<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Dallas-Fort Worth and Texas State Political News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/politics http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+5-KXAS+Logo+for+Google+News.png NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth http://www.nbcdfw.com en-us Sat, 25 Oct 2014 09:33:01 -0500 Sat, 25 Oct 2014 09:33:01 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[PDF: Rick Perry Motion for Disclosure of Grand Jury Testimony]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:04:56 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tlmd_mug_shot_rick_perry_gobernador_california.jpg

Below is a copy of the motion for disclosure of grand jury testimony and/or for in camera inspection of grand jury testimony and exhibits and production of materials relating to Gov. Rick Perry's application for writ of habeas corpus and for all exculpatory and impeaching materials as supplied by the Travis County District Clerks Office.


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<![CDATA[Rivals Debate in NH Senate Race]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 12:06:59 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/214*120/vlcsnap-2014-10-21-21h11m54s10.jpg

Scott Brown continued to hammer away at Democrat Jeanne Shaheen's record in Washington as the incumbent repeatedly accused her Republican opponent of fear mongering during a debate in New Hampshire's U.S. Senate race Tuesday.

Brown accused Shaheen of "outsourcing independence" by voting for policies backed by President Barack Obama. Shaheen, meanwhile, sought to distance herself from the president, who has low approval ratings in New Hampshire.

"In some ways I approve, in some ways I don't approve," of the president's decisions, Shaheen said when asked to answer "yes or no" if she approves of Obama's job in office.

The latest efforts to contain and prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in the United States also became a hot topic, as Brown pushed for a travel ban from West Africa. Shaheen reiterated a comment from a day earlier that she would consider one if it would make a difference. That position was a reversal from last week, when she said she didn't think the idea "makes sense." 

The Democratic incumbent accused her rival of fear mongering on the Ebola virus, border security and the threat of terrorism posed by ISIS.

The two rivals remain locked in a close race as they headed into Tuesday's televised debate, which was hosted by New England Cable News, the Concord Monitor and the University of New Hampshire. A recent WMUR Granite State poll showed Shaheen leading her GOP challenger 44 percent to 38 percent among likely voters at the start of the month. Seventeen percent remained undecided.

The competitive race has attracted campaign cash and headlines from across the country, as one of several competitive seats Republicans are targeting in their bid to win control of the U.S. Senate in the Nov. 4 midterm elections.

Chuck Todd, NBC's "Meet the Press" host, moderated the debate from the Capitol Center for the arts in Concord.

Shaheen said she was proud of her vote for the Obama's landmark heath care overhaul, the Affordable Care Act, while Brown insisted Granite Staters wanted to repeal Obamacare.

Sparks also flew on the topics of immigration and border security.

"The border is secure when people don't come across it," Brown said to the applause of supporters after Todd asked him to define a secure border.

Shaheen attacked Brown's record on abortion rights, which he says he supports; Brown, while senator for Massachusetts, supported the Blunt Amendment, which would have allowed any employer with moral objections to opt out of requiring to cover birth control in 2012.

When Brown said Shaheen was anti-nuclear as the subject of rising energy costs came up, she countered, "No, I'm not!"

Brown suggested repeatedly that Shaheen backs a new national energy tax, an assertion PolitiFact has deemed "mostly false."

In a final lightning round, Shaheen said her priority after being re-elected would be to refinance student loans; Brown said he would push the U.S. Senate to come up with a budget. Both declined to say they'd back their respective party heads in the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, for another term in leadership. 

Barbs were also thrown after Brown defended his decision to run in New Hampshire this year instead of seeking to win back the Massachusetts seat he lost to Democrat Elizabeth Warren in 2012 by saying he didn't run "because I live here." 

"I don't think New Hampshire is a consolation prize," Shaheen said.

 


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<![CDATA[TX DPS Opening Saturdays to Provide Election IDs]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 16:03:45 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/texas-voter-id-eic.jpg

Whether you plan to vote early or on Election Day, you'll need identification if you plan to cast a ballot. Those without an ID can obtain a free Election Identification Certificate at select driver's license offices through Saturday, Nov. 8.

To be given a ballot, voters will need to either show one of the following forms of identification: a state-issued driver's license, state-issued identification card, a current U.S. passport, DPS-issued CHLs, Military IDs, a U.S. citizenship certificate that has a photo or an EIC.

The Texas DPS will open select driver's license offices on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for EICs only. Select offices in Dallas, Denton, Tarrant and Collin counties are taking part — click here to see a statewide list. The EICs can also be obtained at any of the state's 220 driver's license offices during regular business hours throughout the year.

The state said most Texas residents already have an acceptable form of photo ID and will not need or qualify for an EIC. To qualify, a person must not have any of the acceptable forms of ID listed above.

To qualify for an EIC, an applicant must meet the following conditions:

  • Bring documentation to verify U.S. citizenship and identity.
  • Be eligible to vote in Texas (Bring a valid voter registration card or submit a voter registration application through the Texas Department of Public Safety).
  • Be a Texas resident.
  • Be 17 years and 10 months or older.

Once completed, the EIC receipt an individual receives will include their photo and can be used for voting until the permanent card is delivered by mail.

EICs are valid for six years; those given to citizens over 70 years of age will not expire. Cards are only used for voting and not for identification.

Those with EIC's will still need to register to vote.  To check your status as an active voter, visit the Texas Secretary of State's website here.  

If you are not a registered voter, it's too late to register for this midterm election.

Early voting ends Oct. 31.  Election Day is Nov. 4.



Photo Credit: AP, Texas Department of Public Safety]]>
<![CDATA[Lone Star Politics: October 19, 2014]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 08:42:20 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/NEW+013114+lone+star+politics.jpg On Lone Star Politics this week, Senator John Cornyn talks Ebola, ISIS, and Ted Cruz. Plus, Gromer Jeffers and Wayne Slater from The Dallas Morning News discuss the impact the Ebola cases may have on the race for governor. Watch Lone Star Politics Sunday at 8:40 a.m. on NBC 5. ]]> <![CDATA[Rival Gets Hands on Campaign Book]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 12:40:34 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/carl+demaio+scott+peters.JPG

A new bombshell dropped Friday in the race for California’s 52nd Congressional District when both candidates confirmed a Carl DeMaio campaign strategy book, allegedly stolen during an office break-in, found its way into the hands of incumbent Scott Peters’ staff.

