BlueNC's blog

Daily dose

The scourge of austerity is nothing less than class warfare with one proven effect: the ultra-rich amass more wealth and privilege while regular families fall farther behind.

If it is true that we get the government we deserve

Then we have all been very, very bad.

Most of the debate this week about the Senate budget understandably focused on the more than 5,000 jobs it eliminates, the cuts it makes to education, and the $770 million it sets aside for tax cuts for millionaires. But there are dozens of other questionable funding decisions and troubling policy changes included in the massive 413-page budget bill that only a handful of Senate leaders had seen before it was released late Sunday night.

Toxic Tillis vs. Kay Hagan? Never gonna happen.

Gee, it must be hard to be Thom Tillis. For a guy with such lofty political aspirations, he sure does have a way of shooting himself in the foot. How long it will take for Brawley to try to walk back these comments.

Rep. Robert Brawley of Mooresville's decided to step down as a Finance Committee chairman in a letter that listed four reasons, including the speaker's apparent business relationship with Time Warner. "You slamming my office door shut, standing in front of me and state that you have a business relationship with Time Warner and wanting to know what the bill was about," Brawley wrote, not mentioning the specific legislation. "You and I both kno [sic] the bill stifles the competition with MI Connections in Mooresville."

Note to Toxic Tom: There may be another business in North Carolina that is more despised than Time Warner, but then again, there may not. Nice company you keep, dude.

Daily dose: Governor Art Pope's budget edition

Every now and then we front page the entire Daily Dose catastrophe to make it easier for readers to scan the level of insanity emanating from Raleigh. Hold your nose and buckle up. Today is the day.

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SEQUESTER FESTER
NOAA still planning to furlough forecasters (Politico) -- “With 7 percent budget cuts, we’re going to have to make some hard choices,” a spokeswoman says.
http://www.politico.com/story/2013/05/noaa-still-planning-to-furlough-storm-forecasters-91703.html

LEGISLATURE
NC Senate budget drawn by GOP target for critics (AP) — Senate Republicans pushed their state spending proposal through a pair of committees Tuesday, but not before giving Democrats and advocacy groups plenty to pick at when it comes to reshaping public school funding and raising fees.
http://www.reflector.com/ap/staten/senate-republicans-moving-2-year-budget-chamber-2026415

Tax reform proposals not sitting well with NC voters (Public Policy Polling) – North Carolina voters don't like the tax reform plans that have been presented by either the House or Senate over the last few weeks: -Only 14% of voters support the Senate plan with 44% opposed and 42% having no opinion. When key provisions of it are described opposition rises all the way up to 68% with only 13% of voters supporting it. There is bipartisan opposition with 76% of Democrats, 69% of independents, and 56% of Republicans against it. The provision raising the sales tax on groceries is particularly unpopular with only 10% supportive of it and 81% opposed.
http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/main/2013/05/tax-reform-proposals-not-sitting-well-with-nc-voters...

NC Republicans hold the cards for Senate budget (AP) -- A hefty North Carolina state budget proposal written by Senate Republicans is likely to pass by a comfortable margin in a chamber where GOP members outnumber Democrats by nearly 2 to 1.
http://www.wral.com/nc-republicans-hold-the-cards-for-senate-budget/12471620/

Senate budget moves forward (WRAL-TV) -- In meetings Tuesday of the Senate appropriations and finance committees, legislators sketched the outlines of the budget debate that will begin in the chamber Wednesday.
http://www.wral.com/tuesday-wrap-senate-budget-moves-forward/12470523/

Senate budget drawn by GOP target for critics (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- Senate Republicans pushed their state spending proposal through a pair of committees Tuesday, but not before giving Democrats and advocacy groups plenty to pick at when it comes to reshaping public school funding and raising fees.
http://www.citizen-times.com/viewart/20130522/NEWS/305220027/Senate-budget-drawn-by-GOP-target-critics

State Senate targets electric, hybrid owners in budget (Wilmington Star-News) -- An annual fee of $100 for electric car owners and $50 for hybrid car owners would be levied on state residents.
http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20130521/ARTICLES/130529908/1017/news01?Title=State-Senate-tar...

