7pm.

 

Hand-in-Hand Day:

Thousands have stepped up to help in Harvey recovery efforts. And that will be on full display tonight during a star-studded telethon benefiting the victims of both hurricanes.

Earlier today, Gov. Greg Abbott joined the King of Country and other musicians performing at the Majestic Theatre in San Antonio tonight.

George Strait’s Harvey benefit concert sold out in 30 minutes. He says this likely won’t be the last event they do to help out the people of Texas.

“I’d like to see us raise a lot of money,” Strait said. “These people need money they need financial support and clothes and pets and that’s the example we want to set.”

Strait was joined by Miranda Lambert, Chris Stapleton, Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen.

Tonight’s San Antonio concert coincides with the nationally broadcast Hand in Hand telethon. Funds raised from the telethon will go to several organizations including the Rebuild Texas Fund.

 

No Cost for LTC Replacements:

In true Texas fashion, if you’ve lost or damaged your license to carry a handgun due to Harvey, you can get a free replacement.

Gov. Abbott says he lifted what he called “burdensome” fees so Texans can focus on rebuilding their lives and communities.

A replacement normally costs $25. But if you live in a county that’s been declared a disaster area — you’re eligible to receive a replacement at no cost.

 

Straus Urges Business Community to Keep Up Fight Against “Bathroom Bill”:

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus urged business leaders to continue the fight against a so-called “bathroom bill” today.

The legislation to regulate where transgender Texans can use the restroom failed to pass in the regular and special sessions.

In a speech to the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, Straus added the business community needs to stay engaged.

“Texans rejected name-calling and scare tactics and as a result we avoided a major mistake that would have cost our economy greatly and divided us unnecessarily,” Straus said.

Speaking with reporters after his speech, Straus agreed with Gov. Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick that a special session would not be needed to deal with the response to Harvey.

He noted lawmakers have plenty of authority to free up money to provide aid.

 

School Buses Must Have Seat Belts:

Buckling up is no longer reserved for your personal vehicle. A new state law now requires new school buses to be equipped with three-point seatbelts.

Our Victoria Maranan explains the details at 7pm.

 

Rep. Larry Gonzales Not Running for Reelection:

The Round Rock Republican recently announced he won’t be seeking re-election.

Rep. Gonzales was first elected to the Texas House in 2010. He’s served on the appropriations committee and as chairman of the Sunset Advisory Commission, which is responsible for periodic reviews of state agencies.

He joins us tonight to explain why and what he calls his biggest accomplishments as a state lawmakers.

 

Capital Tonight airs weeknights at 7pm on Spectrum News.

 

Posted by Karina Kling

@KarinaKling

 

Daily Digest: Sept. 11

Our daily digest is a mid-day update on the stories we’re following in Texas politics today. Here’s what we’re watching:

 

Remembering 9/11, 16 Years Later:

President Trump led September 11th remembrances for the first time as Commander-in-Chief. It comes 16 years after then-President George W. Bush told the nation of the terrorist attacks.

For hours on this anniversary, three sites observed the moments 2977 people died. On tonight’s show, we take a look at a day of remembering what happened and renewing resolve to keep if from happening again.

 

Austin Fire Department Tower Climb:

The Austin Fire Department held its sixteenth annual tower climb to remember the 343 firefighters that died in the World Trade Center.

Join us at 7 for a look at how Austin firefighters endured 189 flights of stairs, to complete the journey their fallen brothers and sisters never finished.

 

McCaul on Harvey Aid No Votes:

Texas Congressman Michael McCaul is calling a vote against a $15 billion Harvey relief package “unconscionable.”

Last week, Congress passed the initial aid bill for victims of the storm. But four Texas Republican colleagues voted no.

They complained the aid was linked to a three-month lifting of the debt ceiling.

“I don’t want to judge them,” McCaul said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe Monday. “I judge myself and my conscience and when I have people dying and hurting in my home state, it was my duty and my moral obligation to help them, and I felt that that vote was a vote of conscience to help people in my state and also now in Florida.”

None of the four Texans who voted ‘no’ represent districts affected by Harvey.

 

Irma Latest:

After battering Florida, what’s left of Tropical Storm Irma is causing more problems. Millions of people are without power and there is the threat of a potentially deadly storm surge.

We bring you a report out of Naples where people there are now starting to clean up.

