Poll: Texans overwhelmingly support water amendment

A Texas Tribune / University of Texas poll released today shows a majority of Texans are in favor of a constitutional amendment to  pay for water projects. The poll shows 52 percent of people would vote in favor of water funding. That’s compared to 19 percent of people who are opposed and 24 percent who have not decided.

The amendment, known as Proposition 6, would pull $2 billion from the economic stabilization fund to pay for infrastructure. The measure has drawn bipartisan support from the state’s top leaders, including Gov. Rick Perry and House Speaker Joe Straus.

Supporters have been working to get the word out about the ballot measure, but it seems they might still have a lot of work to do. The TT/UT poll also shows only 9 percent of voters have heard a lot about the amendments they’ll be asked to approve in November. About 43 percent have heard some information and 32 percent said they haven’t heard very much. Fifteen percent responded that they have heard nothing at all.

Perry appears in new ads critical of Washington

Gov. Rick Perry will soon be appearing on national news networks, through a newly released ad that criticized Washington, D.C. and touts Texas’ economic policies.

“Washington needs to change, but the President keeps playing politics,” Perry says at the beginning of the 30-second spot. “Conservative governors are reforming taxes and regulations, helping small businesses grow, cutting and balancing budgets. Conservative leadership is putting people back to work, and families are building their futures. We need more of that and less of Washington.”

The ad campaign was launched by Americans for Economic Freedom, which was formed earlier this year as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit. The group’s stated goal is to “promote economic policies at the state level that are conducive to job creation, business development, and economic expansion.”

Gov. Perry, who is the face of the campaign, hasn’t said whether he will run again for the presidential nomination. 


Capital Tonight: Immigration front and center in statewide races

While stop-and-start negotiations in Washington continue, the effects of the shutdown are hitting home with area veterans. Student veterans at Texas State University fear federal funding that helps them pay for school could be delayed if Congress doesn’t come to some sort of deal.


Closer to home, the four Republican candidates for lieutenant governor shared the stage Friday, for a debate at the Austin Convention Center. The incumbent, David Dewhurst, is fighting for his job against three other elected officials, all of whom expressed similar positions on immigration, education and smaller government.

But the tension boiled over several times when it came to an ad run by state Sen. Dan Patrick regarding in-state tuition for certain undocumented students. Gardner Selby with PolitFact Texas joined us to do a fact-check on the ad’s claim.


Plus, our Reporter Roundtable weighed in on some of the strategies coming to the surface in the race for governor. Click the image below to hear more from Jay Root of the Texas Tribune, Jonathan Tilove from the Austin American-Statesman and Peggy Fikac of the San Antonio Express-News and the Houston Chronicle.

Capital Tonight: Healthcare website still offline for many

While debate over how to end the government shutdown continued in Washington, a key part of the law at the center of it all is still offline for many people.

In Thursday’s Capital Tonight, we spoke with some of the nearly 300 Central Texans who have tried to sign up at one location, but failed to make it through the process.


While the Republican National Committee launches an effort to attract more Latino voters, new poll numbers show the growing Hispanic population appears to be right in the middle of where the party stands on many key issues — except for immigration reform. Our Capital Commentators, Harold Cook and Ted Delisi, joined us to weigh in on that issue and more.


Plus, we sat down with former Texas Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson to talk about his time on the court before retiring earlier this month, along with his vision for a more accessible court system.

Capital Tonight: Water, roads and courting the Latino vote

Lawmakers hit the lake Wednesday to talk about water issues. Gov. Rick Perry is urging Texans to vote “yes” on Proposition 6, which would allocate funding for the state’s water plan. It’s an issue the 83rd Legislature made sure to address. Now, they need to get voters on their side to see the plan through.


The race is on to attract Latino voters, and Republicans think they have the right strategy. In Wednesday’s Capital Tonight, we looked at a new effort to bring the state’s growing Hispanic population to the right.


And it’s Day Nine of the government shutdown, with little hope in sight. We took a closer look at how veterans and their families are being affected, and what Washington plans to do about it.

Poll: Most Texans think marijuana should be legal

Most Texans support legalizing marijuana for adults, according to a Public Policy Polling survey released Tuesday. The poll shows 58 percent of registered voters are in favor of legalizing the drug, taxing it and regulating it like alcohol. That is compared to 38 percent who said they are opposed.

The poll also shows a majority of Texans support relaxing criminal penalties for people who are caught with less than one ounce in their possession. Of those polled, 61 percent said they would be in favor of replacing criminal penalties with civil offenses punishable by a $100 fine. Thirty percent said they were opposed.

“Marijuana prohibition has been just as big a failure as alcohol prohibition,” said Marijuana Policy Project executive director Rob Kampia. “Most Texans agree that marijuana sales should be conducted by legitimate businesses instead of drug cartels in the underground market.”

Kampia, who was a guest on Capital Tonight earlier this year, has supported measures in the Texas legislature to eliminate jail time for minor offenses. That legislation failed to gain any traction last session.

Capital Tonight: One-on-one with Sen. Wendy Davis

The Wendy Davis campaign is off and running. Monday, the Fort Worth Democrat was in San Antonio to talk about why she wants to be the next governor of Texas.

In Monday’s Capital Tonight, we sat down with Sen. Davis for an extended interview. She talked about education funding, party labels, gun rights and her plan to lead the state.


Since Sen. Davis’s announcement, only one other Democrat has declared a run for statewide office. The Quorum Report‘s Harvey Kronberg joined us to talk about how the rest of the ticket could shape up for those hoping to turn the state blue.


As the governor’s race heats up, so does another competition. Candidates running in the House District 50 race have been busy reaching out to registered voters. We looked at their efforts to get people to the polls in a state where turnout is traditionally low.

Collier formally announces comptroller run

Mike Collier formally announced today he will run for state comptroller as a Democrat. Collier, who was the first Democrat to hint at a run for statewide office, is a longtime accountant and former Chief Financial Officer of an oil company.

Collier launched his campaign with a 60-second video, in which he comes out swinging against potential Republican opponents and current Comptroller Susan Combs.

Assuming no other democrats jump in the race, Collier will face one of three Republicans. Sen. Glenn Hegar, Sen. Harvey Hilderbran and former Rep. Raul Torres are all vying for the GOP nomination.

Programming note: Mike Collier will be a guest on Tuesday’s Capital Tonight.

Davis touts family, education in first campaign ad

Sen. Wendy Davis released her first online campaign ad, Monday. The nearly 5 minute spot highlights Davis’ life story, from a single mother to a successful business woman and state senator.

“Our campaign is proud to highlight Sen. Davis’ record putting Texas families first,” said communications director Bo Delp. “Since we launched our campaign, we have been overwhelmed by the support for a new voice for all Texans in Austin. As the momentum grows, we continue to build a strong coalition of voters who are ready to elect Wendy Davis the next governor to make sure Texas is as great as it can be.”

You can watch the ad, below:

Abbott releases new ad ahead of Davis announcement

Attorney General Greg Abbott released a new online campaign video just hours before Senator Wendy Davis is expected to announce a run for governor.

The ad touts Abbott’s conservative record and promises safeguard Texas values, keep the government small and taxes low.

Abbott does not mention Davis by name. Instead, he takes aim at the Obama administration and Democrats’ efforts to turn Texas blue.

“We won’t allow Texas to be taken over by California-style government.
We will win this election because the people and values of Texas are on our side.
We know the power of the individual, what liberty means to the voters who go to the polls.
And I know that hard-working conservatives will beat Bracak Obama and his allies every time.”

The full ad is below: