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Posts by Aaron Franco
Sep 2nd - 8:15 pm
BATTLE OVER THE BALLOT BOX
The state’s voter ID law is on trial, in a case that could have national implications. We checked in on the court battle in Corpus Christi. Plus, the Deputy State Director for the League of United Latin American Citizens, Marcelo Tafoya, joined us to explain why they’re involved in the fight.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
Our Capital Commentators weighed in on the public fight between the Abbott and Davis camps over where and how to debate.
Aug 26th - 8:13 pm
In Tuesday’s Capital Tonight, we learned more about former John McCain adviser Steve Schmidt’s role. Plus, we heard from two lieutenant governor candidates at a committee hearing on education.
While Politico reports Schmidt is officially named as part of the governor’s legal team, his role in McCain’s presidential run and his national profile indicate his hiring is more about the campaign trail than the courtroom. Political strategists Harold Cook and Ted Delisi weighed in on what his hiring indicates.
And the Texas oil and gas boom continues, with both positive and negative consequences coming down the pipeline. Republican state Rep. Jim Keffer joined us with an update on both.
Aug 25th - 8:46 pm
While Gov. Perry travels to New Hampshire, the race to succeed him continues. We heard why the Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott campaigns have been mostly silent on the Perry indictment and what they’re focusing on instead.
ON THE AGENDA
The Quorum Report’s Harvey Kronberg joined us to weigh in on the day’s political news. Plus, we heard new testimony from the seismologist hired by the state’s oil and gas regulators.
Aug 25th - 1:54 pm
As promised, Gov. Rick Perry’s attorneys are asking a judge to dismiss the criminal charges against him.
They filed the motion in district court Monday morning. At a pre-trial hearing Friday, Perry’s attorney, David Botsford said the motion would attack the constitutionality of the prosecution. He says the law being used to prosecute Perry is too vague and that it violates the state’s constitution.
Gov. Perry is charged with two felony counts: abuse of power and coercion of a public servant. The charges stem from his threat to cut funding for the Public Integrity Unit, headed by Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg. When Lehmberg refused to resign after her drunken driving conviction, the governor followed through on that threat and vetoed the funding.
Aug 22nd - 7:30 pm
In Friday’s Capital Tonight, we checked in on phase-two of the case against the governor and explained what both sides’ legal strategy means.
By now, most people have heard that the governor’s been indicted, but understanding why gets a little trickier. We looked at all the angles with Wayne Slater of The Dallas Morning News, Peggy Fikac of the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News and Ross Ramsey of the Texas Tribune.
Meanwhile, the events in Ferguson, Missouri have held the nation’s attention. We explored one of the questions it’s raised about the militarization of police.
Aug 21st - 8:21 pm
First, we got an update on where money for the governor’s defense team is coming from and how the state attorney general’s office is involved. We also heard from Gov. Perry’s attorneys, who are getting out ahead of talk that an investigation into the state’s top cancer fighting agency may be linked to the governor’s indictment. Progress Texas PAC Director Glenn Smith joined us to comment on what the new developments mean for Texas Democrats.
At the center of all this is the agency charged with investigating state corruption. We checked in on how the Public Integrity Unit is faring now, one year after having its funding zeroed out by the governor.Plus, Rep. David Simpson discussed past Republican efforts to take the PIU out of the county’s hands entirely, and whether lawmakers will attempt to move it under the control of the attorney general’s office next session.
BACK ON THE ROAD
Meanwhile, the governor isn’t letting a little legal trouble slow him down. We checked in on the latest stop in his nationwide re-branding tour and heard from political strategists Harold Cook and Ted Delisi.
Aug 21st - 1:30 pm
The group overseeing the University of Texas System has officially approved Admiral William McRaven as the next chancellor.
The UT Board of Regents approved his appointment at a scheduled meeting today. McRaven will be paid $1.2 million per year to oversee nine universities and six health institutions spread across the state. In a prepared statement, McRaven thanked the regents for their support and praised the current chancellor, Francisco Cigarroa, for his leadership. He added:
“Great universities not only teach—they educate, they build leaders, they create thinkers, and doers—across every aspect of life. This university system should be known for producing tomorrow’s leaders in every field of endeavor.”
Admiral McRaven is a Navy SEAL who has headed the U.S. Special Operations Command since 2011. He led the mission to kill Osama Bin Laden and is a UT graduate who delivered the 2014 UT commencement address. McRaven beat out finalist Richard Fisher, the CEO of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank. The board voted to make him a non-salaried UT system employee starting in December, when he’ll begin his term as Chancellor-Designate. He’s then set to replace Cigarroa, who announced in February he would step down from the position, at the start of 2015.
McRaven’s appointment is the first of several major changes coming to the University. After pressure — and threats of firing — from Cigarroa, UT Austin President Bill Powers announced he would resign in 2015. The board is in the early stages of searching for Powers’ replacement.
Aug 20th - 7:51 pm
The significance of the indictment is still being debated, even among the reporters who know the story well. We sat down with two journalists who’ve come to different conclusions about it: Erica Grieder of Texas Monthly and Texas Observer writer Christopher Hooks.
FOOTING THE BILL
When it comes to legal representation, there’s no question that the governor has hired some of the best. But who’s going to pay for it and for how long? The Quorum Report’s Harvey Kronberg gave us an update on the efforts to find out.
Aug 19th - 8:41 pm
In Tuesday’s Capital Tonight, we heard more about the governor’s day at the courthouse, plus we learned more about the special prosecutor who led the investigation into Perry, and we spoke to two lawyers about the strength of the state’s case against the governor.
After the speeches, came the release of the mugshot. Will it haunt his 2016 ambitions? Political strategists Harold Cook and Brendan Steinhauser weighed in.
Plus, we heard from a man with no fear of sharing his opinion. Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson joined us to talk about the Perry indictment and a proposed change intended to allow the sale of alcohol at certain gun shows.
Aug 18th - 8:17 pm
In Monday’s Capital Tonight, we heard how the team of high-powered defense lawyers is making their case. Plus, we heard from attorney Dick DeGuerin, who defended Kay Bailey Hutchison after her indictment, about how he believes the governor’s case will play out.
ON THE AGENDA
The Quorum Report’s Harvey Kronberg weighed in on the possible political implications of the Perry indictment, including what it means for Perry’s 2016 hopes and Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg’s national reputation.
UT Austin President Bill Powers has also seen his share of time in the spotlight. Now, he says he’s glad to be able to focus on what’s important. He joined us for a one-on-one discussion on his last year in office, his accomplishments and tension with UT System leadership.