 

Rep. Tony Dale on Front Lines of Harvey Response:

Four state lawmakers were on the front lines of the Harvey response efforts.

They serve in the Texas State Guard, which was called up alongside the Texas National Guard.

Rep. Tony Dale of Cedar Park was one of them and he joins us at 7 to discuss his role in the relief efforts, and how his service informs his decisions as a policymaker.

 

On the Agenda:

The Quorum Report’s Harvey Kronberg is in at to talk 2018 and Harvey recovery efforts.

 

Capital Tonight airs weeknights at 7pm on Spectrum News.

 

Posted by Karina Kling

@KarinaKling

@TXCapTonight

 

Daily Digest: Sept. 8

Our daily digest is a mid-day update on the stories we’re following in Texas politics today. Here’s what we’re watching:

 

Trump Signs Harvey Aid Bill:

President Trump and Congress have quickly acted to help deliver storm recovery money to the thousands of Texans dealing with the aftermath of Harvey.

The US House overwhelmingly approved sending a $15.3 billion disaster aid package to the President Friday morning and Trump signed it Friday afternoon.

Lawmakers overcame objections from conservatives who didn’t want the emergency aid linked to a temporary increase in the country’s borrowing authority.

The bill keeps the government funded into December.

“I thought it was absolutely the right thing to do,” Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s budget director, said. “I think the president is sending the message that the president is a very results driven person. He wants to see results. And right now he wants to see results on hurricane Harvey, hurricane Irma and tax reform and he saw an opportunity to work with the Democrats on this particular issue, this particular time to get those things done.”

The measure would refill depleted emergency accounts. It’s only the first installment of a federal aid package that could exceed the $100-billion plus provided after Hurricane Katrina.

 

Federal Government Preps for Irma:

But is the money enough to help Texas and Florida as people there prepare to face or flee Hurricane Irma? We take a look at how FEMA resources are dwindling as Congress scrambles to send billions more to the agency.

 

Reporter Roundtable:

Capitol Press Corps reporters Scott Braddock of the Quorum Report, Patrick Svitek with the Texas Tribune and Peggy Fikac of the San Antonio Express-News weigh in on Gov. Abbott’s response to Harvey and his pick to lead the state’s rebuilding efforts. Plus, the DACA decision and what it means for Texas.

 

PolitiFact Texas:

Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller recently said during an interview on Capital Tonight that a poll showed 70 to 75 percent of people want to see Confederate statues remain up and not taken down. Gardner Selby of PolitiFact Texas put Miller to the truth-o-meter. Find out how he rated tonight at 7pm.

 

Capital Tonight airs weeknights at 7pm on Spectrum News.

 

Posted by Karina Kling

@KarinaKling

Daily Digest: Sept. 7

Our daily digest is a mid-day update on the stories we’re following in Texas politics today. Here’s what we’re watching:

 

A&M Chancellor to lead Harvey rebuilding efforts:

Governor Greg Abbott has appointed the leader of Texas A&M University to head the state’s rebuilding efforts following Hurricane Harvey.

Abbott says he tapped Chancellor John Sharp, in part, because he knows how to cut through red tape and wants a swift-moving recovery effort. Sharp is a former longtime Democratic lawmaker who represented coastal counties and served as Comptroller.

At 7, our Max Gorden explains why some state leaders have concerns that the money to rebuild quickly isn’t there.

 

US Senate Approves $15.3 billion in Harvey Relief:

The US Senate has passed a $15.3 billion aid package for Harvey victims. That nearly doubles President Trump’s emergency request.

Senators also added a deal between Trump and Democrats to temporarily extend the government’s ability to borrow money to cover its bills.

The 80-17 vote returns the legislation to the House, which is expected to vote on it Friday and send it to the president’s desk.

Texas’ senior Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas, urged lawmakers to expedite the process.

“I hope my colleagues will keep in mind the scope of this catastrophe and deliver this funding to those whom Harvey has cost much more than just dollars,” Cornyn said.

The aid money comes as Harvey recovery efforts are draining federal disaster aid coffers — and as Irma takes aim at Florida.

 

Gas Supply Recovering Following Harvey:

Hoarding and panic buying following Harvey put unnecessary strains on gas pumps in parts of Texas. But one state official says the supply is quickly recovering and any shortages should be resolved within the next couple of days.

