BlueNC's blog

Update on Republican plans to take over Asheville's water system

Big Government Republicans in Raleigh are on a roll, having succeeded in passing legislation that would illegally seize Asheville's municipal water system. Now the city is in the sad position of counting on Pat "Duke Energy" McCrory as their last line of defense. Anybody want to bet on what hizzoner will do when the bill lands on his desk?

Details below, via email from PARC. PARC stands for People Advocating Real Conservancy.
web site: http://www.ashevilleparc.com

Daily dose

North Carolina's illegal Republican government continues to run roughshod over decency and honesty.

Daily dose

The whole catastrophe front-paged, giving new meaning to the phrase "shlock and flaw."
One great example of the sheer idiocy of GOP policies (in this case, replacing income taxes with a sales tax), can be found in this excellent article by Dan Kane of the News and Observer.

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SEQUESTER FESTER DAY 58
Controllers to return; flight delays sway Congress (AP) -- Furloughed air traffic controllers will soon be heading back to work, ending a week of coast-to-coast flight delays that left thousands of travelers frustrated and furious.
http://www.wral.com/controllers-to-return-flight-delays-sway-congress/12385658/

FAA Ends Furloughs (Wall Street Journal) -- The FAA said it had suspended the furloughs of air-traffic controllers that had led to flight delays and cancellations and that it expected normal operations by Sunday evening.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323789704578448952109576368.html?mod=WSJ_WSJ_US_News_5

LEGISLATURE
Gun ownership privacy supported: Bill keeps ID of gun owners private (Elizabeth City Daily Advance) -- Riding on outcry over a New York newspaper’s publication of the names and addresses of gun permit holders, North Carolina lawmakers appear ready to block the possibility of that happening in this state.
http://www.dailyadvance.com/news/gun-ownership-privacy-supported-bill-keeps-id-gun-owners-private-19...

Towns aim to preserve park funding (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Several Wake County towns are lobbying state budget writers to preserve a program that funds municipal parks and recreation projects across North Carolina. Republican Gov. Pat McCrory’s proposed budget cuts about $12 million, or 44 percent, of the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund. The fund is supported by the excise tax on real estate transfers and divided among state parks, beach accesses and local governments, which receive 30 percent of the funding.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/04/27/2855098/towns-aim-to-preserve-park-funding.html

Legislators hear from opponents of ferry tolls in Pamlico (New Bern Sun Journal) -- North Carolina legislators gave people some hope Saturday that proposed tolls for the Minnesott-Cherry Branch and Bayview-Aurora routes are being fought in Raleigh.
http://www.newbernsj.com/news/local/legislators-hear-from-opponents-of-ferry-tolls-in-pamlico-1.134471/

NC House bill would change film industry credits (AP) — A North Carolina House bill that would end tax refunds for film production companies is generating debate over the value of government-backed incentives for businesses.
http://www.reflector.com/ap/staten/nc-house-bill-would-change-film-industry-credits-1964583

NAACP considers civil disobedience at General Assembly (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The NAACP’s Rev. William Barber is again raising the threat of protests leading to arrests at the General Assembly. On Saturday, Barber announced a meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Sunday at Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Durham to talk about reacting to voter ID legislation. It’s time, Barber writes, “to discuss and pray over the possibility of nonviolent civil disobedience and peaceful direct action at the N.C. General Assembly, The People’s House.”
http://projects.newsobserver.com/under_the_dome/naacp_considers_civil_disobedience_at_general_assembly

North Carolina legislators' reactions mixed to voter ID bill (Fayetteville Observer) -- Like so much other legislation this year, a contentious bill that would require voters to provide photo identification passed the state House last week along party lines.
http://www.fayobserver.com/articles/2013/04/28/1253152?sac=fo.local

Charlotte shelter rescues 19 dogs, legislators to vote soon on ‘puppy mill’ bill (Charlotte Observer) -- The Humane Society of Charlotte rescued 19 Maltese dogs from a puppy mill in western North Carolina Saturday and now will treat them for severe skin and eye problems that are the result of the conditions they were kept in. The rescue comes on the eve of a decision by the state House about whether to pass North Carolina’s first commercial breeding law.
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/04/27/4008544/charlotte-shelter-rescues-19-dogs.html

