Aaron Franco

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Capital Tonight: Congressman Carter Describes Process behind House Border Bill

Gov. Rick Perry is staying closely involved in his decision to send National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border, meeting with some of the troops who will soon head south as they go through training.

In Wednesday’s Capital Tonight, we shared more details on what the troop rollout will look like and whether the call for volunteers has been met. Plus, we checked in on the final day of the latest hearing over the state’s abortion law.

IN-DISTRICT INTERVIEW

When it comes to the Congressional response to the border situation, the end result is still up in the air. Congressman John Carter joined us to explain his role in getting the House to react before lawmakers headed home for break.

AIR WARS CONTINUE

Greg Abbott is fighting back in the governor’s race with an attack ad of his own, after Wendy Davis kicked off her television ad campaign criticizing Abbott for a ruling he made as a member of the Texas Supreme Court. The Quorum Report’s Harvey Kronberg joined us to analyze that and more.

Capital Tonight: Budget Team Finds Footing under New Leadership

The state’s top budget writers gaveled in under the leadership of Sen. Jane Nelson for the first time Tuesday. We looked at how Sen. Nelson is tackling her role as the Finance Committee’s first female chair.

Plus, we looked at the Texas Attorney General’s office’s petition against a proposed EPA regulation. The Environmental Protection Agency says it wants to clarify language in the law to protect any water that flows into larger bodies downstream. But the AG’s office says the new language would give too much power to federal authorities.

CAPITAL COMMENTATORS

The newly formed PAC supporting Rick Perry is already out with a video ad. Our capital commentators, Harold Cook and Ted Delisi, weighed in on the governor’s political strategy as an undeclared candidate.

CHEMICAL DISCLOSURE

The state’s policy on the disclosure of dangerous chemicals may have faded as a political issue, but one environmental group says it should still be a concern. The executive director for the Texas League of Conservation Voters, David Weinberg, joined us to explain why.

Capital Tonight: Rep. Martinez Fischer Explains Committee’s Censure of UT Regent

A House panel has voted to give a University of Texas System regent a public reprimand and a warning. The House transparency committee that has been investigating UT Regent Wallace Hall for more than a year says the move sends a strong statement that his behavior crossed a line, but committee members say they’re choosing not to pursue an impeachment process at this time.

In Monday’s Capital Tonight, we heard how Regent Wallace Hall himself is responding. Plus, committee member Trey Martinez Fischer explained what the decision means for the UT System as a whole.

BATTLE OVER MAPS

While the political cost of the state’s redistricting court case won’t be known for some time, we now have a clearer picture of the monetary cost. Following a Public Information Act request by the San Antonio Express-News, we now know that it’s cost Texas $3.9 million thus far to defend redistricting maps. And that figure will only go higher as the second phase of the case begins in a federal courtroom in San Antonio.

We spoke to redistricting expert Michael Li about the newest court battle, and why it involves a set of older maps.

PISTOLS AND PILSNER

The public is weighing in on a controversial proposal to allow alcohol sales at gun shows.
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is considering a change in its rules after a gun club in the Dallas area reached out to the agency asking for permission to serve alcohol at its events. We checked in with TABC officials to find out where the proposal stands.

Capital Tonight: Is Going Negative a Good Strategy for Davis?

The Wendy Davis campaign has come out swinging with its first statewide TV ad, attacking Greg Abbott for his decision in a 1998 case during his time as a Texas Supreme Court Justice. Meanwhile, the Abbott team is taking a friendlier approach, focusing on the candidate’s family and history instead.

In Friday’s Capital Tonight, we looked at both strategies to see why going negative might work.

REPORTER ROUNDTABLE

The Texas delegation in Congress is back in-district and defending their response to the border situation. We heard from House members on both sides of the aisle. Plus, Bob Garrett of The Dallas Morning News, Mike Ward of the Houston Chronicle and Texas Monthly’s Erica Grieder joined us to weigh in on that story and more. 

 

CHECKING THE FACTS

Gardner Selby of PolitiFact Texas and the Austin American-Statesman joined us to break down two claims, including one from Gov. Perry on border-crossings and the threat of terrorism. 

Davis Team’s First Statewide Ad Attacks Abbott over 1998 Decision

The Wendy Davis team has revealed its first statewide TV ad, an attack on Gregg Abbott over his ruling in a 1998 case involving a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman and the accusation of rape.

Entitled “A Texas Story,” the 60-second ad refers to a 1993 case in which a woman accused a door-to-door Kirby vacuum cleaner salesman of raping her in her own home. The salesman was not prosecuted for the crime, but the case went before the Texas Supreme Court after the woman sued the Kirby company for punitive damages, claiming that a simple background check would have shown the man’s criminal history and prevented the sexual assault.

