Here is your Morning Brief for January 16, 2015.

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White House to Act Again Without Congress

According to Reuters, White House officials believe they can act on net neutrality without legislation from Congress.

The White House on Thursday said legislation was not necessary to settle so-called "net neutrality" rules because the Federal Communications Commission had the authority to write them.

Republicans in Congress are trying to drum up support for a bill that would counter the FCC's upcoming new rules. The Obama administration's comments, while not entirely rebuffing the legislative effort, could make some Democrats wary of joining it.

"In terms of legislation, we don’t believe it’s necessary given that the FCC has the authorities that it needs under Title II," a White House official told Reuters. "However, we always remain open to working with anyone who shares the president's goal of fully preserving a free and open internet now and into the future."

At stake is what rules should govern how Internet service providers (ISPs) manage web traffic on their networks to ensure they treat all Internet content fairly. At the heart of the latest phase in the debate over the rules is what legal authority should guide regulations.

Obama has urged the FCC to regulate ISPs more strictly under a section of communications law known as Title II, which would treat them more like public utilities. Broadband companies adamantly oppose the plan, saying the added regulatory burden would reduce investment and stifle innovation.

Republican chairmen of the Senate and House commerce committees, John Thune and Fred Upton, have been working to strike a legislative deal with Democrats that would adopt some of the same net neutrality principles but without resorting to Title II.

Late on Wednesday, Thune released a list of the net neutrality principles he would pursue, which closely echoed Obama's, such as bans on blocking or throttling of websites.

At this point I have to wonder if the administration believes they need Congress for anything. I think we all know the answer to that though.

Perry Says Goodbye to the Legislature and Hello to 2016

Governor Rick Perry gave his final speech to the Texas Legislature on Thursday. While the speech was a farewell, it also sounded like Perry was looking ahead to 2016 as Perry ran down the list of accomplishments according to the Dallas Morning News.

While Perry hammered home the state’s economic prowess as he has in speeches around the nation, he also used his last speech as governor to highlight broader accomplishments.

The list extended well beyond his usual highlights, reaching to a broader appeal.

He touted the state becoming a leading producer of wind power, its drug diversion programs that have reduced crime problems and how cultural arts have sprung to life under his unprecedented 14-year tenure.

The state’s longest-serving governor was accorded the rare privilege of addressing the joint session with only five days left in office.

Greg Abbott, whose podium for his inaugural address on Tuesday was being erected outside the Capitol as Perry spoke, was also in attendance.

Most privately attributed Perry’s speech to his presidential ambitions and need for a large media stage, especially as the emerging campaigns of Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and Mitt Romney draw national attention.

“I have come here to reflect on what we have done together, and to say farewell,” Perry told the assembled. Perry began his political career in the Texas House 30 years ago this week.

He listed among his accomplishments as governor a system of low taxes, minimal regulations, limiting lawsuits and promoting education.

“There is not a single accomplishment I have spoken of today that occurred without bipartisan support,” Perry said.

“There is room for different voices, for disagreement. Compromise is not a dirty word if it moves Texas forward,” he said.

As he spoke, Lt. Gov.-elect Dan Patrick, who will preside over the Senate, has pledged to change the rules to further diminish the ability of Democratic senators to influence legislation.

And lawsuits continue where the state has lost preliminary court rounds on cuts to public education, as well as Voter ID and new redistricting lines found to intentionally discriminate against blacks and Hispanics.

“Perry has proven himself to be one of the most partisan governors Texas has ever seen,” said Javier Gamboa, spokesman for the state Democratic Party. “And now, with 2016 on his mind, Perry will move further right to appeal to his conservative base to score cheap political points.”

Perry also pointed out that Texas leads the nation in job creation and that fiscal discipline allowed him to leave “$100 million in unspent funds.” He pointed to the state’s Rainy Day Fund with billions in reserve – largely thanks to oil and gas production.

And he underscored his resolve on immigration, contrasting his sending national troops to the border while Washington did little.

“Texas has done more to secure the border than any state in the nation. As long as Washington will not secure the border, Texas will be equal to the task,” Perry said.

But where he struck different themes were on culture and alternative ways of dealing with crime, showing success when the state breaks from rhetoric and finds solutions that work.

He said drug courts, diversion and treatment programs have enabled the state to shut down three prisons.

“We must remember when it comes to the disease of addiction the issue is not helping bad people become good, but sick people become well. Turning to diversion programs hasn’t made us soft on crime; it’s made us smart on crime,” he said.

As I said on Twitter during Perry's speech, there is no reason why he shouldn't be considered a top tier candidate in 2016. Near the end of his speech, Perry spoke about needing unity and that included unity within the Republican Party. Perry encouraged Republicans not to place purity ahead of unity. While he was addressing the legislature, you can bet he would say the same thing about the 2016 Republican candidates.

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, and now on your iPhone and Android device with the radioPup App. All guest interviews can be heard on our KFYO YouTube page after the show and online at