It is the latest revelation in an already ugly race peppered with attack ads and sexual harassment allegations.

The two had a chilly meeting Friday morning at a taping of NBC 7’s Politically Speaking, as DeMaio walked right by Peters’ hand outstretched for a handshake.

During the session, DeMaio discussed the burglary and vandalism at his campaign headquarters on May 28. Cords and cables were cut, water was poured over laptops and printers, computer screens were smashed in and one important item was taken: DeMaio’s campaign playbook.

The candidate confronted Peters about the book on “Politically Speaking.”

“And Mr. Peters, I just want to ask a very simple question. Did your campaign come into possession of our strategy book, all of our direct mail pieces in the last five months?” asked DeMaio.

Peters responded with: “In early June, information was forwarded to our campaign which we immediately turned over to the police.”

DeMaio pressed the issue, asking Peters why he did not let his opponent’s campaign know that he had seen DeMaio’s playbook all along.

“I’ve obviously never seen it,” said Peters. “We turned it directly over to the police within 24 hours of getting it because what was contained in it was potentially part of a criminal investigation.”

He added his campaign manager “looked at it enough to know what it was.”

On Friday evening, Peters' Communication Director Alex Roth sent out the following statement about the revelation:

"To clarify, we do not know what a campaign playbook is; nor has our campaign ever received anything that could be characterized as 'a campaign playbook' as Mr. DeMaio called it. To reiterate, our campaign staff received information in early June that we immediately transmitted in its entirety to the police.This is nothing more than an attempt by Mr. DeMaio to divert attention away from the Filner-esque sexual harassment allegations that have been made against him.”

During the show's taping, Peters said he felt as if he had been cast as the perpetrator of the break-in, which was portrayed with Watergate-like overtones when it first happened.

DeMaio told his opponent he does not believe Peters had anything to do with the burglary.

Instead, he blames former aide Todd Bosnich.

Bosnich has publicly accused DeMaio of sexually harassing him while he worked for the former San Diego City Councilman, releasing the results of a polygraph test that he says support his claims.

Called the allegations “outrageous lies,” DeMaio said Bosnich is trying to get revenge for being fired as a suspect in the break-in.

However, the candidate said he will not take a polygraph exam to rebut Bosnich’s allegations.

CNN reports Bosnich's lawyers sent the news outlet the results to a second polygraph test Friday in which Bosnich was asked if he broke into the campaign headquarters last May. The test shows Bosnich's "no" answers were "truthful and found "no deception."

Bosnich confirmed the story to NBC 7 via text message.

DeMaio's spokesman David McCulloch defended the candidate, saying in a statement, "Both Carl DeMaio and Tommy Knepper — named in a series of vile smear attacks — have taken lie detector tests that have shown these smears are baseless. Meanwhile, Mr. Peters admitted on NBC7/39 this morning that his campaign received stolen property from our campaign — begging the question: who provided this sensitive campaign material?"  

McCulloch later clarified that statement that the lie detector test taken by DeMaio was one in August 2013 after a former colleague accused DeMaio of lewd acts in San Diego's City Hall.


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<![CDATA[Lone Star Politics: Slater on Davis Ad]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 16:13:53 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/101914_LSP_Ebola_Gov._race_1200x675_344267843560.jpg On this week’s Lone Star Politics, Wayne Slater, Senior Political Writer with The Dallas Morning News, says the Wendy Davis campaign may have made a mistake airing a new TV ad that highlights the multi-million dollar settlement Greg Abbott received after being paralyzed in an accident. The ad argues that as Attorney General and Texas Supreme Court justice, Abbott has worked to keep other victims from getting similar settlements. Watch Lone Star Politics Sunday at 8:40 a.m. on NBC 5. ]]> <![CDATA[Lone Star Politics: Ebola's Impact on Governor's Race]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 16:12:23 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/davis-abbott.jpg On this week’s Lone Star Politics, Gromer Jeffers and Wayne Slater from The Dallas Morning News discuss the impact the Dallas Ebola cases may have on the race for governor. Plus, Senator John Cornyn talks about President Obama’s decision to send troops into West Africa to help fight the virus. And Gromer asks if Cornyn’s fellow Republican Ted Cruz has been an effective senator. Watch Lone Star Politics Sunday at 8:40 a.m. on NBC 5. ]]> <![CDATA[Lone Star Politics: Cornyn on ISIS]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 16:10:26 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/101914_LSP_Cornyn_ISIS_1200x675_344263235825.jpg On Lone Star Politics, Senator John Cornyn predicts U.S. ground forces will ultimately be needed to defeat ISIS in Iraq. Watch Lone Star Politics Sunday at 8:40 a.m. on NBC 5. ]]> <![CDATA[Lone Star Politics: Troops for Ebola]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 16:09:22 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/101914_LSP_Cornyn_Ebola_Troops_1200x675_344258627805.jpg On this week’s Lone Star Politics, U.S. Senator John Cornyn explains why he supports the deployment of U.S. troops to West Africa to help prevent the spread of Ebola. Also, Cornyn talks about who may be the 2016 Republican presidential nominee. Watch Lone Star Politics Sunday at 8:40 a.m. on NBC 5. ]]> <![CDATA[Lone Star Politics: Cornyn on Ebola Czar]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 16:08:30 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/101914_Cornyn_Ebola_Czar_1200x675_344242243909.jpg On this week’s Lone Star Politics, U.S. Senator John Cornyn commends President Obama for naming an Ebola Czar, a person to coordinate the national effort to prevent and contain the deadly virus. Also, Cornyn talks about who may be the 2016 Republican presidential nominee. Watch Lone Star Politics Sunday at 8:40 a.m. on NBC 5. ]]> <![CDATA[Campaign Ad Featuring James Foley Pulled]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 11:58:35 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tlmd_james_foley_ejecucion_isis_syria.jpg

A conservative ad campaign that featured James Foley, the New Hampshire journalist slain by ISIS, moments before his execution, will be pulled, the group responsible for the ad said.

