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Chad’s Morning Brief: Imagine Lubbock Together Presents Ideas, Latest on Campus Carry Bill in Texas, & More

Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of May 15, 2013. Give me your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11am.

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1. Imagine Lubbock Together (link)

Last night, Imagine Lubbock Together shared plans with people who attended their meeting at the Cactus Theater. Apparently the visioning process didn’t say anything about being on time since reports were that the event started about 20 minutes late.

The people with Imagine Lubbock laid out 8 areas of focus last night. The key elements laid out by the organization were  arts/culture, basic/fundamental services, beautification/image, Downtown, economic development, education, entertainment/recreation, and neighborhood spirit.

Today on the show we will discuss some of the things laid out by the organization. If you went last night, what did you think?

2. Campus Carry (link)

Legislation known as campus carry passed through a Senate committee yesterday after hearing from students, police, and faculty. The bill will head to the Senate floor next.

Known as “campus carry” legislation, House Bill 972, by state Rep. Allen Fletcher, R-Cypress, would allow colleges and universities to let concealed handgun license holders store or carry weapons on campuses if they are 21 or older, whether they are students, staff or faculty. The bill now heads to the Senate floor.

“This bill takes steps towards allowing the same trained adults who carry on a day-to-day basis to protect themselves on college campuses,” said state Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, who is sponsoring the legislation.

“It’s no different than when they go home and take their gun to the movies, to the mall,” said Ellis County Sheriff Johnny Brown, the first in a long list of people who testified Tuesday in front of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee.

Several college students expressed concerns about the rise of mass shootings and sexual assaults on college campuses. “You can’t outlaw crazy, and you can’t outlaw evil,” said Mark Hamlin, a University of Texas at Austin senior and Air Force veteran who has a concealed handgun license and supports the measure. “I feel like I need to protect myself from the crazy and the evil in this world.”

The bill has numerous provisions, including one that requires institutions to renew their policies annually after consulting with faculty, staff and students. Colleges can also opt out of participation.

Carrying a concealed weapon would still be prohibited at sporting events, hospitals and elementary schools that are located on a college campus. Before the bill passed the House in early May, Fletcher allowed amendments to prevent CHL holders from taking firearms to other “official mass gatherings” or on campuses that include  “biocontainment” laboratories like the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.

But other students argued the bill would make them less safe. “I think it is irresponsible to legislate things that don’t affect you,” University of Texas at Austin student Leslie Tisdale told the committee. “I want to sit in my classroom and not fear Virginia Tech,” referring to the 2009 campus shooting in which 32 people were killed.

Grace Chimene, a pediatric nurse with children in college, asked lawmakers to not mix guns with the stress of university life. “Students should be allowed to have successes and failures at college without the danger of increased access to guns,” she said.

State Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, who chairs the committee, took issue with Chimene’s suggestion that the bill would increase access to guns on campuses. “Wouldn’t those stresses exist a block off campus?” he asked. He noted that in the state Capitol building, there are similarly high emotions and stresses to a college campus, and yet concealed handguns are currently allowed by law.

“I used to worry every day I gave a test back to students,” said Baylor University math professor Lance Littlejohn, “that one student with take issue with their grade and let me have it — literally — with both barrels.”

But lawmakers said they would need facts and statistics before taking Littlejohn’s concerns into consideration. “You’re just basing this on emotional opinions,” said state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston.

“If this bill passes, would you hand back my exams to my students?” Littlejohn asked him.

“I think that is such a far-fetched issue … a student could be sitting there right now with a weapon, who brought it illegally,” responded Patrick, who voted for the measure.

 

Whitmire also warned opponents of the bill that if a special session is called, a tougher version of campus carry could be brought up if this bill were to fail. Which makes me in a way hope this bill would fail. It’s far too weak and our 2nd amendment rights shouldn’t be decided by liberal college presidents.

3. 0.05 (link)

A proposal to lower the DUI limit isn’t making everyone happy. The NTSB approved yesterday 10 nonbinding recommendations that they claim would make roads safer. Among the recommendations is lowering the DUI limit to .05.

The call for reducing the blood-alcohol limit to 0.05 percent is the most eye-catching item among 10 nonbinding recommendations that the National Transportation Safety Board approved Tuesday, with the aim of reducing the number of impaired drivers on the roads.

It’s been less than a decade since states adopted the current 0.08 percent limit, spurred partly by Congress’s threat to revoke some of their highway funding. The U.S. Department of Transportation should study whether it can similarly use highway money as leverage this time, the NTSB said.

The board also called for states to increase enforcement checkpoints and require drunken drivers’ cars to feature “ignition interlock” devices that would prevent them from starting unless the motorists could prove they’re not intoxicated.

But it’s the blood-alcohol number that is grabbing headlines. American Beverage Institute Managing Director Sarah Longwell called the proposal “ludicrous.”

Longwell said a woman might crack the threshold after just a glass of wine, exactly the opposite of the type of drunken driving scofflaw that law enforcement should crack down on. She said the change would make people “feel uncomfortable having a drink.”

“This recommendation criminalizes behavior that is completely responsible,” she said. “It targets moderate and responsible social drinkers.”

Instead, Longwell says the focus should be on repeat offenders and people who have blown far past the 0.08 percent threshold.

Sounds like a bad idea to me to lower the DUI limit. What do you think?

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These and many more topics coming up on today’s edition of The Chad Hasty Show. Tune in mornings 8:30-11am on News/Talk 790 KFYO, streaming online at kfyo.com, and now on your iPhone and Android device with the radioPup App. All guest interviews can be heard online in our podcast section after the show at kfyo.com

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