NC budget deletes education earmarks for lottery (AP) — The North Carolina budget sought by Senate Republicans would eliminate the law that lays out how the state lottery's net proceeds should be distributed for education.
http://www.reflector.com/ap/staten/nc-budget-deletes-education-earmarks-lottery-2028301

McCrory doesn't expect to roll out his own tax reform plan (WRAL-TV) – While Republican Gov. Pat McCrory campaigned on promises to reform and dramatically change North Carolina tax system, he said Tuesday he has "influence" over Senate and House tax reform plans and is aiming to help the legislature craft a consensus plan and won’t propose anything on his own.
http://www.wral.com/mccrory-doesn-t-expect-to-roll-out-his-own-tax-reform-plan/12468886/

Senate budget puts brakes on transit (Durham Herald-Sun) -- Budget writers in the N.C. Senate are tinkering with Gov. Pat McCrory’s proposed shakeup of state transportation spending to make it even harder for local governments to obtain state aid for transit projects. The draft Senate budget includes language that says transit projects of any sort – including “intercity rail, commuter rail [and] light rail” – can qualify only for the lowest-level allocations the governor has proposed. That’s the 30 percent of the money, statewide, that’s destined for allocation on an equal-share basis to each of the N.C. Department of Transportation’s 14 operating divisions.
http://www.heraldsun.com/news/x1592161940/Senate-budget-puts-brakes-on-transit

Nesbitt: Lawmakers are 'abandoning the environment' (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- Conservation groups are cautiously optimistic about the Senate budget proposal for land and water conservation.
http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20130522/OUTDOORS/305220023/Nesbitt-Lawmakers-abandoning-enviro...

Passions high around school voucher bill (WRAL-TV) -- The House Education Committee did not vote Tuesday on a bill that would use taxpayer money to send children to private schools. Instead, they let the public -- those in favor and against -- have their say.
http://www.wral.com/private-school-scholarship-bill-discussed/12469102/

McCrory says he does not want SBI switch (WRAL-TV) -- Senate sponsors say moving supervision of the SBI from the Attorney General to the Governor will save money in the long run.
http://www.wral.com/mccrory-says-he-does-not-want-sbi-switch/12469767/

Group Home Funding at Risk … Again (N.C. Health News) -- A series of 11th-hour fixes freed up money to keep group home operators whole. First, former-Gov. Bev Perdue found an unspent $1 million to tide the homes over until the legislative session could begin in late January. Then when the current legislative session started, legislators quickly passed a bill that allowed the homes to tap into a $39.7 million pot of money that had been set aside for adult care homes. Now the appeals are winding to a close, said Karen McLeod, head of Benchmarks, a coalition of care-provision organizations, “and my members want to know what to do.” She said that if there’s no fix for the group homes before July 1, facilities would start to close.
http://www.northcarolinahealthnews.org/2013/05/21/group-home-funding-at-risk-again/

End master's pay bumps for teachers (Greensboro News & Record) -- According to a Senate Appropriations Committee presentation this morning on the chamber's budget proposal, the N.C. Senate would like to end salary bumps for teachers with master's degrees.
http://www.news-record.com/blogs/north_state_politics/article_abb3e468-c21b-11e2-a973-0019bb30f31a.html

NC Senate Proposes Cutting Wildlife Resources Budget in Half (Public News Service) -- The budget proposed by the state Senate prompted an emergency meeting of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission this week. The agency faces more than $9 million in state funding cuts, which amounts to 49 percent of its current budget.
http://www.publicnewsservice.org/index.php?/content/article/32582-1

Bill would allow charter schools to have permanent tags (WRAL-TV) -- Charter schools would have the same rights to permanent tags for their vehicles as other public schools have under a bill that cleared the House Transportation Committee Tuesday.
http://www.wral.com/bill-would-allow-charter-schools-to-have-permanent-tags/12469503/

Push continues to conceal NC gun permit information (Carolina Public Press) -- One of the only surviving bills in the N.C. General Assembly related to gun control would close permit information to the public, making it nearly impossible for groups to watchdog how the government issues licenses to buy hundreds of thousands of handguns.
http://www.carolinapublicpress.org/15417/push-continues-to-conceal-nc-gun-permit-information/

NC House bill keeps free lanes when tolls arrive (AP) — The North Carolina House has passed a bill paving the way for tolls, but only if the state maintains free lanes.
http://www.reflector.com/ap/staten/nc-house-bill-keeps-free-lanes-when-tolls-arrive-2028327

