BlueNC's blog

Daily dose

First blush review of the House Budget (WRAL-TV) -- The full House budget is released Sunday night and. The N.C. House of Representatives released its $20.57 billion budget plan late Sunday night. It continues to show contrasts with the Senate spending plan. House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, said it "protects core services of government while setting priorities by focusing on job creation and economic activity."

http://www.wral.com/first-blush-review-of-the-house-budget/12533989/

Daily dose

Clergy joining "Moral Mondays" may mark turning point (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The protest at the General Assembly on Monday, which will be led by clergy from around the state, brings together a cross-section of Christians, including Catholics, Episcopalians, Presbyterians and Methodists. Their involvement marks a noteworthy turning point in the weekly protests, which have led to the arrests of more than 300 people over five weeks. While the organizers of the “Moral Mondays” movement have been partisan, the clergy make a point of saying their interest isn’t political. “Rather it is a matter of faith with respect to our understanding of the biblical teachings and imperatives to protect the poor, respect the stranger, care for widows and children and love our neighbors,” according to the statement.

http://projects.newsobserver.com/under_the_dome/clergy_joining_moral_mondays_may_mark_turning_point

Daily dose

Clergy to lead sixth week of NC NAACP protests (AP) -- The North Carolina chapter of the NAACP announced Friday the sixth week in a series of protests that have led to the arrests of more than 300 people. Chapter president the Rev. William Barber said clergy from across the state will lead the group's latest demonstration against policies of the Republican-controlled legislature Monday. The group's demonstrations have grown in size every week since they started in April, most recently drawing more than 1,600 by some estimates. The number of arrests has grown too. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People will follow up the protest with an event Wednesday to mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of civil rights activist Medgar Evers. The group will also announce details of a voter registration tour.

http://www.wral.com/clergy-to-lead-sixth-week-of-nc-naacp-protests/12528880/

Dear Secretary Decker

Having so much in common with Pat McCrory, you're probably not inclined to put much stock in scientific evidence. But just in case you have a moment of weakness, here are some facts that should inform your misguided delusions about corporate incentives.

Our biggest takeaway: there is virtually no association between economic development incentives and any measure of economic performance. We found no statistically significant association between economic development incentives per capita and average wages or incomes; none between incentives and college grads or knowledge workers; and none between incentives and the state unemployment rate. The scatter-graph [follow link] above illustrates the lack of any relationship between incentives per capita and wages.

Daily dose

Once a week, we post the "whole catastrophe" of miserable news on the front page for all to see. Read it and weep.

____________________________________________

LEGISLATURE
NAACP will continue protests (Greenville Daily Reflector) -- Gov. Pat McCrory’s recent comments about NAACP demonstrations in North Carolina do not sit well with the group’s state and local leaders. According to The Associated Press, McCrory said Tuesday he welcomes lawful demonstrations but does not welcome “unlawful” ones that cost resources. McCrory said he was pleased the protests had been nonviolent. What has ruffled feathers in the ranks of protesters was another of McCrory’s statements: That he has no desire to meet with them.
http://www.reflector.com/news/naacp-will-continue-protests-2069805

Wealthy will benefit the most from GOP tax ‘reform’ bill (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Wealthy North Carolina taxpayers may see a significant tax cut while the median family would get only a modest break under a sweeping bill primed for a landmark House vote Friday.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/06/06/2944494/impact-of-proposed-tax-bill-outlined.html

Rucho tries to set record straight against Watt (Charlotte Observer) -- The 12th Congressional District, once the nation's most litigated, was back in court this week
http://campaigntracker.blogspot.com/2013/06/rucho-tries-to-set-record-straight.html

NC House meeting Friday on full plate of bills (AP) -- The North Carolina House is staying a little longer in Raleigh this week to take up significant legislation.
http://www.wral.com/nc-house-meeting-friday-on-full-plate-of-bills/12526933/

N.C. House set to vote on tax reforms (WRAL-TV) -- House Bill 998, sponsored by Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, would lower personal and corporate income taxes, but would expand sales taxes to labor charges, delivery and installation, electric bills and movie tickets. It was approved Thursday afternoon by the House Appropriations committee.
http://www.wral.com/n-c-house-set-to-vote-on-tax-reforms-/12525069/

House Lawmakers Pass Tax Reform Plan In Committee (WUNC-FM) -- House legislators have passed a tax reform plan in a committee hearing that would establish a flat personal income tax. House Bill 998 is one of three competing proposals to reform North Carolina's tax code. Republican representative David Lewis is the bill's main sponsor.
http://wunc.org/post/house-lawmakers-pass-tax-reform-plan-committee

Retooled NC tax package OK'd by House budget panel (Raleigh News & Observer) -- House Republicans have advanced a new version of a tax overhaul package that would cost the state more revenue to implement than the GOP's original plan.
http://newsobserver.com/2013/06/06/2943796/retooled-nc-tax-package-okd-by.html

