Our Daily Digest is a lunchtime look at the stories we have our eyes on at the Capitol and beyond. Here’s what we are watching today:

Education is our headline today. A day after a House committee approved one of Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick’s priority education bills, Governor Greg Abbott is speaking to supporters at the State Capitol about charter schools. Meanwhile, the governor’s first emergency item, pre-kindergarten education, takes a major step forward tomorrow. House Bill 4, which already passed out of the lower chamber, will go up for a public hearing in the Senate Education Committee, as it begins its journey through the upper chamber.

Lawmakers from both chambers and both sides of the aisle are pushing legislation to reign in payday lending. Sen. Rodney Ellis (D – TX Senate District 13), Sen. Royce West (D – TX Senate District 23) and Rep. Tom Craddick (R – TX House District 82) lent their support to bills that would limit the size and number of installments in loans offered by payday and title lenders. Some of those bills include House Bill 3047, House Bill 2808, Senate Bill 92 and Senate Bill 121.  Supporters say those types of companies are preying on the poor, while opponents raised concerns about restricting businesses.

In other news, the Senate moved forward with another one of Governor Abbott’s initiatives. It gave preliminary approval to Senate Bill 632 today, which would abolish the Texas Emerging Technology Fund and create a new university research initiative. In his State of the State Address, Governor Abbott called on the Legislature to devote funding to bringing the best university researchers to Texas as part of his higher education emergency item.

On tonight’s episode of “Capital Tonight,” we will be joined by the newest member of the upper chamber, Sen. Jose Menendez (D – TX Senate District 26). He’ll tell us about his transition from the House and his priorities for the rest of session. Plus, the Quorum Report’s Harvey Kronberg will join us to give his analysis. For that and more on all of these stories, tune in to Time Warner Cable News at 7 p.m. and 11 p.m.