House Lawmakers Pass Toll Roads Bill (WUNC-FM) -- Lawmakers in the House have approved a bill that would allow the Department of Transportation to add new toll lanes to interstate highways, but only if some of the old lanes are kept toll-free.
http://wunc.org/post/house-lawmakers-pass-toll-roads-bill

Toll road bill survives second vote (WUNC-FM) -- The Department of Transportation would be able to add toll lanes to existing highways as long as some lanes stayed free under a bill that cleared the House Tuesday.
http://www.wral.com/toll-road-bill-survives-second-vote/12470538/

NC immigration bill advances to House floor (AP) — A bill granting driving privileges to North Carolina residents who are living in the country illegally is headed to the state House floor.
http://www.reflector.com/ap/staten/nc-immigration-bill-advances-house-floor-2026727

County Commissioners from across state will visit legislature Wednesday (N.C. Political News) -- County Commissioners from across North Carolina will descend on Raleigh Wednesday as part of the N.C. Association of County Commissioners‘ annual county assembly day. On Wednesday morning, commissioners will receive an update on the latest news from the General Assembly and will hear from N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis and N.C. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger. After lunch, commissioners will visit with legislators. Wednesday evening, the NCACC will host a reception with members of the General Assembly.
http://www.ncpoliticalnews.com/?p=1906

POLICY & POLITICS
Foxx confirmation hearing set for Wednesday (Charlotte Observer) -- Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, who has been nominated by President Barack Obama to be U.S. Transportation Secretary, will be questioned Wednesday afternoon by the Senate’s Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee – the first step toward a likely full confirmation.
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/21/4054951/foxx-confirmation-hearing-set.html

Congress measures Charlotte's Foxx for Cabinet job (AP) -- Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx has an interview for promotion to a national job.
http://www.wral.com/congress-measures-charlotte-s-foxx-for-cabinet-job/12471692/

Republican-led N.C. government unpopular (Public Policy Polling) -- North Carolina poll reveals that the Republican government is receiving poor marks. Although Pat McCrory’s approval rating is 48% positive to 38% negative, 48% of North Carolinians disapprove of the Republican government to just 41% who approve. GOP legislators score even worse at 37% approval to 49% disapproval. The General Assembly overall gets a 25% positive rating to 51% negative and 24% unsure. At 38%-46%, Democrats have poor numbers, too. Voters believe by a 45% to 31% margin that the General Assembly is causing the state national embarrassment. Specific Republican proposals are extremely unpopular. Voters oppose the House and Senate tax plans by 41%-11% and 44%-14%, respectively. When told the details of these plans, opposition soars to 68%-13% for the Senate’s plan and 55%-21% for the House’s. 81% of North Carolinians oppose raising the sales tax on groceries from 2% to 6.5%. Only 10% support it.
http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/main/2013/05/republican-tax-reform-proposals-unpopular.html

Gov. McCrory talks about NAACP protests (WSOC-TV) -- For the first time on Tuesday night, Gov. Pat McCrory talked about the massive protests at the state capital over Republican policies. "They want to keep the status quo. I am not in favor of keeping the status quo. We have got to fix broken operations in the state government, and in order to do that, I am stepping on the toes of the right, the left, the middle," said McCrory.
http://www.wsoctv.com/news/news/local/gov-mccrory-talks-about-naacp-protests/nXygg/

McCrory: Status quo OK, 'don't see a need' to oversee SBI (WNCN-TV) -- A provision in the state Senate's budget calls for operations of the State Bureau of Investigation to be transferred to the executive branch, but Gov. Pat McCrory says he's "got enough on my plate." "I think they see some potential cost savings, and there may be but I haven't been presented the argument to transfer the SBI at this point in time," McCrory said of the proposal.
http://www.wncn.com/story/22379315/mccrory-i-dont-see-a-need-to-oversee-sbi

Prosecutors go deep into records in LaRoque case (Kinston Free Press) -- Former lawmaker’s income possibly pegged by witness
http://www.kinston.com/news/local/prosecutors-go-deep-into-records-in-laroque-case-1.147011/

Acquaintances, former co-workers testify in LaRoque trial (NEWS14-TV) -- People who knew and worked with former State Representative Stephen LaRoque took the stand Tuesday as Federal Prosecutors continued to try to prove he stole money from nonprofit organizations. LaRoque is facing several charges including theft specifically with stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from a non-profit organization he created. LaRoque's attorney said through cross-examination he made it clear that LaRoque's salary was fixed and agreed on. "Our position today demonstrated he had a specific contract for the amount the business managed and we believe that that was a pretty important point," said LaRoque's attorney Joe Cheshire. On the stand next could be bank employees who dealt with LaRoque's account. The trial is expected to last two weeks.
http://triangle.news14.com/content/top_stories/694374/acquaintances--former-co-workers-testify-in-tr...

