Chad’s Morning Brief: Obama Turns to City Halls to Move Agenda, Campus Carry and More to be Debated Tuesday in Texas, and Other Top Stories
Here is your Morning Brief for May 26, 2015.
Campus Carry and More to be Debated Today
It's going to be a long and heated debate day in the Texas House as a number of controversial bills are scheduled to be debated today in the House. Among those bills to be debated is campus carry. The University of Texas System Chancellor, who has been an outspoken opponent of campus carry, wrote to lawmakers on Monday again warning of what could happen in campus carry passes. According to the Houston Chronicle, William McRaven warned that campus carry could hurt the ability to recruit faculty and drive up tuition costs.
"The presence of handguns on Texas campuses, where we would be one of fewer than 10 states to allow this conduct, may well cause faculty to be discouraged from relocating from other states," wrote McRaven, best known for leading the raid that killed Osama bin Laden during his tenure as the head of U.S. Special Operations Command. "The intuitive answer is that the presence of concealed weapons will make us less competitive."
McRaven wrote the letter, dated April 20, in response to questions from Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie. The letter was distributed House-wide Monday morning, the day before the chamber is scheduled to debate Senate Bill 11, which would allow licensed gun owners to carry concealed handguns into college buildings and dormitories. Currently, concealed handgun licensees only are allowed to bring their guns into the open, outdoor areas of campuses.
In his letter, McRaven also reiterated concerns about the cost of implementing the legislation, which the Chronicle reported could cost the state's public universities more than $47 million over six years to update security systems, build gun storage facilities and bolster campus police units.
"In addressing these costs, our campuses will either need increased revenue or be compelled to reduce or discontinue other services or activities," McRaven wrote. His letter included a number of suggestions for how to improve the campus carry legislation, including prohibiting concealed handguns in campus buildings that house mental health and crisis counseling centers.
I expect a lengthy debate today over this bill and others in the House. I still don't have much faith that this bill will pass the House without major changes. The liberal scare tactics may have had an impact on too many Republicans.
Obama Turns to City Halls
A very important article for you to read today comes from USA Today. As has been mentioned before in Texas, Battleground Texas is not only focusing on statewide elections, but on local elections as well. We now see that playing out on a national level. According to the USA Today, President Obama is using large cities to push his agenda and to get around Congress.
President Obama has quietly racked up a series of legislative victories during the past few months as lawmakers have enthusiastically embraced his calls for a higher minimum wage, paid sick leave and universal pre-kindergarten.
Instead of Capitol Hill, those victories happened in city halls, state houses and county buildings far from Washington.
At least six major cities — Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Tacoma, Wash., and Washington, D.C. — have passed paid sick leave laws in the four months since Obama called for state and local action in this year's State of the Union Address. Since the 2013 address when Obama called for an increase in the minimum wage, 17 states and six major cities have taken action, including Los Angeles last week.
Obama's state-and-local strategy may be unprecedented in its scope and ambition. Though previous administrations have appointed top advisers to listen to concerns of state and local officials, the Obama White House appears to be the first to aggressively use those same channels to encourage them to adopt Obama's policies.
"It is a change in the paradigm, where we used to sit passively by waiting for elected officials to come to us. We think we can have a more substantial impact if we collaborate," said Valerie Jarrett, the assistant to the president for public engagement and intergovernmental affairs.
"I think the president has always had the perspective that change always happens from the ground up, and our state and local officials are oftentimes more influenced by the will of the American people than the politics in Washington would seem to indicate," Jarrett said in an interview.
Obama has no formal authority over state and local lawmakers, so his persuasion is a form of soft power — the "phone" part of what Obama has described as a "pen-and-phone" strategy to take action in the absence of congressional cooperation.
He's found fertile ground in Democratic-run cities such as Seattle, where Mayor Ed Murray helped push for a minimum wage and paid leave laws that have gone into effect since April.
"President Obama recognizes that good ideas are being incubated at the local level, and those are ideas that are going to go to scale nationally," Murray said. That recognition can go a long way in a city such as Seattle, which often doesn't get the national attention East Coast cities do. "The president of the United States recognizing us only helps us. We do other things beside e-commerce and coffee," Murray said.
Local elections matter and this article is a great example of that. While President Obama may not be leaning on Lubbock, TX any time soon, he could lean on Dallas or Houston and that is where it begins to spread. If Battleground Texas has their way, their influence on local elections could go a long way in helping national Democrats. Something to keep an eye on for sure.
Other Must Read Links:
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 on our KFYO YouTube page after the show and online at kfyo.com.