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Friday News: Fake news, Berger style

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ALTERED NEWS? SENATE GOP LEADER BERGER CHANGES HEADLINES ABOUT COOPER (AP) -- The news was real, but the headlines weren't. The office of Republican N.C. Senate leader Phil Berger altered headlines from state news outlets on the senator's official Facebook page. On Jan. 30, The Charlotte Observer published a headline on its website reading, "Carolinas political leaders react to Trump's executive order." On Berger's page, the headline was changed to say, "Cooper flip flops on refugees." In addition to changing the headline, the Facebook post also removed an image of Sen. Thom Tillis from the Observer story and replaced it with a photo of Cooper laughing.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/nation-world/national/article137556263.html

Thursday News: Blowing the dust off the Veto stamp

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TRIAL COURT ELECTIONS PARTISAN AGAIN LOOKS RIPE FOR VETO (AP) -- The Republican-controlled General Assembly gave final approval Wednesday to legislation officially making all local trial court elections in North Carolina partisan affairs again, a decision that appears ripe for Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper to issue his first veto. "I have real concerns about throwing judicial elections back to the partisan arena," Cooper said Tuesday. "I think it's important that they stay out of that as much as possible. I don't like it." But the bill cleared both the House and Senate in final votes by veto-proof margins, meaning the chance a veto would be overridden is high. Wednesday's 74-43 vote was largely along party lines.
http://www.wral.com/panel-considering-shifting-n-carolina-judicial-appointments/16572429/

Wednesday News: The cost of incompetence

GOP HEALTH BILL FACES REVOLT FROM CONSERVATIVE FORCES (New York Times) – After seven years of waiting longingly to annul President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, Republican leaders on Tuesday faced a sudden revolt from the right that threatened their proposal to remake the American health care system. The much-anticipated House plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act also drew skepticism from some of the party’s more moderate members, whose constituents have benefited from expanded coverage in recent years. … Rep. Mark Meadows, Republican of North Carolina, said Vice President Mike Pence had portrayed the bill as a work in progress that would no doubt be amended, perhaps significantly. “The bill that was introduced last night is still open for negotiation and certainly for modification,” Mr. Meadows said. “And we took that as very encouraging news.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/07/us/politics/affordable-care-act-obama-care-health.html

Tuesday News: Power-play politics

POWER STRUGGLE BETWEEN GOVERNOR AND LEGISLATORS IN COURT (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The power struggle between Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and the GOP-led General Assembly will be on display Tuesday as arguments about the separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches, and what each side contends that means, are made in front of the third branch of government. A three-judge panel will preside over a hearing inside the Campbell University law school to consider whether the Republicans at the helm of the legislative branch unconstitutionally grabbed power from the new governor, shortly after he emerged victorious over Republican Pat McCrory.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article136822538.html

Monday News: Join the club

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SCHUMER HAS 'SOME DOUBTS' ABOUT SENATE INTELLIGENCE CHAIR BURR (NBC News) -- — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Sunday morning that he has "some doubts about" Richard Burr, the North Carolina Republican senator and chairman of the Senate's Select Committee on Intelligence, which is looking into Russia's attempts to influence the last election. Burr "first denied that they should even investigate," Schumer charged during an exclusive interview on NBC's "Meet The Press." Schumer also responded to Trump's series of tweets on Saturday that alleged President Obama ordered a wiretap of communications at Trump Tower before the election. The suggestion was "beneath the dignity of the presidency," Schumer said. "It is something that really hurts people's view of government. It's 'civilization-warping,' as Ben Sasse, a conservative Republican, called it. And I don't know of any president, Democrat or Republican in the past, who has done this. It shows this president doesn't know how to conduct himself."
http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/chuck-schumer-has-some-doubts-about-senate-inteligence...

Sunday News: Cause & effect version

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WATER OPTIONS OFFERED TO RESIDENTS NEAR LUMBERTON COAL ASH SITE (Fayetteville Observer) -- Duke Energy is offering residents who live near a coal ash site $5,000 if they agree not to sue the company. The offer was discussed during a meeting Wednesday when Duke Energy officials talked to the residents about ways the company can provide water to them.
http://www.fayobserver.com/news/20170301/water-options-offered-to-residents-near-lumberton-coal-ash-...