Secure America Now President Allen Roth said in a statement that his group didn't intend to upset Foley's family with the ad attacking Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and that they "apologize for any pain we inadvertently caused.“

“It has been brought to our attention that a news report image of American hostage James Foley that appeared in a Secure America Now video has upset his parents, so we have decided to take the video down," the statement continued. “The purpose of the video was to draw attention to Washington’s failure to secure our borders from real threats by terrorists. That remains our objective and we will continue to engage in this public debate.”

Foley, a Rochester native, was beheaded by Islamic State militants in August, nearly two years after he was kidnapped in Syria. His parents say the ad was "deplorable" and told NECN in an emotional interview that they were demanding that the ad be pulled from New Hampshire.

Secure America Now used the image in a 15-second Internet ad attacking Shaheen, who is locked in a tight race against Republican Scott Brown, and other Democratic incumbents in critical Senate races nationwide.

"It makes me very sad that people would use the brutality of our son's death for their own political purposes," Mrs. Foley said.

Shaheen issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon condemning the ad.

"This is a disgraceful ad that dishonors the memory of a respected journalist and New Hampshire native," she said. "It hurts all who loved and knew Jim, and the people behind this ad owe the Foley family and apology."

According to Elizabeth Guyton, communications director for Scott Brown, Brown said, "This is completely inappropriate and disrespectful to the Foley family.”

Roth says the group did not contact the Foley family before making the ad public.

Secure America Now emphasized that the Foley execution video and the image have been used in other campaigns across the country several different times.
 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[5 Days in October: Greg Abbott on Infrastructure]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 11:55:52 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Abbott+Infrastructure+101614.jpg

NBC 5 is partnering with The Dallas Morning News, KERA and Telemundo 39 to produce in-depth reports about the race for Texas governor. We asked our viewers, readers and listeners to vote on the topics most important to them. For five days, we will report in-depth on each of those topics: education, immigration, health care, economy and infrastructure.

The fifth report is on infrastructure. Click here to see our report on Texas Sen. Wendy Davis.

Congestion, a major problem as Texas continues to grow.

But Attorney General Greg Abbott says he has a plan, and it will not cost you.

"I have a plan that will add more than $4 billion a year to build roads, to relieve all this traffic congestion that we are facing without, raising a single penny in taxes, fees, or tolls," said Abbott.

And many of you already shell out dollar after dollar on the many toll roads in the Metroplex.

During the second Gubernatorial debate, Abbott again faced questions about tolls.

"Short and simple my plan does not include any toll roads," said Abbott.

So how does he pay for this?

"It is a three-part plan. One is, we have to stop all of these diversions of money that was intended to build roads, to be used for other purposes. Money that was sent to Austin to build roads must be used to build roads. Two, we take part of the oil and gas severance tax and dedicate it to building roads. Three, you take part of the sales tax that you are already paying when you buy a car or truck and use it to build roads those cars and trucks are driving on," explained Abbott.

This would all have to be approved by the legislature.

Attorney General Abbott also talked about his plan for water.

"As governor I will build the water projects we need to keep Texas with sufficient water, for decades to come," said Abbott.

That said, during a drought, and different water problems throughout the state.

"First thing we do is work on a regional basis. The solution for Dallas is going to be different from the Panhandle, different than what we need for South Texas." added Abbott.

CLICK HERE for a special 5 Days in October section from The Dallas Morning News.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[5 Days in October: Wendy Davis on Infrastructure]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 11:55:23 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Davis+Infrastructure+101614.jpg

NBC 5 is partnering with The Dallas Morning News, KERA and Telemundo 39 to produce in-depth reports about the race for Texas governor. We asked our viewers, readers and listeners to vote on the topics most important to them. For five days, we will report in-depth on each of those topics: education, immigration, health care, economy and infrastructure.

The fifth report is on infrastructure. Click here to see our report on Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.

Living in North Texas, State Sen. Wendy Davis says she understands drivers' frustration at the growing presence of toll roads.

In fact, almost every major Dallas-Fort Worth highway project includes plans for new tolls, oftentimes replacing what had been free carpool lanes.

"I believe that it's been a poor solution for Texans to have to pay twice. They pay at the gasoline pump and they're paying again to drive on toll roads," she said during the Dallas debate.

Davis argues what's happening on North Texas highways is a failure of Republican leadership.

"In fact, right now we are paying more for debt on the cost of our road maintenance than we're paying on actual new roads. There is something terribly broken when that happens," Davis said.

Davis helped write a bill, that Texans will vote on next month, called Proposition 1. It will allow rainy day funds from oil and gas taxes to go toward road construction.

Davis also wants to make sure gas tax money is only going toward road projects and not side projects.

"I have a plan to gradually end diversions that are coming from our gasoline tax. I submitted that plan in a bill last session. That plan would allow us to capture an additional four to five billion dollars," she said in Dallas.

Davis says she does not support debt financing for road repairs, and believes it’s time to return to a pay-as-you-go system.

"We need to get out of the heavy debt load that our state is carrying for transportation costs," she said in the Dallas debate.

The Texas Department of Transportation says it needs about $5 billion  every year just to maintain what they're expected to do with road repairs and construction. Davis doesn't support raising taxes, telling NBC 5 transportation funding can be funded within "existing resources" and by ending gas tax diversions.

CLICK HERE for a special 5 Days in October section from The Dallas Morning News.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[5 Days in October: Greg Abbott on the Economy]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 04:58:52 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Abbott-Economy1.jpg

NBC 5 is partnering with The Dallas Morning News, KERA and Telemundo 39 to produce in-depth reports about the race for Texas governor. We asked our viewers, readers and listeners to vote on the topics most important to them. For five days, we will report in-depth on each of those topics: education, immigration, health care, economy and infrastructure.

The fourth report is on the economy. Click here to see our report on Texas Sen. Wendy Davis.

It is a number you hear Attorney General Greg Abbott uses often in his campaign.

"Texas is No. 1 in the nation in jobs, and I will keep it that way," said Abbott.

In his ad about jobs, Abbott moves across a map, staring from California, saying, "Every week, businesses leave California to escape high taxes." He goes on to say Texas is the best place for jobs, because of low taxes and reasonable regulations.