No tax reform plan from me, McCrory says: (WRAL-TV) -- Gov. Pat McCrory said Tuesday he does not expect to roll out his own tax reform package this year. Tax reform was a key priority for Republicans running for office last year. The GOP-controlled state House and state Senate have already rolled out their own tax reform plans.
http://www.wral.com/mccrory-doesn-t-expect-to-roll-out-his-own-tax-reform-plan/12468886/

McCrory 'confident' in budget compromise with General Assembly (WNCN-TV) -- North Carolina senators want to spend two percent more in next year's budget, but the programs they are cutting back on are turning heads. The budget includes no raises for state employees, including teachers. Also, there is no expansion of the state's Pre-K program and no compensation for eugenics victims -- people who were sterilized against their will by the state of North Carolina. Those are some big differences from Gov. Pat McCrory's spending plan. "We have some differences in Pre-K education," McCrory pointed out. "I have an expansion for Pre-K [and] I have a pay raise for state employees." He added, "Senate did not include money for the eugenic victims -- my budget did. "I consider these people victims," McCrory said.
http://www.wncn.com/story/22378826/mccrory-confident-in-budget-compromise

NC public safety chief steps down from law firm (AP) — The head of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety is taking a temporary leave of absence from his law firm following questions about potential conflicts of interest.
http://www.reflector.com/ap/staten/nc-public-safety-chief-steps-down-law-firm-2027767

’Moonlight’ Shanahan halts private law practice amid questions about law firm, lobbying (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Department of Public Safety Secretary Kieran Shanahan will no longer practice law on the side while he holds public office, his former law firm announced Tuesday afternoon. He has transitioned out of his practice at the law firm he started in 2001, and will be on a temporary leave of absence from that firm and from practicing law at all. The announcement came after reports last week that Shanahan had been moonlighting at his law firm on a limited basis, and followed questions The N&O raised earlier today about connections between the law firm and the lobbying company that he and his wife formed in 2009.
http://projects.newsobserver.com/under_the_dome/shanahan_halts_moonlighting_amid_questions_about_law...

Blueprint for ‘job machine’ (Greenville Daily Reflector) -- If North Carolina was a country, it would have the 28th largest economy in the world, but it is using an state economic plan from 1985, two business experts said.
http://www.reflector.com/news/blueprint-8216job-machine8217-2029499

NC Medicaid shortfall now $330 million-plus (AP) — The North Carolina office that oversees Medicaid says the funding shortfall for the government health insurance program is more than $330 million.
http://www.reflector.com/ap/staten/nc-medicaid-shortfall-now-330-million-plus-2028353

NC Transportation Secretary: ENC Roads, Ports, Ferries Won't Be Left Behind (WITN-TV) -- North Carolina Transportation Secretary Tony Tata visited New Bern Tuesday to talk about the new plans for roads and highways proposed last month by Gov. Pat McCrory. He says he thinks the eastern part of the state has been underserved in the past, but this plan aims to change that. Tata says the Strategic Mobility Plan would work in phases, and if we continue without changes to the plan, in the next 10 years we won't have enough funding to keep up with population growth. He says the population will grow by 1.3 million new residents, but the state would lose $1.7 billion in infrastructure revenue. He says the new mobility plan will help close that gap. "In eastern North Carolina we have several counties with declining population and higher unemployment than the other parts of the state," said Tata. "We've spent a lot of time taking a hard look at the highways, the ports, airports, the river ways and thinking how to create infrastructure that will help capitalize this economy."
http://www.witn.com/news/headlines/NC-Transportation-Secretary-ENC-Roads-Ports-Ferries-Wont-Be-Left-...

