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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




Daily Digest: Oct. 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:


Trump, McConnell Pledge Unity:

In a wide-ranging press conference at the White House Monday, President Donald Trump said he and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are “closer than ever before.” Trump said McConnell has been a “friend of mine for a long time” and that they are “fighting for the same thing.”

Trump also said Republicans are close on health care legislation and that they are working together on a tax overhaul.

We’ll have a breakdown of the expansive press conference at 7.


Tillerson on North Korea:

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson supports diplomatic efforts with North Korea and said the President agrees and is not seeking to go to war.

But Tillerson mentioned one exception in an interview on CNN’s State of the Union.

“He has made it clear to me to continue my diplomatic efforts, which we are and we will — as I’ve told others, those diplomatic efforts will continue until the first bomb drops,” Tillerson said.

President Trump said weeks ago that Tillerson was “wasting his time” trying to negotiate with North Korea.

The President also threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea as it continues efforts to develop nuclear capabilities.

Tillerson said the President’s initial comments were only to “motivate action.”


Judge Says Abbott Wrong to Remove Mock Nativity:

(AP) A federal judge has ruled that Gov. Greg Abbott engaged in improper censorship when he ordered a mock Nativity scene be removed from the Capitol in 2015.

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks ruled late Friday that Abbott violated the First Amendment’s free-speech guarantee.

The Austin American-Statesman reports that Sparks also said the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation can seek to depose Abbott about his motives for removing the exhibit.

The foundation sued Abbott last year over the removal of the display, which showed Benjamin Franklin, the Statue of Liberty, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington peering down at the Bill of Rights in a manger.

Abbott called it a spiteful message of “tasteless sarcasm.”

The State Preservation Board had approved the display, which was set up in the Capitol’s basement rotunda a week before Christmas.


Dallas Businessman Discusses Why He’s Running for Texas Governor:

Texas Democrats continue to insist they’ll soon have a viable Democratic gubernatorial candidate. But there are already a number of challengers lining up to take on Republican incumbent Governor Greg Abbott.

Jeffrey Payne is a Dallas-based businessman who owns a gay leather bar and four other businesses including a court reporting firm. He doesn’t have a background in politics but told our Karina Kling during an afternoon interview Monday that the state needs someone with leadership skills that knows how to run a business.

He also said the main reason he got into the race was conservative Republicans pushing the so-called bathroom bill that would regulate where transgender Texans can use the restroom.

“We are wasting yet more time and energy on a bathroom bill. At the end of the day it was an issue that was created that wasn’t an issue,” Payne said.

Payne said he does understand Democrats’ predicament but called himself a viable candidate.

“I am outside the box. But that box hasn’t worked in 24 years so maybe it’s time to look outside the box,” Payne said.

Payne’s put in $2.5 million of his own money to his campaign and said donations are starting to come in.

Watch the full interview tonight at 7.


On the Agenda:

The Quorum Report’s Harvey Kronberg is in with his analysis of the race for governor, Speaker Joe Straus’ new business committee and the ongoing battle over remaking the Alamo.


Capital Tonight airs weeknights at 7 on Spectrum News.


Posted by Karina Kling




Daily Digest: Oct. 12

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:


Trump Signs Order on Health Care:

President Trump has taken the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare into his own hands.

With a swipe of his pen, the president signed an executive order today to start the process of dismantling the health care legislation.

It was one of his central campaign promises — but attempts to ditch Obamacare have fallen short in Congress.

We’ll have the latest on the order and Jamie Dudensing, CEO of the Texas Association of Health Plans, joins us in studio to discuss what it could mean for Texans.


Straus Launches Committee to Study Economic Competitiveness:

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus is calling on the business community to ‘not back down.’

In a speech to the Austin Chamber today, the San Antonio Republican says he hopes the recent fight over the so-called “bathroom bill” can be a clear turning point for both Texas and his party.

The failed legislation would have regulated where transgender Texans could use the restroom.

It was a priority of Lt. Governor Dan Patrick but received widespread business backlash.

Now, Straus is putting together a new committee to make sure Texas can continue to entice new companies.

“We can’t just assume that jobs are destined to come to Texas if we continue to spend so much time talking about bathroom bills or whatever wedge issue gets manufactured next,” Straus said.

Straus said the committee will look at factors that draw businesses to the state — including education and infrastructure. He’s given the panel a December 12th deadline to reports its findings.


Schools Ask Lawmakers for Help with Harvey Recovery Costs:

Texas may be on the mend following Hurricane Harvey. But the massive price tag for the disaster continues to come into focus.

That’s especially evident for Texas public schools, many of which suffered heavy damage during the storm.

From flooded classrooms to roofs that were ripped away, some schools suffered catastrophic damage. Others assisted in sheltering refugees.

They’re now faced with millions in storm costs and lawmakers are trying to figure out how the state will pay for it. We dive into the details at 7.