We talked to Abbott about his plans for the economy.

"We will control state spending, unleash the oil and gas industry, and keep taxes low," said Abbott.

Abbott says he will do this by setting priorities to control spending, and reduce debt. He places the onus on the letting the private sector grow.

"This is the important fact. Government does not create jobs. It is the private sector that creates job," he added.

But when it comes to pay, Abbott is not in favor of raising the minimum wage.

Abbott again pointing the finger at the federal government.

"We don't need these Obama-style mandates telling business how to run their business. The one thing we know is government does not know how to run business," said Abbott.

He thinks Texas is doing fine on its own.

"We have high paying jobs in the state of Texas because we don't let the federal government tell us how to run our business," added Abbott.

CLICK HERE for a special 5 Days in October section from The Dallas Morning News.


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<![CDATA[5 Days in October: Wendy Davis on the Economy]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 04:58:18 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Davis+Economy.jpg

NBC 5 is partnering with The Dallas Morning News, KERA and Telemundo 39 to produce in-depth reports about the race for Texas governor. We asked our viewers, readers and listeners to vote on the topics most important to them. For five days, we will report in-depth on each of those topics: education, immigration, health care, economy and infrastructure.

The fourth report is on the economy. Click here to see our report on Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.

Texas has created millions of jobs over the last decade and unemployment is below the national average.

NBC 5 asked State Sen. Wendy Davis asked why voters should abandon Republican leadership in a time of unprecedented growth.

She says despite the economic growth, Texas tax dollars aren't being invested smartly.

"I will continue to make sure that Texas is a low-tax, business friendly state," she said.

Wendy Davis says it's time for a change in leadership, and argues tens of millions of dollars are going to businesses owned by Republican campaign contributors with little oversight.

"These are tax dollars. Public tax dollars, that we are talking about. Greg Abbott and Rick Perry have shown for years that they're using these tax dollars to support their insider friends," she argues.

Davis also says too many Texas families struggle to make ends meet, despite working full-time jobs. That's why she wants to increase the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour.

"It's important for Texas families to raise the minimum wage and it's good for the Texas economy. Right now, there are 2.8 million Texans who would benefit from an increase in the minimum wage. Over half of them support families," she said.

Davis speaks from personal experience, and said no parent working a full-time job should struggle to feed her children.

"Earning $15,000 dollars a year is not enough to support a family. And having been someone who stood at the grocery checkout and had to put food back because I couldn't afford to pay for it, I know there are families across this state that are suffering that same situation and deserve higher pay."

She's against raising taxes, though isn't saying specifically where the money would come from in the budget to fund her education platform and other goals. She said it can all be achieved within "existing resources" like the rainy day fund and other revenues.

"I will fight to close outdated tax loopholes that benefit giant corporations and send that money instead to fund our public schools," she said during the first debate.

Davis also says expanding Medicaid is good for Texas' economy.

"Texas needs a governor who's going to bring that money back to our state and put it work in our economy and for our health care needs. It's predicted it would create 300,000 jobs per year. We can't turn our back on that any longer," she said.

As Governor, Davis says she'll require all Texas Enterprise Fund grant recipients to hire veterans.

She also wants to sign the Texas Equal Pay Act to close the pay gap between men and women.

CLICK HERE for a special 5 Days in October section from The Dallas Morning News.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[5 Days in October: Greg Abbott on Health Care]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 14:36:55 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Greg+Abbott+Health+Care+101314.jpg

NBC 5 is partnering with The Dallas Morning News, KERA and Telemundo 39 to produce in-depth reports about the race for Texas governor. We asked our viewers, readers and listeners to vote on the topics most important to them. For five days, we will report in-depth on each of those topics: education, immigration, health care, economy and infrastructure.

The third report is on health care. Click here to see our report on Texas Sen. Wendy Davis.

In a one-on-one interview, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott explained his health care plan, saying it will provide more access to more people

"My plan increases funding for women's health care. It increases funding for veterans, disabled, and mental health needs," said Abbott.

"How do you not raise taxes and pay for all that?" asked NBC 5 reporter Julie Fine.

"My health Texans plan costs about $400 million. That can all be assumed by the current growth that we have in our state budget, so we pay for it out of general revenue without having to raise a single penny in taxes," said Abbott.

But this allotment not include money from Washington, D.C.

And Texas has the highest number of uninsured people in the nation.

Governor Perry did not take the federal money offered as part of the Affordable Care Act.

That would mean lower premiums for many.

In a debate, Abbott was asked whether he would try to work a deal with Washington.

Abbott instead said the best strategy for Texas is to try and get a block grant, which provides flexibility in spending.

"These bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., they don't know how to address our health care problem here," said Abbott.

Health care is a big issue in this race, as is abortion rights.

"I am pro life. I am Catholic, and I believe like most Texans do that all life is sacred. But here in Texas we also understand that we live in a state that is governed by the rule of law," he said. "In what the state of Texas has passed in HB 2 does more than even before to protect innocent life, but also the health and safety of mothers, while at the very same time ensuring all women have at least five months to make the decision about whether or not they are going to have an abortion, regardless of how that child was conceived."

We asked Abbott, who is an anti-abortion advocate, his position when a woman is raped or a victim of incest.

"Women who are victims of rape and incest have five months to decide whether or not they are going to have an abortion, but it is also essential to point out when it comes to rape and incest our first reaction must be one of compassion and support for the victims of that crime," said Abbott.

CLICK HERE for a special 5 Days in October section from The Dallas Morning News.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[5 Days in October: Wendy Davis on Health Care]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 14:35:54 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Wendy+Davis+Health+Care+101314.jpg

NBC 5 is partnering with The Dallas Morning News, KERA and Telemundo 39 to produce in-depth reports about the race for Texas governor. We asked our viewers, readers and listeners to vote on the topics most important to them. For five days, we will report in-depth on each of those topics: education, immigration, health care, economy and infrastructure.

The third report is on health care. Click here to see our report on Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.

It's a health care issue, reproductive rights, that thrust State Sen. Wendy Davis into the national spotlight last year after a nearly 13-hour filibuster.

