Archive for April, 2014

Capital Tonight: Civil rights leaders describe struggles and successes

On day two of the Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Library, the discussion shifted toward the leaders of the movement, the role they played and how they see the world today.

In Wednesday’s Capital Tonight, we heard directly from two of those leaders — former Congressman and United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young and current Rep. John Lewis — about what they’ve accomplished and what they still hope to see done.


Of course, the fight for racial equality also took place in the world of athletics. We heard from Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown and Celtics legend Bill Russell about the barriers they broke while playing the game.


Apart from civil rights, this week’s summit is also about the legacy of Lyndon Baines Johnson. We spoke one-on-one with one granddaughter of LBJ, Catherine Robb, about how she hopes he’s remembered.


And the day’s political news didn’t stop during the summit. We spoke to Harvey Kronberg of the Quorum Report about a new report on UT Regent Wallace Hall and more.

Capital Tonight: Immigration, same-sex marriage drive first day of civil rights summit

It’s been 50 years since the Civil Rights Act became part of the fabric of America. This week, the LBJ Library is honoring Lyndon B. Johnson’s legacy in Austin with a three-day summit on the past, present and future of civil rights.

In Tuesday’s Capital Tonight, we took an in-depth look at how the law has rippled through history, plus we spoke to some of the lawmakers dealing with similar issues today.

Click the TWC News logo below to hear a recap of former President Jimmy Carter’s Q&A session, plus one-on-one interviews with San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro and former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour about immigration reform.


Former Texas Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes was one of many lawmakers who helped transition the state away from laws based on racial discrimination, all in the years during and after LBJ’s presidency. We sat down for an extended interview with Barnes about segregation, civil rights and his role in this week’s summit.


Same-sex marriage is seen by many as a key civil rights issue today. We heard from two lawyers from very different political backgrounds who came together over marriage equality.

Plus, we spoke to political strategists Harold Cook and Ted Delisi about the same-sex marriage debate and more.


Railroad commissioner candidate says no link between fracking and earthquakes

The primary elections may be over, but several races are still underway. Ryan Sitton and Wayne Christian are the two candidates still facing off for their party’s nomination for a spot on the Texas Railroad Commission, which oversees the state’s oil and gas industry.

In an interview on Capital Tonight Monday, Sitton said he’ll encourage energy independence in Texas, including the growth in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. But when it comes to the possible link between hydraulic fracturing and earthquakes, Sitton says he doesn’t believe there’s a connection.

“It seems unlikely that there would be a link, because the amount of pressure that’s required to generate seismic activity, in comparison to the number of wells we’re talking about seems to be a stretch,” Sitton said. “But if there is, the research needs to be done and we need to follow the signs.”

Earlier this year, residents of Azle, Texas bused to the Capitol to complain about frequent, low-level earthquakes. University of Texas researchers have shown most earthquakes happening in that region are occurring near disposal wells used in the fracking process. The railroad commission has hired a seismologist to look more closely at the issue.

Sitton’s Republican opponent, former state Rep. Wayne Christian, has also said he doesn’t see a link between fracking and seismic activity. In an interview with The Dallas Morning News, Christian characterized any action from the railroad commission as an “answer in search of a problem.”

In the primary election, Sitton won 31 percent of the vote to Christian’s 43 percent. But Sitton said he is confident he will make up the gap now that it’s a smaller race, where voters have more of a chance to get to know the candidates.

Capital Tonight: Van de Putte tours Texas promoting education

In her run for lieutenant governor on the Democratic ticket, Sen. Leticia Van de Putte has focused her message on education. And while it’s not clear yet who her Republican opponent will be, Sen. Van de Putte is already defending potential criticism by referring to her record in the Senate.

In Monday’s Capital Tonight, we looked at the latest in the races for governor and lieutenant governor, plus the debate over open carry and more.


Ryan Sitton, who is running to be the Republican nomination for the Texas Railroad Commissioner, joined us to discuss hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Sitton said he believes there’s likely no link between fracking and earthquakes, but said he was also open to further research on the topic.


Three former presidents and the current commander in chief are meeting this week for a three-day summit at the LBJ Library to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Mark Updegrove, director of the LBJ Library, spoke with us about how this event was made possible.

Capital Tonight: Looking back at a complicated week in politics

After Wednesday’s shooting at Fort Hood, there’s been a renewed call for Congress and the Defense Department to end gun restrictions for service members on military installations. Some lawmakers, including Republican Rep. Michael McCaul, say the suspected shooter could have been stopped sooner if others on post had their weapons on them.

In Friday’s Capital Tonight, we looked back at how the original policy came about and why the Department of Defense is arguing against the change.


