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Chad’s Morning Brief: President Obama Talks Voter ID in Texas, Ethnic-Studies Electives in Texas Schools Discussed, and Other Top Stories

Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of April 10, 2014. Give me your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11am. Remember, you can listen online at KFYO.com or on your iPhone/Android with the radioPup App.

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Obama Hits Voter ID

President Obama on Wednesday joined in with other Democrats is slamming Texas’ Voter ID Law according to POLITICO.

President Barack Obama on Wednesday joined the larger Democratic effort to spotlight voting rights ahead of this year’s midterms, blasting “active efforts to deter people from voting.”

“Apparently it’s fairly active here in Texas,” he told supporters at a Houston fundraiser. “The idea that you’d purposely try to prevent people from voting? Un-American. How is it that we’re putting up with that? We don’t have to.”

On Friday, the president will continue his election-year push in a speech to Al Sharpton’s National Action Network.

Attorney General Eric Holder delivered his own address to the group Wednesday in New York, recounting the Justice Department’s efforts on the issue since the Supreme Court struck down part of the Voting Rights Act last year.

“Let me be very clear: Protecting the right to vote — the action that truly makes our nation an exceptional one — will continue to be a priority for this administration, for this Department of Justice, for this president, and for this attorney general,” Holder said.

Democrats see a voting rights pitch as another way to drive up midterm turnout among core Obama voters — most prominently African-Americans, but also Latinos, unmarried women, and current and recently graduated college students — the groups, party operatives point out, most at risk from restrictive voting laws.

The attorney general didn’t announce new policy Wednesday, focusing on existing DOJ lawsuits in North Carolina and Texas.

The president won’t break new ground, either: He’ll speak about voting rights as part of a speech about equality and justice, senior administration officials said this week, a preview of what will be a central talking point for the president when he hits the trail to rev up the base starting in late summer.

Meanwhile, the Democratic National Committee is announcing the first two state directors — in Texas and Ohio — Wednesday of its Voter Expansion Project, which will build a state-by-state tailored outreach plan, ramping up efforts to tackle existing laws and working with friendly secretaries of state to expand voter access, while challenging restrictive new laws in the courts and state legislatures.

Democrats say they’re starting in Texas and Ohio because of the intensity of the voting rights battles in those states, but are planning hires in more states. Georgia, Nevada and Colorado are also states the DNC points to as places where it considers the voting laws especially bad.

In Texas, the DNC has hired Sondra Haltom, former executive director of the state Democratic Party and founder of Empower the Vote Texas, as its state director. In Ohio, election lawyer Lindsay Langholz will be the state director.

Back at their Washington headquarters, the DNC has hired Bobby Hoffman as its deputy director of voter expansion and Zara Haq to help coordinate the flow of best practices information to the states. Both worked on state voting issues for Obama’s reelection campaign.

As part of the effort, the DNC is targeting specialty media, from African-American and women’s magazines to campus newspapers.

The group’s pitch is hardly subtle.

“If someone had said to me 10 years ago I had to make a pitch for protecting voting rights today, I would have said ‘You got to be kidding,’ Vice President Joe Biden said in a fundraising Web video released this week that linked the battle against new voting laws to the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and the Voting Rights Act. “It’s time to stand up and fight back.”

Time and time again liberals attempt to paint Voter ID has racist and something designed to keep people from voting. But they are guided by emotion only. So far, elections in Texas have gone smoothly. There have been no problems at all, but you will never hear a Democrat admit it.

Ethnic-Studies Courses

According to the Dallas Morning News, members of the State Board of Education agreed to move forward and request bids on instructional materials for ethnic studies courses.

State Board of Education members tentatively agreed Wednesday to request bids on instructional materials for ethnic studies courses that could be offered in Texas high schools in two years.

An amendment to the Texas textbook proclamation for the 2016-17 school year, adopted on an 11-3 vote, adds instructional materials for Mexican-American studies, African-American studies, American Indian studies and Asian-American studies.

Board members emphasized that the materials would be available on a voluntary basis for school districts that want to offer ethnic studies courses in high schools. Some districts already include ethnic studies in their curriculum.

Students would take the courses as electives.

The action came one day after dozens of Texans urged the board to approve a Mexican-American studies course to address the lack of coverage of Hispanic history and culture in the current social studies curriculum.

Fifty Texas legislators — all Democrats — also argued for the course, saying in letters that it was overdue.

Board member Ruben Cortez, D-Brownsville, offered the ethnic studies amendment Wednesday after some members objected to his original proposal calling only for a Mexican-American studies course. Those board members said other ethnic groups should receive equal treatment.

“This will be a big step forward in Texas and let every student know we value the accomplishments of historical figures from all ethnic groups,” Cortez said.

Board member Thomas Ratliff, R-Mount Pleasant, said it would be up to school districts to decide whether to offer the classes, just as it has been under current law.

“It is truly a local issue,” he said. “This would allow these books to be developed depending on the market. If there is demand from school districts, publishers will develop the books.”

Ratliff urged other board members not to turn the issue into a “political football,” as has happened in other states.

But board member Pat Hardy, R-Weatherford, said the board action was unnecessary because districts can already develop the courses and buy the instructional materials on their own.

“We are wasting time putting this into the [textbook] proclamation,” she said. “School districts have the money for textbooks and can spend it as they want.” She also questioned whether publishers would develop the books.

Board member David Bradley, R-Beaumont, said the proposed ethnic studies courses run counter to the notion that “we’re all Americans” and would only spur further divisions in communities.

Joining Bradley and Hardy in voting no on the proposal was Geraldine Miller, R-Dallas. Board Chairwoman Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, abstained.

Potential content of the courses and whether to make them count for a half or one elective credit will be discussed at a future meeting.

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Abbott’s Pre-K Plan Doesn’t Mean More Tests 

How Much Do Americans Spend on Taxes?

SCOTUS Won’t Review NM Photography/Gay Wedding Case

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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