Davis doesn't shy away from talking about abortion on the campaign trail; in fact, she released an autobiography this summer where she discusses her abortions. She says abortion is a deeply personal and private decision between one woman and her doctor, while the question of Medicaid expansion is an issue that affects every Texan.

Governor Rick Perry refused to go along with Obamacare several years ago. And by rejecting key provisions in the Affordable Care Act, Texas has rejected extra Medicaid dollars that would insure millions of residents.

"Medicaid expansion is all about bringing our tax dollars back to work for us," she said during the second gubernatorial debate in Dallas.

In every interview, Davis argues that Texas has turned its back on $100 billion in federal money.

"It makes no sense for Texans to be writing checks to the IRS and then seeing that money go elsewhere. Particularly when we do have so many hard-working Texans who fall in that gap and who'd be covered if we were to bring that money back to work for us," Davis told NBC 5.

Davis says its unacceptable that Republican leadership in Texas refuses to take federal tax dollars that would go towards insuring Texans in need.

"That money is going to supplement the health care of California and New York," she told NBC 5. "We're writing those states a check with our hard-earned tax dollars, and not seeing that money work for us, in Texas."

"Texas needs a governor who's going to bring that money back to our state and put it work in our economy and for our health care needs," she added.

As governor, Wendy Davis would have the power to use an executive order to accept Medicaid expansion -- even if the Republican, and largely conservative, legislature doesn't want it.

She told NBC 5 she does not believe she'd have to use an executive order, and would work with the legislature to make it happen.

"I believe that I'll be able to work the legislature and make this happen," she said. "It's the right thing to do for Texas health care, it's the right thing to do for the Texas economy."

Still, when pressed, she would not definitively say if she'd use executive action to accept the federal Medicaid money.

As governor, Davis says she'd also create a special task force to handle disability claims and mental health programs for veterans. It's a priority, she says, in the under-served Rio Grande Valley.

"I will work with this community to assure that we do bring a hospital -- a veteran's hospital -- here to serve our service members who have served us so well," she said in the first debate in McAllen.

Davis supports abortion rights, saying it's a private decision between a woman and her doctor, talking about the issue during both debates.

"I stood on the Senate floor for thirteen hours to assure that this most private of decisions could be made by women," she said in McAllen, while adding in Dallas that the government has no business intruding in a personal and Constitutionally-protected medical decision.

"I do not believe the government should intrude in that most personal and private of decision makings."

During an interview this year with the Dallas Morning News, Davis also came out in favor of medical marijuana.

"With regard to medical marijuana. I personally believe that medical marijuana should be allowed for," she told the paper in February. "We certainly have an opportunity to look at what other states are doing and watch and learn from that."

CLICK HERE for a special 5 Days in October section from The Dallas Morning News.



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<![CDATA[NH Lawmaker Calls Congresswoman "Ugly as Sin"]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 18:22:59 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/214*120/Steve+Vaillancourt.jpg

Candidates for New Hampshire's 2nd Congressional District are speaking out after a state lawmaker described one of them as "ugly as sin."

The story has gained national attention and has both candidates denouncing the remarks. Republican state Representative Steven Vaillancourt wrote a blog post on Friday after he says he saw a poll that claimed more attractive candidates have the upper hand with voters.

In the blog, he wrote, "Does anyone not believe that Congressman Annie Kuster is as ugly as sin?"

Vaillancourt then compared her to a drag queen.

"Look, it's rude and offensive," Congresswoman Kuster said. "But I have a thick skin."

Kuster's Republican challenger, Marilinda Garcia, said the post was just plain mean.

"She doesn't deserve to be treated that way," Garcia said.

Congresswoman Kuster said Vaillancourt's comments reflect a broader issue with the Republican Party.

"I am more frustrated with the positions they stand for, and frankly, that leads to an environment where people say disrespectful things," Kuster said.

Garcia said she is frustrated that exactly three weeks before the election, the conversation has turned to this.

"Looks and appearance seem to supersede commentary and observation and the other things that are more important," Garcia said.

In Vaillancourt's blog, he called Garcia, "One of the most attractive women on the political scene anywhere."

Garcia, who has worked with Vaillancourt during her four terms as a state representative, said the comments are not surprising and she is not at all flattered.

"He certainly is an equal opportunity offender," Garcia said.

NECN tried to reach Vaillancourt for comment, but no one answered when crews knocked at his Manchester home. He later sent an email referring NECN to his latest blog entry, which was posted Monday evening. Vaillancourt answers reporters' questions about whether or not he stands by his statements, writing, "Stand by the fact that Ms. Garcia is better looking than Ms. Kuster? If the reporters themselves don't see that, then they should question their own abilities to function."

In that same blog, Vaillancourt makes it clear, none of this is about supporting his party affiliation. In fact, he went on to criticize Republican gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

"Anyone who has followed what I've written (more than 500 posts this past year) knows that neither looks nor race nor sexual orientation nor sex matters a whit to me," Vaillancourt wrote.

As for the 2nd Congressional District Race, the most recent poll shows Kuster with a two point lead over Garcia.



Photo Credit: NECN]]>
<![CDATA[5 Days in October: Greg Abbott on Immigration]]> Mon, 13 Oct 2014 15:30:30 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/166925865.jpg

NBC 5 is partnering with The Dallas Morning News, KERA and Telemundo 39 to produce in-depth reports about the race for Texas governor. We asked our viewers, readers and listeners to vote on the topics most important to them. For five days, we will report in-depth on each of those topics: education, immigration, health care, economy and infrastructure.

The second report is on immigration. Click here to see our report on Texas Sen. Wendy Davis.

When it comes to securing the border, Attorney General Greg Abbott plans to spend $300 million.

"I will be putting the resources on the border, as well as across the state of Texas, to make sure that our communities are safe," said Abbott.

At first, he said it will come out of the budget, but his plan is to have money seized at the border, money he said is going toward the cartels, pay for it.

"You think that will totally cover that, what is seized?" asked NBC 5 reporter Julie Fine.

"I know we are seizing more than $300 million worth of value a year right now," said Abbott.

Right now, Texas is spending more, after a surge in undocumented workers crossed the border.

Abbott was with Texas Governor Rick Perry when he announced they were sending the National Guard to the border. Right now, Texans are footing that bill.

