Greg Abbott

Daily Digest | April 23

Our Daily Digest is a lunchtime look at the stories we have our eyes on at the Capitol and beyond. Here’s what we are watching today:

After a reported boiling point between the “Big Three” first reported by Texas Monthly, all eyes are on a perceived divide between the leadership in the two chambers at the Capitol. Our Karina Kling will be looking into the political timetable for the Legislative leadership, and what it means for key bills heading into the last month of the session.

Two high-profile bills are on the list of legislation on the Senate’s agenda. Senate Bill 19, regarding prosecution of public corruption cases, is in the spotlight. The Quorum Report’s Harvey Kronberg told us on last night’s show that frustration is growing in the Governor’s Mansion over ethics reform, and this bill could be on its way to a veto if it remains in its watered-down form. The second bill, Senate Bill 185, is the so-called “sanctuary cities” bill. It would revoke state funding for police departments in those cities that do not ask detainees about their immigration status. The bill’s author says he wants to enforce immigration laws, while opponents say the bill would turn Texas into an anti-Latino “show me your papers” state, and would make the community less likely to cooperate with law enforcement.

We have two members of the House joining us on “Capital Tonight.” House Public Education Committee chairman, Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, whose school finance reform bill was sent to the full chamber earlier this week, will join the show to explain how he plans to fix the funding formula for Texas public schools. Then, the newest face in the lower chamber will join the show. Ina Minjarez won Tuesday’s House District 124 runoff election, and will take over the last open seat in the Legislature. We will talk to the representative-elect about the awkward timetable of coming into the session so late, and ask what she wants to accomplish for the city of San Antonio in the remaining days of the 84th Legislature.

All this, plus political strategists Harold Cook and Ted Delisi will give their takes on the week’s headlines on “Capital Tonight.” That’s at 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Time Warner Cable News.

Daily Digest | April 21, 2015

Our Daily Digest is a lunchtime look at the stories we have our eyes on at the Capitol and beyond. Here’s what we are watching today:

Governor Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton are the guests of honor at the unveiling of the new headquarters of the right-leaning think tank Texas Public Policy Foundation. The new six-floor building is located about two blocks from the Capitol grounds. Their speeches were followed by presentations from big-name donors like Red McCombs, Jim Henry and Dr. Jim Leininger.

The House Public Education Committee’s plan to fix the state’s school finance system is on its way to the full chamber. Committee Chairman Jimmie Don Aycock’s $3 billion dollar plan would increase funding for 94 percent of kids in the state, and would increase per-student funding to poorer districts more than it does wealthy ones. The bill passed out of committee on a 7-0 vote. It comes after massive cuts two sessions ago, and a court ruling that the current funding formula is unconstitutional. That ruling is now on appeal with the Texas Supreme Court.

The reactions to controversial bills approved in both chambers yesterday are still coming in. Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo voiced his opposition to an amendment to the House open carry bill. And public school advocacy group Raise Your Hand Texas released a cartoon video opposing the Senate’s school scholarship tax credit plan, which opponents call a back-door plan to school vouchers. The Quorum Report’s Harvey Kronberg talked about all this and more last night on our show, and you can watch that here.

And a lighthearded end of the day at the Capitol. The House Culture, Recreation and Tourism committee will meet to discuss proposals to name several state superlatives. That includes everything from the cowboy hat as the official hat to naming the western honey bee as the official State Pollinator of Texas.

On tonight’s episode of “Capital Tonight,” Texas Oil and Gas Association President Todd Staples joins the show. He’ll discuss the ban on local fracking regulations, and give us an update on the Texas oil and gas industry. Plus our Capital Commentators — political strategists Harold Cook and Ted Delisi — will give their take on the week’s headlines.

 

Abbott takes legal action against Obama’s immigration order

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced legal action Wednesday challenging President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in the Southern District of Texas, is part of a 17-state coalition.

Abbott, the governor-elect, issued the following statement:

“The President’s unilateral executive action tramples the U.S. Constitution’s Take Care Clause and federal law. The Constitution’s Take Care Clause limits the President’s power and ensures that he will faithfully execute Congress’s laws – not rewrite them under the guise of ‘prosecutorial discretion.’ The Department of Homeland Security’s directive was issued without following the Administrative Procedure Act’s rulemaking guidelines and is nothing but an unlawfully adopted legislative rule: an executive decree that requires federal agencies to award legal benefits to individuals whose conduct contradicts the priorities of Congress.”

Abbott Compares Davis to Obama in New Ad

Republican Greg Abbott is hitting back against Democrat Wendy Davis — and President Obama — in his latest TV ad. The new spot started airing statewide Tuesday.

“President Obama may not be on the ballot in November, but his failed policies are reflected in Sen. Wendy Davis’ agenda for Texas,” said spokesman Matt Hirsch. “It’s clear that President Obama has no better ally in Texas than his ideological twin, Sen. Davis.”

Abbott’s new ad comes as fallout continues from Sen. Davis’ controversial ad released Friday. The ad accuses Abbott of collecting millions from a lawsuit after an accident left him paralyzed from the waist down — while blocking similar lawsuits in court.

Davis defended the ad Monday at an event with several disability rights activists and supporters. She said the ad is not about Abbott’s disability, it’s about his hypocrisy.

Democrats are also demanding that Abbott campaign apologize for a statement from a campaign adviser calling one of Davis’ supporters a ‘prop.’ “Greg Abbott’s hypocrisy extends to his staff,” said Texas Democratic Party Executive Director Will Hailer. “Referring to a courageous young man as a prop because you don’t like what he has to say is disgusting.”

Abbott: Davis Ad Represents Historic Low

Attorney General Greg Abbott is firing back after Sen. Wendy Davis released a new TV ad calling Abbott’s legal work with accident victims into question. Davis’ ad started airing in major markets Friday. It accuses Abbott of collecting millions from a lawsuit after an accident left him paralyzed from the waist down — while blocking similar lawsuits in court.

“It is challenging to find language strong enough to condemn Sen. Davis’ disgusting television ad, which represents a historic low for someone seeking to represent Texans,” an Abbott spokesman said. “Sen. Davis’ ad shows a disturbing lack of judgment from a desperate politician, and completely disqualifies her from seeking higher office in Texas.” 

The Abbott campaign is also disputing accusations made in the ad accusing Abbott of defending a surgeon accused of operating while under the influence of drugs.  Abbott has argued he was defending the state’s medical malpractice laws, not the surgeon himself.