Archive for November, 2017

Daily Digest: Nov. 21

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:

 

Texas Toll Troubles:

With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, millions of people in the Lone Star State are hitting the road. But some state lawmakers say tolls are burning holes in Texans’ wallets.

Our Max Gorden will have more on the statements putting Texas toll projects in the slow lane.

 

New Transportation Group Vows to Ease Traffic Woes:

The fight over how best to ease traffic congestion has prompted the formation of a new nonprofit.

Business groups, local elected officials and highway industry interests announced the launch of Texans for Traffic Relief Monday.

Spokesman David White joins us to discuss what they say are the biggest problems and ways to address.

 

Border Patrol Agent’s Death Still Unclear:

AP: FBI officials say they are investigating the death of a border patrol agent and injuring of another in West Texas as a “potential assault,” but they wouldn’t rule out that they were injured in some other way.

Special Agent in Charge Emmerson Buie Jr. said during a news conference at the FBI’s El Paso office Tuesday that the bureau is offering a reward of $25,000 for information that might lead to a resolution of the case.

The officials wouldn’t say why they believe the agents might have been attacked.

Agent Rogelio Martinez died Sunday after suffering extensive injuries to his head and body. His partner, whose name hasn’t been released, was seriously injured.

A U.S. official with knowledge of the investigation told the Associated Press on Monday that investigators believe Martinez may have fallen into a culvert near Van Horn. The official said Martinez’s partner, who radioed for help, has no memory of what happened.

 

Tax Reform Reservations:

The fast-moving effort to overhaul the tax code now rests in the hands of a small number of GOP Senators, several who are now voicing their reservations with the bill.

The question now: will Republicans have enough votes to get the measure over the finish line or will changes need to be made?

Our Washington DC Bureau reporter, Samantha-Jo Roth has the latest on where things stand.

 

Ag Commissioner Sid Miller:

Tuesday marked the second annual Texas Agriculture Memorial Day. It’s a time to honor Texas farmers and ranchers who have lost their lives or been severely injured while engaged in agricultural-related pursuits. It also recognizes those who have contributed to the Texas economy. Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller joins us to discuss the state of Texas agriculture and we talk 2018.

 

Trump Pardons Turkeys:

The White House is getting ready for the holidays, from the arrival of the White House Christmas Tree to the traditional turkey pardoning. We introduce you to Drumstick and Wishbone.

 

Capital Tonight airs weeknights at 7 on Spectrum News.

 

 

 

Daily Digest: Nov. 17

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:

 

Gov. Abbott Calls White House Disaster Aid Bill ‘Inadequate’:

Top Texas Republicans are slamming the Trump administration’s $44 billion disaster aid request.

On the heels of a trip to Washington, Gov. Greg Abbott says it’s far from what he wanted. Even the state’s senior senator isn’t happy with the White House’s actions.

Both Abbott and Sen. John Cornyn pointedly expressed their dissatisfaction during a press briefing Friday.

At 7 – hear what they had to say. Plus what federal officials are giving the state when it comes to rebuilding.

 

Trump Blasts Franken, Mum on Moore:

Governor Abbott was also asked about the sexual assault allegations surrounding Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore Friday.

“The allegations are disgusting and if they are true I think he should not be in the race,” Gov. Abbott said.

Meanwhile, Moore is falling behind in the polls to the Democratic candidate. And on Capitol Hill, a Senate ethics Investigation has been called for into allegations that Sen. Al Franken forcibly kissed and groped a radio news anchor back in 2006.

Both political parties are facing fallout, but President Trump is only partially weighing in. We’ll have the latest at 7.

 

Reporter Roundtable:

We’re one week into the 2018 candidate filing period. But big questions of who will round out the ballots remain. Joining us tonight on our reporter roundtable to break down who’s in and who’s out so far, Bob Garrett with the Dallas Morning News and Mike Ward with the Houston Chronicle.

 

PolitiFact Texas:

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz recently suggested that the Obama administration bears some responsibility for the mass shooter in Sutherland Springs being able to acquire guns.

Gardner Selby of PolitiFact Texas is in tonight to put that claim to the truth-o-meter.

 

Capital Tonight airs weeknights at 7 on Spectrum News.

