Here is your Morning Brief for March 11, 2015.

Chad Hasty,
Chad Hasty,

Local Control Debate Continues

Governor Greg Abbott and other Republican lawmakers have spoken often lately about keeping cities in check when it comes to ordinances and taxes. According to the Texas Tribune, the debate over local control popped up again Tuesday when the Business and Commerce panel left Senate Bill 267 sponsored by Senator Charles Perry pending. The legislation would prevent cities from passing ordinances that would force landlords to accept housing vouchers.

According to the Tribune, one group has formed to oppose legislation like Perry's bill.

Local Control Texas, a group that recently sprang up in opposition to the influx of legislation, counts more than a dozen bills that have been filed this session that "take away local control." The organization says the bills would undermine cities' capacity to do everything from crack down on payday lenders to ban or restrict the use of plastic bags.

Tuesday’s hearing offered a glimpse of the arguments that are likely to come up as some of the bills make their way through the legislative process.

Perry warned of a "dangerous, slippery slope that we go down when we start forcing those practices on private-sector enterprises," alluding to the fact that Austin is the only city with the kind of ordinance in question but other municipalities are considering adopting their own.

Another Republican lawmaker, Senator Don Huffines defended legislation like Perry's and said that local control isn't a blank check.

State Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas, offered the most colorful defense of Perry's bill — and his colleagues' broader interest in holding cities accountable.

"I don't consider local control a blank check to just trample the liberties of the business community or their citizens," Huffines said. "To me, tyranny from your neighbor or your local government or a dictator in a foreign country is still tyranny."

Perry and other GOP legislators appear to have a powerful ally in Abbott, who shortly before taking office decried a "patchwork quilt" of local rules and regulations that threaten to turn ruby-red Texas into predominantly Democratic California. Abbott's remarks heartened Republicans lawmakers already weary of what they see as cities in Texas courting defiance of state law.

"Our governor has eloquently mentioned what a big problem this is and will be for the state of Texas," Huffines told the Tribune. "We do not want to become California-ized with a patchwork of rules and regulations in every municipality, and so what we want is more certainty and conformity in the process."

I think the question that some lawmakers need to answer is, how far do you go? Will the move to keep cities in check only stop with liberty and property right's issues? If so, does that mean the state can step in and do away with smoking bans? Or is this only aimed at bag bans and tax issues?

What about bans on texting and driving or even water restrictions? What can or should be challenged by the state?

Fair questions I think.

Hillary's Emails

Hillary Clinton used a personal email account to conduct state business because of convenience according to FOX News. The former Secretary of State and potential candidate for President in 2016 took some questions on Tuesday about the email scandal that has made headlines for the past week.

After her press conference, I don't see the story going away anytime soon. According to FOX News, Clinton told reporters that she is keeping her private server the way it is.

She also briefly addressed her use of a private email server, but said it contains personal communications between her and her husband.

"The server will remain private," Clinton said.

Clinton fielded several questions about the implications raised by her unusual use of a personal email and private server after more than a week of critical news reports about her computer practices, including whether they were secure and whether she complied with records rules.

Explaining her original decision, Clinton told reporters she "opted for convenience" to use her personal email, on one device, when she became secretary of state. She said she thought it "would be simpler" to do so.

"Obviously it hasn't worked out this way," Clinton said. She admitted it would have been better to use "two separate phones and two email accounts."

But she said federal laws and rules allowed her to do so, and that she is fully complying with the State Department's request for her emails. She also said her server, set up for President Bill Clinton's office, contained "numerous safeguards," was protected by the Secret Service and experienced "no security breaches."

Clinton said she has "absolute confidence" that anything "in any way connected to work" is now in the possession of the State Department. She also made clear what she described as personal emails were not turned over.

So she used the email for convenience? I have more than one email address and I only carry around one phone. Pretty easy to do. So I'm not sure I buy that argument. It's also important to note that Clinton only turned over what she considered "business" emails. Roughly 30,000 emails were not turned over. Clinton also said that many of the personal emails were to her husband, but according to The Hill, Bill Clinton doesn't use email.

This story is not over.

Other Must Read Links:

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