US House Passes $36.5 Billion in Disaster Relief:

The US House has passed a crucial disaster relief package totaling 36.5 billion dollars.

The bill combines 18.7 billion for FEMA disaster relief with 16 billion to permit the financially troubled federal flood insurance program pay an influx of Harvey-related claims.

The bill did not include the nearly 19 billion dollars in funding Gov. Abbott and the Texas Congressional delegation requested specifically for Gulf Coast victims in Texas.

But leaders have promised more aid for Texas in the coming weeks.

The aid package passed today also includes five billion to help keep Puerto Rico’s government functioning following Hurricane Maria.

An additional 577 million would also pay for firefighting efforts on the west coast.

The Senate is set to vote on the bill next week.



Daily Digest: Oct. 11

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:


Judge Won’t Order Officials to Allow Abortion:

It’s a blow to abortion rights activists. A judge won’t order federal immigration officials to allow a pregnant undocumented immigrant teen to get an abortion.

The case has raised the issue over whether undocumented immigrants have the constitutional right to get the procedure in the U.S.

The judge did say she doesn’t understand why federal officials won’t allow the teen to get an abortion. But says the case was being heard in the wrong court, which is why she issued the ruling.

Now — the issue of whether or not abortions for undocumented immigrants is constitutionally protected is still up for debate. We’ll have the latest on the legal battle at 7.


Cornyn, Cruz Try to Woo Amazon:

Texas’ two senators are urging Amazon to call the Lone Star State home for its proposed second headquarters. Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz sent Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos a letter today saying in part quote:

“Everything is bigger in Texas and that includes our economy, our skilled workforce and our quality of life.”

Cornyn and Cruz go on to tout Texas’ workforce and limited government. They add San Antonio, Austin and Houston are among the fastest growing US cities and each are becoming well-known global hubs for technology.

Amazon put mid-to-large-size cities on notice in September when it launched a search for a city to host a second headquarters.

The company has promised it would create 50-thousand jobs that would pay on average of 100-thousand dollars per year.

The deadline for cities to submit their pitch to Amazon is October 19th.

Colin Pope of the Austin Business Journal joins us at 7 to discuss the state’s chances of getting the headquarters.


Cruz vs. O’Rourke:

Texas’ junior senator has out-raised his democratic rival in the latest fundraising round.

Sen. Ted Cruz brought in more than 2 million dollars for his re-election campaign…and its allied groups, his team announced today.

His opponent — Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke — raised 1.7 million for latest the three-month period.

Earlier this year — O’Rourke outraised Cruz — giving the challenger a boost of momentum as he got his campaign off the ground.

Cruz still has about a 3.5 million dollar cash-on-hand advantage over O’Rourke.

Ed Espinoza with Progress Texas and Matt Mackowiak with the Travis County Republican Party join us at 7 to talk 2018.


Watch for these stories and more at 7 on Capital Tonight.


Capital Tonight airs weeknights at 7 on Spectrum News.



Daily Digest: Oct. 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:


Clean Power Plan Repeal:

The move away from the Clean Power Plan could mean a second chance for coal. Tuesday, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency repealed the Obama-era plan that aimed to reduce emissions at existing US power plants.

It comes on the heels of a Texas coal-fired power plant announcing it will be shutting down.

Energy experts say they don’t believe this will change the fate of that plant.

They say it was only being run a few weeks out of the year and was beginning to age.

It marks a similar trend as coal-fired power plants across Texas and the US face an uncertain future, even with the repeal of the Clean Power Plan.

At 7, hear the Texas take on the issue with views from all sides — Texas Public Policy Foundation, Environment Texas, Austin Energy and the UT Energy Institute.


Texas Tech Shooting Update:

Texas Tech University has identified the police officer shot and killed by a student last night. Officer Floyd East, Jr. had been with the University Police since 2014.

Authorities say the suspect has confessed to killing him. 19-year-old Hollis Daniels was taken to police headquarters after officers found drugs in his room. That’s when they say Daniels pulled a gun and shot East in the head and ran.

The campus was placed on lockdown around 8pm Tuesday until SWAT arrested Daniels around 9:30pm.

Meanwhile, the Texas Democratic Party is apologizing for a tweet it sent out in response to the shooting.

The group posted on Twitter, “Allowing concealed guns on college campuses was a dumb and dangerous idea.”

The tweet referred to a law that took effect last year. It allows Texans with a concealed carry permit to bring guns into university classroom and buildings.

But critics noted you have to be 21 to get a concealed carry permit in Texas — and the suspected shooter was 19.

The Party released a follow-up statement Wednesday saying, “Our words were inadequate, hurried and we apologize. That tweet has now been removed.”


Attorney General Tells Court Texas “Can’t Become Sanctuary State for Abortions”:

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is urging a federal court to say that women in the US illegally do not have a right to abortion services.