"I will send the bill to Washington, D.C. to make sure that they pay for the problem that the federal government caused," said Abbott.

But so far, Washington and Texas aren't even close when it comes to agreeing on immigration reform.

Thousands of undocumented workers have come across our borders, and children too.

"What do we do with these children once they are here? Do they have to go back?," asked Fine.

"What the Department of Homeland Security has promised is that they are going to ensure that the children are going to receive the proper judicial adjudication they deserve, and that they will be returned. Because they are here, not because of any typical type of asylum-type situation we have had in the past, but instead they are here because the President sent the message that our borders were open,” said Abbott.

CLICK HERE for a special 5 Days in October section from The Dallas Morning News.



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<![CDATA[5 Days in October: Wendy Davis on Immigration]]> Mon, 13 Oct 2014 16:12:02 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/183007809.jpg

NBC 5 is partnering with The Dallas Morning News, KERA and Telemundo 39 to produce in-depth reports about the race for Texas governor. We asked our viewers, readers and listeners to vote on the topics most important to them. For five days, we will report in-depth on each of those topics: education, immigration, health care, economy and infrastructure.

The second report is on immigration. Click here to see our report on Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott

State Sen. Wendy Davis said she supports much of what Governor Rick Perry during this summer's border crisis, but she said as governor she would have listened better to the needs of the local communities near the border, like McAllen.

"They've asked for deputies with arrest and detention authority. And that's not what they were sent," Davis said in an interview with NBC 5.

The mayor of McAllen said by the end of this year, he'll have spent $500 million of taxpayer money to fund the humanitarian relief effort that accompanied the influx of undocumented immigrants.

Wendy Davis said as governor she'll fight to make sure every penny is reimbursed by President Barack Obama.

"This is the federal government's responsibility. And the federal government should be expected to foot the bill," she said.

Davis said as governor, she would have called a special session to call back legislators and force them to debate a long-term solution.

"I asked Governor Perry to convene a special session for a special session for that very purpose. They've asked for deputies with arrest and detention authority. And that's not what they were sent," she said.

Still, she believes Governor Perry did a lot of things right in handling the surge of tens of thousands of immigrant children and families crossing the border.

"I supported the surge of DPS troops to the border. Those are the right boots on the ground, they have detention and arrest authority," she said.

It's a move that costs Texas taxpayers more than a million dollars every week, but Davis said as governor she'd fight Congress relentlessly to get that money back.

"At the end of the day the federal government needs to foot the bill. Not the local communities should foot the bill. And so it is my continued hope that President Obama will focus his attention on making sure that happens," she said.

Davis said she hopes President Obama finds the time to visit the border himself. But she said getting him to tour the border isn't a priority.

"I believe that any person with the responsibility to keep our border secure ought to be in those communities, talking to local law enforcement officials," she said.

As governor, Davis said she'd fight to get Washington to hire more federal immigration judges to speed up the detention and deportation processes.

And she supports finding additional funding to hire local police officers along the border, not just National Guard troops.

CLICK HERE for a special 5 Days in October section from The Dallas Morning News.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[5 Days in October: Greg Abbott on Education]]> Mon, 13 Oct 2014 11:28:55 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/476664717.jpg

NBC 5 is partnering with The Dallas Morning News, KERA and Telemundo 39 to produce in-depth reports about the race for Texas governor. We asked our viewers, readers and listeners to vote on the topics most important to them. For five days, we will report in-depth on each of those topics: education, immigration, health care, economy and infrastructure.

The first report is on education. Click here to see our report on Texas Sen. Wendy Davis.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has made his mission clear for education.

"I think we should be number one in the nation," said Abbott in a one-on-one interview.

But how does he get that done?

Currently, the state is in a legal battle about funding to begin with.

Millions were cut, then restored by a judge's order.

Now as Texas attorney general, Abbott is appealing that decision.

"At the time that you are saying this you have essentially defended the State of Texas against the lawsuit to restore school funding, As a Governor you are going to be in a different role," Said NBC 5's Julie Fine.

"Listen I am hired to be the Attorney General for the state of Texas right now. As governor though I will be a transformative force in they was we reshape education. The goal is not just to throw more money at it, the goal truly transform education so we can truly educate our kids. I want to ensure that we build a solid foundation for education by ensuring from Pre-K all the way through third grade we have all students doing reading and math at grade level so they have a solid foundation upon which they can build a great education future," said Abbott.

"Will you push to get that money restored when you are in a different roll?," asked NBC 5 reporter Julie Fine.

"My education plan does provide more funding for schools. For prekindergarten, for example, it provides $1,500 more per student," said Abbott.

Pre-K has been a very big issue in the ad wars during this election. His opponent, State Sen. Wendy Davis, is pushing for universal pre-K. She said Abbott is calling for standardized testing for pre-K students.

We went through Abbott's plan, he wants pre-K programs that receive state money to evaluate improvement, and report that data to the Texas Education Agency.

As for testing, the plan calls for "direct assessments, norm-referenced standardized tests."

This is how Abbott describes them.

"These are methods that are being used around the Dallas area right now, where a teacher will observe what the student is doing. Is Sandra making progress the way the way we want her to make? Is Johnny making progress. A teacher will make observations about that. A teacher will ask them can you recite the alphabet or can you count to 10," said Abbott.

"They would hold up a picture of a letter, do you know what that letter is, you hold up a number do you know what that number is," said Abbott.

Texas is 46th in spending per pupil in the nation, well below the national average.

In the last debate, Abbott was asked if he could fulfill that goal of being No. 1, with spending well below the national average.

"California spends a lot more per pupil, than does the state of Texas. Despite that fact, Texas students perform that well, if not better on NAEP tests, so it shows more funding does not always lead to better results," Abbott said.

Part of this plan addresses higher education as well.

"We need to make it more affordable. It costs so much for higher education. We have to bring that cost down," said Abbott.

He says new strategies and tools are needed to bring down the costs of what universities are charging. He also wants to ensure that Texas will have five of the top 10 universities in the country.

CLICK HERE for a special 5 Days in October section from The Dallas Morning News.