The court ruled in 6-3 favor of the woman, with then-Justice Abbott joining in the dissenting side. In their dissenting opinion, Abbott and Justice Priscilla Owen said Kirby “owed no duty” to the victim under the circumstances of the case.

You can watch the full ad below.

Battleground Texas Releases First Campaign Video

The first skirmish in the fight to turn Texas blue will take place in Irving, Texas.

That’s the home of House District 105, and it’s where Battleground Texas has chosen to invest in its first campaign video since forming in 2013. The ad features Democratic candidate Susan Motley, a lawyer and mother of four with no previous political experience. The Battleground Texas team is describing the two-and-a-half-minute web ad as just the first in a series of “Blue Star campaigns,” meant to “harness grassroots energy and campaign infrastructure to help make races down the ballot more competitive.”

The seat Motley is running for was previously held by Republican Rep. Linda Harper Brown, who lost her party’s primary to former state representative Rodney Anderson. In the last reporting period, Motley out-raised Anderson by roughly $1,600, although a tough primary race left Motley with just $29,000 in the bank compared to Anderson’s $53,000. The district, which encompasses Irving and Grand Prairie, has been historically Republican, although a Democrat held the seat as recently as 2000.

You can watch the full web ad below.

Capital Tonight: Congressman Doggett Reacts to Border Situation

The state of Texas is making its legal case in defense of new requirements for abortion facilities set to be implemented next month.

In Wednesday’s Capital Tonight, we checked in on day three of the newest fight over a controversial law that could see all but seven of the state’s abortion clinics close.

IN-DISTRICT INTERVIEW

Congressman Lloyd Doggett isn’t holding back his opinion when it comes to the governor’s decision to send troops to the border, calling it “Operation Iowa Caucuses.” He joined us for a one-on-one interview on that topic and more.

SENATE SEAT WIN

Sen. Tommy Williams’ Senate seat now has a new occupant, which means an influential political group takes a loss. The Quorum Report‘s Harvey Kronberg joined us to explain why.

Capital Tonight: One-on-One with Sen. Dan Patrick

The state’s abortion law was back in court Monday, along with much of the controversy that surrounded its passage.

In Monday’s Capital Tonight, we checked in on day one of a new legal battle over a part of the law that’s taking effect soon.

CANDIDATE CONVERSATION

From abortion law to border issues, Sen. Dan Patrick has been a key figure in many of the latest political debates. He joined us for a one-on-one interview for the first time since his primary win for lieutenant governor.

ON THE AGENDA

Gov. Rick Perry is lending his name to a new political action committee, adding more fuel to speculation about his 2016 plans. The Quorum Report‘s Harvey Kronberg joined us to discuss that and more.

Capital Tonight: Legal Stances Set in Second Battle Over Abortion Law

Another part of the state’s abortion law will soon be on trial, nearly a month before it’s set to go into effect. On Monday, opponents of House Bill 2 will be back in court, challenging the state’s requirement that abortion facilities meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers.

In Friday’s Capital Tonight, we looked at the case they’re planning to make, just days after a clinic in Austin shuts its doors.

REPORTER ROUNDTABLE

From the border issue to the state’s same-sex marriage ban, Texas politics have generated plenty of headlines this week. We sat down with Ross Ramsey of the Texas Tribune and KUT’s Veronica Zaragovia to delve deeper into those stories and more.

CAMPAIGN FACTS
Plus, Gardner Selby joined us to put two claims to the PolitiFact truth-test — both involving statewide candidates. 

Austin Abortion Clinic Closes Doors

An Austin abortion clinic and women’s health center is closing its doors, citing a controversial abortion law passed last session as the reason.

That’s according to a spokeswoman for Whole Woman’s Health in North Austin. The clinic provides surgical and medical abortions, along with annual exams, birth control and family counseling. The clinic is one of more than 20 that have closed since a package of abortion restrictions passed last session.

Known as House Bill 2, the law requires abortion doctors to have admitting privileges to nearby hospitals and restricts the way abortion-inducing drugs can be administered. But it’s another requirement set to go into effect in September that could cause all but six of the state’s clinics to close. That provision requires all clinics to meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers, and it’s the reason Whole Women’s Health in Austin says they’re shutting down.

This all happens just days before Whole Women’s Health and other abortion providers are going to trial over the surgical center requirement.

Opponents of the law say it places an undue burden on women by making abortion services harder to find. Supporters say it’s meant to increase the safety of the procedure.