Another piece of good news, several refineries idled by the storm have restarted.

Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton joins us tonight to discuss how the oil and gas industry is recovering.

 

Harvey’s Toll on Higher Education:

College classes have resumed on many Texas campuses, but Harvey’s effect on higher education is being widely felt. The state’s higher education coordinating board estimates 500,000 students are enrolled in Texas schools from counties affected by the hurricane, and trying to figure out support financially and emotionally has become a big focus.

Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes told Capital Tonight most schools are open and accepting students but the real problem is personal circumstances.

“The campuses are in decent shape. It’s the students we’re concerned about,” Paredes said.

Paredes said counselors, call centers, websites including one that the coordinating board has put in place to advise students about their options are all available to help.

He also said a larger issue will be making sure there are people in place that can repair the damage.

“We’re going to have to find ways to retrain students in a much shorter period of time than is the norm,” Paredes said.

Watch his full interview at 7pm.

 

Capital Tonight airs weeknights at 7 on Spectrum News.

 

Posted by Karina Kling

@KarinaKling

 

Daily Digest: Sept. 5

Our daily digest is a mid-day update on the stories we’re following in Texas politics today. Here’s what we’re watching:

 

DACA Decision:

Today’s decision to end the Obama-era program that’s shielded young undocumented immigrants from deportation has left thousands facing an uncertain future.

It’s also prompted outrage and protests across the country.

President Trump now with an ultimatum to Congress: do something to fix the problem.

Join us at 7pm for reaction from DACA recipients and immigration attorneys who are being bombarded with questions from clients.

 

Congressman Joaquin Castro:

Rep. Castro called the DACA decision devastating for the 800,000 undocumented immigrants who have lived and worked in the country for years. He is also urging Congress to act.

“Over the last five years there have been many members of Congress that have been saying DACA should have been done legislatively,” Castro told Capital Tonight. “Now, here’s our chance and their chance to get that done. It’s going to be tough because it’s a six-month window but it’s doable.”

Hear Congressman Castro’s full interview on today’s DACA decision at 7pm.

 

Harvey Health Concerns:

The state is watching for health issues in areas ravaged by Harvey floodwaters — everything from mosquitos to bacterial infections. Governor Greg Abbott said during a briefing Tuesday morning that local spraying for mosquitoes is already underway, and state aerial spraying should start later this week.

Health officials urge anyone involved in any sort of cleanup efforts involving floodwaters to be safe. They are urging people to make sure they’re up to date on their tetanus shot and cover any cuts with bangages to stop bacterial infections.

Meanwhile, even with cleanup underway in much of the state, counties like Wharton, Brazoria, Jefferson, Orange and Newton are still* experiencing major flooding, which should subside later this week.

The governor said he has no doubt the federal government will help Texas with recovery efforts, even by sticking funding bills to other issues like the debt ceiling.

“I feel confident that Texas is going to get the resources they need from the federal government,” Abbott said. “Because of the timing of where we are in the budget cycle, it is appropriate for them to use the funding strategies they are using here in the month of September.”

More good news, Abbott said most of the state’s hospitals are back open. A handful remain closed in parts of Houston, Victoria and Corpus Christi.

At least 60 deaths have been blamed on the storm.

 

On the Agenda:

And the Quorum Report’s Harvey Kronberg joins us to go on the agenda. Hear his analysis of Gov. Abbott’s response to Hurricane Harvey and State Rep. Cindy Burkett’s decision to challenge State Sen. Bob Hall in the Republican primary.

 

Capital Tonight airs weeknights at 7pm.

 

Posted by Karina Kling

@KarinaKling

Daily Digest: Sept. 1

Our daily digest is a mid-day update on the stories we’re following in Texas politics today. Here’s what we’re watching:

 

No Gas Shortage and No Special Session:

The state is not running out of gas. That’s the latest message from state officials as panic-buying has led to long lines at the pumps and stations having to turn customers away.

Governor Greg Abbott made that announcement during a briefing on Harvey today. He also said a special session of the State Legislature will not be needed to address funding before lawmakers meet again in 2019.

We’ll have the latest where rescue and recovery efforts stand in the state at 7pm.

 

Rebuild Texas Campaign:

The founder and CEO of Round Rock based Dell Technologies has pledged $36 million to help with Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation’s donation is the largest single contribution to help victims of the hurricane so far.

