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


A&M Chancellor to lead Harvey rebuilding efforts:

Governor Greg Abbott has appointed the leader of Texas A&M University to head the state’s rebuilding efforts following Hurricane Harvey.

Abbott says he tapped Chancellor John Sharp, in part, because he knows how to cut through red tape and wants a swift-moving recovery effort. Sharp is a former longtime Democratic lawmaker who represented coastal counties and served as Comptroller.

At 7, our Max Gorden explains why some state leaders have concerns that the money to rebuild quickly isn’t there.


US Senate Approves $15.3 billion in Harvey Relief:

The US Senate has passed a $15.3 billion aid package for Harvey victims. That nearly doubles President Trump’s emergency request.

Senators also added a deal between Trump and Democrats to temporarily extend the government’s ability to borrow money to cover its bills.

The 80-17 vote returns the legislation to the House, which is expected to vote on it Friday and send it to the president’s desk.

Texas’ senior Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas, urged lawmakers to expedite the process.

“I hope my colleagues will keep in mind the scope of this catastrophe and deliver this funding to those whom Harvey has cost much more than just dollars,” Cornyn said.

The aid money comes as Harvey recovery efforts are draining federal disaster aid coffers — and as Irma takes aim at Florida.


Gas Supply Recovering Following Harvey:

Hoarding and panic buying following Harvey put unnecessary strains on gas pumps in parts of Texas. But one state official says the supply is quickly recovering and any shortages should be resolved within the next couple of days.

Another piece of good news, several refineries idled by the storm have restarted.

Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton joins us tonight to discuss how the oil and gas industry is recovering.


Harvey’s Toll on Higher Education:

College classes have resumed on many Texas campuses, but Harvey’s effect on higher education is being widely felt. The state’s higher education coordinating board estimates 500,000 students are enrolled in Texas schools from counties affected by the hurricane, and trying to figure out support financially and emotionally has become a big focus.

Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes told Capital Tonight most schools are open and accepting students but the real problem is personal circumstances.

“The campuses are in decent shape. It’s the students we’re concerned about,” Paredes said.

Paredes said counselors, call centers, websites including one that the coordinating board has put in place to advise students about their options are all available to help.

He also said a larger issue will be making sure there are people in place that can repair the damage.

“We’re going to have to find ways to retrain students in a much shorter period of time than is the norm,” Paredes said.

Watch his full interview at 7pm.


Capital Tonight airs weeknights at 7 on Spectrum News.


Posted by Karina Kling