Sides face off on voter ID bill (Greenville Daily Reflector) -- Pitt County’s Republican representatives said this week’s passage of voter identification legislation by the House will protect the state’s election system.
http://www.reflector.com/news/sides-face-voter-id-bill-1965171

POLICY & POLITICS
In NC budget, where did the $1 billion go? (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The money didn’t disappear in one big sweep. It stayed out of the state treasury, with little debate or notice, through scores of breaks in the state’s tax code.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/04/27/2852837/in-nc-state-budget-where-did-the.html
· On N.C. state sales tax, a special deal for some (Raleigh News & Observer) -- During the most recent sales tax debate, some groups representing significant special interests were silent. That’s because over the years, those groups have won exemptions that allow them to pay no tax, or a reduced rate.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/04/27/2854881/on-nc-state-sales-tax-a-special.html
· War between the states over TV, movie money (Charlotte Observer) -- Some states offer big incentives for movie and television producers. North Carolina gives the industry 25 percent back for productions done in the state, such as the Showtime espionage thriller “Homeland,” which is filmed in the Charlotte area. Opponents grumble that Hollywood shouldn’t get payouts that aren’t offered to other industries. Proponents say that tax breaks bring big projects into the state that pay off big with payrolls and other spending. Audited numbers for 2012 will come out soon and will include incentives paid to “Homeland” and “Iron Man 3,” which was filmed in Wilmington. In 2011, North Carolina paid producers $30 million in incentives. Producers who qualified for incentives spent $220 million in salaries and other expenses. For 2012, the industry will probably show spending near $300 million and incentives of $45 million.
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/04/25/4004081/war-between-the-states-over-tv.html#storylink=mi...
· State tax reports are lengthy, but lacking in detail (Raleigh News & Observer) -- North Carolina is among more than 40 states that produce regular reports on the tax breaks lawmakers have enacted over the decades. But those who try to analyze the breaks say the state could do a much better job describing, explaining and publicizing those tax breaks so that lawmakers, the governor and the public can properly evaluate them. Alexandra Forter Sirota, director of the N.C. Budget & Tax Center, a nonprofit that advocates for lower income residents, found that out the hard way when the center launched a study to find tax breaks that should be reconsidered. The state reports were so lacking in detail that the center could not put together a good assessment of many tax breaks.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/04/27/2852969/state-tax-reports-are-lengthy.html

NC Democrats seek footing on unfamiliar terrain (Raleigh News & Observer) -- This time Jim Hunt will not be available to rescue the North Carolina Democratic Party. It is a role that Hunt, the former four-term governor, has often played, bailing out Tar Heel Democrats when they hit troubled waters. He did it in the early 1970s and again in the early 1990s, restoring Democratic rule after Republican governors. But approaching his 75th birthday next month, Hunt has aged out of the political rescue business. The Democratic Party, many of whose leaders gathered Saturday for its annual Jefferson-Jackson Day fundraising dinner at the Raleigh Convention Center, is in deeper trouble than in the past. As the party in power, Republicans have drawn themselves favorable legislative and congressional districts. They control the levers to special interest money. They also seem poised to make the election machinery more favorable to them by adopting voter ID laws, shortening early voting, abolishing Sunday voting and ending same-day registration.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/04/27/2854836/nc-democrats-seek-footing-on-unfamiliar.html

Suits challenge N.C. medical examiners’ work (Charlotte Observer) -- NC medical examiners are supposed to investigate suspicious and violent deaths, but the state’s former chief medical examiner for years was aware of careless work that raised the risk of faulty death rulings.
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/04/27/4008223/suits-challengenc-medicalexaminers.html

