Capitol Closeup | KERA News

Capitol Closeup

Office of Rep. Chris Turner

Gov. Rick Perry has said there’s no way he’ll sign legislation that expands access to Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, what he calls Obamacare.  But one North Texas Democrat believes that issue is still alive and kicking in the legislature.  And Rep. Chris Turner of Grand Prairie says there’s also some good news about money for public schools.

In today’s “Capitol Closeup” he tells KERA’s Shelley Kofler why he’s feeling optimistic.

Texas House of Representatives

State Rep.Dan Branch says he’ll decide whether to run for attorney general at the end of the legislative session in May.

Right now the six-term lawmaker has his hands full as Chairman of the House Higher Education Committee.

In today’s “Capitol Closeup,” the Dallas Republican talks to KERA’s Shelley Kofler about changes he’s proposing for colleges and universities, and one proposal that would hit where it hurts if they don’t produce better results.

Office of Rep. Myra Crownover

On Wednesday state lawmakers on the House Public Health Committee will consider screening newborns for congenital heart defects. The bill filed by Denton Republican Myra Crownover continues her efforts to expand genetic testing for babies.

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

  The battle to help mentally ill people is personal for one state legislator.  Representative Garnet Coleman, a Houston Democrat, has bipolar disorder.

This week he participated in a mental health forum, Erasing the Stigma, which was sponsored by KERA, The Dallas Morning News, and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings.

Then Rep. Coleman sat down to share his story.

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

Newly elected lawmakers sometimes blend into the woodwork in Austin. But that’s not likely to happen to Republican Jason Villalba whose District 114 includes parts of North Dallas, Preston Hollow and Lake Highlands.

In the first week of the session Villalba is already gaining a reputation as an independent voice who wants to tackle big problems.