Greg Burnam

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Posts by Greg Burnam

Capital Tonight: Senate stalls on education bill

Reporter Roundtable

A much anticipated vote on the Senate floor failed to happen, Friday. Texas Senators say they need more time before moving forward with House Bill 5, which calls for flexibility in the state’s education standards and would cut back on the number of tests required to graduate high school.

Becca Aaronson from the Texas Tribune, Bob Garrett with the Dallas Morning News, and Ben Philpott with sat down with Paul Brown to discuss that, along with more of the week’s political news.

Working Together

Democratic Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer sat down with Paul Brown to discuss recent stirrings in the Capitol on water and education. Fischer talked about the budget shortfalls from last session and how those can be restored this session.

Capital Tonight: Water, guns and education

Planning for Growth

The need to fund water infrastructure has been at the forefront of the legislative session this year, especially with the growing population in Texas. A plan to draw out $2 billion from the Rainy Day Fund failed to pass Monday, but Gov. Perry said lawmakers can expect to be in session until they find a resolution.

A bill passed out of committee Tuesday that would allow students to store their licensed concealed handgun in their vehicle on campus. Lawmakers said they want to give students the same rights that others have.

Standardized Testing

The house voted Tuesday to make changes to standardized tests for fourth and seventh grades. The changes include removing the standardized writing test and limiting the time needed to take the required tests.

Texans Advocating for Meaningful Student Assessment is one of the grass roots groups supporting the changes. Joanne Salazar joined Paul Brown to discuss their campaign and the changes they hope to bring about.

Capital Commentators

Harold Cook and Steve Munisteri sat down with Paul Brown to discuss the day’s political news, including the Rainy Day Fund and Battleground Texas.

The Transparency Committee is continuing its look into CPRIT, and a bill that will make changes to the embattled agency is headed to the House.

Capital Tonight: Week In Review

Reporter Roundtable

Paul Brown sat down with Reeve Hamilton from the Texas Tribune, Ryan Poppe from Texas Public Radio and Christy Hoppe from the Dallas Morning News to recap the weeks events in the Capitol, including the Lottery Commission and the Rainy Day Fund.


Helping Women Worldwide

Paul Brown spoke to Charity Wallace earlier this week at the Bush Library dedication.
Wallace serves as the director of the Women’s Initiative at the Bush Institute and was Chief of Staff for First Lady Laura Bush.


Capital Tonight: Lottery commission survives after surprise vote

Dramatic Do-Over

A routine vote giving the Texas Lottery Commission the green light to run for another 12 years took an unexpected turn Tuesday. House lawmakers voted 82-64 to defeat the bill that would have reauthorized it. Less than two hours later, the bill was reconsidered and it passed on to third reading.

Funding Education

Rep. Harold Dutton was on the floor for the dramatic lottery discussion. He sat down with Karina Kling to discuss that, as well as a bill to increase the number of charter schools being considered in his committee.

Capital Commentators

Harold Cook and Ted Delisi discussed the big events coming out of the Capitol, including public education and infrastructure. Click the logo below to watch the full episode.

Capital Tonight : Appraising the Devastation

Lawmakers visit Accident Site

U.S. senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz visited West today to see the devastation.

Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples joined Karina Kling to discuss the scene he witnessed passing through West shortly after the explosion. Staples also discussed the setback to agriculture the explosion is likely to have on food production.

Senate District 22

(R) Sen. Brian Birdwell joined Karina Kling from West, Texas. Birdwell discussed the damage he witnessed in West and how the local leadership is handling the situation.

Reporter Roundtable

Scott Braddock with the Quorum Report, Christy Hoppe from the Dallas Morning News and Jay Root with The Texas Tribune joined Karina Kling to discuss the events in politics this week.


Capital Tonight: Revisiting vouchers, CPRIT and more

School Vouchers

Republicans and Democrats sparred once again over school vouchers Tuesday — including whether or not a newly proposed law counted as a voucher at all.