Poll shows public support for early voting (Raleigh News & Observer) -- A new poll shows strong support among North Carolinians for continued early voting. The survey found that 85 percent of voters support early voting, including 77 percent of Republicans, 87 percent of independents, and 89 percent of Democrats, according a poll commissioned by the NC Center for Voter Education. The poll found that only 23 percent want to find the current 17 days voting period reduced. In 2012, 56 percent of voters who went to the polls cast a ballot during the early voting period. The spin: voters across the political spectrum strongly favor early voting, as shown by this poll and by the 2.5 million citizens who utilized early voting last fall,” said Brent Laurenz, executive director of the center. The poll was conducted April 24-28 by SurveyUSA of 610 registered voters and had a margin of error of plus or minus four percent points.
http://projects.newsobserver.com/under_the_dome/poll_shows_public_support_for_early_voting

Oregon inlet task force tacked onto dredging bill (WRAL-TV) -- The state would create a task force to study acquiring Oregon Inlet under a bill that cleared the Senate Thursday.
http://www.wral.com/oregon-inlet-task-force-tacked-onto-dredging-bill/12523522/

Jetties, Dumps and Fracking Wells (Coastal Review) -- Those are the environmental bills that are due up next as the N.C. General Assembly enters the last few weeks of its session.
http://nccoast.org/Article.aspx?k=3ac73141-b0a4-4397-86bb-d78c7fb48b02

NC House 'fracking' bill heading to House floor (AP) -- A bill clearing the way for oil and gas drilling in North Carolina is headed to the state House floor after clearing an environmental committee Thursday. The House Environment Committee endorsed the House's more cautious alternative to a Senate bill over Democratic opposition. The House bill restores or adds new protections stricken from a Senate bill that paves the way for hydraulic fracturing and offshore drilling.
http://www.sanfordherald.com/news/x1365903524/NC-House-fracking-bill-heading-to-House-floor

Fracking changes head for House floor (WRAL-TV) -- A more cautious rewrite of a bill to fast-track fracking in North Carolina is headed for the House floor after passing the House Environment committee Thursday.
http://www.wral.com/fracking-changes-head-for-house-floor/12523024/

State budget brings uncertainty to N.C. Forestry Museum in Whiteville (Raleigh News & Observer) --The state spent $2 million two years ago renovating the N.C. Museum of Forestry in downtown Whiteville, so supporters were surprised by a move in the legislature to cut the museum out of the state budget.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/06/06/2944701/state-budget-brings-uncertainty.html

FSU could face personnel cuts to offset anticipated loss in state funding (Fayetteville Observer) -- Fayetteville State University officials are planning for a reduction in personnel to absorb a possible 2 to 6percent cut in state funding, university officials said Thursday at their Board of Trustees meeting/
http://fayobserver.com/articles/2013/06/06/1261798

Surprise! Wade moves major landfill bill (Greensboro News & Record) -- Legislation that loosens landfill permitting rules moved forward on short notice Thursday as state Sen. Trudy Wade shepherded a vast rewrite of the rules through committee.
http://www.news-record.com/blogs/north_state_politics/article_82a50d5c-cec5-11e2-a26e-0019bb30f31a.html

Legal action over airport could have precedent (Charlotte Observer) -- Charlotte city officials already have made veiled threats of legal action if the General Assembly transfers control of the city’s airport to an independent authority.
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/06/07/4090560/legal-action-over-airport-could.html

Bike, Pedestrian Funding From State at Risk (Raleigh Public Record) -- A bill making its way through the House could cut state support for bicycle and pedestrian projects and lessen funding for public transportation. HB 817 replaces the equity formula, which has been in place since the 1980s, said Raleigh’s Transportation Manager Eric Lamb. The original formula distributed money in equal parts across the state — regardless of traffic or population.
http://www.raleighpublicrecord.org/news/2013/06/06/bike-pedestrian-funding-from-state-at-risk/

Parents voice concerns over cuts to kids' early intervention programs (Wilmington Star-News) -- Ten-month-old Silas has come a long way.
http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20130606/ARTICLES/130609786&tc=email_newsletter

Students taking photos of President Obama at Mooresville Middle School. They cheered as the president announced a plan to improve technology in schools.

