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Chad’s Morning Brief: Rick Perry Backs Drug Testing for Welfare Applicants, Texas Speakers Race, & More

Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of November 14, 2012. Give us your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11 am.

Win McNamee, Getty Images

1. Drug Testing for Welfare Applicants (link)

Governor Rick Perry is backing legislation that would require applicants of welfare to submit to drug testing. According to the Texas Tribune:

Out of the more than 250 bills filed Monday, the first possible day to file legislation for the 83rd session, one measure — concerning drug testing for welfare applicants — is already drawing the support of the state’s top lawmakers and the criticism of civil liberties advocates.

Senate Bill 11 would require applicants to the Texas Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to undergo a drug test. If applicants fail the test, they would not be eligible to apply again for a full year, unless they attended a substance abuse treatment program. The bill was written by state Sen. Jane NelsonR-Flower Mound, and several other Republican lawmakers.

“This will help prevent tax dollars from going into the pockets of drug abusers,” Gov. Rick Perry said Tuesday at a news conference. He said that the goal of the bill is to “empower every Texan to reach their potential,” because “being on drugs makes it harder to begin the journey to independence.”

“It is a legitimate function of government to help people that are not able to help themselves,” added Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. He said that because “virtually every” business he has encountered uses random drug testing on employees, it’s a good idea for the state and will lead to reduced unemployment by proving to employers that the people they are hiring have been certified by the state as drug-free.

“We owe it to all Texans to structure our welfare and unemployment programs in a way that guarantees that recipients are serious about getting back to work,” he said.

Other states that have required drug testing like Florida have actually lost money on the program and it hasn’t found many drug users. Some would argue that this program is symbolic though and to be used as a preventative measure. Is it worth it? Lawmakers will debate that in 2013.

2. Speakers Race (link)

The Texas Tribune has an interactive list for the Speakers race here in Texas. Speaker Joe Straus has the majority of the support from those lawmakers who have decided who they back. Meanwhile Rep. Bryan Hughes has the support of just one lawmaker. Himself. According to the Tribune:

As of the Tribune’s last update, Straus had 31 confirmed supporters while Hughes had one — himself. Sixteen lawmakers said they were still undecided on whom to support, while 18 declined to say whom they were supporting. A majority of lawmakers have not yet responded to phone calls and emails seeking their stance on the race. Check out lawmakers’ responses below; we’ll be updating as we go.

In a statement, Straus, R-San Antonio, said that his internal numbers show he continues to have the support “of a strong, bipartisan majority of members,” but that the speaker’s race is not his primary focus.

“With just eight weeks to go before the session begins,” he said, “we are more focused on the important issues facing our state than on external distractions.”

Hughes, R-Mineola, said the fact that the Tribune’s polling showed him so far behind wasn’t discouraging. The Tea Party-backed candidate, who is supported by FreedomWorks, the conservative group that championed U.S. Sen.-elect Ted Cruz, said he hadn’t asked anyone to publicly commit to voting for him yet. He said he expects many legislators to hold town hall meetings with their constituents before choosing whom to back.

It will be tough for Hughes to get more support than Straus, but anything could happen. Today on the show at 9:05am, Michael Quinn Sullivan of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility will join me to discuss Texas news and the Speakers race.

3. Jindal Speaks Out (link)

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal spoke to Politico yesterday about how the GOP needed to reach out to voters. His message? Stop talking down to people.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on Monday called on Republicans to “stop being the stupid party” and make a concerted effort to reach a broader swath of voters with an inclusive economic message that pre-empts efforts to caricature the GOP as the party of the rich. …

“We’ve got to make sure that we are not the party of big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts, big corporate loopholes, big anything,” Jindal told POLITICO in a 45-minute telephone interview. “We cannot be, we must not be, the party that simply protects the rich so they get to keep their toys.”

He was just as blunt on how the GOP should speak to voters, criticizing his party for offending and speaking down to much of the electorate.

“It is no secret we had a number of Republicans damage our brand this year with offensive, bizarre comments — enough of that,” Jindal said. “It’s not going to be the last time anyone says something stupid within our party, but it can’t be tolerated within our party. We’ve also had enough of this dumbed-down conservatism. We need to stop being simplistic, we need to trust the intelligence of the American people and we need to stop insulting the intelligence of the voters.”

Jindal is right. I don’t think that the Republicans are off in the way they think. It’s just the way they present the message that stinks. Democrats have done an excellent job of labeling the GOP without much push-back from Republicans. Jindal and others in the GOP need to start speaking up and I believe they will.

Other Top Stories:

Texas Turning Purple?

Austin Libs Want to Secede from Texas

Could Rick Perry Have Won?

States Scramble on Health Care Law

These and many more topics coming up on today’s edition of The Chad Hasty Show. Tune in mornings 8:30-11 am 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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