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<![CDATA[5 Days in October: Wendy Davis on Education]]> Mon, 13 Oct 2014 09:01:31 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/wendy-davis-1200-12.jpg

NBC 5 is partnering with The Dallas Morning News, KERA and Telemundo 39 to produce in-depth reports about the race for Texas governor. We asked our viewers, readers and listeners to vote on the topics most important to them. For five days, we will report in-depth on each of those topics: education, immigration, health care, economy and infrastructure.

The first report is on education. Click here to see our report on Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.

State Sen. Wendy Davis said improving public schools is one of her biggest priorities.

Davis said she's been fighting for better schools ever since she got into politics nearly 20 years ago, and if elected governor, she said she will implement an ambitious plan to improve Texas schools.

Recent TV commercials show Davis talking with teachers and reading to kids. The ads are intended to drive home the point that Davis will fight for parents.

"As governor I will make the education of our children a priority and I will fight to make sure that our schools have more resources not less," she said in the Sept. 19 debate in McAllen.

Her plan calls for full day prekindergarten for every child in Texas. She has said that her universal pre-K plan will be on a sliding scale — free for low-income families, while upper-income families would have to pay something.

Davis said she's had enough of what she calls high-pressure, seemingly never-ending standardized tests.

She helped pass a law that reduced the number of them that high school students take from 15 to five.

"It's now time for us to decrease those pressures in middle and lower school grades as well," she said during the Sept. 30 debate in Dallas.

"I have never had a parent tell me that they think we need more standardized tests, not less," she added.

Davis said she believes standardized tests are important in measuring student success, but too many tests — and weighing them too heavily in evaluating teachers — is a negative.

"It is important to make sure that we’re measuring student performance, but that we’re not discouraging good teachers from going into classrooms that will be helping the most challenging of students," she said.

Davis also plans on increasing increase teacher pay and per-pupil spending, both of which are below national averages.

One of Davis's goals is to make easier for teenagers to attend college. She wants more financial aid opportunities for students to go to state colleges.

"In Texas, no student who is seeking an education and qualifies for financial aid should be denied," she told a San Antonio audience in August.

She wants to make it easier for teenagers to earn college credit while still in high school by doubling what is known as "dual credit" options.

"Those are my goals, and within existing resources that we have available to us as a state, we can make all of those things possible," she said in a recent interview with NBC 5.

It's possible, but Davis isn't saying how expensive it'll be.

During the Dallas debate, NBC 5 anchor Brian Curtis asked her three separate times for the price tag on her education platform.

"Senator Davis, what is the price tag for your education plans? Please give us a dollar amount. And where would you find that money?" Curtis asked.

"Brian, I was proud in 2011 to filibuster $5.4 billion in cuts to our public schools, cuts that my opponent has been fighting in court to keep in place ever since," she responded.

"So no dollar amount?" he later asked.

"As I said Brian, this is a vision that will be set for the legislature," she said.

She said her plan can be implemented without raising taxes, insisting that the money can be found "within existing resources."

"When we come back into legislative session, we'll have a $5 billion surplus in revenues," she told NBC 5. "I will advocate that the use of those revenues most important priority will be restore appropriate funding to our schools."

NBC 5 and The Dallas Morning News have been able to approximate the cost of some parts of her education vision.

In an interview with The Dallas Morning News last month, Davis estimated that her universal pre-K plan would cost around $700 million. And because Texas teachers earn about $8,000 less than the national average, the newspaper estimated the cost of bringing that up to scale at about a billion dollars.

"Educating our children is about creating jobs of tomorrow and strengthening our economy for decades to come," she said in San Antonio.

Texas ranks 46th in the nation when it comes to the amount of money we spend on each student, about $9,000. The national average is $11,000 per pupil.

In fact, Texas spends about $500 less per student than it did just a few years ago. Davis said that's unacceptable.

"That comes at a price, but the question to ask is: 'What price do we pay as a state if we don’t?'" she said.

CLICK HERE for a special 5 Days in October section from The Dallas Morning News.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Lone Star Politics: Burton, Willis on Budget]]> Sun, 12 Oct 2014 08:43:37 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/NEW+013114+lone+star+politics.jpg A Lone Star Politics interview with the candidates who want to replace Wendy Davis in the Texas Senate turns into a free for all this week. Libby Willis (D) and Konni Burton (R) clash over Ebola, abortion, the budget, Medicaid, and Texas’ Voter ID law. Plus, NBC 5’s Julie Fine and Jeff Smith preview their upcoming Five Days In October series. The reporters details the views of gubernatorial candidates Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis on education, health care, border issues, transportation/infrastructure, and the economy. Watch Lone Star Politics Sunday at 8:40 a.m. on NBC 5. ]]> <![CDATA[Lone Star Politics: October 5, 2014]]> Sun, 05 Oct 2014 08:43:25 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/NEW+013114+lone+star+politics.jpg On Lone Star Politics, Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins and his opponent Susan Hawk argue over whether Watkins was entitled to use more than $50,000 in county forfeiture funds to settle a car crash he caused, as well over who has the most experience to serve as the county’s top prosecutor and over Hawk's accusation that Watkins is being investigated by the FBI. Also, NBC 5’s Kevin Cokely asks Gromer Jeffers from The Dallas Morning News and KERA’s Shelley Kofler for their assessment of the race for governor. Watch Lone Star Politics Sunday at 8:40 a.m. on NBC 5.]]> <![CDATA[Rep. Ralph Hall Undergoes Surgery]]> Mon, 06 Oct 2014 07:49:29 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/hall-defeat.jpg

Rep. Ralph Hall underwent surgery on Sunday after being injured in a car wreck.

The Texas Republican's office told NBC DFW that the 91-year-old's surgery on his hip was successful. He is expected to make a full recovery. 

"Congressman Hall is in good spirits and appreciates the thoughts and prayers of friends and colleagues. He will make a personal statement at a later time," said a statement from Ed Valentine in Rep. Hall's office.

On Saturday, Hall was being driven by friend Howard Zielke, 73, south on Texas 121 when 23-year-old Zachary Bohannon turned left in front of Hall's vehicle, Texas Department of Public Safety officials said. Hall and Zielke had just attended the Fannin County Parade.

