Capital Tonight: From Border Security to School Finance Complications

A specially appointed judge is one step closer to deciding whether the man presiding over the state’s school finance suit will continue doing his job. San Antonio Judge David Peeples will decide whether State District Judge John Dietz showed bias in the case, after emails between the judge and the prosecution were uncovered. Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office is demanding he step down, but Judge Dietz’s attorney maintains that he did nothing wrong.

In Friday’s Capital Tonight, we checked in on the latest twist in the long-running court battle over how the state funds public education.

REPORTER ROUNDTABLE

The future of the school finance case, Hillary Clinton’s book-tour crowds, and Gov. Rick Perry’s trip to California were all big topics this week. We sat down with Ross Ramsey from the Texas Tribune and Mike Ward of the Houston Chronicle to discuss those issues and more.

CROSSING THE BORDER

Gov. Perry weighed in on immigration this week, saying more non-Mexicans are crossing over than ever before, and Sen. Leticia Van de Putte insisted Mexico is our number one trading partner. Gardner Selby of PolitiFact Texas and the Austin American-Statesman joined us to evaluate those claims and give the official “Truth-O-Meter” ruling.

Gov. Perry Invites President Obama to Visit Border, Requests More Resources

Gov. Rick Perry is asking for more help from the federal government to combat a flood of illegal immigration along the Texas-Mexico border. In a letter to President Obama, Perry requested 1,000 National Guard troops and permission to use Predator drones to identify human trafficking. He also asked the administration to reassess policies that release undocumented children to their families until they can be processed and possibly deported.

In the current system, these notices effectively amount to a ‘free pass’ into our country with little to no consequences for failure to comply,” Perry said. The governor also invited President Obama to visit Texas and tour the facilities where the children are being held.

The state’s leadership has already pledged to send a surge of Department of Public Safety troopers to combat illegal activity along the border and signed off on an extra $1.3 million a week to fund border security operations.

Earlier Friday, President Obama announced he would create a task force to handle the influx of children crossing the border illegally. Obama called it an “urgent humanitarian situation” and said the administration is opening new detention facilities to house families. The Department of Homeland Security hasn’t said how many families will be kept in the new immigration jails or where they’ll be located.

Gov. Perry said while he is encouraged by the new initiatives, “the steps only address symptoms of the problem.”

According to the White House, an estimated 60,000 minors will enter the United States without their parents this year. Most of them are coming from Central American countries including Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. 

You can read Gov. Perry’s full letter to President Obama, below.

 

Perry Obama Letter


 

 

 

 

Abbott Launches First General Election Ad, in Spanish

Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott is reaching out directly to Hispanic voters in his first general election TV campaign ad. The Spanish language spot, titled “Contamos,” features Abbott’s sister and mother-in-law, who are Hispanic. The ad will debut on Univision during the World Cup match between Brazil and Mexico. According to the campaign, the commercial will continue running on Spanish language networks throughout the World Cup.

““The story of my family mirrors the story of Texas – we are multi-cultural,” Abbott said. “The vision that I’ve outlined in my campaign for governor is one that unites all Texans – regardless of race, religion or zip code – the same way my family has been united. As governor, I will fight for a better future for all Texans.”

The English translation is below:

ROSIE PHALEN: “Meeting your in-laws is never easy.”
MARY LUCY PHALEN: “But when we met Greg Abbott, we knew that he was someone special.”
ROSIE PHALEN: “His values are our values. Faith, family and honesty.”
MARY LUCY PHALEN: “He is a loving husband and father to Cecilia and Audrey.”
ROSIE PHALEN: “For more than 30 years, Greg has been someone that we could count on.”
MARY LUCY PHALEN: “And as governor, Texas can count on him too.”

Capital Tonight: Van de Putte Reacts to New Poll Numbers

With the Republican state convention now in the political rearview mirror, Texas Democrats are less than a couple of weeks out until they gather in Dallas.

In Monday’s Capital Tonight, we spoke to Sen. Leticia Van de Putte about helping to lead her party’s ticket, the Republican stance on immigration reform and new poll numbers that show her trailing her Republican opponent, Sen. Dan Patrick, by double digits.

PLATFORM PROTEST

Democrats aren’t the only ones reacting to the decisions made at the Republican convention last week. Texas Young Republicans are rejecting their party’s platform, saying it’s too long and that it drifts from core party philosophies. We heard from one young Republican about what her generation would rather see.

ON THE AGENDA

Plus, the Quorum Report‘s Harvey Kronberg joined us to weigh in on the lieutenant governor’s race and the Tea Party’s impact in Texas.

Abbott Maintains Double-Digit Lead Over Davis

The latest University of Texas / Texas Tribune poll shows Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott with a double-digit lead over Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis. The poll, conducted between May 30th and June 8th, favored Abbott over Davis, 44 to 32 percent. Those results are similar to a UT/TT poll conducted in February, when Abbott held an 11-point lead.

