Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of January 28, 2013. Give Chad your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11 am.


1. State of the State (link)

The Dallas Morning News has their thoughts on what to look for in Governor Rick Perry's State of the State speech on Tuesday.

As Perry prepares to address a joint legislative session Tuesday, he is still adamant about low taxes and still coy on a future presidential run. His speech now, as then, will be a wish list for the Legislature this year and a checklist for his clout. And in its tone and breadth, it will lay the foundation for his political future, whether in another run for governor in 2014 or a second try for the White House.

“This is a political body, so whatever the governor talks about Tuesday, it will be viewed through a political lens,” said Rep. Gary Elkins, R-Houston, who was seated in the House in 1999, when Gov. George W. Bush delivered a State of the State address that underscored bipartisanship and tax cuts and helped boost his presidential candidacy profile.

He also heard the no-new-taxes pledge from Perry two years ago, when he fed rumors that he was running for president with his full-throated embrace of states’ rights and attack on Washington.

Again this time, “he’ll be speaking to a lot of people,” beyond laying down his priorities for lawmakers, Elkins said.

“He’ll be speaking to overall Texans, and then he’ll be speaking to the Republican base to get a buy-in for his re-election,” Elkins said.


Perry’s speeches — this will be his seventh — have often included sweeping policy initiatives that have died in the Legislature, such as some of the governor’s higher education initiatives. But many of the ideas he has outlined, from requiring photo identification to vote to cautious budgeting, have succeeded.

The speech is “the one time the governor has to speak to a joint session and get coverage in all the state newspapers,” said Southern Methodist University political scientist Cal Jillson, and Perry could position himself to seemingly “become governor for life” or run for national office.

Jillson said the nuts and bolts of what he sets as priorities are important, but so are the second-day reviews, when Texans look at his vision and his demeanor as a leader.

“He wants to make a well-received speech that plays well here in Texas and might play well to a larger audience,” he said.

On the nuts and bolts, Perry already has tipped his hand in pronouncements this fall and winter about what he’ll urge upon the Legislature.

He is likely to promote a constitutional amendment to place caps on already low state spending, to urge improvements for long-neglected transportation and water infrastructure, to advocate a tax cut from the $5 billion surplus that ignores calls to plow that money back into schools, to push education initiatives aimed at workforce needs, and to place more restrictions on abortion.

On top of that, expect a heaping portion of Texas economic exceptionalism contrasted to what he sees as the drunken sailor attributes of Washington.

“He wants to highlight the great things that have been happening in Texas,” said Perry spokesman Josh Havens. “It’s an opportunity to address the joint session of the Legislature and to highlight the things that he and they have done together to get us to this place.”

Havens declined to discuss specifics but said the speech “will be positive,” and will urge lawmakers to focus on fiscal conservative policies that have fueled job growth.

After having the opportunity to visit with the Governor this weekend, I can tell you that there will be a few major things to look for in his speech on Tuesday. Tax cuts will only be part of what the Governor plans to discuss.

The Governor is very confidant moving forward in this legislative session. I don't expect Perry to back-off at all when it comes to economic plans for Texas. At the same time, I don't expect as many immigration issues to pop-up either. Governor Perry seems to be focused on the Texas economy and helping out your wallet.

2. Immigration (link)

Is a bipartisan plan for immigration in the works? Senate Republicans and Democrats said on Sunday that immigration reform will be announced this week and it will include a path to citizenship. According to FOX News:

“We are committed to a comprehensive approach to immigration that we can live with,” Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin told “Fox News Sunday.”

Durbin is part of the six-member, bipartisan Senate group working on the legislation.

Citizenship has been a sticking point in previous efforts, particularly among Capitol Hill Republicans. However, they appear willing to accept the path to citizenship, in part, so long as the legislation also includes tighter border security.

Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker told Fox he is optimistic but “details matter.”

“We’re at the talking points stage,” he said. “We need to get to the legislation.”

Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, also part of the group, said members will release the guiding principles of the legislation this week, but more work is need on the legislation.

“I’m quietly optimistic we can get it done,” he told ABC’s “This Week.”

McCain, a key player in the 2007 effort on immigration reform, also acknowledged that President Obama’s overwhelming support among Hispanics in the November elections was a wakeup call to Republicans that they need to do more to reach out to that growing part of the population.

The group has been working since the November elections on the legislation and is expected to have a complete bill by March or April.

This will be very interesting to watch play out. Republicans will be open to immigration reform and as long as there is no amnesty, I expect immigration reform to pass soon. Republicans can't afford to be on the wrong side of this. However, it must be a good piece of legislation.

3. Obama & Football (link)

Football is now on notice. Obama is watching. On Sunday, President Obama questioned the risks of football for players.

The lifelong neurological maladies that some football players face have led President Barack Obama - a longtime Chicago Bears fan - to question whether the risks are worth it for college players.

In an interview released online Sunday, Obama said if he had a son, he'd "have to think long and hard before I let him play football."

College players are especially vulnerable, Obama told The New Republic, since they aren't represented by unions or heavily compensated.

"You read some of these stories about college players who undergo some of these same problems with concussions and so forth and then have nothing to fall back on," he said. "That's something that I'd like to see the NCAA think about."

In September, a study published in the journal Neurology suggested professional football players are three times more likely to have neurodegenerative diseases than the general population.

When researchers specifically looked at Alzheimer's disease and ALS - amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease - that risk increased to four times that of the general population.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, had been following this group of players since the early '90s, when the NFL asked the institute to evaluate them for their risk of cardiovascular disease.

Other studies have linked repeated concussions in football players to chronic traumatic encephelopathy, a neurodegenerative disease with Alzheimer's-like symptoms. Those symptoms can include depression, memory loss and mood swings. Former Chicago Bears safety David Duerson, who committed suicide, was diagnosed with CTE postmortem. It can be diagnosed only after death.

In February, Obama told Bill Simmons of, a sports and pop culture news website, that he knew Duerson and "used to see him at the gym sometimes."

"Now, the problem is, if you talk to NFL players, they're going to tell you, 'That that's the risk I take; this is the game I play.' And I don't know whether you can make football (be) football if there's not some pretty significant risk factors," Obama said in that February interview.

In Sunday's remarks, Obama's tone seemed to shift. He conceded that "those of us who love the sport are going to have to wrestle with the fact that it will probably change gradually to try to reduce some of the violence."

Good to see the President is reflecting on the issues that matter.

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