Capital Tonight: Religious, Medical Communities Weigh In on Border Crisis

The border crisis has spawned concern over health care, or the lack thereof. Accusations of serious disease are being flung at the thousands of children crossing the border, but the experts say that may not be an accurate depiction. We discussed the situation with medical experts at the national and state level to see if the finger-pointing is merited.

Plus, religious organizations have worked hard to further the dialogue surrounding the Texas immigration crisis. Bishop Joe Vásquez of the Austin Diocese joined us Wednesday to explain why they are contacting Congress directly, and what they hope to accomplish.

ABORTION LAW UPDATE

A controversial law that could eventually shut down all but six abortion clinics in the state of Texas has returned to the spotlight. A new study suggests women are getting 13 percent fewer legal abortions one year after the law passed. We looked into the law’s effects and explained why more research is necessary.

WORKFORCE REPORT

Texas has been praised recently for its booming industry and skyrocketing population, but with such a fast-growing number of young people comes the need for adequate job training. State Comptroller Susan Combs explained a new study on the Texas workforce and talked about long-term plans to meet employers’ needs.

CARBON EMISSION CLASH

The Obama administration is attempting to cut carbon emissions from power plants, but Senate Republicans are united in disapproval. Find out why the Environmental Protection Agency is in hot water, and what the regulations could mean for Texas.

 

Capital Tonight: Dual Decisions Bring Health Care Law Back into Question

The fate of the Affordable Care Act is once again in the hands of the courts. A federal appeals court dealt a critical blow to a key component of Obamacare Tuesday. Then, just hours later, another panel ruled to keep the law in tact.

In Tuesday’s Capital Tonight, we explained how the decisions could put subsidies for health insurance at risk and what that could mean for nearly 600,000 Texans counting on them.

CONGRESSIONAL RESPONSE

The surge of immigrant children continues, while Congressional action is delayed another day.
We spoke to Congressman Roger Williams about whether any legislative answer has a chance of passing.

CAPITAL COMMENTATORS

Plus, Gov. Rick Perry has officially called in the cavalry to help DPS officials at the Texas-Mexico border. Is the move a practical solution or political stunt? Political strategists Harold Cook and Ted Delisi weighed in on that question and more.

 

 

Capital Tonight: Dewhurst Explains Details of National Guard Deployment

Gov. Rick Perry is calling for military backup to deal with the border crisis. The governor joined other state leaders Monday in announcing the deployment of 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border.

In Monday’s Capital Tonight, we sat down with Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst to learn more about what role the troops will play, how the operation will be funded and the legal basis for the deployment.

IMMIGRATION ANSWERS

While state Republicans are praising the move, others are calling it a “militarization” of the border and an unnecessary step. We spoke to Denise Gilman of the UT Law School’s Immigration Clinic, who says legal — not military — resources are needed more.

ON THE AGENDA

Plus, a high-profile activist gets reprimanded by the Texas Ethics Commission. The Quorum Report‘s Harvey Kronberg gave us the background on that story and more.

Democrats, Business Leaders Respond to National Guard Deployment to Border

Minutes after Gov. Rick Perry announced the details of a plan to send 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border, Texas Democrats and border-area business leaders responded with criticism.

In a press release, the Texas Democratic Party characterized Perry’s decision as political posturing.

“Local law enforcement, elected officials, and faith and community leaders in the Rio Grande Valley have expressed concerned about militarizing the border, the need to create a short-term humanitarian solution, and solving the long-term need for comprehensive immigration reform. Today, Governor Rick Perry ignored those voices. While those in the Valley are working hard to care for thousands of children in need and demanding we fix our broken immigration system, Governor Perry is continuing his routine of photo-op politics to further his Presidential aspirations.”

Sen. Wendy Davis, who is running to replace Perry as governor, said that National Guard troops weren’t necessary. Instead, she said the real need is for additional law enforcement personnel and reiterated her call for a special session to discuss extra funding for local law officials dealing with the surge of immigrants.

“If the federal government won’t act, Texas must and will.  However, we should be deploying additional deputy sheriffs to the border like local law enforcement is calling for rather than Texas National Guard units who aren’t even authorized to make arrests. Therefore, I reiterate my call for Governor Perry to immediately convene for an emergency legislative session to provide the resources to get additional law enforcement personnel on the ground immediately.”

Meanwhile, a group of business leaders in the Rio Grande Valley area is expressing concern about what effect the presence of National Guard troops will have on the local economy. They sent out a press release asking the governor to reconsider.

“Adding a military presence to our communities will only create an inaccurate image that our safe and viable border region in the Rio Grande Valley is dangerous, and that the problem is not presently being managed, which is not the case. This erroneous impression can harm our attempts to recruit new businesses. We respectfully ask the governor to rescind his orders to send the National Guard to the border.”

The group is made up of business leaders of the Rio Grande Valley and the Rio South Texas Economic Council. They pointed out new reports from the White House, which show that the number of unaccompanied minors crossing the border has dropped from 355 per day in June to about 150 children apprehended in the first two weeks of July.

Gov. Perry Details Cost, Scope of National Guard Operation at Border

The governor has revealed more details of a plan to send 1,000 National Guard troops to the border, to act as a “force multiplier” for Department of Public Safety officers already there.