POLICY & POLITICS
Obama lays out national Internet access plan (Charlotte Observer) -- President Barack Obama unveiled a plan to connect nearly every U.S. classroom to high-speed Internet while speaking at Mooresville Middle School on Thursday.
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/06/06/4088116/obama-to-lay-out-national-internet.html

Obama pushes plan for fast Internet in US schools (AP) -- Touting the need to give every child the tools for success, President Barack Obama on Thursday toured a North Carolina school where every student has a laptop and called for 99 percent of American students to be connected to super-fast Internet within five years. At a middle school in Mooresville, Obama announced he was directing federal regulators to turn the nation's classrooms into digital learning centers by equipping schools with broadband and high-speed Internet connections — at a cost of several billion dollars. "In a country where we expect free Wi-Fi with our coffee, why shouldn't we have it in our schools?" Obama said.
http://www.wral.com/obama-pushes-plan-for-fast-internet-in-us-schools/12524960/

Obama touts technology at Mooresville school (AP) For Sarah Allen, President Barack Obama picked the perfect spot to disclose plans to turn the nation's classrooms into digital learning centers. Her three children attend Mooresville schools. The district embraces technology, distributing laptop computers to students. That culture has helped students excel, she said. "It's exciting," said Allen, 45, an occupational therapist who volunteers in the schools. "The students and teachers are more engaged. You've opened up the world to them at a young age. It's an incredible tool." Allen was among the 970 parents, students and teachers who gathered in the Mooresville Middle School gym to listen to the president disclose details of his plan. During his speech, Obama praised the district.
http://www.wral.com/obama-touts-technology-at-mooresville-school/12525669/

President Obama Touts Technology In Mooresville (WUNC-FM) -- President Barack Obama used a visit to a North Carolina middle school as an opportunity to promote a new White House effort to expand broadband internet access in schools.
http://wunc.org/post/president-obama-touts-technology-mooresville

Obama Promises to Have High-Speed Internet in Most Schools in 5 Years (New York Times) -- The president said he would ask for changes to the E-rate program so that 99 percent of schools could upgrade to high-speed broadband and wireless service.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/07/us/politics/obama-to-seek-more-internet-aid-for-schools-and-librar...

Obama pitches plan to bring broadband and WiFi to all schools (Washington Post) -- An initiative called ConnectED would connect 99 percent of students with high-speed Internet in five years.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/obama-pitches-plan-to-bring-broadband-and-wifi-to-all-schools...

Obama pledges more Web access to slightly distracted middle-schoolers (LA Times) -- President Obama on Thursday pledged to bring high-speed Internet to nearly all students in their classrooms within five years, calling on the Federal Communications Commission to expand an existing initiative that will help school systems cover the cost. Speaking to students at Mooresville Middle School, Obama argued that such access would improve learning opportunities for students all over the country. “We can’t be stuck in the 19th century when we’re living in a 20th-century economy,” he said. “That step will better prepare our children for the jobs of the future.” Obama noted that only about one-fifth of U.S. students have high-speed Internet access in their classrooms, while every student in South Korea does. “In a country where we expect free Wi-Fi with our coffee, why shouldn't we have it in our schools, right?” he asked.
http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-obama-promises-faster-internet-20130606,0,7204417.story

Hagan Introduces Bill to Update Technology in Schools (N.C. Political News) -- U.S. Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC), Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Children and Families, along with Senators Patty Murray and Tammy Baldwin, has introduced legislation to update the current education technology law and improve efforts to incorporate technology in the classroom. “Technology has evolved rapidly since this law was last authorized in 2002, and this bill is key to making sure we keep up with and adapt to the 21st century learning environment,” said Hagan. “Incorporating technology in our students’ curriculum from the earliest grades will better prepare them to enter the increasingly competitive global job market. I have visited schools in North Carolina that are making outstanding progress with the help of cutting-edge technology, but many schools still have a long way to go. It’s time we update this law to benefit more students.”
http://www.ncpoliticalnews.com/?p=2205

GOP-connected group touts Tillis, hits Hagan (Raleigh News & Observer) – GOP-connected Americans for Prosperity is targeting Democrat U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan in a new web ad about renewable energy at the same time the conservative organization touts Republican Thom Tillis on taxes. Tillis, the House speaker, announced last week his intentions to challenge Hagan an filed campaign papers this week. The timing of the two ad campaigns is coincidental, said Dallas Woodhouse, the group's North Carolina director. "They have nothing to do with each other," he said.
http://projects.newsobserver.com/under_the_dome/conservative_group_hits_kay_hagan_touts_thom_tillis

Foxx nomination could move forward next week (McClatchy Newspapers) -- Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx’s nomination as U.S. transportation secretary could move forward next week.
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/06/06/4089778/anthony-foxx-nomination-could.html

Verdict expected today in LaRoque case (Kinston Free Press) -- Request for transcripts will be denied.
http://www.kinston.com/news/local/verdict-expected-today-in-laroque-case-1.154598/

LaRoque trial jury ends day 2 of deliberations (AP) -- The jury considering the fate of a former North Carolina legislator has finished its first full day of deliberations without reaching a verdict.
http://www.wral.com/laroque-trial-jury-ends-day-2-of-deliberations/12526182/

LaRoque waits to hear criminal charges in fraud trial (NEWS14-TV) -- Former state Rep. Stephen LaRoque left the federal courthouse after a long day of waiting to find out if a jury will convict him of several felony charges. Jurors have been deliberating for nine hours so far on the dozen counts LaRoque is facing. The charges include theft, money laundering, concealment and filing false tax returns, all related to a non-profit he ran. Jurors told the judge they're making progress and could have a verdict by Friday evening. The jury recessed until Friday morning at 9, weather permitting.
http://triangle.news14.com/content/top_stories/695010/laroque-waits-to-hear-criminal-charges-in-frau...

