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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



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





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



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


Daily Digest: Oct. 30

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:


Mueller Investigation:

It was a one-two punch in the nation’s capital Monday. President Trump’s former campaign manager was arrested and charged with conspiracy — while it was also revealed that a former White House policy advisor pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during its Russia probe.

Our Washington bureau reporter Alberto Pimienta will have the latest details at 7 in the investigation that has the political world wondering who could be targeted next by independent counsel Bob Mueller.


Texas Lawmakers React Cautiously:

Sen. John Cornyn responded to reporters questions following a GOP press conference:

“I believe that the investigations into the Russia active measures involving the election are continuing at pace both in the judiciary committee by Chairman Grassley and the ranking member, Feinstein, as well as the Senate intelligence committee.  I don’t see how the indictment changes the presidents ability to do his job. There is a process for this to go forward and I trust that it will happen.”

Rep. Joaquin Castro sent out a statement:

“George Papadopoulos’ plea and Paul Manafort’s and Rick Gates’ indictments are significant developments in Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation and shine further light on the disturbing contacts high-level Trump campaign officials had with Russians. Evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian agents continues to mount. Mr. Mueller must be able to continue his thorough and impartial probe without interference or obstruction by the White House.

“The House Committee’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election will also continue to move forward. We will follow the facts wherever they lead to determine the full extent of the attack and to prevent future attempts to disrupt our democracy.”


Judge Blocks Enforcement of Trump’s Transgender Military Ban:

A federal court is barring President Trump from changing the government’s policy on transgender troops.

In August, the President said he planned to reverse course on a 2016 policy that allowed service members to serve openly as transgender individuals.

He also said he would return to the policy in place before June 2016 that said troops could be discharged for being transgender.

But Monday, a US District Judge said transgender members of the military who had sued over the policy change were likely to win their lawsuit and barred the Trump administration from reversing course.

Recruitment of transgender troops is still delayed until January 1 under an order previously issued by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.


Obamacare Open Enrollment:

Multiple efforts by Congressional Republicans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act have failed over the past few months.

But with open enrollment just around the corner, the ACA, also known as Obamacare, still faces turmoil. The Trump administration recently slashed the amount of money available for public information about the ACA and there’s less time this year for enrollment. Premiums are also on the rise.

Still, some are pushing for people to do their homework and get on board.

Monday Congressman Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, and social services coordinators with Foundation Communities joined up to get the word out about open enrollment, which runs from November 1 through December 15.

Even with premiums rising, they say people with low and middle incomes may still qualify for federal subsidies, which can offset the extra costs.

But the biggest message they wanted to get across is simply that Obamacare isn’t dead.

“Nothing that has happened in Washington, none of the Tweets, none of the political static, none of that impedes directly your ability to make an informed choice this year and choose what’s best for your family,” Doggett said.

But Republican attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare likely aren’t finished. Coming up at 7, hear from a conservative policy expert about what sort of new efforts could be on the horizon.


On the Agenda:

The Quorum Report’s Harvey Kronberg is in at 7 to discuss Texas House Speaker Joe Straus’ decision not to seek re-election. Hear Harvey’s take on what it could mean for state politics and why he says the calls to have the Republican caucus elect the next Speaker are “absurd.”


Capital Tonight airs weeknights at 7 on Spectrum News.


Speaker Straus won’t seek re-election, doesn’t rule out higher office

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, may not be seeking re-election, but the five time leader of the lower chamber would not rule out running for governor or another higher office during a press conference Wednesday morning.

“I’m not one to close doors,” Straus told reporters in his office shortly after making the surprise announcement that he would not run again. “People suggest on a daily basis that I run for another office.”

But on multiple occasions, Straus said he would probably not do it in 2018.

Straus’ announcement not to seek reelection was made on his Facebook page and in an email to supporters. The powerful moderate voice in the country’s largest conservative state said he came to the decision with his family.

