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


Irma Congressional Response:

For the second time in three weeks, millions of Americans are reeling from a natural disaster.

As Texans start to rebuild after Hurricane Harvey, Floridians are just starting to get a glimpse of the devastation Irma left behind.

The people of Florida are relying on the federal government to help with the recovery. It will be up to Congress to approve emergency funds – but will it happen, and how quickly?

Our Washington bureau reporter Alberto Pimienta has the latest on the Congressional response at 7pm.


Hand-in-Hand Day:

Thousands have stepped up to help in Harvey recovery efforts. And that will be on full display tonight during a star-studded telethon benefiting the victims of both hurricanes.

Earlier today, Gov. Greg Abbott joined the King of Country and other musicians performing at the Majestic Theatre in San Antonio tonight.

George Strait’s Harvey benefit concert sold out in 30 minutes. He says this likely won’t be the last event they do to help out the people of Texas.

“I’d like to see us raise a lot of money,” Strait said. “These people need money they need financial support and clothes and pets and that’s the example we want to set.”

Strait was joined by Miranda Lambert, Chris Stapleton, Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen.

Tonight’s San Antonio concert coincides with the nationally broadcast Hand in Hand telethon. Funds raised from the telethon will go to several organizations including the Rebuild Texas Fund.


No Cost for LTC Replacements:

In true Texas fashion, if you’ve lost or damaged your license to carry a handgun due to Harvey, you can get a free replacement.

Gov. Abbott says he lifted what he called “burdensome” fees so Texans can focus on rebuilding their lives and communities.

A replacement normally costs $25. But if you live in a county that’s been declared a disaster area — you’re eligible to receive a replacement at no cost.


Straus Urges Business Community to Keep Up Fight Against “Bathroom Bill”:

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus urged business leaders to continue the fight against a so-called “bathroom bill” today.

The legislation to regulate where transgender Texans can use the restroom failed to pass in the regular and special sessions.

In a speech to the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, Straus added the business community needs to stay engaged.

“Texans rejected name-calling and scare tactics and as a result we avoided a major mistake that would have cost our economy greatly and divided us unnecessarily,” Straus said.

Speaking with reporters after his speech, Straus agreed with Gov. Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick that a special session would not be needed to deal with the response to Harvey.

He noted lawmakers have plenty of authority to free up money to provide aid.


School Buses Must Have Seat Belts:

Buckling up is no longer reserved for your personal vehicle. A new state law now requires new school buses to be equipped with three-point seatbelts.

Our Victoria Maranan explains the details at 7pm.


Rep. Larry Gonzales Not Running for Reelection:

The Round Rock Republican recently announced he won’t be seeking re-election.

Rep. Gonzales was first elected to the Texas House in 2010. He’s served on the appropriations committee and as chairman of the Sunset Advisory Commission, which is responsible for periodic reviews of state agencies.

He joins us tonight to explain why and what he calls his biggest accomplishments as a state lawmakers.


Capital Tonight airs weeknights at 7pm on Spectrum News.


Posted by Karina Kling