N.C. lottery making an impact, but it has its critics, too (Wilmington Star-News) -- Sales of the N.C. Education Lottery are expected to reach $1.6 billion this year, officials say.
http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20130428/ARTICLES/130429630/1015/news0101?Title=N-C-lottery-ma...
· Even against the odds, lottery players hold out hope -- It is the prize money that keeps lottery players coming back.
http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20130428/ARTICLES/130429628/1177?Title=Even-against-the-odds-l...
· Pender store finds winning ticket in beer, food and lottery sales -- Randy McKinely has made his Hilltop Grocery a top seller of lottery tickets.
http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20130428/ARTICLES/130429627/1177?Title=Pender-store-finds-winn...
· Couple spent $16,000 on lottery last year, but it paid off -- Domenic Morabito and Debra Talley play their numbers in various lottery drawings almost every day.
http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20130428/ARTICLES/130429629/-1/news300?Title=Couple-spent-16-0...

Lots of Laughs at the White House Correspondents Dinner-2013 (Politico) – Complete coverage of President Obama and the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
http://www.politico.com/p/pages/white-house-correspondents-dinner-2013
· Media take a shellacking -- Media took some tough hits from both President Obama and comedian Conan O’Brien.
http://www.politico.com/story/2013/04/white-house-correspondents-dinner-media-jokes-90714.html?hp=l1
· Quick praise for Obama on Twitter -- Obama cracks jokes at expense of D.C.; Transcript of Obama’speech
· Palin: WHCD was 'pathetic' -- The ex-governor and V.P. candidate bashes the “DC a--clowns” in attendance.
· Celebs: Obama funnier than O'Brien -- Reviews from the audience give the commander-in-chief a slight lead.
· Miss something? -- Catch up on red carpet arrivals and the beginning of the dinner as it happened.

Star power at correspondents’ dinner (Washington Post) -- President Obama jokes about media, GOP and himself at annual Washington event that shows new evidence of being completely overrun by actors, singers, sports superstars and models.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/white-house-correspondents-association-dinner-...
· Conan O’Brien’s full speech at the Correspondents’ Dinner (Washington Post) -- Conan O’Brien’s comedy routine at the 2013 White House Correspondents’ Dinner took jabs at different television networks, the gay marriage debate in the Supreme Court and the threat of N. Korea.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/conan-obriens-full-speech-at-the-correspondents-dinner/2013/0...

Towns aim to preserve park funding (Raleigh News & Observer) – Republican Gov. Pat McCrory’s proposed budget cuts about $12 million, or 44 percent, of the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund. The fund is divided among state parks, local governments and beach accesses.
http://newsobserver.com/2013/04/27/2855098/towns-aim-to-preserve-park-funding.html

Democrats line up to whack GOP legislature (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The Democrats played whack a mole with the GOP legislature at the Jefferson Jackson Day fund raising dinner at the Raleigh Convention Center Saturday night. U.S. Sen. Mo Cowan of Massachusetts, a North Carolina native, said he could not believe some of the legislative proposals coming from the GOP legislature effecting voting. “Lincoln would be ashamed of this party,” said Cowan, one of two African-Americans serving in the Senate. Cowan said he had a hard time recognizing the state where he was born and raised during the past two years. “What is going in North Carolina?'' Congressman David Price: Criticized the legislature for not extending Medicaid health benefits to 500,000 North Carolinians and 80,000 residents will lose their unemployment benefits. “The forces of reaction have taken over state government temporarily – with a vengeance,” Price said. House Democratic Leader Larry Hall: The Republicans should take all their legislation, wrap into one bill – call it “the 19th century omnibus bill” pass it and everyone can go home.
http://projects.newsobserver.com/under_the_dome/democrats_line_up_to_whack_gop_legislature

Marshall: Legislature making NC the nation's laughing stock (Raleigh News & Observer) -- While Republican Gov. Pat McCrory has talked about rebranding the state, the Republican legislature has already succeeded – and it's not good, said Democratic Secretary of State Elaine Marshall. Marshall said the GOP legislature has rebranded North Carolina from a progressive, pro education, pro-growth New South state to one that has become the butt of jokes of late night comedians. “The General Assembly has rebranded us into the laughing stock of the country if not the world,” Marshall told a Democratic women's breakfast at the North Raleigh Hilton Saturday morning. “Just ask Jon Stewart, Colbert, Letterman, Leno and others.''
http://projects.newsobserver.com/under_the_dome/marshall_legislature_making_nc_the_nations_laughing_...

