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


House Approves Reversing Medicaid Therapy Rate Cuts:

The Texas House gave unanimous approval to a proposal that would partially reverse controversial cuts to therapy services for disabled Texas children. It’s not on the special session call, but lawmakers are urging Gov. Greg Abbott to add it. We’ll have the latest on how House members are pushing it forward and we’ll be joined by Rachel Hammon, executive director of the Texas Association for Home Care and Hospice.


Bathroom Bill Battle Continues:

The so-called bathroom bill remains stalled in the Texas House. So supporters of it gathered at the Capitol today to urge a vote. But opponents were also there pushing back.

Pastors and other supporters want the House to vote on a version of the so-called bathroom bill which would limit which restroom transgender people can use. Their argument throughout the debate is that it will keep sexual predators from entering bathrooms. Today, some also said it’s about upholding their faith and morals.

“We don’t have the latitude to make up our own value system,” Dave Welch with the Texas Pastor Council, said. “We are compelled to go by the one who created us and gave us his order.”

But also in the Capitol today, LGBT rights groups held a listening session with transgender Texans urging lawmakers to let the bill die.

“This bill would inflict real harm on more than 14,000 transgender youth across the state of Texas,” Chad Griffin, Human Rights Campaign President, said.

Coming up on Capital Tonight at 7, the nation’s largest LGBTQ youth suicide prevention organization says it’s seen an increase in transgender people calling in to suicide hotlines. Hear why groups are worried it could be a sign of what’s to come if the bathroom bill passes.


Ethics Reform:

A bipartisan group of lawmakers are trying to get Gov. Abbott to add ethics reform legislation to the special session call. He says he’ll consider it if they pass his 20 priority items.

But lawmakers aren’t the only ones calling on the Governor to expand the call. Adrian Shelley and Carol Birch of the government watchdog group Public Citizen join us to explain.


Cornyn Border bill:

President Trump may now have an important ally in his quest to build a border wall, Texas Senator and Majority Whip John Cornyn. Cornyn unveiled a bill today that would invest 15 billion dollars over four years in border security. That includes paying for the president’s long-promised wall… and adding thousands more Border Patrol agents.

Republicans can’t do it alone though. This bill requires 60 votes to avoid the filibuster, so that means eight Democrats would have to support it.

Cornyn says the strength of his bill is — it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution — and it can solve multiple problems.

“The idea of physical infrastructure along the border is not a new concept, and in fact, Hidalgo County, Texas, where this levee wall system exists is a dual-use tool to provide border patrol to tactical infrastructure they need and to allow local communities to get the flood control that they want,” Cornyn said.

The bill contains two controversial measures. It would require undocumented minors to be screened quickly so they can more immediately be sent back to their home country.

The bill would also punish sanctuary cities by taking away federal funds.


Join us for these stories and more on Capital Tonight at 7pm.


Posted by Karina Kling