They also gave $17 million to launch the “Rebuild Texas Fund,” with a goal of raising more than $100 million for immediate relief efforts.

The couple said in a statement that the Houston street where Michael grew up is under water.

 

New State Laws On the Books:

More than 600 new state laws took effect today. One eases restrictions on carrying knives and swords over 5 inches. Another protects underage students who report sexual assault, even if they were drinking. Fees to obtain handgun licenses have dropped from $140 to $40. It’s also now a hate crime if you attack an officer.

David’s law is now in effect. It was named for 16-year-old David Molak, who committed suicide after extensive online bullying.

The measure makes cyber-bullying anyone under 18 with the intent to seriously harm or kill a misdemeanor.

And after several roadblocks, a statewide ban on texting while driving is now law. Texas is one of the last states in the country to implement such a statewide ban.

 

Laws Blocked from Taking Effect:

Meanwhile, two high profile measures that were set to take effect today have been blocked.

As we reported earlier this week — a federal judge halted major provisions of the so-called “sanctuary cities” law. He temporarily blocked the part that requires jail officials to honor all detainers. But he let stand the portion that allows police officers to question the immigration status of people they detain, though added officers are limited in what they can do with that information.

And yesterday, a different federal judge blocked the state from banning a common second trimester abortion procedure known as dilation and evacuation.

 

Reporter Roundtable:

James Barragan of the Dallas Morning News, Kiah Collier of the Texas Tribune and Mike Ward with the Houston Chronicle join us tonight to discuss the national, state and local response to Harvey.

 

PolitiFact Texas:

Did two-thirds of Hurricane Sandy relief have nothing to do with the storm? We’re fact-checking a claim by Sen. Cruz as he seeks federal relief following Harvey. Gardner Selby of PolitiFact Texas rates that claim and one by President Trump.

 

Capital Tonight airs weeknights at 7pm.

 

Posted by Karina Kling

@KarinaKling

Daily Digest: Aug. 31

Our daily digest is a mid-day update on the stories we’re following in Texas politics today. Here’s what we’re watching:

 

VP Pence Visits Texas Coast:

Vice President Mike Pence says around 21-thousand federal officials are on the ground in Texas to help. He and other members of President Trump’s cabinet, along with Gov. Abbott, toured damaged parts of the state today.

They also met with victims, reassuring them they’re here to help.

“We are with you today. We will be with you tomorrow and we will be with you everyday until this great state and these great communities recover and rebuild to be even better and stronger than ever before,” Pence said.

Pence and Abbott also worked to clear tree debris in Rockport before taking a helicopter to survey the area’s storm damage.

Pence’s visit comes two days after President Trump visited Corpus Christi and Austin for briefings with local officials.

Trump is expected to return to Texas on Saturday and tour the Houston area.

 

Former Houston Mayor Bill White:

It was twelve years ago that the then Mayor of Houston opened his city’s doors to thousands of homeless Hurricane Katrina victims. Now, Bill White has found himself in need of shelter.

On Sunday, White’s Houston home began to fill with gallons of water forcing him to fend for himself as he waded through waist-deep water in search of dry land.

Today, he got back into his home to see the damage.

“Were tearing out the sheet rock in our house so you won’t get mold. My wife and I are camping out without AC on the second floor,” White said.

White’s house is along one of the popular bayous. When asked why he didn’t evacuate, this was his response:

“We built the house with design and engineering saying it would be a 500 year, or 1000 year event, and it survived Tropical Storm Allison, which was one of those one in 100 events as well. But this hurricane Harvey was freakish and it dumped about 50 inches of rain within a period of 4 or 5 days. That’s as much as some areas around here get in an entire year. So the water didn’t have anywhere else to go.

And there’s a lot of memories here, I wanted to protect my furniture and belongings.”

Hear White’s full interview tonight at 7pm.

 

Gas Prices:

Hurricane Harvey’s havoc is being felt at the gas pumps. Prices in Texas and across the country have spiked by at least a dime since the storm made landfall.

People are lined up to fill up.

Dallas has had the most expensive gas in the state at an average of 2.37 per gallon. AAA Texas reports today the average price at the pump statewide was $2.26. That’s 12 cents higher than a week ago.

The national average is 2.45 — which is 10 cents higher than a week ago.

Energy Secretary and former Texas Governor Rick Perry chimed in today about the sudden spike.