N.C. transportation secretary endorses ‘Slocum Flyover’ (New Bern Sun Journal) -- A Slocum Gate “flyover” at the Cherry Point air station to move U.S. 70 East traffic onto or by the base “is a fact,” said N.C. Secretary of Transportation Tony Tata on Tuesday in New Bern.
http://www.newbernsj.com/news/local/n-c-transportation-secretary-endorses-slocum-flyover-1.146855/

New and increased ferry tolls delayed — for now (New Bern Sun Journal) -- Proposed new toll and toll increases on coastal ferry routes are unlikely to be implemented July 1 as originally planned, officials said Tuesday. But that delay may be only temporary.
http://www.newbernsj.com/news/local/new-and-increased-ferry-tolls-delayed-for-now-1.146743/

Vehicle tax changes await residents (Wilson Times) -- Paying your vehicle property taxes at the last minute could end up costing more and potentially lead to driving with an expired tag later this year.
http://www.wilsontimes.com/News/Local/Story/052213-Vehicle-tax-changes-await-residents

Lack of reports may be costly (Elizabeth City Daily Advance) -- Elizabeth City State University could face the loss of federal financial aid as well as nearly $4.4 million in fines for not reporting more than 120 crimes to the U.S. government, a requirement under federal law.
http://www.dailyadvance.com/community/pasquotank/lack-reports-may-be-costly-2028033

As farm bill debate looms, Tar Heel lawmakers gird for fight over tobacco (McClatchy Newspapers) -- The U.S. Senate this week has started to fine-tune the huge, new five-year farm bill, working through votes on a series of amendments that will include a proposal to eliminate federal subsidies for tobacco insurance.

NC Democratic chair questioned over Las Vegas trip (AP) — The head of the North Carolina Democratic Party is facing questions about credit card charges made during a March trip to a Las Vegas casino to watch basketball games with his old college buddies.
http://www.reflector.com/ap/staten/nc-democratic-chair-questioned-over-las-vegas-trip-2027603

NC attorney general warns of disaster relief scams (AP) — North Carolina's attorney general wants to be sure that people who choose to donate money to help with tornado relief in Oklahoma aren't being taken by scam artists instead.
http://www.reflector.com/ap/staten/nc-attorney-general-warns-disaster-relief-scams-2027697

In Wake Of Tornado, NC Attorney General Warns Of Donation Scams (WUNC-FM) -- North Carolina's Attorney General is warning state residents to not be swindled in the wake of the Oklahoma tornado tragedy.
http://wunc.org/post/wake-tornado-nc-attorney-general-warns-donation-scams

ARC of NC leader going to state government post (AP) -- A longtime advocate for people with mental disabilities in North Carolina is joining state government as the director of the agency that oversees services for them and others with mental illness or alcohol or drug abuse problems. The Department of Health and Human Services announced Tuesday that Dave Richard will head the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services starting next week. Richard has been executive director of The ARC (ark) of North Carolina since 1989. He previous served in similar ARC positions in Louisiana and Delaware. Richard succeeds acting director Jim Jarrard.
http://www.wral.com/arc-of-nc-leader-going-to-state-government-post/12470964/

19th-century NC's lieutenant governor office opens (AP) -- North Carolina's lieutenant governor conducts state business in a 130-year-old home that's been freshened up since Dan Forest took office as the state's No. 2 executive branch leader.
http://www.wral.com/19th-century-nc-s-lieutenant-governor-office-opens/12470951/

Autism revelation provided new twist in Berger hearing(Wilmington Star-News) -- The commissioner has kept his autism diagnosis quiet throughout his time on the board.
http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20130521/ARTICLES/130529911/1015/news01?Title=Autism-revelatio...

Former finance director is Brunswick County’s first woman county manager (Port City Daily) -- Ann Hardy was named Brunswick County’s manager Monday night, making her the first woman to have the top position in county government in the county’s history.
http://portcitydaily.com/2013/05/21/former-finance-director-is-brunswick-countys-first-woman-to-serv...

Ann Hardy named as Brunswick County manager (Wilmington Star-News) -- The Brunswick County Board of Commissioners decided to remove the "interim" from Hardy's title.
http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20130521/ARTICLES/130529936/1177?Title=Ann-Hardy-named-as-Brun...