Hagan: Legislative proposals range from laughable to dangerous (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan took a shot at the Republican-controlled legislature Saturday night, saying they were doing damage to education from pre-K to the university system. “We have seen policies proposed in the last couple of years that would have taken us backward that have ranged from the laughable to the bizarre to the downright dangerous,” Hagan told about 600 people attending the Democrats Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner at the Raleigh Civic Center. Although she didn't mention any names, two of Hagan's potential opponents next year are the leaders of major legislative chambers – House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate leader Phil Berger. Hagan said she was prepared to wage a vigorous re-election campaign and that she expected a large amount of Republican-oriented independent expenditures – or what she labeled “extreme groups'' - to be spent against her. “We are going to prove that the voices that yell the loudest on cable television,” Hagan said, are not the true voices of North Carolina.
http://projects.newsobserver.com/node/27449

Hagan Seeks Reversal of Reshuffling of Greensboro Housing Office (Political News Me) -- U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan sent a letter to Shaun Donovan, the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), requesting that he reconsider a reorganization plan that would force dozens of North Carolinians to relocate, take a buyout or retire early. This week, HUD announced plans to downsize the Greensboro Multifamily Hub as part of nationwide reorganization. "I am deeply concerned about the impact that this decision could have on middle-income families, the elderly, the disabled, HUD employees and many others in North Carolina," Hagan wrote in her letter to Secretary Donovan. "I am concerned that a reorganization that moves North Carolina employees to another state could lead to a drain of local knowledge and delays in the project approval process." The Greensboro Multifamily Hub processes applications for multifamily housing projects in North Carolina that are designed to increase the supply of quality and reasonably priced rental housing.
http://politicalnews.me/?id=23246

Chavis: Perdue one of N.C.'s greatest governors (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The Rev. Ben Chavis, a member of the Wilmington 10, publicly thanked former Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue for pardoning the Wilmington 10. “Since this is my first trip back to Raleigh, I must pay tribute to the first woman governor of North Carolina – one of the best governors this state has ever had, Gov. Beverly Perdue,” Chavis told a breakfast of the Jefferson-Jackson Day Democratic fund raising at the North Raleigh Hilton that was attended by more than 200 people.
http://projects.newsobserver.com/node/27441

Hagan wants kids to learn more about handling money (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Sen. Kay Hagan, D-NC, has announced a bill to encourage the teaching of financial literacy in the schools. She has re-introduced the Financial Literacy for Students Act which would provide incentive grants for states that agree to offer financial literacy education in Title I public elementary and secondary schools. The bill also encourages teacher training in financial literacy and encourages partnerships with local financial institutions and other organizations. Hagan made the announcement at a news conference held Friday at Leesville Road High School in Raleigh, which offers a financial literacy course.
http://projects.newsobserver.com/under_the_dome/hagan_wants_kids_to_learn_more_about_handling_money

Jones: Lack of jobs in east is the federal government's fault (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Rep. Walter Jones has announced plans to launch what he calls an “economic growth initiative” across the third congressional district in the coming months. Jones said he will be holding a series of events asking constituents to share their concerns about government policies. “Eastern North Carolinians constantly point out mind-boggling obstacles to economic growth – obstacles that are placed there by the government that is supposed to be serving them,'' Jones said in a statement. “They are being hindered by excessive red tape, an education system that does not produce graduates who are qualified to compete for job openings, and a government that continues to misspend and misdirect their tax money toward unproductive purposes,'' he said.
http://projects.newsobserver.com/under_the_dome/jones_lack_of_jobs_in_east_is_the_federal_government...

