Sep 10th - 10:34 pm
President Barack Obama used a prime-time television address to make his case for military action Tuesday night, while staying open to the possibility of diplomacy. In just over 15 minutes, the president explained his thinking on the civil war in Syria and asked for the American public’s support for a targeted strike against chemical weapons facilities. Click the logo below to see the speech in its entirety.
Sep 10th - 10:27 pm
Starting January 1, the individual mandate takes effect, requiring all Americans to have health insurance. Open enrollment for those plans begins in just three weeks, and many here in Texas still don’t know what’s required of them or how to go about getting covered.
In Tuesday’s Capital Tonight, we looked at how groups are working to get people informed, and we spoke to Mimi Garcia, the state coordinator for Enroll America, about what the insurance marketplace will look like.
Meanwhile, the debate in Washington continues over whether the law known as Obamacare should be funded at all. Our Capital Commentators joined us to talk about the ongoing political debate surrounding health care reform.
Sep 10th - 3:15 pm
Gov. Rick Perry has named Justice Nathan Hecht as the new chief justice of the Supreme Court of Texas.
Hecht was first elected to the Court in 1998 and currently serves as senior justice. His term is set to last until the next general election in 2014, when he’ll have to run again to keep the position.
“I know Justice Hecht to be a man of the most upstanding character and integrity, with an uncompromising commitment to protecting the interests of the citizens of Texas,” Gov. Perry said in a statement.
Hecht will replace Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson, who will step down on October 1. Jefferson has served since 2004, when he became the first African American Justice of the Texas Supreme Court.
Sep 10th - 2:15 pm
Updated: As Congress prepares to vote to authorize military action in Syria, Capital Tonight is tracking how Texas’ Congressional delegation plans to vote.
Below is our breakdown of where lawmakers stand:
- Sen. John Cornyn (R) – NO
- Sen. Ted Cruz (R) – NO
- Rep. Michael McCaul (R) – LEANING AGAINST
- Rep. Joaquin Castro (D) – UNDECIDED
- Rep. Lamar Smith (R) – NO
- Rep. Roger Williams (R) – NO
- Rep. John Carter (R) – NO
- Rep. Pete Sessions (R) – AWAITING RESPONSE
- Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D) – LEANING AGAINST
- Rep. Steve Stockman (R) – NO
Sep 9th - 6:19 pm
Three years after President Barack Obama’s landmark heath care overhaul became law, major changes to coverage are on the horizon. Starting in January, all Americans will be required to have health insurance, but the process begins for many people on October 1, when open enrollment in the insurance marketplace will start.
While we know the broad strokes of the plan, many questions remain as to how exactly it will be implemented across the country. To get an idea about how the law will affect people in Texas, we spoke to experts at the county, state and local level.
Click the logo below to see part one of our weeklong series on the Afforable Care Act, with Stephanie Goodman of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, Dr. Mark Hernandez of Travis County’s Community Care Collaborative and Texas Academy of Family Physicians CEO Tom Banning.
Sep 6th - 5:36 pm
This legislative session brought major changes to the board tasked with overseeing the state’s water infrastructure needs. We spoke to the new head of the Texas Water Development Board, Carlos Rubinstein, about the plans and projects that could help solve the state’s water woes.
It’s been more than three weeks since a chemical weapon attack in Syria left more than 1,400 people dead, but the question of what America should do about it is still being debated.
That question was top-of-mind for members of the Texas delegation this week, as they heard from constituents at home. In Friday’s Capital Tonight, we look at where Congressional lawmakers from Texas stand and whether it’s a sign of the bigger picture.
The race is on for campaign contributions as Republicans head into a crowded primary. But can fundraising power alone shut down potential rivals before they start? Ross Ramsey from the Texas Tribune, Christy Hoppe from The Dallas Morning News and Brian Sweany from Texas Monthly joined us to weigh in on that question and more.