Paramedics said Hall was conscious and joking with them as they airlifted him to Medical Center of Plano.

Zielke was taken to a McKinney hospital for undisclosed injuries, DPS officials said. There is no word yet on Bohannon's condition.

At 91-years-old, Rep. Hall is the oldest-ever member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

When he was a boy working in a pharmacy near Dallas, Hall had a brush with Bonnie and Clyde when they stopped to buy cigarettes.The notorious bank robbers later died in a a shootout with authorities.

Last May, Republican primary challenger John Ratcliffe defeated Rep. Ralph Hall in the first runoff he'd ever faced.

Stay with NBC 5 and NBCDFW.com for updates on this developing story.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas County DA Considers Charges Against Ebola Patient]]> Fri, 03 Oct 2014 15:26:43 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/vlcsnap-000045.jpg Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins says his office is considering whether to charge Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Clinton Recommends Grandmotherhood]]> Thu, 02 Oct 2014 19:39:16 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tlmd_hillaryclinton7.jpg

Thousands waited hours in the sun to see Former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Thursday in South Florida.

Clinton was signing copies of her new book "Hard Choices" at Books & Books at 265 Aragon Ave. in Coral Gables.

There, she spoke about her book and about becoming a grandmother just a few days ago, saying, "I highly recommend it!"

Earlier on Thursday, Clinton spoke at the Crew Network Convention & Marketplace at the Loews Hotel in Miami Beach.

Her message for the 1,200 professional women at the event was one of empowerment.

"You can't get tied into knots by what others say and think, because we all know women sometimes get judged by different criteria -- even powerful women in powerful positions," she said.

Karyl Argamasilla, with the Miami Crew chapter, said she took Clinton's message to heart.

"At the end of the day, she's someone who has broken all the glass ceilings," Argamasilla said.

At one point, a woman in the audience shouted out, "2016!" -- the only mention of a possible presidential run during Clinton's Miami stops. But those in attendance said they don't doubt she'll be joining the race.

"She's already been to Iowa," said Steve Sails. "She's running."

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<![CDATA[CA Plastic Bag Ban Approved]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 17:23:45 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/212*120/Plastic+Bag+Ban+Store+Counter+copy.jpg

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the nation's first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags Tuesday.

The measure, first proposed by Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla of Los Angeles, would prohibit single-use plastic bags at grocery stores and large pharmacies in 2015 and at convenience stores in 2016.

It includes $2 million in loans to help manufacturers shift to producing reusable bags and lets grocers charge 10 cents each for paper and reusable bags.

The bill had sparked one of the most contentious debates in the last weeks of the legislative session, with aggressive lobbying by environmentalists and bag manufacturers.

Moments after Brown signed the measure, the American Progressive Bag Alliance called it a “back room deal between grocers and union bosses to scam California consumers out of billions of dollars without providing any public benefit – all under the guise of environmentalism.”

The group plans to launch a referendum effort for the November 2016 ballot to repeal the measure.

San Diegan Laura Quinn-Stalker had mixed feelings about the news.

“Although I reuse my plastic bags constantly and will miss that,” she posted to NBC 7’s Facebook page, “I think this is important to do.”

“Won't see a dime saved in my pocket. Now, I have to buy garbage bags,” Oxnard resident Wade Wilson posted.

For years, a statewide plastic bag ban has been an elusive goal for lawmakers trying to reduce the buildup of plastic waste in oceans and waterways that costs millions of dollars to cleanup.

About 100 local jurisdictions in California already have adopted similar bans, including Los Angeles and San Francisco.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Davis Calls on Abbott to Disavow Remarks by GOP Strategist]]> Wed, 24 Sep 2014 11:05:06 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/092314_Davis_after_speech_1200x675_332571715826.jpg

Campaigning in Dallas Tuesday, Democratic gubernatorial candidate State Sen. Wendy Davis called on Republican nominee Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to disavow remarks made by a GOP consultant on Lone Star Politics, the weekly show produced by NBC 5 and The Dallas Morning News.

During a discussion of Abbott’s position on abortion, Matt Mackowiak referred to women seeking abortions in cases of rape and incest as, "minor issues that are one percent or two percent the problem."

Here is a partial transcript of Mackowiak's exchange with Democratic strategist Matt Angle:

Mackowiak: "Texas is a pro-life state. We can get into minor issues that are one percent or two percent the problem. But ultimately Texas is a strong pro-life state. Abbott would love to fight this campaign on that issue alone from here on out but Wendy knows that's not strategically wise."

Angle: "That's the first time I've heard rape or incest called a 'minor issue.'"

Mackowiak: "It's minor in terms of the percentage of cases. That's all I'm saying."

Angle: "A victim of rape or incest is not a minor problem."

After speaking to a gathering of Annie's List in Dallas Tuesday, Davis challenged Abbott to repudiate Mackowiak's statements.

"I am calling on them to disavow those statements and to show their respect for women in this state who have undergone the horrific and heinous crimes of rape and incest," the Fort Worth Democrat said. "He (Mackowiak) has been a surrogate voice for Greg Abbott and the Greg Abbott campaign. And I think that most telling is the fact that Greg Abbott has not come forward to disavow Matt Mackowiak's characterization of women who've been victimized in rape and in cases of incest as though somehow they've suffered a minor issue," said Davis.

Davis added, "If I disagreed with something that a supporter said I would be quick to make a public statement about that."

The Abbott campaign did not respond on the record to NBC 5's phone calls or emails seeking comment.

Meanwhile, Mackowiak released the following statement Tuesday:

"I am neither an 'Abbott strategist' nor an 'Abbott surrogate' and have never claimed to be, so the Davis campaign's repeated claims of this are false. To the extent that the Davis campaign has intentionally mislead voters about what I said and offended people, I regret that. The Davis campaign has intentionally mischaracterized what I said in a desperate attempt to raise money, while selfishly trivializing domestic violence and sexual assault victims by using them to score cheap political points. The Davis campaign has now relentlessly targeted a private citizen for two days, with thousands of emails, social media postings, online graphics, a speech and even a press conference demeaning me, based on several blatant falsehoods. It's time for this campaign for Governor to return to a discussion about the future of our great state."


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