New conservative lobbying push for gay marriage (AP) -- A national group of prominent GOP donors that supports gay marriage is pouring new money into lobbying efforts to get Republican lawmakers to vote to make it legal.
http://www.wral.com/new-conservative-lobbying-push-for-gay-marriage/12386401/

Herbalife ready to start work on Winston-Salem plant (Winston-Salem Journal) -- The conversion of the former Dell Inc. plant by Herbalife Ltd. is expected to begin in earnest in June now that it has hired a general contractor.
http://www.journalnow.com/news/local/article_9fb5dc1e-afa8-11e2-85c6-0019bb30f31a.html

NC officials get early screening of 'Iron Man 3' (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The producers of a big-budget Hollywood film shot largely in North Carolina are holding a special screening in Wilmington for state leaders and the former U.S. senator who now heads the film industry's lobbying group.
http://newsobserver.com/2013/04/28/2855947/nc-officials-get-early-screening.html

State superintendent launches reading campaign (Kinston Free Press) -- With the current school year coming to a close, local districts may start Give Five - Read Five in August.
http://www.kinston.com/news/local/state-superintendent-launches-reading-campaign-1.134297/

GENERAL NEWS
Husband of slain political strategist: 'She was my hero' (WRAL-TV) -- Hundreds packed Raleigh's Pullen Memorial Baptist Church Saturday (Full video: Jamie Hahn memorial service) to mourn Jamie Kirk Hahn, a political strategist and "helper" who died after being stabbed at her north Raleigh home on Monday.
http://www.wral.com/hundreds-expected-at-funeral-for-raleigh-political-strategist/12386767/

Slain NC consultant recalled at church, dinner (AP) — A North Carolina political strategist who died this week after being stabbed in her home is being remembered by family, friends and political allies at a church service and a Democratic Party dinner.
http://www.reflector.com/ap/staten/slain-nc-consultant-recalled-church-dinner-1964577

Democrats pay tribute to Jamie Hahn at J-J (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The Democrats took time out to honor the Jamie Hahn at their Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner Saturday night in Raleigh. The dinner was dedicated to Hahn, with a page in the eight-page program in memory of the young Democratic Party fund raiser who was slain earlier in the week. There was a film tribute to Hahn shown featuring photographs of her set to the Beatles song “Imagine.” “Jamie was in politics for the right reason,'' said former Congressman Brad Miller of Raleigh. Other officials, including North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan, Massachusetts Mo Cowan, and Congressman David Price remembered her. Many of the Democrats at the dinner attended her funeral service earlier in the day.
http://projects.newsobserver.com/under_the_dome/democrats_pay_tribute_to_jamie_hahn_at_jj

Conviction, commitment, courage: Jamie Hahn’s legacy honored at memorial service (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Friends and family remembered Jamie Hahn at a memorial service in Raleigh on Saturday as an idealistic, passionate young woman who wouldn’t let the cynicism of politics dampen her spirit.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/04/27/2854698/conviction-commitment-courage.html

Jon Broyhill and Nation Hahn’s unusual bond, stunning break (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Jon Broyhill and Nation Hahn’s friendship began in the Pentecostal church, teenage chums in a fading furniture town. They spent every day together in rural Lenoir, their lives revolving around youth group, prayer meetings and sleepovers.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/04/27/2854712/jon-broyhill-and-nation-hahns.html

Suspect in Hahn murder expected in jail Saturday night (Raleigh News & Observer) -- A jail official says Jonathan Broyhill is expected to arrive in the Wake County Jail from the hospital sometime Saturday night.
http://newsobserver.com/2013/04/27/2855231/suspect-in-hahn-murder-expected.html

Man’s best friend becomes veterans’ best friend, too (Winston-Salem Journal) -- It was while standing at a those military funerals in 2009, that, in David Cantara’s words, God tapped him on the shoulder with his calling. A few months later he founded the Patriot Rovers, a High Point-based organization whose mission is to pair returning military veterans with therapy dogs. The dogs are trained to help returning military members adjust to civilian life and cope with post traumatic stress disorder as well as survivor’s remorse. The group has two certified trainers on staff and four soldiers who have gone through the program and assist when needed. Cantara oversees all training. Ninety-five percent of the dogs are Golden Retrievers, a breed that has proven exceptionally receptive to the training required to become a therapy dog.
http://www.journalnow.com/news/local/article_15799ac8-afa2-11e2-aa0e-0019bb30f31a.html

