Posmo @
Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - 2:24pm

One of the many non-budget items added to the "budget update" during the short session was to move the State Bureau of Investigation from the Department of Justice, overseen by the elected Attorney General, to the Department of Public Safety, overseen by someone appointed by the Governor.

To be sure, this had nothing to do with the budget; it has to do with petty politics, namely, punishing the current Attorney General, Roy Cooper.

[State senator and former deputy AG Josh] Stein said the move doesn't save any money and no one at either agency asked for it. Police chiefs and sheriffs don't like it, either, he said.

This is a bad idea for lots of reasons, notably the very real potential for conflict of interest (anyone remember Watergate?) and opportunities to conveniently overlook wrongdoing in the governor's administration.

577
James @
Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - 2:07pm
376
Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - 11:20am

But it's still early.

1,033
Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - 10:58am

NC Senate Republicans want you to pay for the cleanup:

N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg) says the General Assembly may be ready to act as early as next week on coal ash legislation that stalled last week over differences between Senate and House versions of the bill. He says negotiators are working on consensus language to iron out differences over a House provision in the legislation. And he believes a solution can be found by Aug. 14, when the House and Senate expect to be in session, “or thereabouts.”

House conferees had agreed to accept a Senate provision that allows Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) to seek permission starting in January to charge customers for the cost of cleaning up its 33 ash ponds across the state. But, in return, they wanted to change some of the Senate’s language on treatment of ponds that were considered low-risk.

Unless I'm mistaken, Duke Energy already has the ability to seek rate increases from the North Carolina Utilities Commission for costs they incur. Any legislative language added now won't just give them the permission to do this, it will tilt that decision-making process heavily in their favor. Something a super-majority of NC citizens don't believe should happen. This is not a compromise, it's a betrayal of ratepayers, and it will be a serious campaign issue for those who support it.

485
James @
Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - 10:39am

Great post by Thomas Mills today.

... budgets are about choices and priorities. And at the same time the GOP is screwing our public schools, they are handing huge payouts to their wealthy benefactors. The tax cuts they passed in 2013 disproportionately benefited the rich. Revenues are continuing to fall and our schools, universities and community colleges are paying the price.

294
James @
Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - 10:07am

THE SPILL
City leaders to discuss moving coal ash to airport (WSOC-TV) -- On Wednesday, Charlotte city leaders will consider plans to possibly move the coal ash to Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Duke Energy first proposed the idea after the coal ash spill in the Dan River earlier this year. The city’s environment committee will meet to discuss the options. They are considering Duke’s proposal to use the coal ash as possible runway filler, or burying the coal ash in other spots at the airport. The pressure has been on Duke to clean up its coal ash ponds after its massive spill of the toxic coal ash in February. The company has already moved 3 million tons of coal ash to Asheville Regional Airport.
http://www.wsoctv.com/news/news/local/city-leaders-discuss-moving-coal-a...

Daily dose
521
Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - 9:09pm

The Atlantic has an article about a chain of 120 charter schools throughout the US associated with an Islamic cleric. They're not being investigated for links to terrorism, but because of possible fiscal mismanagement and other serious issues:

...the Ohio State Board of Education has launched its own probe of the nearly 20 Gülen-associated charter schools in its state. As part of the investigation, four former teachers from Horizon Academy (the particular name of the Gülen charter school chain in Ohio) gave testimony. The teachers mentioned issues as disturbing as cheating on state tests, unsafe building conditions, overcrowding, and even sexual misconduct. ...

366
Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - 6:58pm

The fairness agenda might just be taking off:

"The evidence is that the General Assembly was able to do business without interruption. So, it clearly didn't disturb them," Salisbury said in dismissing the charges against the protesters.

Rulings by District Court judges aren't considered precedent in legal cases and don't have to be taken into account by other judges. Still, protester Evelyn White said she hopes the fact that two different judges have ruled the same way on cases will lead to more dismissals as the scores of pending cases go to trial.

In the interest of both fairness and government efficiency, the DA needs to go ahead and drop all the remaining charges. If I'm not mistaken, this can be accomplished relatively easily, without waiting for the defendants' individual court dates or their appearance. Make it so.

342
Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - 2:24pm

Though the Democracy Summer college interns have graduated from the program recently, they produced a lot of great materials along the way. With the legislative session setting and the voter registration season rising I thought it would be a great time to share this video starring Trenton, one of the Democracy Summer interns from the class of 2014. You can check out more content produced by the interns throughout the summer at the Democracy Summer blog.

297
Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - 9:44am

We'll start today's entry with some meme-busting:

413
Syndicate content