It comes as advocates for a pregnant 17-year-old being held in a Texas facility for unaccompanied immigrant children are asking a federal judge to allow her get the procedure.

A hearing in the case is scheduled for Wednesday on a request filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California.

A lawyer representing the Central American girl says she may be 14-weeks pregnant. Texas state law prohibits most abortions after 20 weeks.

Paxton argues if the girl wins — it will allow anyone who enters the US illegally the right to receive an abortion and added Texas must not become a sanctuary state for abortions.


Lawmakers Cost of Travel:

President Trump promised to drain the swamp. But a growing number of his cabinet members — including the former Texas Governor — are facing questions over using taxpayer dollars to take private or government jets, instead of commercial flights.

Our Washington bureau reporter Alberto Pimienta has a look at the numbers at 7.


Harvey’s Hit to the State Budget:

“The economy’s not going to grow us out of this, but the economy’s going to be fine,” Comptroller Glenn Hegar told Capital Tonight last week. “There’s just some tough decisions that are going to have to be made next session.”

Today, he released his year-end report reiterating that statement.

Hegar says the Texas economy will continue to grow over the next two years and see small changes due to Harvey’s destruction.

But added some uncertainty remains in the outlook for the biennium due in part to the ongoing assessment of the economic impact of Harvey.

Ross Ramsey of the Texas Tribune joins us to discuss the money issues lawmakers could face next session.


Capital Tonight airs weeknights at 7 on Spectrum News.


Posted by Karina Kling



Daily Digest: Oct. 5

Our daily digest is an update on the stories we’re following in Texas politics today. Here’s what we’re working on:


Texans Divided Over GOP Tax Plan:

The US House narrowly passed a $4.1 trillion budget Thursday. It’s a crucial step in advancing the GOP’s tax plan.

But some are concerned the plan could lead to even higher property taxes in Texas.

A study commissioned by the Texas Association of Realtors shows that 95 percent of Texas homeowners would pay more in property taxes under the current plan.

That’s drawn concern that people will buy fewer homes in Texas. The economists behind the study say middle class Texans could end up with lighter piggy banks because of it.

“The GOP leadership has made it very clear that they want the tax plan to benefit ordinary households,” William Mellor of Angelou Economics said. “But based off of the plan, we see that households with $200,000 or more are going to be benefitting, and that’s not how I define ordinary households.”

Still, others argue the GOP’s plan will be a boon to the American economy,

“The key part of this plan is to reduce some of the loopholes and deductions that are picking some of the winners and losers through the tax code, and lowering the overall rates,” Vance Ginn with the Texas Public Policy Foundation said. “That way we can bring tax rates down for everyone.”


DACA Deadline Prompt Calls for Clean DREAM Act:

The clock is ticking down on a major deadline for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, or DACA.

As part of the program’s wind-down process announced by the Trump Administration last month, those eligible have until midnight to file for a renewal request.

After that, young undocumented immigrants won’t be able to apply to receive work permits and protection from deportation.

That led demonstrators to gather around the country to demand a clean Dream Act, which would provide a pathway to citizenship for so-called DREAMERS.

Hear the message protesters are sending to Republican Congressman Will Hurd in San Antonio, tonight at 7pm.


Calls for Bump Stock Regulations:

Congress is showing more signs of willingness to take up the gun control debate following the Las Vegas shooting. But that willingness centers on one very specific issue — bump stocks. It’s a legal gun modification that makes legal semi-automatic guns fire almost like a banned automatic weapon.

Thursday afternoon, The National Rifle Association issued a statement calling on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to immediately review whether bump fire stocks comply with federal law.

It said quote, “devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations.”


Abbott and Texans in Congress Request Nearly $19 Billion in Additional Harvey Aid:

Texas members of Congress and Governor Abbott are requesting $18.7 in additional Harvey aid.

It’s a bipartisan effort to try to get extra funding to repair water projects and help homeowners and communities rebuild from the storm.

The request comes on top of President Trump’s call earlier this week for $29 billion in hurricane aid.

Last month Congress approved a $15 billion first installment for hurricane relief.


School Funding Cuts Study:

Back in 2011, state lawmakers cut $5-plus billion from public education. Fast forward five years and the effects of those cuts are still being felt.

That’s according to a new study released Thursday by a University of Texas professor and a member of the left-leaning Center for Public Policy Priorities.

They found that the state’s classroom funding still lags behind its pre-Great recession levels due to booming enrollment growth.

And despite increased funding more recently, it would take an extra $3.2 billion to bring 2016’s funding levels up to 2008’s.

The study also found low-income students have been hit the hardest.

Chandra Villanueva of CPPP joins us at 7pm to discuss the study further.


Capital Tonight airs weeknights at 7 on Spectrum News.


Posted by Karina Kling