N.C. mortgage relief reaches $410 million under settlement (Charlotte Observer) -- The number of new North Carolinians receiving help on their mortgages through a massive state and federal settlement slowed in the first quarter as the banks participating near the end of their commitments.
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/21/4054349/north-carolina-mortgage-relief.html

N.C. mortgage borrowers received $409M in relief from banks (Triad Business Journal) -- Mortgage borrowers in North Carolina have received almost $410 million in relief from the landmark National Mortgage Settlement
http://www.bizjournals.com/triad/news/2013/05/21/nc-mortgage-borrowers-received-409m.html

Lawmakers bring back NC-SC hoops rivalry (Raleigh News & Observer) -- NC lawmakers will take to the court against their SC counterparts Wednesday night.
http://newsobserver.com/2013/05/21/2908569/dome-lawmakers-bring-back-nc-sc.html

Fed judge allows ex-bombing range chief to take cruise (Charlotte Observer) -- A federal judge has cleared the way for a former Dare County bombing range manager accused of stealing government property to go on a cruise with family and friends to the Bahamas next week.
http://www.dailyadvance.com/news/fed-judge-allows-ex-bombing-range-chief-take-cruise-2028211

Mayors: It’s time to work together for Charlotte (Charlotte Observer) -- More cooperation with the business community, consolidation with Mecklenburg County government, and a greater focus on education: Charlotte’s former mayors called for widespread changes at a forum Tuesday night, but also said they’re hopeful about the city’s future.
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/21/4054863/former-charlotte-mayors-to-talk.html

Bruton Smith blasts Cabarrus politicians, taxes (Charlotte Observer) -- A day after threatening to move the fall NASCAR race out of Concord, track owner Bruton Smith blamed Cabarrus County politicians for raising his taxes and not caring about the speedway as much as fans do.
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/21/4055104/charlotte-motor-speedway-owner.html

Local couple claim $1M lottery prize (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- Ron and Regina Phelps' winning Powerball ticket was somewhat of an afterthought on the morning of Mother's Day.
http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20130522/NEWS/305220031/Local-couple-claim-1M-lottery-prize

GENERAL NEWS
Military dogs 'should be considered soldiers,' not equipment (WRAL-TV) -- At Womack Army Medical Center on Fort Bragg, man's best friend can sometimes do what medicine cannot. Jasmine Russell, a military wife and owner of a therapy dog named Brit, says she see it all the time. “For that little bit, they feel … a little happiness. It's not so bad, for just a little bit,” she said of the injured troops. “If you watch (Brit), he loves soldiers. The uniform is a magnet to him.” Brit shares a bond with the soldiers he helps because he was once among them, serving as one of the highly trained military working dogs that sniffs out narcotics. He even received a medal for his service in combat. Russell adopted Brit after a leg injury forced the Army to retire him. The U.S. Department of Defense classifies dogs like Brit as equipment, and Russell wants that to change.
http://www.wral.com/owner-military-dogs-should-be-considered-soldiers-not-equipment/12469107/

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
State Senate targets electric, hybrid owners in budget (Wilmington Star-News) -- An annual fee of $100 for electric car owners and $50 for hybrid car owners would be levied on state residents.
http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20130521/ARTICLES/130529908/1017/news01?Title=State-Senate-tar...

Nesbitt: Lawmakers are 'abandoning the environment' (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- Conservation groups are cautiously optimistic about the Senate budget proposal for land and water conservation.
http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20130522/OUTDOORS/305220023/Nesbitt-Lawmakers-abandoning-enviro...

UNC, Orange County collaborate on energy project (Triangle Business Journal) -- An Army green megawatt generator shipped from Austria is now in operation approximately two miles from the Orange County landfill.
http://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/news/2013/05/21/unc-orange-county-collaborate-on.html

NC agency seeks injunction in coal ash case (AP) — A state environmental agency is seeking a court injunction against Duke Energy over groundwater that may have been contaminated by coal ash from a Charlotte-area power plant.
http://www.reflector.com/ap/staten/nc-agency-seeks-injunction-coal-ash-case-2028015

Company Works on Toilet Design (Southern Pines Pilot) -- Santec was one of 18 grant recipients in the foundation’s Reinvent the Toilet Challenge, which supports efforts to create a stand-alone sanitation unit that does not require piped-in water, a sewer connection or outside electricity to operate.
http://www.thepilot.com/news/2013/may/20/company-works-toilet-design/

Report: Grids vulnerable to attacks (Politico) -- A new congressional report calls for stronger mandatory standards to protect them.
http://www.politico.com/story/2013/05/report-grids-are-vulnerable-to-attacks-91705.html