“Gas prices are going to go up because of the cut in supply,” Perry said.

President Trump’s trying to keep gas prices in check and reduce the chance of shortages after Harvey knocked out several refineries. He’s releasing half a million barrels of oil from the country’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Thirteen refineries in Texas are either shut down or in the process of closing. Refineries that are still operating in the area have less access to crude oil due to port closures.

One hopeful sign — the Colonial Pipeline, which carries gas to the east coast from Houston, estimates it can resume carrying fuel through Texas by Sunday. It provides nearly 40 percent of the South’s gasoline.

Dr. Fred Beach, assistant director for Energy and Technology Policy at the Energy Institute at UT-Austin, joins us at 7pm to discuss Harvey’s toll on the energy industry.

 

Abortion Ruling:

Dozens of new state laws are set to go into effect tomorrow. But some last minute rulings have temporarily blocked a couple of controversial measures.

Today, a federal judge halted Texas’ newest anti-abortion law. An Austin-based judge blocked the state from banning a common second trimester abortion procedure, known as dilation and evacuation.

Similar bans have been stopped in four other states.

The Texas version was approved by state lawmakers earlier this year and was set to take effect tomorrow. The state is expected to appeal the ruling.

 

SB4 Blocked:

And key portions of the state’s anti-sanctuary cities law were blocked by a federal judge last night. Opponents call the measure a “show me your papers” law. They sued and the ruling temporarily halts it — allowing the case time to proceed.

It’s a significant blow to Governor Abbott and other Republicans who have backed the measure…and said it’s needed to keep Texans safe.

The law allows local law enforcement officers to question the immigration status of people they detain.

It also seeks to punish local government officials who don’t cooperate with federal immigration detainer requests.

The state plans to appeal.

 

Capital Tonight airs weeknights at 7pm.

 

Posted by Karina Kling

@KarinaKling

 

Daily Digest: Aug. 30

Our daily digest is a mid-day update on the stories we’re following in Texas politics today. Here’s what we’re watching:

 

Harvey Latest:

The storm may finally be moving out of Texas — but the road to recovery has only just begun. Preliminary estimates from AccuWeather predict Harvey could be the costliest natural disaster in US history.

The price tag — roughly $160 billion.

Rescue operations continue in Houston and other parts of the state. At least 20 people have died because of the storm.

Governor Greg Abbott was briefed on the latest today and held a press conference to give an update…

“The worst is not yet over for southeast Texas as far as the rain is concerned,” Abbott said. “There will be ongoing challenges both during the time that rain continues to fall as well as for approx. four days to a week to come.”

Abbott also says more than 32,000 people are in shelters and the state has an additional 30,000 beds ready to go if needed.

About 10,000 additional National Guard troops from around the country are being deployed to help out bringing the total to around 24,000.

And more than 200,000 have registered for federal assistance and FEMA has provided more than 5 million meals.

 

Price Gouging:

The Attorney General’s office says it’s received hundreds of reports about price gouging in the wake of Harvey.

As of this morning, it had tallied 684 complaints including scams, fraud and charities. One Houston convenience store was charging 20 dollars per gallon for gas. Others complaints include $8.50 for bottles of water and $99 dollars for a case of water.

Offenders who engage in price gouging can face fines of up to $20,000 per offense, and up to $250,000 if the victim is 65 or older.

The A-G’s office is urging consumers to file a complaint or call the attorney general’s hotline if they feel they are victims of price gouging.

 

Pence to Visit Texas:

Vice President Mike Pence will visit Texas tomorrow. He made the announcement while speaking at the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce.

Pence says the president personally asked him and the second lady to go to Texas to reassure the people hit hardest — that the administration stands with them.

No word yet on where the Vice President will visit.

 

Congressman and US Senate Candidate Beto O’Rourke:

Due to Hurricane Harvey hitting the Texas coast on Friday — we were unable to air our interview with Congressman and US Senate Candidate Beto O’Rourke.

The El Paso Democrat is challenging Sen. Ted Cruz. O’Rourke’s been on a 34-day Texas tour — but canceled several events due to the storm.

We sat down with him on Friday to discuss the campaign, the Democratic party and his take on Trump. Hear his full interview at 7pm.

 

Capital Tonight airs weeknights at 7pm.

 

Posted by Karina Kling

@KarinaKling