Governor visits Lexington to speak on reform, responsibility (Lexington Dispatch) -- Gov. Pat McCrory made a brief visit to uptown Lexington on Thursday to spread his message of economic reform and government responsibility. McCrory held an impromptu town hall meeting during his stop at The Candy Factory on North Main Street and asked the public for questions instead of just making a speech. "I need to get outside the bubble of the Beltline in Raleigh and get some feedback on what's working and not working," he said. McCrory highlighted several issues, but he spoke at length about changes being made to the N.C. Department of Commerce, which included absorbing the Employment Security Commission. "We are reforming the commerce department," he said. "We have departments all over the state who aren't coordinated with each other. We need to work as a team so you don't hear at the very end of the process that Lexington needed to do this or that. You are going to be at the front end, not the back end. I believe in pragmatic solutions."
http://www.the-dispatch.com/article/20130606/NEWS/306069967/1005?Title=Governor-visits-Lexington-to-...

Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker stirs Power Breakfast (Triangle Business Journal) -- N.C. Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker had a mix of inspirational and controversial sound-bites at Triangle Business Journal’s Power Breakfast Thursday. “I see the world in terms of possibilities, and that’s what keeps me motivated,” Decker told the crowd. Decker said that there are several specific challenges limiting the state’s economic development potential. Among them is an errant focus on recruitment, she said, adding that recruitment is important, although it shouldn’t take the place of fostering the workforce the state already has. Health care and education are both important drivers, she said, though she did reiterate her position on Medicaid expansion.
http://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/news/2013/06/06/commerce-secretary-sharon-decker-stirs.html

Over eggs and bacon, Decker offers take on Medicaid (Triangle Business Journal) -- Despite estimates that Medicaid expansion could bring as many as 25,000 new jobs to North Carolina, Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker says she supports lawmakers’ decision to reject that portion of the Affordable Care Act. Speaking at Triangle Business Journal’s Power Breakfast Thursday morning, Decker said she would “not recommend” to reverse the General Assembly’s decision to reject the expansion of Medicaid, which would have increased Medicaid eligibility to anyone below 138 percent of the poverty level. Without the expansion, which was vocally supported by hospital leaders including UNC Health Care CEO Dr. Bill Roper, the program covers largely low-income women and children or disabled and elderly adults. The expansion was a provision called for in the Affordable Care Act, but the Supreme Court allowed states to reject the expansion.
http://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/news/2013/06/06/over-eggs-and-bacon-decker-offers.html

Commerce secretary touts plan to privatize business recruitment (Rocky Mount Telegram) -- A proposal to privatize the business recruitment efforts of the N.C. Department of Commerce can only help industrial recruitment in the Twin Counties, the agency’s Secretary Sharon Decker said Thursday.
http://www.rockymounttelegram.com/news/commerce-secretary-touts-plan-privatize-business-recruitment-...

McCrory lauds Columbiana Hi Tech expansion (Triad Business Journal) -- Gov. Pat McCrory visited the facility of Columbiana Hi Tech, a manufacturer of storage containers and systems for the nuclear power industry that is expanding its Greensboro operation. McCrory was on hand Thursday to mark the first order for used nuclear fuel storage canisters placed at CHT by Transnuclear Inc., which acquired Columbiana in December. Officials from Transnuclear parent company AREVA were also at the event. “I am pleased to welcome AREVA and Transnuclear’s expansion," the governor said. "Their commitment to North Carolina will result in new jobs and is an example of our dedication to help existing industries grow in the best state for business in America.”
http://www.bizjournals.com/triad/news/2013/06/06/mccrory-lauds-columbiana-hi-tech.html

McCrory hails Columbiana for returning jobs to US (Greensboro News & Record) -- For the second day in a row, Gov. Pat McCrory came to Guilford County to salute a local company that’s bringing manufacturing back to the United States. Columbiana Hi Tech, which makes steel storage containers for nuclear fuel, was recently acquired by AREVA Inc., a company that is involved in nuclear power plants from construction to uranium mining. Until recently, AREVA bought steel storage containers from companies in China, Japan and other parts of the world.
http://www.news-record.com/news/article_42552676-cecd-11e2-85e2-001a4bcf6878.html