A bill filed by Sen. Dan Patrick would partially pay for private school tuition through scholarships funded by tax-exempt donations. The bill has the support of Democratic Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., but Sen. Wendy Davis expressed skepticism.

Another hearing Tuesday looked into oversight of the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas. CPRIT has been under fire since last year, with questions of grant-rigging and even a criminal investigation. Trust, transparency and accountability were at the top of the committee’s list Tuesday.

Equal Under the Law

A bill extending the Romeo and Juliet provision passed out of a Senate committee Tuesday. It would extend the Romeo and Juliet defense to same-sex couples over the age of 14.

Earlier in the day, 600 women visited the Capitol hoping to turn it blue for the day. Blue Ribbon Lobby Day organizers are pushing lawmakers to say yes to Medicaid expansion, restoring public education cuts and returning Planned Parenthood to the Women’s Health Program.

Capital Commentators

Harold Cook and Ted Delisi sat down with Paul Brown to discuss the day’s political news, including school choice bills, CPRIT and new border security legislation filed by Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. Michael McCaul.

Capital Tonight: Cancer foundation to close

The CPRIT foundation announced Tuesday they will shutter their doors in 60 days. This comes after they announced last month they would be changing their name to the Texas Cancer Coalition. The institute itself is not shutting down, just the fundraising organization.

A hit-and-run bill is moving forward through the Legislature. Written by Sen. Kirk Watson and Sen. Wendy Davis, Senate Bill 275 changes leaving the scene of an accident from a third-degree felony to a second-degree felony.


Kyle Wargo, a CSCOPE governing board member, sat down with Paul Brown. The online curriculum management tool is used by 70 percent of Texas schools.

Capital Commentators

Harold Cook and Ted Delisi sat down with Paul Brown to discuss the CPRIT Foundation’s announcement Tuesday. They also discussed Medicaid expansion in Texas.

Capital Tonight: The Week in Review

Reporter Roundtable

Christy Hoppe from The Dallas Morning News, Scott Braddock of the Quorum Report and Jay Root of The Texas Tribune sat down with Paul Brown to discuss this week’s events in politics, including recently passed education legislation. They also talked about the Texas Faith and Family rally and the need for water legislation this session.

Fact checking Sen. Ted Cruz

Gardner Selby from PolitiFactTexas discussed Sen. Cruz’s statements at CPAC this week.


Capital Tonight: Changing social climate

Social Issues

The United States Supreme Court is addressing same-sex marriage this week, and YNN’s Michael Scotto has the update from Washington, DC.

Also Tuesday, Texas Faith & Family Day was held at the Capitol. Among the topics discussed at the rally were same-sex marriage and pro-life policies.

Education Overhaul

The House passed House Bill 5 Tuesday night with 145 to 2 vote. House Bill 5 adds options for high school students who may not go on to college after graduation. The bill allows students to graduate without taking Algebra II or other advanced math and science classes. It also changes the number of standardized tests from 15 to 5.


Paul Brown sat down with Harold Cook and Ted Delisi to discuss the political climate for changing social issues in Texas. Education was a big topic for the Capital Commentators.
They also discussed the change in support for same-sex marriage.


Paul Brown sat down with immigration lawyer Paul Parsons. They discussed the issues those facing immigration face.

Capital Tonight: Political family legacy

In his first speech since announcing his candidacy for Texas Land Commissioner, George P. Bush played it safe, touting Texas exceptionalism and support for military veterans, among other topics.

Reporter Roundtable

Emily Ramshaw from the Texas Tribune, Scott Braddock of the Quorum Report, and Colin Pope from the Austin Business Journal sat down to discuss this week’s events in politics, including Gov. Rick Perry’s discussion with the Shark Tank about his intentions to run for governor.

Federal Funds

Democratic Rep. Elliott Naishtat sat down with Paul Brown to give an update on the possibility of Medicaid expansion in Texas. Naishtat also discussed a bill to extend health benefits to domestic partners at state university.