The Wendy Davis campaign was quick to point out that Abbott has yet to crack the 50-percent threshold, calling Abbott the “weakest GOP governor candidate in two decades.” Campaign spokesman Zac Petkanas released this statement:

“Once again unable to crack 50%, Greg Abbott is proving to be one of the weakest Republican candidates for governor in two decades. Despite throwing the kitchen sink at Wendy Davis, he’s moving in the wrong direction and energizing our volunteer army – the largest in Texas history – to take advantage of this vulnerability by bringing hundreds of thousands of new voters into the process who won’t be reflected in any poll until they show up on Election Day.”

These numbers, however, may not be far off previous trends. According to James Henson, who co-directed the poll, Gov. Rick Perry held a four point lead over Democrat Bill White  during June polling for the 2012 election.

 

 

 

Capital Tonight: Inside Look at the GOP Fight over Immigration

The dust has settled from the Texas GOP Convention, and language supporting a guest worker program is out.

In Monday’s Capital Tonight, we spoke one-on-one with Brad Bailey of Texas Immigration Solution, who fought to get the language in at the 2012 convention, about what played out differently this time around.

ON THE AGENDA

After all that fighting, will the platform really make a difference in November? The Quorum Report‘s Harvey Kronberg joined us to give his take after a week spent criss-crossing the convention floor.

WASHINGTON UPDATE

In Washington, President Barack Obama signed an executive order aimed at making it easier for young people to repay their student loan debt.

Capital Tonight: Texas Republicans Remain Split over Platform Language

For Republicans in Texas, Fort Worth is the place to be this week. That’s where Attorney General Greg Abbott officially accepted his party’s nomination to run for governor at the 2014 Texas GOP Convention, and it’s where delegates are working hard behind the scenes to come to a consensus on the official record of the party’s beliefs.

In Friday’s Capital Tonight, we put together highlights from Abbott, Sen. Ted Cruz and other big-name speakers at today’s event, and we looked behind the scenes at the fight over anti-gay language in the party platform.

FROM THE FLOOR

There are always multiple storylines during these state conventions, and the staff of the Quorum Report can be counted on to have an ear to the ground about all of them. We spoke to Scott Braddock from the convention floor about the mood from delegates, the level of support for Abbott and more.

REPORTER ROUNDTABLE

From a twist in the school finance case to a short-lived dispute over open-carry,there was plenty of other political news to get to Friday. We sat down with Lauren McGaughy of the Houston Chronicle and Terrence Stutz of The Dallas Morning News to put it all in context.

Capital Tonight: Texas GOP Delegates Unify Behind Candidates

Republican delegates from around the state are in Fort Worth this week for the Texas GOP Convention. As the longest serving governor in Texas history, Gov. Rick Perry kicked off Thursday’s events by touting the state’s achievements in education, job creation and more. But was it a farewell speech or just the beginning of something else?

In Thursday’s Capital Tonight, we heard how delegates and political experts read the governor’s speech. Plus, we spoke to Rep. Scott Turner about his bid to replace Rep. Joe Straus as Texas House Speaker.

CAPITAL COMMENTATORS

Republican political strategist Ted Delisi joined us live from the convention and Democratic strategist Harold Cook joined us in-studio to talk about the day’s events, including whether delegates can come to an agreement on immigration reform.

POST-PRIMARY STRATEGY

This week’s events mark the first time all the Republican nominees for statewide office are in one place. That’s because many of the candidates were caught up in a drawn-out — and sometimes heated — runoff campaign all the way until the end of May. We caught up with Republican agriculture commissioner candidate Sid Miller to talk about his strategy heading into the general election.

Capital Tonight: Republicans Debate Details of Immigration Platform

You could call it a Southwest symposium. Today, Gov. Rick Perry welcomed fellow Republican Gov. Jan Brewer to Texas. While the governor of Arizona was here to talk jobs and balancing budgets, she also wanted Perry to be aware of a letter she sent President Obama this week.

In Wednesday’s Capital Tonight, we heard how Gov. Brewer is defending her state’s immigration policies and why she says she has a bone to pick with federal officials over immigrants picked up in Texas.

IMMIGRATION DEBATE

Meanwhile, the devil is in the details for Republicans in Forth Worth, as they work out the language for their party’s immigration platform. We checked in on the latest on that debate, plus former state lawmaker Aaron Peña joined us to give his take.

BEHIND THE BUDGET

It’s been months since the last Texas budget was passed, but the debate over whether it was stingy or a spending spree continues. We spoke to Bill Peacock of the Texas Public Policy Foundation about a new report that aims to make an apples-to-apples comparison between budgets.

Capital Tonight: Exclusive Interview with Speaker Joe Straus

Nearly two thirds of the state is still in drought, and the summer has just started. Meanwhile, state lawmakers and water experts are trying to move as fast as possible to confront water scarcity and help fund water projects well into the future.

In Monday’s Capital Tonight, we checked in on the advisory committee formed to help implement Texas’ water plan to see how it’s progressing.

SPEAKER STRAUS

With the primary runoffs behind us, the focus in Texas politics is turning to the general election in November. But no matter who wins, Texas House Speaker Joe Straus will have to deal with a very different legislative body when the next session convenes. We sat down with Rep. Straus to discuss the primary runoff elections, his strategy for appointing committee chairs and more.

ON THE AGENDA

Plus, the Quorum Report‘s Harvey Kronberg joined us with some breaking news on the fight over education funding and a split between gun-rights groups over public demonstrations.