McCrory to DOT: Think big (WRAL-TV) -- Efficiency was the watch word Thursday at the Department of Transportation. Gov. Pat McCrory, in his first visit to the DOT board, told leaders to improve efficiency at the Division of Motor Vehicles. He also pushed legislation to change the funding formula for transportation. The governor wants more tax money directed to large, high traffic projects. McCrory described what he is looking for. "Something I think is well thought out, something that is visionary and something that will get a bigger bang for the buck that what we've been getting in the past."
http://www.wral.com/mccrory-to-dot-think-big/12525780/

McCrory names Crawford, Wetmore to NC DOT board (AP) -- Republican Gov. Pat McCrory has appointed two more people to the North Carolina Board of Transportation, including rewarding a longtime Democratic legislator who endorsed him in last year's campaign. Former Rep. Jim Crawford of Oxford and Louis Wetmore of Hickory were sworn in to the 19-member board Thursday during the monthly board meeting in Raleigh.
http://www.wral.com/mccrory-names-crawford-wetmore-to-nc-dot-board/12526070/

McCrory adds Wetmore, former Crawford to transportation board (Raleigh News & Observer) Jim Crawford, an opportunistic Oxford Democrat who served 28 years in the state House of Representatives, and Louis Wetmore, a Hickory Republican, took their seats Thursday as Republican Gov. Pat McCrory's newest appointees to the state Board of Transportation.
http://blogs.newsobserver.com/crosstown/mccrory-adds-louis-wetmore-of-hickory-and-former-rep-jim-cra...

North Carolina's Tug-of-War (The American Prospect) -- What happens when a state becomes more progressive and more conservative at the same time? Bill Cook may be a relative newcomer to North Carolina politics—he won his 2012 state senate race by 21 votes, after two recounts—but he has big plans for the state. By this spring’s filing deadline, Cook, a power--company retiree from the coastal town of Beaufort, had sponsored no fewer than seven measures aimed at rewriting the state’s election rules—largely in ways that would benefit Republicans. Over the past decade, North Carolina has become a national model for clean elections and expanded turnout, thanks to reforms like early voting, same-day registration, and public financing of some races. New voters—mostly people of color and college students—helped Democrats turn the state into a presidential battleground, which Barack Obama won by a hair in 2008 and lost narrowly in 2012. This new electorate doesn’t sit well with Cook. So the senator introduced a strict measure to require government--issued photo ID at the polls, slash the number of early-voting days, eliminate same-day registration during early voting, and delay by five years the time it takes for former felons to regain their voting rights. None of these proposals is original; they’re the same voter-suppression measures floated in recent years by Republican legislators from Wisconsin to Georgia. But then Cook got creative. He co-sponsored Senate Bills 666 and 667, both of which would ban parents from claiming their college children as dependents on their state taxes if those children vote on campus (as most students do). Then he filed Senate Bill 668, prohibiting the “mentally incompetent” from voting. Why? Because, as Cook told The Charlotte Observer, he had once seen such a person be “manipulated” at the polls.
http://prospect.org/article/north-carolinas-tug-war

Perdue optimistic about next leaders (Elizabeth City Daily Advance) -- Former North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue said the best lesson she’s learned about leadership came as a result of her experience teaching a class at Harvard University earlier this year. Perdue was addressing a crowd of about 150 people Wednesday at the annual Women of Excellence Awards ceremony at The Pines of Elizabeth City. The event recognized five local women for their contributions to the Elizabeth City community. The state’s first female governor, who declined to seek a second term in 2012, said she went to Harvard’s Institute of Politics this spring to see what she could offer a group of the nation’s next generation of leaders. What she came away with as she left Boston to return home, she said, was the best lesson she’s ever learned. “I learned that America is just right on the right track and that everything is going to be fine, that this new generation of leaders, all over the country, including in this room, will make sure that we’re all fine,” Perdue said.
http://www.dailyadvance.com/news/perdue-optimistic-about-next-leaders-2068713

Business community rallies around county in support of GE investment incentive (Port City Daily) -- While investment incentives continue to be debated as an economic development tool in North Carolina, the Wilmington business community this week showed its support for the second incentive.
http://portcitydaily.com/2013/06/07/29108/

Garrett Perdue leaves Womble (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Garrett Perdue, the son of former Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue, has left Womble Caryle, the state's largest law firm. He left in April to become managing director of Perdue Global Market Networks Inc.
http://projects.newsobserver.com/node/27758

NC Republican Party Convention kicks off in Charlotte Friday (N.C. Political News — The 2013 N.C. Republican Party Convention kicks off at the Charlotte convention center Friday. If recent years’ attendance is any indication, the convention should attract in excess of 1,000 delegates.
http://www.ncpoliticalnews.com/?p=2221