 

Posted by Karina Kling

@KarinaKling

 

Daily Digest: Nov. 16

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:

 

House Passes GOP Tax Reform Bill:

House Republicans scored a major legislative victory Thursday, passing a massive tax overhaul. It’s a feat that hasn’t been accomplished in three decades.

While the Texas delegation voted along party lines, Republicans and President Trump got their much-needed win.

Tonight at 7, hear why the victory might be short lived as all eyes are now on the Senate where their tax plan has an uncertain fate.

 

Bike to Work Benefit on the Chopping Block:

A little known piece of the Senate’s tax reform measure has some flying off the handlebars. The plan would cut a tax benefit for bike commuters if GOP Senators get their way.

People who bike to work currently qualify for up to $20 a month in tax deductions through their employer for biking expenses.

The program was put into place in 2009 and is meant to encourage bicycle commuting.

It’s a tax break many in the biking community are just learning about for the first time and they’re worried the opportunity to promote this alternative mode of commuting is rolling on by.

Hear from bicyclists at 7.

 

Sen. Cornyn Files Background Check Bill:

Texas’ senior senator has announced the release of bipartisan legislation aimed at strengthening the federal background check system.

It comes nearly two weeks after a gunman opened fire at a church in Sutherland Springs and killed 26 people. And after the shooter’s violent criminal record should have prevented him from buying guns.

The bill would ensure federal agencies and state governments accurately report relevant criminal history to the FBI’s database of prohibited gun buyers.

Federal agencies that fail to properly report required records would be penalized under the legislation.

It also rewards states that comply with federal grant preferences and other incentives.

“This bill aims to help fix what’s become a nationwide, systemic problem so we can better prevent criminals and domestic abusers from obtaining firearms,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said.

 

Groping Allegations Against Sen. Al Franken:

New allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct by a politician are making waves on Capitol Hill.

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, is under fire for allegedly groping and kissing a woman without her consent on a USO tour in 2006.

We’ll have the latest on this developing story, including the senator’s response.

 

Texas Capitol Sexual Harassment Training:

After widespread allegations of sexual harassment at the Texas Capitol, this week Governor Greg Abbott announced he’ll work with the Legislature to change its policies.

It comes after separate investigations by the Daily Beast and the Texas Tribune showed sexual harassment has gone unchecked.

The Tribune reported the House and Senate’s current policies only establish a reporting protocol for complaints and say that harassment will not be tolerated.

The investigation found few employees knew they could file a formal complaint — and none have been filed in either chamber since 2011.

This week, lawmakers in both chambers have spoken out in support of training for everyone.

Rep. Diana Arévalo, D-San Antonio, joins us at 7 to speak out about needed changes.

 

Democratic Mega Donor Steve Mostyn Dies:

Texas Democrats are mourning the loss of mega donor and Houston trial attorney Steve Mostyn. He died after what his wife called “a sudden onset and battle with a mental health issue.”

Mostyn was 46 years old.

He gave generously for years to top Texas Democrats. Last year, he donated one million dollars to a Hillary Clinton super PAC.

In a statement released today, his wife Amber called him a beloved husband and devoted father.

She didn’t confirm a cause of death but went on to say:

“If you or a loved one are thinking about suicide, or experiencing a health crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline right now at 1-800-273-8255.”

Democratic Analyst Harold Cook reacts to Mostyn’s passing tonight at 7.

 

Capital Tonight airs weeknights at 7 on Spectrum News.

 

Posted by Karina Kling

@KarinaKling

 

 

 

Daily Digest: Nov. 10

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:

 

2018 Texas Elections Officially Begin This Weekend:

The 2018 Texas elections officially kick off Saturday.

That’s because the filing period for candidates running for political office runs from Nov. 11 to Dec. 11.

One of the biggest questions many Texans are asking is whether a viable, well-known Democratic candidate will challenge Governor Greg Abbott.

Texas Democratic leaders have been saying for months that one will emerge. We spoke with them Friday and they told us they’ll have a viable candidate by the end of the filing period.

Regardless, a Democratic challenger will have a tough time running against Governor Abbott, who’s got a $41 million campaign war chest and is polling well in the state.

But with the current political climate, Republicans could have a tougher time down ballot.

One Republican analyst says that could mean some Democratic gains in state legislative races.

