Our daily digest is an update on the stories we’re following in Texas politics today. Here’s what we’re working on for 7pm:


NTSB: Balloon crash pilot was as impaired as a drunk driver:

Investigators say the Texas pilot involved in the deadliest balloon crash in US history had enough Benadryl in his system to have the equivalent blood-alcohol level of a drunken driver.

During a hearing in Washington Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board revealed its findings about the July 2016 crash in Lockhart that killed all 16 people aboard.

The findings have some lawmakers calling for tighter requirements for balloon pilots.

And one proposal might have prevented pilot Alfred “Skip” Nichols from taking flight.

Nichols had at least four convictions for drunken driving and twice spent time in prison.

Medical experts have said Nichols should have been grounded because of medical ailments and drug use.

But unlike fixed-wing commercial pilots, commercial balloon pilots aren’t currently required to have a medical certificate okaying them to fly.

Texas Congressman Lloyd Doggett wants to change that.

“We need to assure that no one’s flying a balloon that does not have the same medical certificate as an aircraft pilot. This accident should never have happened,” Doggett, D-Austin, said.

Doggett currently has a pending amendment to FAA legislation that would require medical certificates for commercial balloon operators. He said the FAA could implement the rule without action from Congress.

Coming up on Capital Tonight at 7, hear from a former hot air balloon pilot about his experiences in the sky and what he said should be done moving forward.


North Korea: ‘Nuclear war may break out at any moment’:

North Korea’s deputy U.N. ambassador warned Monday that the situation on the Korean peninsula “has reached the touch-and-go point and a nuclear war may break out any moment.” We’ll have the latest on the threats and Andrew Peek with the Clements Center for National Security at UT-Austin joins us to discuss the growing tensions.


Bipartisan Health Care Deal:

(AP) President Donald Trump is expressing support for an agreement struck by two leading lawmakers to extend federal payments to health insurers.

Trump spoke at a news conference in the Rose Garden Tuesday with the Greek Prime Minister. He commented after Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee told reporters that he and a top Democrat have reached an agreement on a plan to extend the federal payments that Trump has blocked.

Trump says the White House has been involved in what he calls a “short-term deal.” He said he still thinks a system where funding is given to states through federal block grants is the best long-term plan.


Business Leader Discusses New House Panel:

“It’s time to reassert that Texas is fully committed to private sector growth.”

That’s what Texas House Speaker Joe Straus told the Austin Chamber last week — where he announced a new panel to study business competitiveness.

Straus says he’s seeking to restore the state’s strong relationship with the business community after the fight over the so-called bathroom bill.

We sit down with Justin Yancy, President of the Texas Business Leadership Council, to talk about the importance of such a committee and where he thinks the state’s commitment to the business sector currently stands.


Join us for these stories and more on Capital Tonight at 7pm.


Posted by Karina Kling