Archive for November, 2013

Capital Tonight: Challenges continue for health care law

The U.S. Supreme Court is stepping in to referee another dispute over the Affordable Care Act. This time, they’ll be hearing arguments over the part of the law that requires most employers to provide contraceptive coverage in their health insurance plans for employees.

In Tuesday’s Capital Tonight, we spoke to advocates for both sides of the issue, who say the outcome will go far beyond any one company.


Libertarian candidate for governor, Kathie Glass, joined us to share her political vision beyond the two-party system, including why property taxes should be one of the first things on the chopping block.


When Congress returns to Washington after the Thanksgiving break, budget negotiators will have to scramble to strike a deal to avoid yet another round of steep, automatic spending cuts.

Capital Tonight: One-on-one with Sen. Van de Putte

For the first time in its history, Texas could see two women running the state. Sens. Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte have both announced that they’re making a bid for statewide office. It’s a move Democrats hope will help them make their case to more women voters, but Republicans say the values of their party are still very much aligned with those of Texas women.

In Monday’s Capital Tonight, we looked at how the two major parties are working to make their case to women, plus we sat down with Sen. Van de Putte to talk more about her bid for lieutenant governor.


The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas has chosen David Reisman as its new chief compliance officer. Reisman currently heads up the Texas Ethics Commission, which enforces campaign finance laws.

The Quorum Report‘s Harvey Kronberg joined us to talk about that development and more.


The Public Utility Commission is drawing fire from members of the Senate Natural Resources Committee after setting up a move toward a different form of payment for electricity providers, known as capacity payments. They say the new system would encourage private generators to build up more resources to guard against blackouts, but the Senate committee’s chairman, Sen. Troy Fraser, says the current system is already designed to meet demand, and that the commission is simply overstepping its authority.

Davis praises Van de Putte’s work with veterans in statement of support

Sen. Leticia Van de Putte’s announcement made history in Texas, Saturday. For the first time two women will lead a major party’s ticket for the state’s top offices.

Sen. Wendy Davis, who is running for governor, issued a statement of support following Saturday’s announcement.

“Sen. Van de Putte’s dedication to representing the interests of all Texans makes her an outstanding choice for Lieutenant Governor. She has delivered for our veterans and small businesses, and like many Texans, I’m excited about her announcement.” 

While the two are running separately, it is likely we will see them on the campaign trail together often, starting today. Davis and Van de Putte will appear together in Austin, this evening.

Staples fires first GOP shot against Van de Putte

Republican lieutenant governor candidate Todd Staples was the first Republican to weigh in on Sen. Leticia Van de Putte’s announcement, Saturday.

Before Van de Putte had even uttered the words ‘I’m running,” Staples issued this email statement:

“Senator Van De Putte’s announcement is another reminder that conservatives are in desperate need of new leadership. Energized Texas democrats are the result of the failed leadership of David Dewhurst. By allowing Democrats to take over the Senate, Dewhurst made a national hero out of Wendy Davis and inspired Obama’s Battleground Texas.  For the majority of Texans who support a record of lower taxes, secure borders and job creation, I ask for your support in the Republican Primary so that I can stand up and fight for our shared conservative values next November.

Sen. Van de Putte: Texas deserves better

After months of speculation, Sen. Leticia Van de Putte formally announced Saturday that she is running for lieutenant governor. In a firey speech in San Antonio, Van de Putte told a crowd of more than 500 supporters, “Texas families deserve better than they’ve been getting. Texas can do better than this. And that’s why I announce that I’ll ask the people of Texas to hire me to be your next lieutenant governor.”

Van de Putte has been mulling the decision for months, citing the need to reflect on the need to weigh the challenges of a statewide campaign with her family. The Van de Puttes suffered several tragedies this year, including the death of the Senator’s father, infant grandson and father-in-law.

In her announcement Saturday, Van de Putte focused on women’s rights, transportation, immigration issues and the need for a better public education system for the state’s poorest residents. She did not shy away from taking direct aim at the crowded field of Republican candidates.

“While they’ve bickered amongst themselves, funding for neighborhood public schools has been cut by billions. Class sizes have swelled, and too often we’re losing our best teachers,” she said. “Texas is investing less in our school children than almost any other state. It’s by no coincidence that we’re last in the nation in the percentage of adults with a high school diploma.”

The senator kept her hispanic heritage and her family front and center during Saturday’s remarks, often times speaking to supporters in Spanish. The refain “Mama’s not happy” garnered loud cheers from the crowd.

Van de Putte faces one Democratic challenger in the 2014 primary. Maria Luisa Alvarado, who was the party’s nominee in the last election, announced her candidacy earlier this month. Should Van de Putte win the nomination this time around, she faces one of four Republican challengers. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Sen. Dan Patrick, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples are all vying for the GOP nomination.


Capital Tonight: ‘Honoring, but not living in the past

The city of Dallas and people from across the country paid tribute to President John F. Kennedy Friday, 50 years after his life was cut short.

In Friday’s Capital Tonight, we looked at how those who gathered at Dealey Plaza are choosing to remember a tragic moment in history without getting mired in the past.


For those who were covering the president, November 22 was just the start of decades worth of repercussions and investigation. Veteran broadcast journalist Dan Rather joined us to talk about the rollercoaster that followed.



The presidency of Lyndon Baines Johnson will be forever linked to Kennedy’s death and the Vietnam war, but we spoke to one man who says LBJ’s time in office has been chronically underrated. LBJ Presidential Library Director Mark Updegrove joined us to explain why.

Capital Tonight: Dallas prepares to look back at painful day

Just one day before President John F. Kennedy’s life was cut short, thousands are gathering in Dallas to reflect on the 50th anniversary of his assassination.

In Thursday’s Capital Tonight, we reported live from Dallas as the city prepares to remember a moment that changed history and the man whose life was cut short.


Hours after the bullets struck, a new president was sworn in on Air Force One at Dallas Love Field. We spoke to Mark Updegrove of the LBJ presidential library about how Lyndon B. Johnson handled the transition from tragedy.


And millions of Americans remember where they were when they heard the news, but one man had to be among of the first to tell them. Click on the image below to see radio broadcaster Gary DeLaune tell his story.

Capital Tonight: Researchers look into effect of state abortion law

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.


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.

Capital Tonight: Undocumented students continue immigration conversation

Even after a conservative student group has agreed to cancel its planned demonstration, another group of students is working to continue the conversation in a less controversial way.

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

Supreme Court refuses to block Texas abortion law

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.