DUKE ENERGY CEO’S PAY JUMPED 27 PERCENT TO $13.8 MILLION LAST YEAR (Charlotte Observer) -- Duke Energy chairman and CEO Lynn Good’s pay jumped 27 percent last year to about $13.8 million, the company said Friday in its shareholder proxy statement.
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article136276868.html

Saturday News: Gerrymandering goes to trial

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LAWSUITS TESTING POLITICAL GERRYMANDERING CLAIMS MOVE TO SUMMER TRIAL (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Two lawsuits questioning the breadth to which N.C. lawmakers can design congressional districts for partisan gain are on path toward a summer trial. A panel of three federal judges issued a ruling on Friday rejecting a request by state lawmakers to dismiss the cases filed last year by Common Cause and the League of Women Voters of North Carolina, two organizations that have been critical of partisan gerrymandering by both parties. The federal judges — James Wynn of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (appointed by Democratic President Barack Obama) and U.S. District Judges William Osteen Jr. (appointed by Republican President George W. Bush) and W. Earl Britt (appointed by Democratic President Jimmy Carter) — noted the novelty of the arguments put forward in the cases challenging the maps drawn and approved by the Republican-led General Assembly in 2016. But they also noted “obstacles the plaintiffs must overcome to prevail.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article136347448.html

Friday News: Of course they did

SENATE COMMITTEE CONFIRMS HALL AS MILITARY AFFAIRS SECRETARY (WRAL-TV) -- After weeks of arguing over the legality of the confirmation process, a Senate committee voted unanimously Thursday to approve former state Rep. Larry Hall as secretary of the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. Early on in the hearing, he said his office would be focused on making sure veterans knew about the services available to them that they may not be using. "What we've failed to do is engage (veterans) and ensure they get they full advantage of every right and benefit they have earned," he said. Other pressing issues for the office, he said, would be creating more jobs for veterans, ending homelessness among veterans and combating an epidemic of suicides among veterans.
http://www.wral.com/senate-committee-confirms-hall-as-military-affairs-secretary/16561543/

Thursday News: Budgeting the right way

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IN FIRST BUDGET, COOPER PUSHES FOR MEDICAID EXPANSION (N.C. Health News) -- In rolling out his first budget, Gov. Roy Cooper said he will be able to increase North Carolina’s spending for the coming fiscal year by $1.1 billion. Cooper’s $23.48 billion dollar spending plan for 2017-18 emphasizes increasing teacher pay, increasing salaries for state employees across the board and builds on former Gov. McCrory’s infrastructure improvements to upgrade more state properties. “I have talked to hospital CEOs. I think they are willing and ready and able to step up in exchange for this expansion,” he said. “It’s gonna be a net gain for them. They’re getting hundreds of millions of dollars in this expansion.”
http://www.northcarolinahealthnews.org/2017/03/02/first-budget-cooper-pushes-medicaid-expansion/

Wednesday News: The roots of the problem

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HB2 REPEAL WILL COME ONLY WHEN BERGER AND MOORE CLEAR THE WAY (Capitol Broadcasting Co. editorial) -- Thanks to extreme gerrymandering, the General Assembly has become an ideological echo chamber where voices of reason are drowned out by shouts of extremism. It is a place where absurd comments from House Speaker Tim Moore and state Senate boss Phil Berger, complaining it’s always the opponents and victims of HB2 who are preventing its repeal, are inexplicably viewed as reasonable. The bill includes a ridiculously low threshold – 10 percent of voters in the previous municipal election -- to get a repeal on the ballot. That would be a mere 4,200 signatures in Raleigh – a city with a 438,000 population. Such a counter-productive process only breeds more divisiveness and trouble. There will be a referendum in every city.
http://www.wral.com/editorial-hb2-repeal-will-come-only-when-berger-and-moore-clear-the-way/16557836/

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