“I believe that in a representative democracy, those who serve in public office should do so for a time, not for a lifetime,” Straus wrote. “And so I want you to know that my family and I have decided that I will not run for re-election next year. My time as a state representative and as speaker will end at the conclusion of my current term.”

Straus’ current term expires in December 2018.

Straus has clashed with hardline conservatives in recent years. He opposed many of the top priorities championed by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. Straus’ chamber was instrumental in stopping the “bathroom bill” from passing this past legislative session, often referring to it as a ‘solution in search of a problem.’

“I’ve tried to lead in an unconventional way in today’s divided politics,” Straus said Wednesday morning.

His announcement has the potential to set the political balance of power in the state into a whirlwind as the House searches for a new Speaker.

Straus’ decision prompted plenty of responses from both sides and a quick announcement from Rep. John Zerwas, R-Richmond, who said he’s now seeking the position.

Zerwas is a Straus ally and chair of the House budget writing committee.

“I appreciate the respectful, pragmatic leadership Speaker Straus has demonstrated the last five sessions, and will offer members leadership that allows them to represent their districts and the values of their constituents,” Zerwas said in a statement.

Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, has already announced he is running for the position.

Straus said he will stay out of the race to replace him.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate for people who aren’t members in the Legislature in the next session to really register an opinion on that,” he said.


Posted by Karina Kling



Daily Digest: Oct. 23

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:


Niger Latest:

The top US General says the American people, including the families of the four fallen soldiers in Niger, deserve answers about this month’s deadly ambush.

General Joseph Dunford called the situation surrounding their deaths “complex” and a “difficult firefight.” It comes as Congress is calling for better communication.


Texas Erects First Gold Star Family Memorial:

The death of these soldiers has brought renewed attention to the pain experienced by Gold Star families.

One Central Texas city has become the first in the state to build a monument in their honor. We take you there at 7.


Prosecutors Drop All Charges Against Rep. Dukes:

After a months-long legal saga, prosecutors are dropping all charges against Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin.

The Travis County District Attorney said Monday that the case should not have been pursued, and that it unraveled over conflicting witness statements about whether Dukes improperly sought travel reimbursements.

Dukes was accused of misspending campaign funds and directing her legislative staff to work on non-official business.

Prosecutors say Dukes has repaid the state about $1300 in salary for the staffer who ran personal errands and restored $5000 in campaign funds.

Dukes’ attorneys released a statement saying in part “Dukes could have resigned to avoid these charges but had the courage to fight for the truth. The State’s dismissal says it all — we would have won all three trials.”


Immigrant Teen Seeking Abortion Asks Court to Reconsider:

Attorneys for a pregnant teen being held in a Texas immigration facility are asking a federal appeals court to reconsider its decision.

On Friday, the appeals court ruled the government should be given more time to try to release the teen to a so-called sponsor so that she can obtain the abortion outside of government custody.

But lawyers for the 17-year-old are now asking for another hearing before all the judges on the court.

The government has since asked the court to deny the re-hearing.


Poll: Most Texas Voters Think DACA Should be Extended:

As Congress continues to debate what to do with thousands of so-called DREAMERS, new poll results show most Texas voters want to extend Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

The program provides deportation protections for some 124,000 Texans who arrived as children and remained in the country illegally.

Jim Henson, co-director of the University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll and director of the Texas Politics Project at UT-Austin, joins us to break down the numbers on DACA and several other hot button issues.


On the Agenda:

The Quorum Report’s Harvey Kronberg is in at 7 to discuss Republican vs. Democratic fundraising numbers and who should be concerned. He also weighs in on a new PAC that’s working to ‘recruit and support her Texas House leaders.’


Capital Tonight airs weeknights at 7 on Spectrum News. It re-airs at 11pm.


Posted by Karina Kling



Daily Digest: Oct. 20

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:


Sessions Touts Trump’s Tough Immigration Priorities During Texas Stop:

Two law enforcement leaders on opposite sides of the immigration debate found themselves in the same room today.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions came to Austin to tout President Trump’s strict immigration policies. And invited to hear what he had to say — Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez.

