BlueNC's blog

Saturday News: Wrong Medicaid bill

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GOVERNOR COOPER VETOES MEDICAID "TRANSFORMATION" LEGISLATION: These mini budgets came to the governor's desk this week as the legislature's Republican majority explored ways around his June veto of the state's overall budget. The pay raises, covering state highway patrol, prison system employees, the State Bureau of Investigations and a long list of other state employees, moved through the General Assembly with bipartisan, unanimous support. But Medicaid transformation, long a GOP priority even though it fell to Gov. Roy Cooper's administration to implement, drew opposition from legislative Democrats. Cooper said in a statement that "passing mini-funding bills that simply divvy up the vetoed Republican budget is a tactic to avoid a comprehensive budget." "Health care is an area where North Carolina needs us to do more, and to do it comprehensively," Cooper said in his statement.
https://www.wral.com/cooper-signs-employee-raise-bills-vetoes-medicaid-transformation/18602048/

Friday News: Debunking propaganda

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DUKE ENERGY AGREES SOLAR ENERGY DOES *NOT* INCREASE POLLUTION: The Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization that has labeled Duke “Public Energy Enemy No. 1” in part for not investing more in renewable energy, says “the nation’s largest investor-owned electric utility is pushing an outlandish claim that the growth of solar power will increase air pollution.” By the time the group had blasted the company, Duke had already released its own statement, suggesting that past media articles had mischaracterized its request of regulators. Duke credited the growth of solar energy, along with the replacement of coal-fired power plants with cleaner-burning natural gas units, for steep overall declines in its carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxides and nitrogen oxide emissions. The claim that solar energy causes more air pollution is “faulty logic,” Duke’s statement said. “It’s like saying an electric vehicle is bad since it will increase your electric bill, while neglecting to mention the cost savings of not buying gasoline.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/state/north-carolina/article234303987.html

Thursday News: Swing-state activities

BIDEN & BETO MAKE PIT STOPS IN CHARLOTTE: Biden spoke at a fundraiser at the home of Erskine and Crandall Bowles. Erskine Bowles is the former UNC system president and served as President Bill Clinton’s White House chief of staff. Crandall Bowles was CEO at S.C.-based Springs Industries. Costs for attending the Charlotte fundraiser ranged from $1,000 to $2,800, the Observer reported in early August. O’Rourke met crowds at a town hall at Armored Cow Brewing in the University area. Biden is leading in national polls, with the support of 32% of Democratic and Democratic-leaning Independent voters surveyed in two different polls released Wednesday. O’Rourke trails with 1% support in the Quinnipiac University Poll, and 2% support in the USA Today Suffolk University Poll.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/article234440822.html

Wednesday News: "Mini-budgets"

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UNABLE TO OVERRIDE COOPER VETO, GOP TRIES NEW TRICK: “Day after day, they put the vetoed budget on the calendar, and day after day they don’t vote on an override. They try strong arming, bribes, public pressure, university tours and even trickery. Still, they do not vote on the vetoed budget,” Cooper said. Instead of the counteroffer he’s been waiting for, the governor said, “we get Congressional-style piecemeal budget bills. They don’t work well in Washington, and they won’t work well in North Carolina.” Cooper called the piecemeal budget bills “another trick that is bad public policy to get a budget that is 100% their way, the wrong way.” Teacher raises were not one of the three mini budget bills that made it through House committee and were later passed by the Senate that would give raises of 2.5% average to state employees, along with raises to the State Highway Patrol and other workers.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article234430112.html

Tuesday News: Lock 'em up

ARREST WARRANTS ISSUED FOR TWO HILLSBOROUGH KKK DEMONSTRATORS: Law enforcement authorities in Orange County said they have obtained warrants for the arrests of two people who allegedly had guns on them during a KKK rally Saturday night outside the Orange County Justice Facility, authorities said. Investigators from the Orange County Sheriff's Office and Hillsborough police reviewed photos and videos of protestors and counter protestors, which allowed them to conclude that the two participants had weapons. Authorities have not yet publicly identified the two suspects, and officials said they are trying to serve them with the arrest warrants. The KKK demonstration in Hillsborough at the justice complex, located on East Margaret Lane, caused a big stir Saturday in the town.
https://www.wral.com/orange-county-sheriff-plans-to-arrest-2-who-allegedly-brought-guns-to-kkk-rally...