Poll shows public support for early voting (Raleigh News & Observer) -- A new poll shows strong support among North Carolinians for continued early voting. The survey found that 85 percent of voters support early voting, including 77 percent of Republicans, 87 percent of independents, and 89 percent of Democrats, according a poll commissioned by the NC Center for Voter Education. The poll found that only 23 percent want to find the current 17 days voting period reduced. In 2012, 56 percent of voters who went to the polls cast a ballot during the early voting period. The spin: voters across the political spectrum strongly favor early voting, as shown by this poll and by the 2.5 million citizens who utilized early voting last fall,” said Brent Laurenz, executive director of the center. The poll was conducted April 24-28 by SurveyUSA of 610 registered voters and had a margin of error of plus or minus four percent points.
http://projects.newsobserver.com/under_the_dome/poll_shows_public_support_for_early_voting

Greensboro police ask owners to surrender unwanted guns (AP) -- Police in Greensboro are offering gun owners another chance to remove unwanted firearms from their homes.
http://www.wral.com/nc-police-ask-owners-to-surrender-unwanted-guns/12526936/

Agriculture staff appointments (N.C. Dept. of Agriculture) Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler has announced three staff appointments at the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services: as general counsel, Tina Hlabse of Raleigh; as Plant Industry Division director, Vernon Cox of Raleigh; as Meat and Poultry Inspection Division director, Alan Wade of Erwin.
http://www.ncagr.gov/paffairs/release/2013/6-13staff-appointments.htm

Vilsack cancels visit to N.C. bioproducts facility (WRAL-TV) -- U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has canceled a planned Friday visit to North Carolina for the opening of a bioproducts facility. Vilsack was scheduled to be in Plymouth Friday morning for the opening of Domtar, Inc.’s facility, which produces lignin. Lignin is a chemical compound derived from wood that is used as an alternative to petroleum. Domtar is working with the U.S. Forest Products Laboratory among others to develop lignin into applications such as fuel additives, solid fuels and high performance adhesives. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that Domtar’s Plymouth facility will be the first of its type to open in the United States in more than 25 years. The facility has received funding from the Agriculture Department’s Biomass Research and Development Initiative from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The program was authorized under the 2008 Farm Bill.
http://wraltechwire.com/u-s-agriculture-secretary-vilsack-visiting-n-c-for-domtar-ribbon-cutting/125...

Improvement funds focus on downtown surveillance cameras (Port City Daily) -- City surveillance cameras around downtown Wilmington are slated for an operational upgrade with the help of federal forfeiture cash allocated this week.
http://portcitydaily.com/2013/06/06/improvement-funds-focus-on-downtown-surveillance-cameras/

Central Regional tightens watch on non-controlled drugs, residents' hours (Raleigh News & Observer) -- A new state audit of Central Regional Hospital in Butner says the hospital needs to keep better track of non-controlled drugs and hours logged by residents it pays universities for work. There was no evidence that a physical count had ever been performed for the drug dispensing machine in the state psychiatric hospital, the audit said. The auditors did not look at inventory procedures for controlled substances.
http://projects.newsobserver.com/under_the_dome/central_regional_tightens_watch_on_noncontrolled_dru...
GENERAL NEWS
Charge dropped against UNC student who spoke out (AP) -- UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp has told a student facing expulsion because she spoke publicly about her rape case that the charge against her has been dropped. Thorp sent a letter to Landen Gambill dated Thursday. He told the student that concerns were raised over the constitutionality of a section of the honor code which led to the charges against her. Thorp said Vice Chancellor Winston Crisp recommended that no student should be charged under that section until a university committee can review it.
http://www.wral.com/charge-dropped-against-unc-student-who-spoke-out/12525807/

UNC drops Honor Court case against student who reported rape (WRAL-TV) -- UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp said Thursday he is dismissing an Honor Court case against a sophomore who has questioned the university's handling of sexual assault cases.
http://www.wral.com/unc-dismisses-honor-court-case-against-student-who-reported-being-raped/12525923/

Traffic stop discovers runaway teens on cross-country odyssey (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Teenagers from across the country who met online and planned to run away together were being wooed over the Internet. Durham investigators have contacted national agencies to look into the possibility that a sex trafficking ring may be involved.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/06/06/2944724/durham-traffic-stop-discovers.html

Startup make pitches at Durham’s Paradoxos festival (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Pitch Day, a Triangle Startup Factory event, was one of the highlights of Paradoxos, a new two-day festival in Durham that runs through Friday.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/06/06/2944325/startup-pitches-fly-during-first.html

N.C. Historical Review Available Online (N.C. Political News) -- The first 44 volumes (1924-1967) of the North Carolina Historical Review are now available online through the N.C. Digital Collections. First published in the spring of 1924, and now in its 90th year, the Review has provided a forum for scholarship on the state’s rich history for generations of students, historians, and the general population. The North Carolina Digital Collections, a joint project of the State Archives and the State Library of North Carolina, contain more than 64,000 historic and recent photographs, state government publications, manuscripts and other resources on topics related to North Carolina.
http://www.ncpoliticalnews.com/?p=2203