The sheriff has been at the center of the so-called sanctuary cities debate after she defied federal immigration officials.

Join us at 7 for the latest on Sessions’ speech and Hernandez’s response.


Federal Appeals Court Temporarily Blocks Immigrant Teen Abortion:

A federal appeals court has blocked an immigrant teen from getting an abortion, for now.

The unnamed 17-year-old is being held in a Texas facility for unaccompanied immigrant children.

A US appeals court heard tense testimony from both sides Friday. Hours later, the panel ruled that the government should have until the end of the month to release the teenager to an adult sponsor.

If released to a sponsor, she could obtain the procedure.

The teen has already received a state court order allowing her to have the abortion…but her legal team says federal officials refuse to release her so she can get the procedure.

A lower court had ruled for the teen earlier this week but the government appealed.


Texas to Receive Millions More in Federal Housing Funds:

Texas is getting more money to help with Harvey clean-up.

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Friday it’s allocating nearly $58 million in additional funds for clearing housing from Harvey-affected areas.

A HUD official says the funds could be used to help buy out homeowners living in 100-year flood zones and help others rebuild.

HUD is hoping Texas can begin to meet unmet housing needs in 13 Harvey-affected counties by mid-December.

To do that, the state’s plans must pass a citizen review before being submitted for HUD approval.

The agency says it’s still trying to decide where to spend another $7.4 billion Congress approved in September.


Reporter Roundtable:

On our reporter roundtable this week, Lauren McGaughy of the Dallas Morning News, Andrea Zelinski with the Houston Chronicle and Ross Ramsey of the Texas Tribune. Hear their take on Sessions’ Texas trip and we discuss the latest on Sen. John Cornyn’s push for more federal funding for Harvey relief efforts.


PolitiFact Texas:

Gardner Selby of PolitiFact Texas is in to put two claims to the truth-o-meter. Find out whether one in ten babies born in this country is born in Texas. Plus, is there really a law in Texas that says it’s illegal to own more than six dildos?


Capital Tonight airs weeknights at 7 on Spectrum News.


Posted by Karina Kling



Daily Digest: Oct. 19

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:


White Supremacist Speech Causes State of Emergency:

It’s been about two months since Texas A&M University canceled a white nationalist rally planned for the College Station campus. But today, the man A&M officials turned away, took the stage at the University of Florida.

White Supremacist Richard Spencer was greeted with plenty of protesters. The event even prompted Florida’s Governor to preemptively declare a state of emergency.

At 7 — why university leaders decided to let the rally happen.


George W. Bush Calls White Supremacy “Blasphemy” Against the American Creed:

Former President George W. Bush is calling on the nation to stand against “bigotry” and “white supremacy.” Bush spoke in New York this morning at the George W. Bush Institute.

He didn’t mention President Trump by name, but criticized a political system he says opposes globalization and is vulnerable to conspiracy theories and lies. He also took aim at those wishing to break the nation’s identity.

“Our identity as a nation, unlike many other nations, is not determined by geography or ethnicity, by soil or blood,” Bush said. “We become the heirs of Martin Luther King Jr. by recognizing one another not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. This means that people of every race, religion, ethnicity can be fully and equally American. It means that bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed.”

The 43rd president also condemned what he called the bullying tactics of U-S leaders saying “the only way to pass along civic values is to live up to them.”


Georgetown Confederate Compromise?:

As white supremacists have grown more emboldened, they’ve used Confederate monuments and symbolism to bolster their cause.

It’s resulted in the removal of Confederate monuments from many public spaces and has sparked a national dialogue about their place in America.

Now, another Confederate monument in Texas has found itself in the spotlight. It’s in Georgetown, right in front of the Williamson County Courthouse.

Erected in 1916 by the Daughters of the Confederacy, it features a confederate soldier hoisted high in the air. And while many statues like these are being removed nationwide, two faith leaders in Georgetown are proposing a unique solution. Our Max Gorden has their story tonight at 7.