Monday News: We'll see how this goes...

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ASSOCIATION HEALTH PLANS BECOMES LAW WITHOUT GOV'S SIGNATURE: While the bill does not remove health care coverage from people with pre-existing conditions, a News & Observer fact check included experts pointing out that insurers aren’t required to offer association health plans with a full range of services for people with pre-existing conditions. Cooper didn’t veto the bill, but he didn’t sign it either. He released this statement on Sunday: “People have a right to be frustrated with the cost of private health insurance plans, but even though there is significant bipartisan support for this legislation, my concerns about the legality of these cheaper plans and their potential negative effects on health care prevent me from signing the bill.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article234368932.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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NC SUPREME COURT SHOULD END RACIAL BIAS IN JURY SELECTION: North Carolina is one of very few states where appeals courts have never acknowledged discrimination against a juror of color and have allowed prosecutors to offer reasons for striking black jurors that are vague, suspect, and difficult to verify: the juror didn’t make eye contact, had an unusual hairstyle, or said “yeah” instead of “yes.” This week, North Carolina has a chance to confront a problem that has haunted the state for too long. The North Carolina Supreme Court will hear arguments on August 26 and 27 about the North Carolina Racial Justice Act (RJA). This groundbreaking law allowed people on death row to present evidence that racial bias played a role in their death sentences. After the law’s passage in 2009, a study of capital trials found that prosecutors removed qualified black jurors at more than twice the rate of white jurors. Thus, nearly half of North Carolina’s death row prisoners were tried by all-white juries or juries with only one person of color. If you doubt that the racial makeup of juries matters, remember that all-white juries have sent dozens of innocent black men to death row, including some of my clients.
https://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/article234076852.html

Saturday News: Orange Clown

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TRUMP HEADED TO NC TO CAMPAIGN FOR DAN BISHOP: “Looking forward to soon being in North Carolina to hold a big rally for wonderful Dan Bishop, who is running for Congress,” Trump tweeted. “His opponent wants Open Borders, Sanctuary Cities, and Socialism. He likes the “Squad” more than North Carolina.” Bishop is running against Democrat Dan McCready and two third-party candidates in the Sept. 10 special election. Early voting started this week. McCready responded in a tweet of his own. “I didn’t come back from Iraq to see my country torn apart by petty lies and insults,” wrote McCready, a former Marine. “Let’s show them what real leadership looks like. . .”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/article234306112.html

Friday News: That's not coverage

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MCCREADY DINGS BISHOP OVER FAULTY HEALTH CARE PLAN: That’s what health policy experts say could happen under Bishop’s bill. While the ACA requires plans to cover 10 “essential benefits” — from prescription drugs and rehabilitative services to chronic disease management — association plans are subject to looser standards and aren’t required to cover those essential benefits, she said. “As a simple example, you could allow people who have cancer to buy into the plan, but the plan might cover (pay for) zero cancer care — in effect removing coverage for the preexisting condition despite nominally allowing the person to purchase the insurance plan,” Lewis said. The Winston-Salem Journal story points out that Bishop’s bill “does not include guarantees of the essential benefits. An amendment to add the essential benefits to SB86 was tabled by a 28-20 vote in the Senate,” with Bishop voting to table it.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article234278602.html

Thursday News: Buying voters

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BERGERMOORE WILL SEND OUT TAX REFUNDS TO SPITE COOPER: Their plan would give roughly $680 million in tax refunds of $125 to taxpayers who filed singly or $250 to couples who filed jointly. That is 3.6 million tax returns for 5.1 million taxpayers. The taxpayers would only get the $125 or $250 if they paid at least that much in taxes, and the refunds would be capped at those amounts. “The people sent more money than the government budgeted for, and the governor will not work with us to appropriate that surplus,” House Speaker Tim Moore, a Kings Mountain Republican, said at a news conference Wednesday at the General Assembly. Senate leader Phil Berger, an Eden Republican, said tax revenues don’t belong to the government, and they should send that money back to the people who earned it. The bill would be called the Taxpayer Refund Act. It will work its way through committees starting Thursday and be up for a vote on the Senate floor on Tuesday, Berger said.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article234196267.html

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