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Chad’s Morning Brief: Texas House to Debate Budget, Lubbock City Council Meeting Today, & More

Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of April 4, 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. Budget Day in Austin (link)

The Texas House is expected to debate it’s proposed 2014-15 Texas budget today. More money will be spent in this budget but that doesn’t mean everyone is happy. Debate is expected to last for hours. Here is a look at some key points according to the Statesman.

As proposed, the House budget recommends $93.5 billion in spending from general revenue (state taxes and fees) over the next two years. That’s a 7 percent increase over 2012-13. It includes:

— Public school aid: $32.8 billion, including an additional $2.5 billion in per-pupil spending on top of covering the 85,000 new students coming into Texas schools each year.

— Health and human services: $29.3 billion, including $22.8 billion for Medicaid (an additional $876 million for caseload growth) and $339 million to expand mental health and substance abuse services.

— Higher education: $12.6 billion, including $150 million increase for Texas Grant Program

— Criminal Justice: $5 billion, including $174 million increase to incarcerate and treat adult offenders, plus $105 million to fund 5 percent pay raise for correctional officers.

— Pay: 1 percent across-the-board employee pay raise.

The debate

— House members have filed 267 proposed amendments, ranging from banning funds for embryonic stem cell research to adding $4.7 million in spending to help volunteer fire departments.

— Members are not allowed to change the bottom line, so for every amount added, they must find a corresponding cut.

— 11 tea party freshmen have indicated they will seek to cut $215 million in what they see as wasteful spending and apply the money to the retired teacher health care fund.

— Some members expect debate on expanding Medicaid, an issue the House has not yet debated.

— Debate is expected to last well into Friday morning.

The next step

After the House approves its budget plan, a conference committee of House and Senate members will be appointed to work out differences between its budget and the one the Senate passed. Then each chamber will vote on the conference committee agreement.

You read that right by the way. 267 amendments. Expect a lot of debate, but as we heard earlier this week from David Guenthner, expect the House to pass the budget.

2. City Hall Showdown (link)

Today the Lubbock City Council will have a special meeting that could turn into a circus. At 3pm the council will meet at City Hall to consider complaints made against Councilman Victor Hernandez and potential action regarding the city manager. According to KFYO News:

The Lubbock City Council will hold a special meeting this Thursday to consider complaints against a councilman, as well as a performance evaluation and potential action regarding Lubbock’s city manager.

The meeting will take place Thursday, April 4th in Council Chambers at City Hall, located at 1625 13th Street at 3 p.m.

The meeting was originally called to discuss and possibly take action regarding complaints made against District 1 Councilman Victor Hernandez by City staff members.

Three complaints were originally filed against Hernandez, including one from City Manager Lee Ann Dumbauld, in which she voiced concerns that she believed that the councilman is stalking her, and is obsessed with her personal life and watching her home.

Another complaint was filed by Pamela Moon, the City’s executive director of finance, and one was filed and withdrawn by Executive Director of Budget Cheryl Brock.

Brock’s withdrawal stated that “The conflict that is ongoing between City Management and certain members of the City Council has affected staff, especially me, to the point that we can barely function.”

She continued, saying “I was drawn into this conflict because I was given a directive to file the complaint against Victor Hernandez by my supervisor. I was told that it was the only way she could protect me which I interpreted as I could lose my job if I didn’t.”

Late Thursday evening following the City Council meeting, Hernandez posted to his personal Facebook page that he had concerns regarding rumors that Dumbauld was dating the brother of District 5 Councilwoman Karen Gibson and that Karen Gibson was living in the home of the City Manager, which he said could have an effect on Gibson’s neutrality regarding directives to be given to the city manager.

He then posted that rumors had arisen that Gibson was living outside of her district, a matter which KFYO News asked Gibson about following the Council’s March 14th meeting. Gibson curtly denied the rumor.

Also on Thursday’s agenda are considerations on a performance evaluation of Dumbauld and to consider actions in connection with Dumbauld’s employment.

So either a lot could happen at this or nothing could come out of this meeting. I still predict that nothing will be wrapped up today and that the finger pointing will continue.

Mayor Glen Robertson will appear on Friday’s Chad Hasty Show to discuss what is happening at City Hall.

3. North Korean Threats (link)

Though no one really believes they have the ability to do so, North Korea yesterday approved nuclear strikes on the United States.

North Korea dramatically escalated its warlike rhetoric on Thursday, warning that it had authorized plans for nuclear strikes on targets in the United States.

“The moment of explosion is approaching fast,” the North Korean military said, warning that war could break out “today or tomorrow”.

Pyongyang’s latest pronouncement came as Washington scrambled to reinforce its Pacific missile defenses, preparing to send ground-based interceptors to Guam and dispatching two Aegis class destroyers to the region.

Tension was also high on the North’s heavily-fortified border with South Korea, after Kim Jong-Un’s isolated regime barred South Koreans from entering a Seoul-funded joint industrial park on its side of the frontier.

In a statement published by the state KCNA news agency, the Korean People’s Army general staff warned Washington that US threats would be “smashed by… cutting-edge smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear strike means”.

“The merciless operation of our revolutionary armed forces in this regard has been finally examined and ratified,” the statement said.

Last month, North Korea threatened a “pre-emptive” nuclear strike against the United States, and last week its supreme army command ordered strategic rocket units to combat status.

The U.S. is taking all the threats seriously or at least they are acting as though they are taking the North Korean threats seriously. Though I’m not sure if anyone else is.

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Hagel Calls North Korea “Real and Clear Danger”

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Carney: Obama and Bush Share Deep Love of Country

Mark Davis: A First Look at What Kind of Candidate George P. Bush Makes

Austin Officials to Take Whatever Precautions Needed After North Korea Threat

Perry on Why North Korea is Targeting Texas

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A GOP Gov for 2016?

Cohabitation First is New Norm for Unmarrieds With Kids

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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