Archive for October, 2017

Daily Digest: Oct. 5

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


Texans Divided Over GOP Tax Plan:

The US House narrowly passed a $4.1 trillion budget Thursday. It’s a crucial step in advancing the GOP’s tax plan.

But some are concerned the plan could lead to even higher property taxes in Texas.

A study commissioned by the Texas Association of Realtors shows that 95 percent of Texas homeowners would pay more in property taxes under the current plan.

That’s drawn concern that people will buy fewer homes in Texas. The economists behind the study say middle class Texans could end up with lighter piggy banks because of it.

“The GOP leadership has made it very clear that they want the tax plan to benefit ordinary households,” William Mellor of Angelou Economics said. “But based off of the plan, we see that households with $200,000 or more are going to be benefitting, and that’s not how I define ordinary households.”

Still, others argue the GOP’s plan will be a boon to the American economy,

“The key part of this plan is to reduce some of the loopholes and deductions that are picking some of the winners and losers through the tax code, and lowering the overall rates,” Vance Ginn with the Texas Public Policy Foundation said. “That way we can bring tax rates down for everyone.”


DACA Deadline Prompt Calls for Clean DREAM Act:

The clock is ticking down on a major deadline for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, or DACA.

As part of the program’s wind-down process announced by the Trump Administration last month, those eligible have until midnight to file for a renewal request.

After that, young undocumented immigrants won’t be able to apply to receive work permits and protection from deportation.

That led demonstrators to gather around the country to demand a clean Dream Act, which would provide a pathway to citizenship for so-called DREAMERS.

Hear the message protesters are sending to Republican Congressman Will Hurd in San Antonio, tonight at 7pm.


Calls for Bump Stock Regulations:

Congress is showing more signs of willingness to take up the gun control debate following the Las Vegas shooting. But that willingness centers on one very specific issue — bump stocks. It’s a legal gun modification that makes legal semi-automatic guns fire almost like a banned automatic weapon.

Thursday afternoon, The National Rifle Association issued a statement calling on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to immediately review whether bump fire stocks comply with federal law.

It said quote, “devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations.”


Abbott and Texans in Congress Request Nearly $19 Billion in Additional Harvey Aid:

Texas members of Congress and Governor Abbott are requesting $18.7 in additional Harvey aid.

It’s a bipartisan effort to try to get extra funding to repair water projects and help homeowners and communities rebuild from the storm.

The request comes on top of President Trump’s call earlier this week for $29 billion in hurricane aid.

Last month Congress approved a $15 billion first installment for hurricane relief.


School Funding Cuts Study:

Back in 2011, state lawmakers cut $5-plus billion from public education. Fast forward five years and the effects of those cuts are still being felt.

That’s according to a new study released Thursday by a University of Texas professor and a member of the left-leaning Center for Public Policy Priorities.

They found that the state’s classroom funding still lags behind its pre-Great recession levels due to booming enrollment growth.

And despite increased funding more recently, it would take an extra $3.2 billion to bring 2016’s funding levels up to 2008’s.

The study also found low-income students have been hit the hardest.

Chandra Villanueva of CPPP joins us at 7pm to discuss the study further.


Capital Tonight airs weeknights at 7 on Spectrum News.


Posted by Karina Kling




Daily Digest: Oct. 4

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


DACA Deadline:

The fate of DACA recipients remains unclear as their renewal deadline approaches. Thursday marks the last day for them to submit renewal applications before the Trump administration stops accepting them.

Last month — Trump announced the end of the program allowing undocumented immigrants who arrived as children to get jobs and protection from deportation.

Now, no new DACA applicants are being accepted and the Department of Homeland Security is not expected to extend the deadline.

Trump’s asked lawmakers in Washington to figure out a fix. But as Republicans push for tough immigration and border security measures in any compromise, the future of DACA recipients hangs in the balance.

Coming up at 7, we’ll bring you the story of one DACA recipient and why she’s worried that ending the program could mean she can no longer give back.


Border Wall Funding Passes Committee:

A Texan’s bill to fund a border wall is headed to the House floor. Congressman Michael McCaul’s Border Security for America Act passed his committee on a party line vote today.

The measure includes 10 billion dollars for the wall, 5 billion to improve ports of entry and adds 5000 border patrol and customs agents.

It also authorizes the federal government to reimburse states up to $35 million for use of National Guard assets to reinforce border security.

The bill is expected to pass the House — but unlikely to clear the Senate — where it needs a 60-vote majority.


Trump Visits Vegas, Bump Stock Bills Proposed:

President Trump and the First Lady were in Las Vegas Wednesday to meet with the victims of Sunday night’s deadly massacre.

Their visit comes on the same day the shooter’s girlfriend is being questioned by the FBI.

Meanwhile, the shooting is reigniting the gun control debate on Capitol Hill.

And much of the conversation is centering on a device used by the shooter to increase the amount of bullets his weapons could fire. Our Washington D-C Bureau reporter Alberto Pimienta will have more at 7pm.


Harvey’s Toll on the State Economy:

Comptroller Glenn Hegar joins us to discuss how the hurricane will impact the state budget, the potential costs to the state and what lawmakers are facing next session.


Political Analysts:

Democrat Harold Cook and Republican Ted Delisi are in to talk the reality of passing gun control legislation following the Las Vegas massacre.