NC woman is state's only female auto auctioneer (AP) -- By the time Becky Tarlton takes her position behind the counter, elevated above the No. 3 Express Lane at the Mendenhall Auto Action, she already has warmed up her vocal chords.
http://www.wral.com/nc-woman-is-state-s-only-female-auto-auctioneer/12377381/

The Triangle Foodie Scene Makes Way For Dogs (WUNC-FM) -- The Triangle has some of the state’s most sought-after flavors: a recent slew of James-Beard Award semifinalists and Durham’s newest title, “Tastiest Town in the South,” have people chatting happily about the region’s good tastes.
http://wunc.org/post/triangle-foodie-scene-makes-way-dogs

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
Natural gas stations expected to proliferate in NC (Raleigh News & Observer) – North Carolina has more than three dozen natural gas refueling stations in operation or in the planning stages, including a half dozen in the Triangle, according to industry groups. The state’s natural gas utilities offer nine stations with public natural gas pumps and are expected to have twice as many by the end of next year as demand increases for natural gas powered cars and trucks. Triangle utility PSNC Energy operates two public pumps in Raleigh is planning two in Durham and another in Apex. Charlotte utility Piedmont Natural Gas operates pumps in Charlotte, Fayetteville, Goldsboro, Winston-Salem, Greensboro and High Point. The company is planning to install at least three more natural gas pumps in the state.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/04/27/2852900/natural-gas-stations-expected.html

Towns aim to preserve park funding (Raleigh News & Observer) – Republican Gov. Pat McCrory’s proposed budget cuts about $12 million, or 44 percent, of the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund. The fund is divided among state parks, local governments and beach accesses.
http://newsobserver.com/2013/04/27/2855098/towns-aim-to-preserve-park-funding.html

Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation announces staff, symposium (New Bern Sun Journal) -- Matthew Starr, the Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation’s program coordinator, has been tapped as the 33-year-old river advocacy program’s Upper Neuse Riverkeeper and will lead its Raleigh office.
http://www.newbernsj.com/news/local/neuse-riverkeeper-foundation-announces-staff-symposium-1.134466/

Transylvania residents wary of 'biomass' plant (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- Residents of a county trying to promote itself as an outdoor recreation mecca are opposing construction of a biomass gasification facility by a New York-based developer. A group called People for Clean Mountains has formed to stop construction of the proposed RD-Penrose 1, a project that aims to convert biomass — that is, household garbage and agricultural and other waste — into electricity in this small Transylvania County town near Brevard. “I’m for economic growth — everybody I know is for that in our community,” said Joe Furr, a real estate agent who lives in Little River and is one of about 50 active members of People for Clean Mountains.
http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20130427/NEWS/304270038/Transylvania-residents-wary-biomass-plant

Tourists advised to give space to NC wild horses (AP) — The superintendent of the Cape Lookout National Seashore is advising tourists that the wild horses on the North Carolina coast need room to roam.
http://www.reflector.com/ap/staten/tourists-advised-give-space-nc-wild-horses-1964579

Bill aims to lower rates for utilities (Rocky Mount Telegram) -- State lawmakers are pushing for negotiations between the N.C. Eastern Municipal Power Agency and Duke Energy in hopes of finding ways to achieve lower electric rates for customers in NCEMPA cities, including Rocky Mount.
http://www.rockymounttelegram.com/news/bill-aims-lower-rates-utilities-1964833

EDITORIALS
Sweepstakes donations warrant investigation (Rocky Mount Telegram) -- The N.C. State Board of Elections is scheduled to decide Tuesday if it will open an investigation into the $235,000 in campaign donations from an Internet sweepstakes company whose owners have been indicted in Florida.
http://www.rockymounttelegram.com/opinion/our-views/sweepstakes-donations-warrant-investigation-1964819

Gamblers - Time for another probe of campaign donations (Fayetteville Observer) -- It's the gift that keeps on giving, even after we try to return it. It's the crazy uncle who keeps showing up for dinner, even after we bought his bus ticket home.
http://www.fayobserver.com/articles/2013/04/28/1253180