Proposed Turtle Habitat Has Locals Worried (Coastal Review) -- Some local governments say a federal plan to increase protection of loggerhead sea turtles is a threat to crucial beach re-nourishment, but the federal officials say the critics’ contentions are overblown.
http://nccoast.org/Article.aspx?k=23a9e40f-0e72-495d-bb16-c8a2c7bee9ed

Go-kart race goes green to showcase alternative energies (Winston-Salem Journal) -- When car No. 10 sped around the track – outlined by orange traffic cones and barricades – in the parking lot of the Career Center, it stood out. It wasn’t because the kart, run by one of the Career Center’s Automotive Technology teams, was the fastest of the morning. It didn’t have the flashiest paint job. But when it took the track, the raucous atmosphere of the Career Center’s annual carnival grew just a little bit quieter.
http://www.journalnow.com/news/local/article_560333fa-c277-11e2-b16d-001a4bcf6878.html

Upgrades made at Duke Energy substations to reduce copper theft (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Duke Energy Carolinas has completed security upgrades at rural substations in Greensboro and Durham where thieves have been stealing copper and committing acts of vandalism.
http://newsobserver.com/2013/05/21/2908830/upgrades-made-at-duke-energy-substations.html

N.C. adds area power plant to coal ash suit (Charlotte Observer) -- State regulators under pressure from environmental groups added Duke Energy’s Riverbend power plant, perched above Charlotte’s water supply, to a lawsuit over coal ash pollution.
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/21/4054808/nc-sues-duke-for-polluting-charlotte.html

EDITORIALS
Jobs are out there – for graduates who have the right skills (Charlotte Observer column) -- Last year, my company spent more than $100,000 with headhunters, trying to find talent to fill the gaps we have in employment. Sadly enough, the vast majority of the people we found did not come from North Carolina.
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/21/4054891/jobs-are-out-there-for-graduates.html

With proposed budget, Berger lives up to GOP promise to cut spending (Winston-Salem Journal) -- During the past two election campaigns, Republican legislative candidates have been clear about their intentions. They planned to downsize state government.
http://www.journalnow.com/opinion/editorials/article_ba7f7022-c264-11e2-aa4d-001a4bcf6878.html

Promise to remake government (Greenville Daily Reflector) -- Leaders in the N.C. Senate on Sunday released a two-year, $20.6 billion budget framework that proposes to radically change operations throughout state government, leaving few areas untouched.
http://www.reflector.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-promise-remake-government-2029331

Superman’s staying power (Charlotte Observer) -- My nomination for American hero of the 20th century is someone who lived half his life in disguise and the other half as the world’s most recognizable man. He appeared on more radio broadcasts than Ellery Queen and in more movies than Marlon Brando, who once played his father. He helped give America the backbone to wage war against the Nazis, the Depression and the Red Menace. He remains an intimate to kids from Boston to Belgrade and has adult devotees who, like Talmudic scholars, parse his every utterance.
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/21/4054970/supermans-staying-power.html

Capitol offense (Politics N.C.) -- Pat McCrory rode to victory on a wave of dissatisfaction with the Raleigh political establishment and a stubbornly high unemployment rate. When he talked about fixing government, the voters thought McCrory meant ending the decade of scandals that had plagued two Democratic administrations. They wanted an end to petty corruption. Instead, the McCrory administration believed that voters wanted to scrap the programs that have been successful like our nationally recognized Medicaid program. They’ve put no safe guards in place to prevent the type of abuse of power that we saw over the past decade. On the contrary, they’re inviting it.
http://www.politicsnc.com/capitol-offense/

Don't shift the SBI (Wilson Times) -- As North Carolina’s top prosecutor, state Attorney General Roy Cooper is expected to move quickly when he sees something that could impede the investigation of illegal activity.
http://www.wilsontimes.com/Opinion/Editorials/Story/21327728---Don-t-shift-the-SBI

Camp Lejeune water was even worse than many past residents knew (Wilmington Star-News) -- It may be too late for many Marine families, but not for those who will serve at Camp Lejeune in the coming years.
http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20130521/ARTICLES/130529896/1108/opinion?Title=Editorial-Camp-...

When do teachers and big government get respect? When we need them. (Washington Post column) -- Our ambivalence, even hostility to both is forgotten when, as in Oklahoma, disaster strikes and we need help.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/wp/2013/05/21/when-do-teachers-and-big-government...