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


Daily Digest: Oct. 3

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


Supreme Court Split over Partisan Redistricting:

The U.S. Supreme Court could literally be taking politics back to the drawing board.

The High Court heard arguments Tuesday in a case out of Wisconsin involving partisan gerrymandering — the much-criticized practice of drawing up legislative boundaries to benefit the political party in power.

A decision by the court next year could trigger legal challenges to Congressional maps across the country, including Texas, which is dealing with its own redistricting battle.

Our Washington DC bureau reporter Alberto Pimienta was in the courtroom Tuesday morning and will join us from DC with the latest at 7pm.


DACA Deal:

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have started working on a deal for “Dreamers.” A Senate committee is trying to come up with a solution after President Trump announced plans to end a program protecting the young immigrants.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa opened Tuesday’s hearing by calling the Obama-era program unconstitutional.

It has granted temporary work permits and deportation protections for nearly 800,000 immigrants brought to the US as children and living here illegally. That includes roughly 124,000 in Texas.

Grassley says a plan has to include “robust border security” but not a border wall.


House GOP Proposes CHIP Extension:

House Republicans are proposing a 5-year extension for a popular program that provides health insurance to almost 400,000 Texans.

It comes three days after federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, expired. CHIP provides low-cost health insurance for children from low and middle income families.

The new proposal would increase Medicare premiums on high-earning people and take other steps to pay for extending the program. The measure also includes an additional one billion for Puerto Rico’s Medicaid program.

A vote on the bill is expected Wednesday.

Mimi Garcia with the Texas Association of Community Health Centers will join us at 7 to discuss the proposal and what would happen if the CHIP program ended.


Las Vegas Investigation, ACL Fest Offering Refunds:

House Speaker Paul Ryan says there are no plans for the House to act soon on a bill that would ease regulations on gun silencers.

Ryan was pressed on the issue Tuesday after the mass shooting in Las Vegas Sunday night.

The Republican-led Congress has been pushing measures to loosen gun restrictions, including the silencer bill and one to allow people with concealed-carry permits to carry across state lines.

Democrats are now seizing on the violence in Nevada to demand tougher gun restrictions.

Meanwhile, the Austin City Limits music festival is offering refunds to customers worried about their safety following the shooting in Las Vegas.

The option was not publicly announced and so far hasn’t been posted on the official website or social media accounts.

But we called Front Gate Tickets, the ticket exchange, and were told anyone feeling uncomfortable after the attack could get their money back. The original purchaser needs to call and have their order information ready.


Trump in Puerto Rico:

President Donald Trump compared Hurricane Maria’s death toll to that of the lives lost during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The president toured the damage in Puerto Rico today. He told officials there they should be “very proud” hundreds of people didn’t die during the hurricane as they did in a quote “real catastrophe like Katrina.”

We’ll have more on the President’s visit amid the criticism his administration isn’t doing enough to help the people there on tonight’s show.


Capital Tonight airs weeknights at 7pm on Spectrum News.


Posted by Karina Kling


Daily Digest: Oct. 2

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


Las Vegas Shooting Latest:

At least 59 people are dead after a man broke out the window of his 32nd floor hotel room and started firing on a concert crowd below.

The shooter is believed to have killed himself before police got into his hotel room.

More than 515 people were injured and hundreds are still in the hospital.

The shooter’s family said he has ties to Texas, having lived near Dallas at one point.

We will have the latest on the massacre at 7pm.


Texas Lawmakers Reaction:

Texas lawmakers are reacting to Sunday night’s shooting.

Gov. Abbott said in a statement: “The news of this senseless act of violence in Las Vegas overnight is heartbreaking…Texas mourns and prays for the victims of this tragedy, and the entire Las Vegas Community in this time of unimaginable pain.”

Sen. Ted Cruz called the shooting despicable. Meanwhile Sen. John Cornyn offered up a hotline for victims’ families to call to locate their loved ones.


Dr. Tom Mijares:

Dr. Tom Mijares is a criminal justice professor at Texas State University, retired SWAT officer and wrote the book Significant Tactical Police Cases. He tells our Karina Kling this type of tragedy is the “new normal.” Watch the full interview at 7pm.


ACL Preps After Vegas:

Major outdoor events are planned for the next three weekends in Austin. Police Chief Brian Manley held a news conference Monday afternoon to discuss how the department is reviewing security plans in light of the Las Vegas attack.

“At this time there are absolutely no threats that have been made against ACL, nor have we heard any indication that anyone is targeting any large-scale events around the country right now,” Manley said.


State Lawmakers Hear Harvey Relief Funds Could Take Years:

It could be months before Texans trying to rebuild after Hurricane Harvey get federal funds for their homes.

Short-term FEMA money is already flowing in for relief like debris removal. But Land Commissioner George P. Bush told state lawmakers at a hearing in Houston Monday that the Housing and Urban Development disaster relief funds could take seven to 32 months to help get people permanently situated.

Lawmakers also tried to gauge the state costs of coping with Harvey’s destruction.

“There will be greater costs to the state associated with this hurricane than we have seen in the past with any other natural disaster,” Comptroller Glenn Hegar said.

Hegar said the ultimate impact is difficult to discern. but a large cost to the state will be in the area of public education.


On the Agenda:

The Quorum Report’s Scott Braddock joins us to discuss Harvey relief efforts and lawmakers’ response to the Las Vegas shooting.


Capital Tonight airs weeknights at 7pm on Spectrum News.


Posted by Karina Kling