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


Public Education and the Rainy Day Fund:

One state lawmaker wants to let voters decide whether to pump more money into public schools. It would mean tapping the state’s rainy day fund, but only if that account is more than $10 billion.

House Public Education Chairman Dan Huberty, R-Houston, is pushing the measure this special session. Voters would need to approve the funding method through a constitutional amendment, which lawmakers also have to approve.

Supporters of Huberty’s measure say diverting money from the rainy day fund could help fund the state’s cash-strapped education system and that voters would get on board.  

“I’ve been working on education reform for 14 years, and nobody seems to want to do it,” Huberty told appropriations committee members Monday. “And sooner or later you’ve got to have the will. You have to be able to want to do this and take all the political ramifications out.”

The resolution was left pending in that committee today.

But even if the measure passes the House, its chances of passing the Senate are slim

Watch Capital Tonight at 7pm for more on the proposal and reaction from Senate Education Chairman Larry Taylor.  


San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg:

This special legislative session lawmakers have been repeatedly taking aim at local governments. That’s prompted mayors to request meetings with Governor Abbott.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg got his time with the governor Monday. Nirenberg said he spoke with Abbott for about an hour and pushed back on a measure that would require voters approve property tax rate increases over a certain percentage.

“If there was one take-away, it was the fact that ‘don’t mess with Texas,'” Nirenberg told Capital Tonight. “The strength of our state is built on a rapidly urbanizing community that is located in our cities.”

Nirenberg is also against a bill that would regulate which restrooms transgender Texans can use. He urged lawmakers to listen to the people closest to the issues up for debate.

“What the state needs to do, what politicians at the state need to do is listen to the experts. When it comes to law enforcement issues, let’s listen to law enforcement experts. When it comes to issues regarding our economy, let’s be sure to listen to economists and people who are creating jobs, business owners,” Nirenberg said. “That’s not what the folks up here in the isolated area of the capitol have done with this special session agenda.”

Watch our full one on one interview with Mayor Nirenberg at 7pm.


Former Gov. Mark White Funeral Details:

A funeral for former Texas Governor Mark White will be held Wednesday in Houston. White died over the weekend at the age of 77 after fighting kidney cancer.

Gov. Abbott’s office announced Monday White will then lie in state Thursday afternoon at the Capitol. Burial will follow at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, with a private ceremony for White’s family.

White was a Democrat who served as Texas governor from 1983 to 1987. He championed public education reforms, including the landmark “no-pass, no play” policy for high school athletes.

Other measures approved during his single term included pay raises and competency tests for teachers.

“Like his predecessor John Connally, he had a vision that Texas was going to be more than just a backwater state and that the cornerstone of being a significant player on the world stage was education and so he put an enormous amount of political capital into education,” the Quorum Report’s Harvey Kronberg said.

White was defeated by Bill Clements in 1986 and returned to private life before running for governor again in 1990, losing in the Democratic primary to Ann Richards.


President Trump’s 200th Day in Office:

President Donald Trump is marking his 200th day in office today and promising on Twitter that he’ll be “working hard” from his private golf club in New Jersey. We’ll have the latest on the President’s agenda and the speculation swirling around possible shadow campaigns taking shape for 2020.


Quorum Report’s Scott Braddock:

Scott Braddock will also be in to discuss the 10 days left in the legislative special session. Hear his take on leadership, strategy and what passes of the 20 special session items.


Capital Tonight airs weeknights at 7pm on Spectrum News.


Posted by Karina Kling