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


Special Session Divide:

It’s the eve of Texas’ special legislative session. Tuesday, lawmakers head back to work for what could be 30 days of action on 20 items the Governor wants them to pass.

But lawmakers appear to be as divided as ever.

That was made even more clear earlier Monday when Governor Greg Abbott and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick laid out their game plans for the upcoming overtime session at an event hosted by the conservative think tank – Texas Public Policy Foundation.

They both say they want lawmakers to go 20 for 20, passing all of the governor’s legislative items, which include the so-called bathroom bill, private school vouchers for special needs students and property tax reform.

Another item on the governor’s lengthy list: a raise for Texas public schoolteachers, which Patrick has said he wants to take a step further. At Monday’s news conference, Patrick mainly talked about his proposal, but also jabbed House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, claiming the speaker was behind a push for a statewide income tax.

“If he says things that aren’t true, I will set the record straight,” Patrick said. “And if he personally attacks the governor, I will be his wingman.”

Speaker Straus’ office sent Capital Tonight a statement following Patrick’s remarks.

“Speaker Straus doesn’t support a state income tax because it would be bad for Texas and harm our economy, just like the bathroom bill,” Jason Embry, Speaker Straus’ spokesman, said.

Meanwhile, Gov. Abbott said he’s going to be keeping a list.

“We all need to establish lists that we publish on a daily basis to call people out. Who is for this? Who is against this? Who has not taken a position yet? No one gets to hide,” Abbott said.

Tonight at 7pm, Max Gorden will break down the special session call, reaction from Governor Abbott and Lt. Gov. Patrick and where the Democrats stand on the issues.


Bathroom Battle:

Big business leaders want to put the brakes on a second round of bills they say target transgender Texans. About one hundred people took to the south steps of the Capitol Monday to drive home their message that the bathroom bill is bad for business. They say North Carolina’s tourism and job growth has suffered as a result of similar laws.

The rally coincided with a letter from more than a dozen Dallas-based companies that want Abbott to reconsider his call for bathroom regulations. It also comes as IBM, which employs about 10,000 people in Texas, took out an ad in major newspapers across the state calling the measure discriminatory.

They say the rules would make it harder to recruit top talent.

“I think we constantly ask ourselves where we should invest for growth, and it is totally dependent on where the best talent wants to live and work,” Phil Gilbert, IBM Global Head of Design, said.

Rep. Ron Simmons, R-Carrollton, has filed so-called bathroom bills for the special session.

He said the companies angered by his bill should lead by example and show the state a solution that works for everyone.

“Their buildings where they office, their restrooms are designed by their gender,” Simmons said.


Lawmaker Panel:

Rep. Larry Gonzales, R-Round Rock and Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, join us to discuss the special session. Hear their take on what will pass and the divide between the House and Senate.


On the Agenda:

And the Quorum Report’s Harvey Kronberg is in.


Capital Tonight airs weeknights at 7pm on Spectrum News.


Posted by Karina Kling