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From DFW to Austin to D.C., our insiders take you beyond the usual rhetoric

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Inside Texas Politics (7/16/17)

By Berna Dean Steptoe

WFAA

July 18, 2017 7:39 PM

State lawmakers returned to Austin Tuesday for the 30-day special session called by Governor Greg Abbott.

The House again will likely be the battleground for the governor’s wish list.

Two state representatives, Fort Worth Democrat Nicole Collier and Dallas Republican Jason Villalba, took questions in studio from host Jason Whitely and Bud Kennedy of the Star-Telegram. They discussed whether House Speaker Joe Straus’ influence is waning, if Democrats will actually show up, and how the House will receive Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s plan to take money from the Texas Lottery to fund teacher bonuses and increase their retirement benefits.

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STATEWIDE

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott formally announced last week that he will seek a second term for the state’s top office. Abbott has $34 million in the bank to spend on his re-election bid.

Ross Ramsey, the co-founder and executive editor of the Texas Tribune, discussed whether anything can stop Abbott from getting re-elected. He also looked at whether the outcome of the redistricting court case will influence congressional and legislative races, and former Comptroller and Agriculture Commissioner Susan Combs joining the Trump administration.

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NEWSMAKER 2

Democrats rule Dallas County, but the new chairman of the Republican Party of Texas thinks he can change that. James Dickey talked about his strategy to win back big counties like Dallas. He also discussed what’s realistic to expect from the special session that began Tuesday.

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FLASHPOINT

Another week and another revelation about the Trump administration. That’s the focus of this morning’s Flashpoint. From the right, Mark Davis of 660/AM “The Answer.” And from the left, former Democratic State Rep. Domingo Garcia

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ROUNDTABLE

Reporters’ Roundtable put the headlines in perspective each week. Bud and Ross returned to discuss whether U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz should be worried about a challenge from Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke, two Texas newspapers’ call for lawmakers to come home from the special session after they pass the sunset bill, and whether U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is correct when he told MSNBC that they’re obsessed with Russia and nobody in Texas is talking about it.

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