Feb 5th - 7:54 pm
Republican candidates competing to be the next attorney general lashed out at the President today, giving his Affordable Care Act the worst possible rating and pledging to sue the administration. The candidates also anticipate conflict with EPA regulations they see as burdensome and unnecessary.
In Wednesday’s Capital Tonight, we took a look at the merits of the EPA’s new air and farm regulations.
Debra Medina, a Republican candidate to be the Texas Comptroller, articulated how cronyism is a problem in Texas and how we can achieve greater prosperity through use of the free market.
FOLLOWING THE MONEY
Harvey Kronberg gave an insider’s perspective on recent fundraising and how New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie may be perceived on his trip to Texas.
Feb 3rd - 8:14 pm
In Monday’s Capital Tonight, we look at how the bureaucratic roadblock is reviving debate over the controversial law.
NOTORIOUSLY LOW TURNOUT
Manny Garcia, communications director for the Texas Democratic Party, and Beth Cubriel, director of the Republican Party of Texas, join us to talk about the abysmal voter turnout in Texas and whether the voter ID law will affect turnout.
The Wendy Davis campaign received sharp criticism from the Texas press after only letting select members of the media into a fundraiser. In response, the campaign is reportedly bringing on an outsider to “right the ship” with its communication department. Harvey Kronberg joined us to provide commentary on how this and other factors influence the governor’s race.
Feb 3rd - 7:44 pm
New fundraising totals from the frontrunner candidates for governor show Attorney General Greg Abbott with a lead of more than $19 million dollars over Sen. Wendy Davis.
Both campaigns released their totals voluntarily Monday, after filing the latest report with the Texas Ethics Commission. The Abbott campaign reports it has raised $3.1 million in the period from Jan. 1 to Jan. 23, for a total of $29.4 million in cash on hand.
During the same period, the Davis campaign brought in $607,311 and totaled $10.2 million in cash on hand. More than $300,000 of that total comes from the Texas Victory Committee, a joint fund set up between the Davis campaign and Battleground Texas.
Feb 3rd - 12:07 pm
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst launched a new statewide television ad Monday. The 30-second spot criticizes President Obama’s health care legislation, comparing its bumpy launch to a high school food fight. “It’s chaos,” the ad says. “Everybody loses.”
The ad points to problems that plagued healthcare.gov and the so-called bureaucracy surrounding its implementation. “That’s why I successfully led the charge to keep Texas out of the Obamacare exchanges and stopped Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion,” said Dewhurst.
You can watch the full ad, below.
Dewhurst is facing a tough four-way GOP primary race. He will face off against Sen. Dan Patrick, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples in the March 4 election.
Jan 31st - 6:21 pm
In Friday’s Capital Tonight, we explored criticism from political journalists, and we heard the Travis County Democratic Party’s response to complaints after a mostly closed-off event.
WEEK IN REVIEW
From education reform to the race for lieutenant governor, the political world had plenty of food for thought this week. Christy Hoppe of The Dallas Morning News, Scott Braddock of the Quorum Report and Morgan Smith of the Texas Tribune joined us to sort out the most important stories.
CHECKING THE FACTS
Plus, Gardner Selby of PolitiFact Texas and the Austin American-Statesman joined us to look into claims by Rep. Louie Gohmert and Sen. Davis.
Jan 31st - 1:10 pm
The leaders in the Texas House and Senate laid out new agendas for their respective committees during the interim legislative session. This is the work lawmakers will be tasked with accomplishing before the legislature reconvenes in 2015.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst announced interim charges for the Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs during the annual Department of Texas Veterans of Foreign Wars Mid-Winter Conference. He is calling on lawmakers to study ways to improve access to support services, monitor the implementation of new mental health legislation and to study the impact of federal spending cuts on local veterans programs.
“Here in Texas, we honor our veterans because of their sacrifices and service to our country and the positive impact their leadership, experience, and education have on our economy,” Dewhurst said. “I am committed to making Texas the most vet-friendly state in the country.”
Texas House Speaker Joe Straus also laid out his interim charges to help the committees prepare for the 2015 legislative session. According to the Speaker, the 44-page list is based on requests and suggestions made by House members. Among them is a call for House members to investigate the West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion that killed 15 people.
“Today’s interim charges, combined with the initiatives that I will announce in the weeks to come, will help Members prepare to tackle serious challenges in the next session,” said Straus. “I am confident that we can continue to address these issues in a responsible, bipartisan way.”
You can read the full list of charges below.
Jan 30th - 6:47 pm
A four-member panel created to re-evaluate a set of controversial lesson plans has posted its work online.
State Board of Education Chair Barbara Cargill created the panel, known as the CSCOPE Ad Hoc Committee, after growing concern from parents, educators and conservative bloggers that the CSCOPE lesson plans presented an anti-American and anti-Christian bias. The panel is made up of four SBOE members, along with 140 parents, teachers and other stakeholders chosen by all SBOE members, according to the review committee’s website.
CSCOPE was an online tool created by regional education service centers to help smaller school districts adhere to the state’s education guidelines. An effort in the legislature to kill the system actually moved it into the public domain, where any district can use it., but only after a thorough public review process. It’s now known as the TEKS Resource System.
Jan 29th - 8:08 pm
As the President hits the road to advance the ideas laid out in his State of the Union address, local experts are weighing in. Proponents argue that increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour would aid poor working Americans, but some economic researchers contend that artificially upping the minimum wage won’t help small businesses or low income Americans.
In Wednesday’s Capital Tonight, we heard different perspectives on the debate, plus we checked in on the implementation of a sweeping education law.
ON THE AGENDA
Harvey Kronberg of the Quorum Report joined us for an explanation of how the President’s State of the Union address intertwines with the politics of the governor’s race and more.
Property taxes have been a popular punching bag on the campaign trail. Travis County Tax Assessor/Collector Bruce Elfant joined us to explain where the tax money goes and how it is collected.
Jan 29th - 12:03 am
In Tuesday’s Capital Tonight, we heard reaction from both candidates after the results came in.
President Barack Obama pledged to sidestep Congress in his fifth State of the Union address to achieve several goals, before calling on lawmakers to pass immigration reform, a new retirement savings program and legislation fighting income inequality. We heard from Texas lawmakers after the president’s speech, including Sen. Ted Cruz, Rep. Lloyd Doggett and Rep. Joaquin Castro.
Democrat Hugh Fitzsimons joined us to discuss his campaign for agriculture commissioner, including how he would deal with water conservation, oil and gas regulations and more.
Jan 28th - 3:56 pm
In Friday’s Capital Tonight, we put the public attacks into context and hear how the Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott campaigns are responding.
The week started off with Sen. Davis defending her personal narrative, after an article in The Dallas Morning News called some biographical details into question. Eventually, even the article’s author, Wayne Slater, was drawn into the fray. We sat down with Slater and Peggy Fikac of the San Antonio Express-News and the Houston Chronicle to talk about how Davis became the week’s biggest story.
Plus, Gardner Selby of PolitiFact Texas joined us to verify a new claim from Sen. Ted Cruz about the Obamacare rollout.