Man shot, killed during standoff with swat team (AP) -- Law enforcement in Caldwell County says a man was shot and killed after a shootout with sheriff's deputies. A statement from the sheriff's office said deputies were dispatched to a home in Hickory Thursday morning in response to a domestic call. As the deputies approached the home, the suspect left the home armed with weapons. The sheriff's office said the suspect exchanged gunfire with the deputies.
http://www.wral.com/nc-man-shot-killed-during-standoff-with-swat-team/12525448/

UNC basketball player charged with pot possession (WRAL-TV) -- Durham police charged P.J. Hairston, a player on the University of North Carolina basketball team, with possession of a small amount of marijuana Thursday. "Coach Williams and (director of athletics) Bubba Cunningham are aware of a situation that took place last evening with P.J. Hairston," said North Carolina Senior Associate A.D. Steve Kirschner. "We’re currently looking into it to gather the facts. We will issue a statement when we have enough information to do so."
http://www.wral.com/unc-basketball-player-charged-with-pot-possession/12523286/

R.J. Reynolds expanding e-cigarettes to Colorado market (Winston-Salem Journal) -- R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. is hoping a methodical approach into the crowded electronic-cigarette marketplace will lead to consumer acceptance and market share gains.
http://www.journalnow.com/business/business_news/local/article_bb7b7a84-ceb2-11e2-b775-0019bb30f31a....

Esther Williams, Azalea queen in 1958, dies at 91 (Wilmington Star-News) -- Williams reigned at the 1958 festival and was crowned by North Carolina native Andy Griffith.
http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20130606/ARTICLES/130609764/1177?Title=Esther-Williams-Azalea-...

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
Serious ocean flooding not expected on Outer Banks (AP) -- The Outer Banks are bracing for Tropical Storm Andrea, but authorities say the storm should not bring too many problems to the battered barrier islands. A tropical storm warning has been issued for the entire North Carolina coast, but Andrea is expected to track well inland. Forecasters say the biggest threat could be heavy rains with up to 4 inches falling starting Thursday night into Friday evening.
http://www.wral.com/serious-ocean-flooding-not-expected-on-outer-banks/12523731/

Cleantech jobs grow in N.C. thanks to solar energy projects (WRAL-TV) -- North Carolina ranks No. 4 among states for creating cleantech jobs, according to a new report from Environmental Entrepreneurs. Learn what's helping the state's high ranking.
http://wraltechwire.com/cleantech-jobs-grow-in-n-c-thanks-to-solar-energy-projects/12524601/

Bill Would Sweeten Loans for Energy-Efficient Homes (New York Times) -- Under a Senate proposal, a home’s projected energy savings could qualify buyers for larger mortgages and lower interest rates than they might otherwise receive.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/07/business/senate-bill-sweetens-loans-for-energy-efficient-homes.htm...

Enhanced lighting, energy efficiency on display at Ackland Art Museum (UNC NEWS) -- The renowned museum at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will celebrate its transition to 100 percent LED lighting – a money-saving, energy-conscious move that also enhances spectators’ views of the exhibits – with a June 20 Open House from 6 to 8 p.m. It is free to the public. “Our staff did a great deal of research to make sure that the switch to LED would not only save energy, but would also be the right decision for our works of art,” said Emily Kass, Ackland’s director. “The new LED lighting dramatically improves our visitors’ experience, as the art works’ colors are more accurate and vivid.”
http://uncnews.unc.edu/content/view/6067/1/

Jetties, Dumps and Fracking Wells (Coastal Review) -- Those are the environmental bills that are due up next as the N.C. General Assembly enters the last few weeks of its session.
http://nccoast.org/Article.aspx?k=3ac73141-b0a4-4397-86bb-d78c7fb48b02

Forbes: Cree among fastest-growing tech companies (Triangle Business Journal) -- Forbes’ list of America’s 25 fastest-growing tech companies of 2013 is chock-full of software developers, social networks
http://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/blog/2013/06/forbes-cree-among-fastest-growing.html

Smokies says backcountry fee feedback positive, though opposition continues (Carolina Public Press) -- A new user fee began in February, and a Great Smoky Mountain National Park spokesperson said the transition has been smooth. Meanwhile, a court case challenging the fee’s legality continues, and four county commissions in NC and Tennessee have stated opposition to the change.
http://www.carolinapublicpress.org/15600/smokies-says-backcountry-fee-feedback-positive-though-oppos...