Gov. Rick Perry says the move, dubbed “Operation Strong Safety,” will cost approximately $12 million per month. Major General John Nichols of the Texas National Guard says troops will be authorized to detain people if necessary, but that he expects them to play a “deter and defer” role, meaning they will deter criminal activity and defer arrests to DPS officers.

DPS Director Steve McCraw said the focus of the operation is to combat crime driven by drug cartels, including homicide, sexual assault, robbery and extortion.

Attorney General Greg Abbott said his office is consulting with the governor’s office and the National Guard about “legal issues related to the deployment.”

The move is in response to the more than 50,000 immigrant children who have been detained at the Texas-Mexico border since October. Many of them are from Central America and come here unaccompanied by their parents.

 

Capital Tonight: Immigrant Surge Sparks Wider Debate

The immigration crisis continues to be top news for Texas, with protesters on all sides of the issue growing more vocal.

In Friday’s Capital Tonight, we heard from demonstrators aligned with Tea Party sentiment, who blame Mexico for the influx of Central American immigrants.

REPORTER ROUNDTABLE

Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott have both achieved fundraising milestones this week, but are the numbers all that they seem?

We sat down with Jay Root of the Texas Tribune, Wayne Slater with The Dallas Morning News and Lauren McGaughy with the Houston Chronicle to discuss whether or not the campaigns are bragging about finance facts they can’t cash. UT leadership is also under scrutiny, as a committee investigating Regent Wallace Hall decides what to do next. After Powers’ public resignation last week, we talked about whether Hall’s impeachment is a real possibility.

CHECKING THE FACTS

Rep. John Boehner is suing President Obama over his use of executive orders, but is the lawsuit really based on fact? We talked with Gardner Selby from PolitiFact Texas to analyze some voices from both sides of the aisle. National politics then gets a reboot by HBO, as the popular cable network plans to translate a play to the small screen.

Capital Tonight: One-on-one with Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst

It’s been six weeks since Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst lost his bid to be re-elected to an unprecedented fourth term, but the longtime incumbent is not sitting idly by after his primary runoff loss. He is now focused on the current border crisis.

In Thursday’s Capital Tonight, we spoke with the Lt. Gov. Dewhurst about the state’s response to the border crisis, new appointments to key committee positions and his plans for the rest of his time in office.

CAPITAL COMMENTATORS

Political strategists Ted Delisi and Harold Cook weighed in on the border crisis and reflected on some of the campaign spin surrounding Sen. Wendy Davis’ fundraising totals.

MALAYSIAN PLANE

A Malaysia Airlines plane carrying 295 people was shot down over Eastern Ukraine Thursday.
Both the Ukrainian government and pro-Russia rebels are denying any responsibility, but the current conflict in the region is prompting questions about how and why the plane went down. We checked in on the latest on that story.

Capital Tonight: Policy and Personalities Kindle Fight over UT Leadership

While the issue of UT President Bill Powers’ future is now known, another part of the UT system’s ongoing leadership puzzle remains: What will happen to Regent Wallace Hall?

In Wednesday’s Capital Tonight, we checked in on the committee currently drawing up articles of impeachment against Hall. Plus, we spoke to Thomas Lindsay, who heads up the Center for Higher Education for the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation, to get his take on the UT power struggle.

IMMIGRATION MAZE

We’ve heard the debate over the thousands of immigrant children at our doorstep, but what about the backlog of more than 300,000 who are already here? Our John Salazar focused on one immigration courtroom to learn more about the legal maze that determines whether they stay or go.

FUNDRAISING BREAKDOWN

Plus, Scott Braddock of the Quorum Report joined us to evaluate how both campaigns in the governor’s race are measuring up.

Patrick, Van de Putte Running Close Financial Race

Republican Sen. Dan Patrick and Democratic Sen. Leticia Van de Putte are running a tight financial race to be the next Texas lieutenant governor.

According to campaign fundraising numbers released this week, Patrick has raised nearly $7.8 million since he started his campaign in July 2013. Patrick, who ran a bitter primary against Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, attributes about $1 million of that money to the post-runoff donations. Patrick has about $950,000 in cash on hand.

Democrat Leticia Van de Putte, meanwhile, has $1.6 million in her campaign bank account. Van de Putte, who ran unopposed during the primary, has raked in a total of $2.3 million since her campaign launched last November; about four months after Sen. Patrick announced his candidacy.

Abbott Posts Record-Breaking Fundraising Totals

Attorney General Greg Abbott released his own record-breaking fundraising totals Tuesday. Abbott raised $11.1 million in the last four months, bringing his total cash on hand to nearly $36 million. According to the Abbott campaign, that is more cash on hand than any other candidate in Texas history.

The Abbott campaign also pointed out that 95 percent of his contributions came from Texas.

“The strength of this campaign builds each day, and we continue to be overwhelmed by the support we’re receiving from across Texas,” Abbott Campaign Manager Wayne Hamilton said. “We are incredibly thankful to the many Texans who have contributed to our effort to ensure that Greg Abbott can continue to travel the state promoting his vision to improve education, grow jobs, preserve freedom and ultimately achieve victory in November.”

The Democratic nominee, State Sen. Wendy Davis, has raised a total of $27 million and has about $13 million in the bank. Those totals include money donated to Battleground Texas and the Texas Victory Committee.