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Top Morning Stories May 4, 2011

Photo courtesy of the Austin Fire Department
FEMA has denied a request by the state to declare the Texas wildfires a federal major disaster.

FEMA Denies Texas Wildfire Declaration

The federal government has denied Texas’ request for a federal Major Disaster Declaration for the wildfires that have been burning across the state.  Governor Rick Perry is criticizing the Obama Administration for the denial and is considering an appeal. Perry says wildfires have burned more than 2 million acres since November.

Senators May Try Different Approach to Pass Budget

Texas Senators have been in negotiations for the last few days to begin debate on the state budget for 2012-2013. Late Tuesday, the bill's author tried to get the votes needed to bring the bill to the floor, but he came up short.  Democrats weren't happy with a last minute change that eliminated any use of the Rainy Day Fund.

Republicans have a chance to pass the budget bill today without help from the Democrats. Wednesday and Thursday are called "House Bill Days," meaning House bills get priority ahead of Senate bills. And the budget bill, House Bill 1, just happens to be the first bill on the list. Lt. Governor David Dewhurst says he'll pass the budget one way or another, but doing it without bipartisan support is a last resort.

Texas Executes First Inmate with New Drug

Texas has executed its first inmate using a new three-drug lethal injection cocktail.  A new sedative was used in putting Cary Kerr to death yesterday.  The old sedative’s only U.S.-based manufacturer stopped making it.  Kerr was convicted of raping and strangling Pamela Horton near Fort Worth a decade ago. 

Fort Hood Meeting with Hasan's Defense Delayed

A meeting between the accused Fort Hood shooter's defense team and Fort Hood's commander has been delayed. The meeting was supposed to take place Friday, but Fort Hood says it has been rescheduled for the week of May 16. 

The post's new commander, Lt. Gen. Donald Campbell, will make the decision whether Maj. Nidal Hasan will be court-martialed. The defense asked for more time to prepare for the meeting. Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder for the shootings in November 2009.