Gun Laws

Capital Tonight: Weighing the impact of open carry gun laws

The topic of more permissive gun laws is back up for discussion, and with both frontrunner candidates for governor supporting the open carry of handguns, there’s a better chance it could pass next session.

In Friday’s Capital Tonight, we examined the real-world implications of the law and saw how Texas gun laws compare to other states.

REPORTER ROUNDTABLE

Immigration and border security are big topics for Republican primary candidates, but is the rhetoric starting to alienate even Latino voters on the right? Christy Hoppe of The Dallas Morning News, the Texas Tribune‘s Jay Root of Texas Monthly senior editor Erica Grieder weighed in on that question and more.

CAMPAIGN CLAIMS

Plus, a new week brings a new round of campaign claims. Gardner Selby of PolitiFact Texas joined us to take a closer look at two of them.

Capital Tonight: Davis’ support for open carry draws mixed reactions

Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis is now on record as supporting the open carry of handguns, after registering her position in an Associated Press questionnaire. Davis’ stance puts her on similar ground as her Republican rival for governor, Attorney General Greg Abbott.

In Thursday’s Capital Tonight, we looked at the reaction from Sen. Davis’ fellow Democrats, as well as pro-gun Republicans.

CANDIDATE CONVERSATION

The four candidates vying for the lieutenant governor’s office made their cases to the Texas business community Thursday. They’ve done dozens of forums leading into the March primary, but with less than two weeks until early voting starts, the effort to find differences between the candidates is starting to bear fruit.

We sat down with Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson to talk about the state’s drug laws, the Emerging Technology Fund and what separates him from the pack.

CAMPAIGN STRATEGY

Plus, Democrat Harold Cook and Republican Ted Delisi weighed in on the Davis decision and the Patterson campaign from a political strategist’s perspective.

Capital Tonight: Public education issues still unresolved

Back to School

More questions are being raised in about the state’s school funding system.

Players from both sides of the school finance lawsuit were back in court Wednesday in an effort to get District Judge John Dietz to admit public education changes passed out of the 83rd Legislature as evidence. But many of those changes are still up in the air, pending Gov. Rick Perry’s signature — or his veto pen.

Campus Construction

As the special session creeps slowly along, some lawmakers are holding out hope that their legislation will make it on the call.

One push in particular is gaining a lot of attention. Legislation that would have approved about $2.5 billion in tuition revenue bonds fell through in the final hours of the regular session, but backers of the bills are hopeful it will be considered during the special session.

Candidate Perspective

Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson stopped by the studio to give his take on the regular session as a candidate for Lieutenant Governor. Click the logo below to see the full interview.

Capital Tonight: Budget pieces lock into place

After days of mistrust between the House and Senate, two key parts of a complex budget compromise came together as planned.

The Senate did its duty first, by moving forward on a measure to put $2 billion toward the state’s water needs and increase funding for education. With that in place, House Democrats agreed to support a separate resolution that would create a state water fund.

In Wednesday’s episode, Karina Kling explains how it’s all coming together, and we speak to Rep. John Otto, one of the main budget negotiators.

Inside Out

We also spoke with Rep. Aaron Peña and former Sen. Hector Uribe about spats between the House and Senate in the past.

Gun Bills Disarmed

Despite some signs this might be the year lawmakers approved campus carry legislation, that bill is among those unlikely to survive.

Capital Tonight’s LeAnn Wallace spoke with the author of the bill about where things stand this late in the session

Capital Tonight: Senate approves high school testing overhaul

Texas High Schools are one step closer to seeing some major reform.

Monday, the Senate unanimously passed forward a bill that would restructure graduation requirements and cut back on the number of standardized tests. But it includes some key differences from the House version passed in March.

We heard more on the bill from Sen. Eddie Lucio, the vice chairman of the Senate Education Committee.

 

Gun Bills Head to Senate

After surviving a contentious Saturday, a range of gun bills passed out of the House Monday. Harvey Kronberg of The Quorum Report joined us to talk about that and more. 

 

Perry’s Welcome Mat

We’re learning more about President Barack Obama’s visit to the Austin area Thursday.

In addition to Manor New Tech High School, he’ll be visiting Austin tech manufacturer Applied Materials. Now, Governor Perry is weighing in on the visit. 

 
 

Slate of gun bills headed for Senate

After surviving a contentious Saturday known as “gun day,” a range of bills dealing with statewide gun laws passed on final reading Monday without incident.

Among them are Rep. Jason Villalba’s House Bill 1009, which would create a new tier of law enforcement officer called a school marshall and provide guidelines for training. It passed 123-22. The Texas Firearm Protection Act, which prohibits local entities from enforcing federal gun control laws, passed as well, along with an amendment added Saturday that would make sure no money for legal challenges came at taxpayers’ expense.  The bill also makes it a Class A misdemeanor for an officer to enforce new federal gun laws.

A bill that would allow college students with conceal-and-carry permits to bring their guns on campus was delayed until 1 p.m. while its author, Rep. Allen Fletcher, attended a police memorial. It received tentative approval Saturday, but only after a number of parliamentary challenges.

The bills are now headed to the Senate, where many political experts believe they face an uphill battle.

 

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.

Senate votes down expanded background checks

Sweeping gun control overhaul efforts hit a major roadblock on Capitol Hill today. The Senate rejected a bipartisan plan to expand federal background checks to include gun shows and online purchases. The amendment was part of a package of Obama-backed bills prompted by the Newtown, CT, school shooting.

The legislation was the result of a bipartisan compromise by Republican Pat Toomey and Democrat Joe Manchin. The defeat, while anticipated, was a crushing blow to supporters of stricter gun control laws. Vice President Joe Biden said just before the vote that tighter gun control measures will eventually pass, suggesting the White House wouldn’t abandon its push even though the vote appeared headed toward failure.

The Senate will consider nearly a dozen more amendments in the coming days, including a ban on certain assault rifles.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

 

 

Capital Tonight: Reversing course on ‘rainy day’ money

There’s been a lot of talk about it, and now state lawmakers appear ready to finally dip in to the state’s Rainy Day Fund this session.

The Senate Finance Committee voted to take 6 billion dollars out of the fund to pay for water and infrastructure projects.

 

Taking on the Governor

We don’t know if Gov. Rick Perry will run for re-election, and we don’t know if Attorney General Greg Abbott will throw his hat into the ring. But we do know of one former state agency leader who will seek your vote as a Republican candidate for governor.

Click the image below to see our one-on-one interview with Tom Pauken.

Senate Standoff Ends

The push for new gun safety legislation cleared a major hurdle Thursday.

With the help of 16 Republicans, the Senate voted to block a threatened Republican filibuster. That means debate on background checks and other, less popular legislation can begin.

Sen. John Cornyn voted to block the debate, but said he hoped for a substantive discussion afterward. Click the YNN logo below to watch the full episode.

 

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.