Making Meetings A Bit More Open (Southern Pines Pilot) -- North Carolina already has a pretty good Open Meetings Law. It got that way at least partly because of pressure from news media organizations over the years. But the law doesn't just benefit reporters. It requires public bodies to keep their meetings open to any member of the public who wants to be there.
http://www.thepilot.com/news/2013/may/20/making-meetings-a-bit-more-open/

Moeser is wrong to blame media for UNC scandals (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The former UNC chancellor should be angry that the athletic and academic scandals happened, but instead he’s upset by the reporting.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/05/21/2908454/moeser-is-wrong-to-blame-media.html

Crossing the climate line (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- For the first time, the daily average for carbon dioxide levels hit 400 ppm. It’s a wake-up call.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/05/21/2908326/crossing-the-climate-line.html

Amid the dim-bulb NC bills, a bright spot (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- The state Senate has passed a bill that makes it a crime to install and use vehicle headlights that are not approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation. We’ll all be safer.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/05/21/2908314/amid-the-dim-bulb-nc-bills-a-bright.html

Why would statewide taxpayers need to fund beach projects? (Fayetteville Observer) -- North Carolina's beaches have long enjoyed the protection of a ban on so-called hardened structures such as jetties, groins and other obstacles to the natural drift of sand. Then, two years ago, the camel got its nose under the tent with a "pilot project" allowing four.
http://www.fayobserver.com/articles/2013/05/22/1258326?sac=fo.opinion

What N.C. schools really need (Fayetteville Observer column) -- The following column was co-authored by the superintendents of North Carolina's 10 largest public school systems, in response to education budget proposals being debated in the General Assembly.
http://www.fayobserver.com/articles/2013/05/22/1257425?sac=fo.opinion

Rev. Barber lays out demands

Received via email

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

21 May 2013

Contact:

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, President, 919-682-4700
Mrs. Amina J. Turner, Executive Director, 919-682-4700
Atty. Jamie Phillips Cole, Public Policy Coordinator, 919-682-4700

Open Letter to NC Governor, Speaker of the NC House of Representatives and President Pro Tem of the NC Senate

The Honorable Pat McCrory
Governor, State of North Carolina

The Honorable Thom Tillis
Speaker of the NC House of Representatives

The Honorable Phil Berger
President Pro Tem of the NC Senate

Dear Governor McCrory, Speaker Tillis and President Pro Tem Berger:

Today we call on you to look into the eyes of the people and children affected by your policies of cynicism and politics of division and see the hurt they will reap in North Carolina. We demand that you meet with us and those you are hurting with your regressive policies.

Education:

Governor McCrory, Speaker Tillis and President Pro Tem Berger, reports say that you meet with the extreme right wing strategists of American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Today we ask you to meet with the parents whose children will not receive pre-K education this year. We ask you to meet with children who would go to even more underfunded schools due to a possible voucher program, expanded charter schools and budget cuts that would all drain resources from public education. We ask that you meet with the students who will suffer because of your efforts to defund and seriously dismantle public education.

Taxes:

We ask you to meet with those who will have to pay increased sales and service tax while millionaires get a tax break. Please look directly into the eyes of the people who are the working poor of this state who you raised taxes on when you slashed the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Voting Rights:

We ask you to meet with the elderly and the poor who will have a difficult time gathering the documents necessary to obtain a voter ID. We ask you to look these people in the eyes who have voted for decades and will now face barriers to the ballot.

Healthcare:

We assume you meet with lobbyists and lawyers. We ask you to meet with the patients who no longer will have healthcare coverage under your policy and the doctors who have sworn an oath to care for them.

Governor McCrory, Speaker Tillis and President Pro Tem Berger, we understand you meet with the Chamber of Commerce. We ask you to meet with the clergy who provide pastoral work to hundreds of thousands who will soon be without Medicaid or a basic economic safety net in this state. Instead they will have reduced unemployment benefits or no benefits at all.

We ask you to look the North Carolinians in the face whom your policies disregard, displace and attempt to disenfranchise. Look us in the eyes and tell us that you are doing this for the good of the whole as our State Constitution that you swore to uphold demands.

We respectfully await your response.

Yours in the Spirit of Truth and Justice,

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, President

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