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Chad’s Morning Brief: Latest From the Texas Legislature, Oklahoma Tornado, & More

Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of May 21, 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.

Kumar Appaiah, Flickr

1. Legislature (link)

There are just a few days left in the 83rd Texas Legislature and while some bills are being sent to the Governor’s desk, others are facing death. Today on the show, David Guenthner with the Texas Public Policy Foundation will join me at 9:05am to discuss which bills are moving forward and which ones are dead.

For those thinking the budget is all wrapped up, think again. Yesterday the budget stalled.

The budget deal that House and Senate leaders stitched together last week began to fray Monday as legislators disagreed about what they had agreed to.

As a result, questions lingered all day whether the House would take up a must-pass measure asking voters to authorize a new water fund, which is a top priority for Gov. Rick Perry.

House Democrats, whose votes are needed for the water fund measure, first wanted proof from Senate Finance Committee Chairman Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, that he would come through on a promise to include an additional $200 million in education money in an emergency budget bill.

“We committed to being for (the water fund measure), but we’re not sure where we are right now,” state Rep. Yvonne Davis, D-Dallas, chairwoman of the House Democratic Caucus, said after the Democrats met mid-afternoon.

They were no clearer about where they stood Monday night as the vote was repeatedly delayed.

The two chambers also appear to disagree on how to provide the “significant tax relief” that Perry has demanded, a debate that could dominate the Capitol beginning Tuesday.

Tax bills come to the Texas Senate floor Tuesday and Wednesday amid a behind-the-scenes debate on what is a tax cut, what is a tax incentive and what is just repaying taxpayers for being overcharged.

Four tax bills account for about $1 billion, but three of the four could be considered new tax incentives to encourage investments in telecommunication services, data centers and research and development by companies. And the House and Senate are on a collision course over the fourth tax bill — about $650 million — dealing with the franchise tax, commonly called the margins tax.

Wednesday is the deadline for the Senate to act on the tax bills to keep the legislative process moving forward.

On Monday, there was confusion among the rank-and-file members on what Perry would find acceptable as “tax relief,” and there was speculation among some lobbyists that the tax issue could prompt a special session after the Legislature adjourns on Memorial Day.

With so much in flux, everyone seemed to be using slightly different math.

Stay tuned on this.

2. Oklahoma (link)

Today on the show we will have the latest on the tornado that struck Moore, OK. Yesterday was just terrible as millions of Americans watched the news and saw the pictures from Moore.

Our hearts sank when we saw the elementary school that took a direct hit. It’s the type of storm you only think you can prepare for. A killer, a monster tornado that killed at least 51 people including children. According to CNN, the medical examiner is expecting 40 more bodies.

Yesterday was a reminder, a sad reminder, of how everything we know and love can change in a second. The day can start out beautiful, but end with a disaster. It is sad that a day like yesterday is what forces many of us to count our blessings.

3. Sheila Jackson Lee and the IRS (link)

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee in 2010 wanted feds to investigate the organization True the Vote and the Tea Party group, King Street Patriots. According to Breitbart, the IRS and DOJ decided to investigate the two groups just months later.

Rep. Jackson Lee sent a letter to Holder which alleged that True the Vote was intimidating voters and their election monitors were crossing the line in unspecified “instances” of voter intimidation. The letter went on to directly assert that the “alleged events” were factual and that the True the Vote effort was behind the crimes. The letter offered no documented instances or data of any kind.

The letter, titled “Voter Intimidation in Houston, Texas and Request for DOJ Poll Monitors to Be Sent,” urged Holder to investigate with his DOJ and stated, “As a senior Member of the House Judiciary Committee, I urge you to order an immediate investigation into these incidents, and call for the Department of Justice to send poll monitors to Harris County immediately to ensure a safe and neutral voting environment during the November 2 election.”

“It was strange and concerning,” said Catherine Engelbrecht, founder of King Street Patriots and True the Vote. “She first said there were unspecified reports of crimes and that we were believed to be behind them. In the next paragraph, she began specifically stating that the events did occur, thus accusing us of crimes.”

“We really thought, and still do for that matter, that the congresswoman was going on the offense as a defense. This happened immediately after our group found an unexplainable and unusually high number of voter registration irregularities in her district,” said Engelbrecht. “None of our experts, none of our socio-economic comparisons and considerations could explain why her district had so many irregularities.”

With Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, nothing surprises me anymore.

Other Top Stories:

Erick Erickson on SB 346

CSCOPE Dead

Craft Brewing Overhaul

Perry 2016?

Labor Union Chief Calls Immigration Bill Dangerous

Justice Department Looked Into Reporter with FOX

Another Shoe to Drop?

Google Hands Over Private Emails of FOX News Reporter to DOJ

White House Shifting IRS Account

More on Lois Lerner & the IRS

Oil Boom Coming to Lubbock?

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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