Abortion proposals should be bottled up (Greensboro News & Record) – “None!” That’s how many bills Pat McCrory said during a campaign debate he would sign placing new restrictions on abortion. His response to the question stopped with that one word. The Republican candidate didn’t hedge, qualify it or add to it. His terse reply said all that needed saying about his attention to the subject. He was more concerned about jobs, education, transportation and running an efficient government. McCrory put an end to the topic of abortion, and the debate moved on to other matters.
http://www.news-record.com/opinion/1125579-94/editorial-april-28-abortion-proposals

Despite GOP job pledges, work is scarce (Raleigh News & Observer) -- For the unemployed, prospects seem dim, and Republicans aren’t doing much to brighten them.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/04/27/2853238/despite-gop-job-pledges-work-is.html

GOP gains the real incentive of voter ID law (Elizabeth City Daily Advance) -- The state Legislature is moving speedily toward requiring a government-issue voter ID. Behind the high-minded rhetoric of fair and just elections is the goal of Republican advantage.
http://www.dailyadvance.com/opinion/our-views/our-view-gop-gains-real-incentive-voter-id-law-1964875

TILLIS: Voter photo ID is a common-sense step for North Carolina (Charlotte Observer Column) -- I was recently asked to show my photo identification three times in one day: once at the local bank, again to rent a car and finally at airport security. As citizens, we are used to proving or confirming our identity for dozens of everyday actions. In fact, we demand it.
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/04/28/4006582/voter-photo-id-is-a-common-sense.html

Keep public information as accessible as possible (Wilmington Star-News) -- A Senate bill would permit some cities and counties to publish notices only on their government websites.
http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20130427/ARTICLES/130429643/1108?Title=Editorial-Keep-public-i...

Rural parts of NC lose out in GOP budget (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- Here is government logic at work. If there are any two communities in North Carolina that don’t need extra help, they are Cary and Charlotte – two of the fastest growing and most prosperous places in the state. So state and local governments are spending about $35,000 per job in incentives – or $94 million total – to help bring MetLife, the insurance giant, to both cities. Rural North Carolina, meanwhile, is hurting. Things are so bad that 47 counties have lost population over the past two years or so. The state’s response? North Carolina is contemplating cutting programs and institutions and shifting policy in ways that will likely further damage the rural parts of the state.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/04/27/2854817/christensen-rural-parts-of-nc.html

Rural communities losing (Greenville Daily Reflector) -- Pat McCrory served 14 years as mayor of Charlotte before bringing the experience leading North Carolina’s largest municipality to the office of governor.
http://www.reflector.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-rural-communities-losing-1965033

Full of courage, smarts, yet facing empty future (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- Each year, thousands of undocumented North Carolina immigrants are effectively excluded from our higher education system. In the process, they’re relegated to a regime of low-wage jobs and an expanding circle of poverty. We lose all the way round...
http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/04/27/2852857/full-of-courage-smarts-yet-facing.html

The hijacking of charter schools (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- Republican leaders in the legislature are pushing a charter school “reform” program that would undermine all of the fundamental principles that have driven the charter school movement in North Carolina and elsewhere.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/04/27/2852853/the-hijacking-of-charter-schools.html

Celia Rivenbark - Justin’s just got a special view of the world (Wilmington Star-News) -- The Biebs is a PR nightmare.
http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20130428/ARTICLES/130429704/1177?Title=Celia-Rivenbark-Justin-...

Don't let North Carolina privatize Medicaid (Fayetteville Observer column) -- I have grave concern about proposals to turn the management of North Carolina's Medicaid program over to for-profit managed-care companies.
http://www.fayobserver.com/articles/2013/04/28/1253140?sac=fo.opinion

Rep. David Price - Sequestration double-talk (Fayetteville Observer column) -- Double-talk is never in short supply in Washington. But as the ax of "sequestration" begins to fall, self-contradiction and hypocrisy have reached heights unusual even for the Capitol.
http://www.fayobserver.com/articles/2013/04/28/1252674?sac=fo.opinion

Daily dose

It's hard to wake up every morning and confront the insanity that has taken over our state. We wish we had better news to share.

