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

 

Trump’s Arizona Rally:

Protesters and counter-protesters are showing up in Phoenix, Arizona, where the president is set to hold a campaign rally tonight.

Just a week after violent, deadly protests in Virginia, the White House is struggling to combat criticism that the president failed to strike the right tone afterwards. We’ll have a preview of what to expect from the president.

 

Trump’s Afghanistan Strategy:

In his first prime-time foreign policy speech as President, Trump laid out his strategy for Afghanistan last night. Democratic lawmakers have criticized the president’s plan for having too few details.

But we’ll explain why Trump says it’s part of his strategy to not talk about troop levels or specific military plans.

Plus, Paul Miller, associate director of the Clements Center for National Security at UT-Austin, joins us to discuss what Trump got right and what he got wrong.

 

Mail-in Ballot Fraud:

Keeping Texas elections secure: that’s the goal of a new measure recently signed into law.

During the special legislative session, lawmakers approved a bill that will increase the penalties for mail-in ballot fraud.

Only Texans who are disabled, who are 65 or older, or Texas voters who are outside their home counties can vote by mail, and voting officials say the new measure will play an important role in ensuring their votes are secure.

“So it’s really designed to increase penalties where that’s concerned, to something where a misdemeanor might be bumped up to a higher level offense,” Caroline Geppert with the Texas Secretary of State’s Office said. “It added penalties to the law. For example, it makes it extremely clear if you own someone else’s ballot without their permission.”

But this new law has a side effect.

Coming up at 7 on Capital Tonight, how it will overturn a different measure aimed at helping people in nursing homes vote.

 

Mental Health Reforms:

While there wasn’t a lot state lawmakers could agree on during the regular – or special session, a move to address the mental health crisis in Texas received bipartisan support.

More money was devoted to the cause and bills including insurance parity for mental health disorders and substance abuse, and increasing awareness through education, were all approved.

Another piece is part of the so-called Sandra Bland Act. It was named for a 28-year-old woman who was found dead in the Waller County jail in 2015, days after being arrested during a routine traffic stop.

Lawmakers and leaders met today to discuss how to implement the new law. Greg Hansch of NAMI-Texas joins us at 7 to discuss how it will help protect people with mental illness who are arrested and may harm themselves in jail.

He also weighs in on the strides made on mental health during the regular session and how it could help curb the state’s crisis.

 

Join at 7 for these stories and more.

 

Posted by Karina Kling

@KarinaKling