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


Gov. Abbott, Houston Mayor at odds over Harvey costs:

Gov. Greg Abbott said today that Houston’s mayor is holding the state “hostage” by proposing a 3.6 percent local tax increase unless Texas taps into its rainy day fund to help pay for Hurricane Harvey relief. During a press conference on the rebuilding efforts, Abbott said Mayor Sylvester Turner has “all the money he needs” for now.

Turner sent the governor a letter requesting state lawmakers tap into the savings account before the next legislative session. He said his call for a one-time property tax hike to pay for Harvey expenses wouldn’t be necessary is Abbott tapped into the nearly $10 billion emergency fund.

Abbott said now is not the time for “financial panic.”


1on1: Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick was at Tuesday’s Harvey press briefing and joined us from the FEMA joint field office in North Austin to discuss the state recovery efforts. He also responds to Mayor Turner’s request.


Graham-Cassidy Bill Doomed:

Senate Republicans will not vote this week on the latest attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. That’s according to senators who emerged from a closed-door meeting today.

Arizona Senator Jeff Flake shook his head “no” when asked about plans for a vote. The decision marks the end of the latest effort to overturn the law, a promise the GOP has made to voters for seven years.

Today, President Trump expressed his disappointment with the Republican senators who said they’d vote against it.

“At some point there will be a repeal and replace but we’ll see whether or not that point is now or will it be shortly thereafter. But we are disappointed in certain so-called Republicans,” President Trump said.

The latest proposed bill was sponsored by Senators Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham, but the opposition from at least three Republican Senators, Susan Collins, John McCain and Rand Paul, sunk the measure’s chances.

Democrats were unified in their opposition.


Virtual Doctor Visits:

Texas doctors are now allowed to see patients through a phone or video connection, instead of just face to face at the doctor’s office.

A new law took effect September first that makes virtual doctor visits legal. At 7, why these virtual visits played a critical role in responding to Hurricane Harvey.


SB4 Latest:

One day after a federal appeals court allowed more of the state’s anti-sanctuary cities law to take effect, Attorney General Ken Paxton says he’s now accepting complaints related to cities and counties that don’t comply.

Part of the law now in effect requires jurisdictions to comply with federal detention requests placed on jail inmates suspected of being in the country illegally.

Local police are also prohibited from creating policies that prevent officers from investigating a person’s immigration status during routine stops.

Paxton’s office can seek the removal of an elected official and create civil penalties based on the complaints.

Meanwhile, the Austin Police Department announced Tuesday it’s changed its policy to comply with the latest court ruling.

But the Police Chief says that doesn’t change their focus.

“It is still just as important as it ever has been that you continue to trust us as a department to understand the importance of our relationship and to be willing to come forward if you’ve ever been a victim of a crime or you’ve witnessed someone else be victimized,” Chief Brian Manley said.

The department will roll out new videos that will train officers on the policy changes.


1on1: Garry Mauro:

Texas Democrats say they’ll have a viable candidate for Governor — soon. As we wait to hear who it will be, one longtime party faithful and former Texas Land Commissioner says it’s okay if they don’t get a candidate to challenge Gov. Abbott.

Garry Mauro discusses his stance at 7, and where Democrats should place their focus instead.


Capital Tonight airs weeknights at 7pm on Spectrum News.


Posted by Karina Kling

@Karina Kling