From the fight over pre-K plans to a major milestone for health care enrollment, the week brought a wide range of political news. We sat down with Robert Garrett of The Dallas Morning News, Alexa Ura of the Texas Tribune and the Quorum Report‘s Scott Braddock to sort out the stories that mattered.


Plus, Gardner Selby of PolitiFact Texas and the Austin American-Statesman joined us for a fascinating fact-check about a climate change musical and whether your tax dollars paid for it.

Capital Tonight: Sen. Cornyn reflects on Fort Hood shooting

Texans and military families across the country are still dealing with shock and sadness, after a shooting that left four people dead and 16 injured Wednesday.

In Thursday’s Capital Tonight, we checked in on the latest from Fort Hood, and we heard how the Texas delegation in Washington is responding.


The rules for campaign finance are changing again, after the latest Supreme Court ruling. What effect will it have here in Texas? Election law attorney Ed Shack joined us to explain.



Before his trip to Fort Hood, Sen. John Cornyn was busy in Washington this week. He joined us for a one-on-one interview via satellite about the Supreme Court ruling, the Affordable Care Act and more.


Plus, we heard from Republican strategist Rob Johnson and Democratic strategist Harold Cook about a recent shift in Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst’s campaign.

Capital Tonight: Lawmakers react to unfolding Fort Hood shooting

Authorities are still sorting through the details about a shooting at Fort Hood, where at least four people are reported dead and at least 14 injured.

In Wednesday’s Capital Tonight, we checked in on the active shooter scene as it was developing.


Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel issued a statement on the unfolding scene at Fort Hood. Plus, we talked live with Congressman John Carter, who represents the district and who has called for the 2009 shooting on post to be reclassified as a terrorist attack.


In other news, Attorney General Greg Abbott visited in San Antonio to lay out his plan for Pre-K education in Texas, and the Supreme Court struck down a law on Wednesday that limited an individual’s overall political donations. Harvey Kronberg explained the ramifications of the change in campaign finance law.

Lawmakers respond to Fort Hood shooting

Fourteen people are injured and several are reportedly dead, following a shooting on Fort Hood this afternoon. Details are still coming in, but Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul says four people were killed when a gunman opened fire on post. Officials say the gunman, who has not been identified, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Lawmakers are responding to today’s events. Here is a collection of the statements released so far, tonight:

Gov. Rick Perry

“Today, Ft. Hood was once again stricken by tragedy. As Texans, our first priority must be caring for the victims and their families. Ft. Hood has proven its resilience before, and will again. Texas will support those efforts in any way we can, with any resources necessary. The thoughts and prayers of all Texans are with everyone affected by this tragedy.”

Sen. John Cornyn

“Tonight, Texans’ hearts are once again very heavy. The scenes coming from Ft. Hood today are sadly too familiar and still too fresh in our memories.  No community should have to go through this horrific violence once, let alone twice. I ask that all Americans join Sandy and me in praying for the victims, their families and the entire Ft. Hood community.”

Sen. Wendy Davis

“Texans are united in deep sorrow at this terrible tragedy.  Our prayers are with the families and all those who serve at Fort Hood.”



New lawsuit filed over Texas abortion law

A second legal challenge has been filed against the state’s controversial new abortion law.

The Center for Reproductive Rights filed the lawsuit Wednesday afternoon on behalf of several abortion providers. It’s the first legal challenge to a provision set to take effect September 1, which would require abortion clinics to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers. Currently, only six clinics in Texas currently meet those standards. Abortion rights advocates warn that fewer than 10 clinics in the state would be in compliance by the time the new provision takes effect.

The lawsuit also brings a revised challenge to the requirement that doctors who perform abortions receive admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. The Supreme Court of Texas upheld that provision in a recent ruling, but the new lawsuit challenges it only as it applies to clinics in McAllen and El Paso.



Capital Tonight: Preschool education sparks fierce debate in governor’s race

After weeks of fighting about fair pay for women, the two candidates for governor are turning their focus to early childhood education. Republican Greg Abbott released his plan for pre-kindergarten Monday. A day later, teachers’ groups supportive of Democrat Wendy Davis were quick to attack his proposal.

In Tuesday’s Capital Tonight, we examined the argument behind Abbott’s proposal and heard why the Davis campaign is firing back.


Another layer to the education debate started brewing Tuesday night, after the Davis campaign cited a Huffington Post article linking Abbott’s pre-K plan to a controversial scholar named Charles Murray, whose views on race, gender and education have drawn criticism.

Our Capital Commentators, Harold Cook and Ted Delisi, debated the significance of the Murray link in the governor’s race.


Texas officials are touting a quick response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, but what about the long-term effects? We spoke to Luke Metzger of Environment Texas about his concerns.