Pittsboro students build 450-square-foot cottage to promote sustainable living (Raleigh News & Observer) -- A 450-square-foot energy efficient cottage built by students at Central Carolina Community College’s Pittsboro campus will go up for auction Friday. The house is designed to promote “green” and sustainable living while the program educates students in “green” building.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/06/06/2943501/pittsboro-students-build-450-square.html

EDITORIALS
NC economic strategy should concern Western counties (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- It would be a pity if the known successes of AdvantageWest and The Rural Center are cast aside while the state funds being put to good use regionally are funneled into NC Commerce Department coffers where the outcome is an unknown.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/06/06/2943886/im-from-raleigh-and-im-here-to.html

McCrory, Decker plan moves past just hoping for jobs (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- Cross your fingers and hope for the best. That may be the best strategy for buying a lottery ticket, but it’s not an effective plan for producing jobs. Yet hope for the best is essentially the economic development medicine prescribed by many in North Carolina. That’s not good enough for me, and, thankfully, it’s not good enough for Gov. Pat McCrory and Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker. Their approach seeks to do something different by proposing an overhaul of the state’s job recruitment apparatus with the Partnership for Prosperity initiative. … Eventually, this new approach will save the taxpayers money. However, cost savings is not the primary goal. The goal is creating jobs in every region of the state. Those who claim the current system isn’t broken are ignoring part of the truth. A big part of North Carolina is suffering, and we must do something differently from what we have in the past. While North Carolina has a great economic heritage, we must evolve our strategy by daring to do things different and empowering those who have the job to create jobs. McCrory and Decker’s plan does just this. For the sake of all North Carolinians, let’s join them in taking the risk to set a new course.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/06/06/2943901/mccrory-decker-plan-moves-past.html

Quest to root out ‘inappropriations’ admirable, but let in public, Democrats (Wilmington Star-News) -- Secrecy is a bad way to assure the public you’re doing good work.
http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20130605/ARTICLES/130609819/1108/opinion?Title=Editorial-Quest...

NC needs to look again at Medicaid expansion (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Republicans have rejected expansion of the government health care insurance program, but a new report shows they should reconsider.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/06/06/2944030/nc-needs-to-look-again-at-medicaid.html

Gaming's future rests with the legislature (Fayetteville Observer) -- In its campaign against video sweepstakes, Fayetteville jacked the fees up 8,900 percent. For its efforts it was rewarded with an unfavorable ruling by the state Court of Appeals.
http://www.fayobserver.com/articles/2013/06/07/1261696

Teachers’ lessons extend beyond school (Wilmington Star-News column) -- Each of them possesses strengths and weaknesses, and each has the power to inspire someone.
http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20130606/ARTICLES/130609761/1108/opinion?Title=Tricia-Vance-Te...

Protesting ‘crazies’ deserve to be heard (Charlotte Observer) -- As I stood among the throng of more than 1,000 on the mall behind the N.C. legislative building in Raleigh – sweating in the sweltering Monday afternoon sun – a young woman explained to me why she wasn’t going to be among those arrested for civil disobedience.
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/06/06/4090089/protesting-crazies-deserve-to.html

After dark

Uh oh. Looks like a trio of biblical scholars is shaking up all of Christendom with a definitive view that the Bible does NOT say that marriage may exist only between one man and one woman. Yikes out below!

AFP pushes the envelope on 501-C (4) restrictions

Jumping into the 2014 US Senate race in a most uncharitable fashion:

Americans for Prosperity is targeting Democrat U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan in a new web ad about renewable energy at the same time the conservative organization touts Republican Thom Tillis on taxes. The timing of the two ad campaigns is coincidental, said Dallas Woodhouse, the group's North Carolina director. "They have nothing to do with each other," he said.

Pardon our French, but that is a steaming pile of bullshit. Of course they're related; having the ads run simultaneously will make it much more likely voters will be able to connect the two candidates down the road. And behavior like this is also a big reason why the IRS focused on conservative "charities" in their recent crackdown:

Daily dose: Declaration of war edition

With their definitive repeal of the Racial Justice Act, North Carolina Republicans have taken arrogance to dangerous heights. If this legislation finds its way to McCrory's desk and he signs it, he will be signing a declaration of war.

Much more misery below the fold.

DAG McCrory's spin doctors make a House call

And Democratic leaders had a few words for the Deputy Assistant Governor:

In anticipation of public outcry, General Assembly legislative assistants were summoned to a meeting held by Assistant Secretary of Commerce, Dale Folwell, in which they were given talking points on how to respond to angry callers. These talking points did not direct callers to individuals with the authority to
change this policy, but said merely to acknowledge the loss of benefits without explanation or assignment of responsibility. In short, these talking points provided political cover for the McCrory administration and legislators who support cutting the benefits.

Here's a thought: if you know something is going to hurt people so much you need to start doing damage control before the pain even begins, then maybe you've made a horrible mistake. Here's the letter in its entirety:

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