“I think the Republicans will be fortunate to keep what they’ve got,” Ray Sullivan, a Republican consultant who served as Gov. Rick Perry’s chief of staff, said.  “I think they may lose a couple of Republican seats just because of the national political dynamic.”

Coming up at 7, we’ll take a look at the open Congressional seats after a slew of Republicans announced retirements.

 

Isaac Running for Congress:

As we reported Thursday, State Rep. Jason Isaac, R-Dripping Springs, has entered the race to replace retiring Congressman Lamar Smith.

He joins us to discuss why he’s running and his chances in what’s expected to be a crowded field.

 

Roy Moore Reaction:

Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore is refuting allegations in the Washington Post that he pursued relationships with four teenagers while in his thirties.

But in Washington, Senators, including the two Texans, are calling for him to step aside ahead of the election if the allegations are true.

We’ll have reaction to the shocking controversy.

 

Sutherland Springs Church Shooting Update:

Eleven people remain hospitalized after the deadliest church shooting in Texas history.

Twenty-six people, including an unborn child, were killed Sunday after a gunman walked into the First Baptist church in Sutherland Springs and opened fire.

Medical officials at two San Antonio hospitals say the conditions of the wounded range from good to critical.

Brooke Army Medical Center has seven patients, five adults and two children. And University Health System has four patients, two of whom are children.

Officials at both hospitals have declined to release more specific information about the patients.

Meanwhile, a San Antonio business owner is leading the effort to build the First Baptist Church a new home. Hear from him at 7.

 

PolitiFact Texas:

Gardner Selby of PolitiFact Texas is in with a couple of fact checks dealing with background checks and voter registration.

 

Capital Tonight airs weeknights at 7 on Spectrum News.

 

Posted by Karina Kling

@KarinaKling

 

Daily Digest: Nov. 7

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:

 

SB4 Back in Court:

(AP) Attorneys for numerous Texas municipalities and immigration advocacy groups have told a federal appeals court that a state law cracking down on so-called sanctuary cities puts an illegal burden on local law enforcement agencies.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments Tuesday on whether it should block the law enacted by the Texas Legislature in the spring.

It requires local law enforcement agencies to honor federal immigration requests to detain people in local jails for possible deportation. It also holds the possibility of criminal sanctions against local officials who are deemed to limit federal immigration enforcement.

The three-judge 5th Circuit panel did not indicate when it would rule.

We’ll have reaction to the arguments at 7, plus Elissa Steglich with the Immigration Clinic at UT Austin joins us to discuss the measure further.

 

Sutherland Springs Church Shooting Latest:

A dozen victims remain in the hospital two days after a gunman opened fire at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs.

He killed 26 people before fatally shooting himself following a chase.

The small Texas town is still in shock.

Tuesday law enforcement officials released new information into the mass shooting saying they now have the shooter’s cellphone.

A search warrant is allowing them to go through the phone, but encryption keys are keeping the device from being unlocked.

Right now the shooter’s cell phone is at FBI offices in Quantico.

ATF agents also say the shooter used a AR-556 rifle, but they do not believe the weapon used was fully automatic.

Officials hope to have their forensic investigation of the crime scene wrapped up by Wednesday. They’ll then turn the church back over to local agencies.

 

Sen. Cornyn Wants Stronger Background Check System:

The shooting is leading Texas’ senior senator John Cornyn to push legislation that would strengthen the nation’s background check system for gun buyers.

The number two Republican in the Senate announced Tuesday that he’ll introduce a measure to ensure all departments and federal agencies file convictions to the national background check system.

It comes after the Air Force acknowledged it failed to add the Sutherland Springs shooter to the database, allowing him to buy several guns.

Our Washington reporter Alberto Pimienta will have the latest on the proposed measure at 7pm.

 

Constitutional Amendment Election:

Ballots are in and polls have closed. Texans’ cast their votes for seven amendments to the Texas Constitution Tuesday.

Among the proposals: tax exemptions for disabled veterans and the spouses of first responders killed in the line of duty.

Votes were also cast for an amendment that would expand the number of professional sports teams’ foundations that can conduct charitable raffles and another that would change how you can use the equity in your homes.

Find out how voter turnout fared this election day on Capital Tonight at 7.

 

Capital Tonight airs weeknights at 7 on Spectrum News.

 

Posted by Karina Kling

@KarinaKling