Cornyn: Texas Will Get More Harvey Relief Aid:

Texas’ senior senator said President Trump has agreed to send more money to Texans hit hard by hurricane Harvey. We’ll have more on this developing story.

Plus President Trump and Governor Greg Abbott get high marks for their response to the Texas storm. Jim Henson with the Texas Politics Project at UT Austin joins us to break down new poll results.


Court Temporarily Halts Abortion for Immigrant Teen in Texas:

An appeals court has temporarily blocked a judge’s ruling that would have allowed an immigrant teen to get an abortion.

The unnamed 17-year-old is being held in a Texas facility for unaccompanied immigrant children. Thursday, the US Court of Appeals agreed to consider the Trump administration’s request to halt a lower court ruling in favor of the pregnant teen. A hearing is now scheduled for Friday morning.

The teen has already received a state court order allowing her to have the abortion, but her legal team says federal officials refuse to release her so she can get the procedure.

Blake Rocap is an attorney with Jane’s Due Process, a nonprofit that provides legal representation for pregnant minors in Texas. He joins us at 7 to discuss the case.


Capital Tonight airs weeknights at 7 on Spectrum News.


Posted by Karina Kling






Daily Digest: Oct. 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:


NTSB: Balloon crash pilot was as impaired as a drunk driver:

Investigators say the Texas pilot involved in the deadliest balloon crash in US history had enough Benadryl in his system to have the equivalent blood-alcohol level of a drunken driver.

During a hearing in Washington Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board revealed its findings about the July 2016 crash in Lockhart that killed all 16 people aboard.

The findings have some lawmakers calling for tighter requirements for balloon pilots.

And one proposal might have prevented pilot Alfred “Skip” Nichols from taking flight.

Nichols had at least four convictions for drunken driving and twice spent time in prison.

Medical experts have said Nichols should have been grounded because of medical ailments and drug use.

But unlike fixed-wing commercial pilots, commercial balloon pilots aren’t currently required to have a medical certificate okaying them to fly.

Texas Congressman Lloyd Doggett wants to change that.

“We need to assure that no one’s flying a balloon that does not have the same medical certificate as an aircraft pilot. This accident should never have happened,” Doggett, D-Austin, said.

Doggett currently has a pending amendment to FAA legislation that would require medical certificates for commercial balloon operators. He said the FAA could implement the rule without action from Congress.

Coming up on Capital Tonight at 7, hear from a former hot air balloon pilot about his experiences in the sky and what he said should be done moving forward.


North Korea: ‘Nuclear war may break out at any moment’:

North Korea’s deputy U.N. ambassador warned Monday that the situation on the Korean peninsula “has reached the touch-and-go point and a nuclear war may break out any moment.” We’ll have the latest on the threats and Andrew Peek with the Clements Center for National Security at UT-Austin joins us to discuss the growing tensions.


Bipartisan Health Care Deal:

(AP) President Donald Trump is expressing support for an agreement struck by two leading lawmakers to extend federal payments to health insurers.

Trump spoke at a news conference in the Rose Garden Tuesday with the Greek Prime Minister. He commented after Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee told reporters that he and a top Democrat have reached an agreement on a plan to extend the federal payments that Trump has blocked.

Trump says the White House has been involved in what he calls a “short-term deal.” He said he still thinks a system where funding is given to states through federal block grants is the best long-term plan.


Business Leader Discusses New House Panel:

“It’s time to reassert that Texas is fully committed to private sector growth.”

That’s what Texas House Speaker Joe Straus told the Austin Chamber last week — where he announced a new panel to study business competitiveness.

Straus says he’s seeking to restore the state’s strong relationship with the business community after the fight over the so-called bathroom bill.

We sit down with Justin Yancy, President of the Texas Business Leadership Council, to talk about the importance of such a committee and where he thinks the state’s commitment to the business sector currently stands.


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


Posted by Karina Kling