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Inside Texas Politics (3/17/19)

College cheating scandals, teacher pay increases, Planned Parenthood and more: It's all in this week's episode of "Inside Texas Politics."


"Inside Texas Politics" began with the alleged college admissions cheating scandal. The FBI indicted 50 people including a University of Texas at Austin coach. UT fired the coach for allegedly taking a bribe. Dallas Democratic state Senator Royce West talked about the likelihood of a state investigation into the scandal. Senator West is vice-chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee. He also shared his thoughts on former Congressman Beto O’Rourke’s run for president.  Senator Royce joined host Teresa Woodard, who filled in for Jason Whitely, and Bud Kennedy of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.


Texas lawmakers are considering pay increases for teachers. The Senate wants to give all full-time teachers and librarians a $5,000 across-the-board annual pay raise. However, the House plan would allow local school districts to give raises based on a merit system. Teachers support the Senate version. Ross Ramsey, co-founder and executive editor of the Texas Tribune, joined host Teresa Woodard to give his thoughts on whether educators will receive the Senate or House version. Teresa Woodard filled in for Jason Whitely.


The face of Planned Parenthood is changing. Texas-native Cecile Richards led the organization for more than a decade. Her successor is Leana Wen, a 36-year-old doctor who immigrated from China. Jason Whitely sat down with her during a recent trip to Dallas. Dr. Wen discussed why she’s worried about Roe vs. Wade.


Beto O’Rourke throwing his hat in the ring for 2020 sparked this week’s debate in Flashpoint. Is Beto just another Democratic candidate who will move farther to the left in a crowded field or will he stand out? From the right, Wade Emmert, Dallas County's former Republican chair. And from the left, Rich Hancock from VirtualNewsCenter.com.


Reporters Roundtable puts the headlines in perspective each week. Ross Ramsey and Bud Kennedy returned along with Berna Dean Steptoe, WFAA’s political producer. Ross, Bud and Berna Dean joined host Teresa Woodard, who filled in for Jason Whitely. They offered perspective on Texas Governor Gregg Abbott’s reaction to the scandal sweeping higher education.  The journalists also discussed how Julian Castro responded to Beto O’Rourke’s campaign announcement by publishing a long list of Castro supporters.