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Eye on Politics: Third special legislative session to include school choice debate

Eye on Politics: Third special session to target school choice
Eye on Politics: Third special session to target school choice 01:18:28

NORTH TEXAS ( — State lawmakers are preparing to meet next week for a third special legislative session to tackle school choice. Political reporter Jack Fink sits down with CBS News Texas reporter Ken Molestina to discuss Ken's recent trip to the U.S.-Mexico border. Plus, reaction from North Texas members of Congress after Rep. Kevin McCarthy was ousted as U.S. House Speaker. 

Jack breaks down these stories and more in the latest edition of Eye on Politics (original air date: Oct. 5). 

Every week, CBS News Texas political reporter Jack Fink breaks down some of the biggest political stories grabbing headlines in North Texas and beyond. Watch the latest episode of Eye on Politics in the video player above and stream new episodes live every Thursday and Friday at 6 p.m. on CBS News Texas.

Third special session

The third special legislative session of the year begins Oct. 9 at 1 p.m. Gov. Greg Abbott said topics will include school.

The governor is pushing lawmakers to approve taxpayer-funded education savings accounts, or vouchers, so some public school students can go to private or religious schools instead. 

"The voucher itself will not be enough for a family to provide a private school education," said Democratic State Rep. Rhetta Bowers of Garland. "This is not about choice. It is, to me, about defunding public education and I do believe when we look at our education system here in Texas, we have to fund it properly."

On the other side of the issue, Republican State Rep. Brian Harrison of Waxahachie disagrees: 

"For my colleagues in the Texas House who for whatever reason have historically chosen to go in with the liberal special interests of liberal teacher unions, you've got a choice. You can stay with teachers, parents, students, deliver education freedom or continue following the liberal teacher unions to oppose every conservative value that we have. For me the choice is clear."

This week CBS News Texas reporter Steve Pickett spoke with Dallas ISD Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde about the school choice issue and her concern about the state's accountability standards for school districts.

Watch that story below:

Dallas ISD partners with school systems to legally challenge TEA's accountability plan 02:09

Kevin McCarthy out as U.S. House Speaker

It was a historic week in Congress, where a small number of Republicans and all Democrats ousted House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. It was the first time ever that a Speaker lost the position.

In an interview with Jack, Rep. Keith Self of McKinney explained why he voted against the motion filed by fellow Republican Matt Gaetz to remove McCarthy.

"I didn't want to get caught up in the personality cult traps that we have in Washington, D.C.," Self said. "We need to do our job. We need to pass the appropriations bill."

But while some Republicans want to change the current rule that allows a single House member to call for a motion to vacate the chair, Self isn't one of them.

Democratic Rep. Jasmine Crockett of Dallas said she doesn't think the change in leadership will help or hurt her party: 

"I think that we net nothing."

Hear more from both Crockett and Self below:

Rep. Jasmine Crockett and Rep. Keith Self react House speaker drama 02:47

Tim Scott visits Mayor Eric Johnson in Dallas

Republican presidential candidate Tim Scott came to Dallas this week to meet with Mayor Eric Johnson. The visit happened ten days after Johnson announced in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that he's becoming a Republican. The mayor showed Scott Klyde Warren Park and the two had lunch. 

While Johnson wouldn't comment on his party switch, Scott said Johnson's announcement was a "pleasant" one:

"He felt like he was no longer welcomed where he was because he thought there was a better path forward, so we're thankful for that."

Watch the full report below:

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson takes a stroll with Tim Scott 02:32

Also featured in this week's Eye on Politics

  • Reporter Ken Molestina sits down with Jack to discuss his recent trip the the border. He puts the uptick in border crossings into perspective and talks about efforts to keep people from coming into the country illegally. 
  • State Rep. Rhetta Bowers has added her name to the growing list of Democrats running for the soon-to-be-open 32nd Congressional District seat. She shares her priorities and why she's running.
  • Hear our extended interviews with Democratic Rep. Jasmine Crockett of Dallas and Republican Rep. Keith Self of McKinney about former U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's downfall and who could replace him.
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