Daily dose

House Committee on Public Utilities and Energy
Analysis of H298 committee vote exposes generation gap among legislative Republicans

The vote in the House Committee on Public Utilities and Energy says a lot. It is not just about the issue (H-298) of renewable energy. It vividly illustrated the importance of political and ideological alignments in the state House of Representatives specifically and the state legislature in general. It was a very rare moment indeed, when intra-party differences spilled out of the secret party caucuses – where the fate of legislation is debated and decided while curtained from the public’s view – and into the public arena exposing differences in ideology, philosophy and personality. What it revealed was a sharp generational divide in the Republican majority – particularly in the House of Representatives – and the degree to which ideology and pragmatism clash.

ON THE ISSUE: Energy and the environment are issues where political party, or typical conservative-Republican /liberal-progressive-Democratic outlooks, often have little to do with how legislators stand. More relevant is their outlook (ideological vs. fiscal vs. libertarian conservatives along with pro-business progressives or pro-labor liberals). Democrats hung together in this vote – but they represent a wide range of outlooks. Pricey Harrison, D-Guilford, is probably the most staunch environmentalist in the legislature. Susie Hamilton, among the most pro-business Democrats. This is an issue were the two meet. Renewable energy, particularly solar, is establishing a strong and growing presence in the energy sector of the state’s economy. It isn’t merely embraced by ardent conservationists and environmental radicals, but the business sector in general – particularly the state’s major utilities.

And this is where the committee vote reflects differences among Republicans. Differences not just on this issue, but distinctions that could have an impact on critical legislation as the tough issue and budget choices get made in late May and through June. The GOP members of the committee who voted against Rep. Hagar’s repeal of the Renewable Energy Standards represented districts and constituencies were renewable energy is a part of the economic base. Davidson County hosts one of the state’s largest solar installations; Cabarrus and Cleveland counties are home to several substantial solar projects. Duke Energy, with its headquarters in Charlotte, just announced a major renewable energy initiative with Google to be the focus of a sustainable energy rate offering it is developing. Republican Gov. Pat McCrory attended the Google-Duke announcement. Further, Charlotte is seeking to develop and brand itself as a regional energy hub, using the community’s substantial energy resources along with the academic setting and offerings at UNC Charlotte.

Like Hager, those supporting his bill come from the ideological wing of the GOP majority in the House – who today make up the majority of the majority. Seven of the 13 representatives who sided with Hager are first-term legislators. Three more, including Hager, are only in their second term while two others have three term’s experience. The only senior legislator to side with Hager was Julia Howard – who’s in her 13th term. Think of it as a total of 25 terms experience in the General Assembly among those 13 House members contrasted with the 36 terms of total experience among just the six Republicans who opposed Hager’s bill. While experience in the legislative process is always an element, the critical factor here is generational. Hagar and his allies in this vote clearly represent one generation of GOP legislators – a group that largely came in since 2009 with a strong ideological identity and agenda -- while those Republicans who opposed his bill represent a conservative brand of politics for sure – but also a more pragmatic one.

As the legislative session slides into May and June – when key issues that have been simmering since January start to bubble and budget skirmishes escalate into battles – dealing with the GOP generation gap will likely be the most challenging impediment facing the policy goals of the three most powerful Republicans in the state: Gov. Pat McCrory; House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate President ProTem Phil Berger. Their agendas are similar but not in lock-step. All three are said to have ambitious eyes on Washington (Could McCrory be a vice presidential pick in 2016? Will it be Berger or Tillis on the GOP ballot for U.S. Senate in 2014?). How they manage the differing factions within their own party – or forge critical coalitions of votes beyond it – will determine success in 2013 and could provide a stepping stone to prized achievements and ambitions in 2014 and beyond.

Daily dose

You could say this about 95% of McCrory's plans, but then again, ruining things is what the guy is all about.

McCrory’s plan would ruin an enviable health care program (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- Community Care of NC is a model for Medicaid delivery – and a draw for doctors.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/04/24/2847559/mccrorys-plan-would-ruin-an-enviable.html

Much more McDestruction below the fold.

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