Sep 6th - 4:38 pm
Delays that plagued the 2012 primary elections won’t be a factor in 2014, thanks to a recent court order.
A San Antonio court has allowed the redistricting maps approved by the Texas legislature this summer to be used for the 2014 election cycle, meaning the March 4 primaries will take place as scheduled.
The court order came down Friday afternoon. In it, the three-judge panel explains that there isn’t enough time to complete their review before the 2014 elections. That means that the redistricting maps approved in the first special session of the 83rd Legislature will stand, for now. Those maps are minor variations on the ones approved by the court for use in the 2012 primaries for both Texas House and U.S. Congressional districts.
However, the judges have made it clear that the legal issues that brought the maps before the court in the first place will not be dropped. The redistricting maps passed by a Republican-led legislature in 2011 drew lawsuits from Hispanic, African American and Democratic groups under the Voting Rights Act. The court order asserts that the plaintiffs’ case has not been settled, and that the judge’s final decision could affect future legislative action:
“The fact that the Legislature has adopted the Court’s interim plans in an attempt to curb this particular litigation is no assurance that it will not engage in the same conduct in the next legislative session or any session thereafter.”
A ruling by the Supreme Court this year invalidated the part of the Voting Rights Act that submits Texas to preclearance for changes to election law. However, the U.S. Department of Justice has joined in the lawsuit over redistricting and wants Texas to continue to have changes to voting laws approved by the federal government.
Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office issued a statement shortly after the court’s decision was announced. It reads:
“We are pleased that the court agreed to allow the 2014 elections to proceed on time using the new maps drawn by the Legislature. That certainty benefits all Texans.
“The State will continue to respond in court to the unwarranted challenges to the new maps by the Obama administration and various plaintiff groups. Texas has prevailed each time the redistricting litigation has reached the U.S. Supreme Court and remains confident that the Legislature’s maps will be vindicated, either at the San Antonio federal district court or at the Supreme Court, if necessary.”
Sep 5th - 8:13 pm
Congressman Michael McCaul is among Washington lawmakers who are skeptical of getting involved in the conflict. In Thursday’s Capital Tonight, we sat down with the Homeland Security Committee Chairman to talk about his concerns.
The San Antonio City Council gave the go-ahead to a controversial anti-discrimination measure. The ordinance will expand the city’s current policy to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and veteran status.
The city hall was packed with equal-rights activists who cheered the 8-3 vote, but the new ordinance has received backlash from some of Texas’ top Republicans.
The repercussions continue after Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg’s drunk driving arrest. Now, a grand jury will decide her fate and that of Gov. Rick Perry. Political strategists Harold Cook and Ted Delisi joined us to weigh in on where things go from here.
Sep 5th - 10:54 am
A Senate Committee has taken the first step toward authorizing United States military action in Syria, but a final yes vote remains far from certain.
In Wednesday’s Capital Tonight, we look at how the Texas delegation is expected to vote, along with Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul’s doubts about the repercussions.
The hot summer months aren’t cooling down Attorney General Greg Abbott’s fundraising streak. Abbott says he raised almost $1.2 million in August, alone. The Quorum Report‘s Harvey Kronberg joined us to look at how the campaign cash will affect his run for the governor’s office.
Plus, it’s a crowded race for comptroller on the Republican side. We spoke to former state Rep. Raul Torres about what separates him from the pack.
Sep 4th - 1:16 pm
Attorney General Greg Abbott is boasting another impressive fundraising month. Abbott’s campaign announced he raised nearly $1.2 million between Aug. 1 and Aug. 31. Almost all of those donations came from within Texas.
“Historically, summer months are a slow time for fundraising, but Texans continue to be enthusiastic about General Abbott’s gubernatorial campaign,” Finance Director Sarah Whitley said. ”These numbers show, once again, broad support across the state and the commitment of Texans to the conservative principles that Greg Abbott represents.”
The latest totals leave Abbott with more than $20 million dollars in his campaign war chest.