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Top Morning Stories December 7, 2010

The Associated Press reports a mental evaluation is scheduled for Army Major Nidal Hasan this week; it could happen today.
Sketch courtesy of Pat Lopez.
The Associated Press reports a mental evaluation is scheduled for Army Major Nidal Hasan this week; it could happen today.

Mental Exam Scheduled for Hasan

The accused Fort Hood shooter is scheduled to have a psychological exam this week, perhaps as early as today.  That’s according to the Associated Press.  Major Nidal Hasan will be evaluated by a three-member military mental health panel.  That body is charged with determining whether the Army psychatrist is competent to stand trial and what his mental status was the day of the shootings last year.  Hasan is charged with killing 13 people and wounding 32 others.

Taxes vs. Fees

The Republican leadership in the Texas Legislature has already declared 2011 to be a no new taxes legislative session. But one Democrat wants to make sure lawmakers are using an expanded definition of the word “tax”. 

State Rep. Richard Raymond (D-Laredo) plans to file a constitutional proposition that would classify fees and other revenue-generators as taxes.  He expects those money makers to be tapped to help close the state's multi-billion dollar budget shortfall.

“But before you go starting to double or triple or quadruple what somebody pays for a driver's license, for a birth certificate, for a hunting license, I think we need to be honest with the people and call them taxes,” said Raymond.

KUT's Ben Philpott, who also reports for the Texas Tribune, has more on the audio player below.

Meet the Candidates for Police Monitor

KUT helps keep you connected to your community, and here’s an opportunity to engage city government: The City of Austin is hosting public forums todayso people can meet the four finalists for police monitor.  The monitor’s job is to promote good relations between the police department and the community.  Forums will be held at three this afternoon and six tonight at the Millennium Youth Entertainment Complex in East Austin.

UT Coaches Stepping Down

The UT football team is looking for a few new coaches.  UT offensive coordinator Greg Davis has resigned and offensive line coach Mac McWhorter and defensive tackles coach Mike Tolleson are retiring.  In a press release, Head Coach Mack Brown thanked the coaches and wished them well:

“These are three special people who have given a lot of themselves and their families to The University of Texas and its football program,” Brown said. “We appreciate everything they’ve done to help us have such great success during their lengthy stays with our staff at Texas. When you look at the last six years, especially – winning a National Championship in 2005, finishing No. 3 in 2008 and then being the runner-up after a tough loss to Alabama last year – it’s just amazing what they’ve helped us accomplish"

Running backs coach Major Applewhite's name is being mentioned as a candidate to replace Davis.