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Tuesday News: Parting is such sweet sorrow...


DALLAS WOODHOUSE WILL LEAVE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR POSITION IN JUNE: The party’s central committee, a group of about 30 people, held an hours-long meeting Sunday night at which it discussed Woodhouse’s future. Early Monday, McClatchy was not able to determine what was decided. The meeting came after the party’s chairman, Robin Hayes, was indicted for allegedly trying to funnel bribe money to N.C. Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey and making false statements to the FBI. Hayes relinquished some of his duties at the NC GOP, appointing Aubrey Woodard as acting chair. Woodhouse wasn’t mentioned in the indictment and says he’s not a target of the investigation. But he testified before the grand jury in December, as McClatchy previously reported. “I am under contract through the convention,” Woodhouse said in a text. “After that, with the election of a new chair, and after four years, a run longer than most, I am moving on. This was always what I had in mind.”

Monday News: Beto testing


2020 DEM PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFUL BETO O'ROURKE IN NC TODAY: Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O'Rourke is making a quick run through North Carolina — a presidential battleground and early primary state. O'Rourke planned "meet and greet" events on Monday in Charlotte, Greensboro and Chapel Hill. The former Texas congressman and 2018 U.S. Senate candidate announced his bid for the Democratic nomination last month. Monday marks his first visit to the state as a presidential contender. North Carolina's party primaries will be held March 3, 2020. O'Rourke's events will be held at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, Natty Greene's Pub & Brewing in Greensboro and at the Frank Porter Graham Student Union at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


TWISTING THE TRUTH WON'T MAKE PRIVATE SCHOOL VOUCHER PROGRAM ACCOUNTABLE: The twisted logic and fractured use of facts is worthy of the work of Cold War-era Soviet propaganda operations. Under a chilling headline, “Senate Democrats File Bill to Cut Funding for Opportunity Scholarships,” the release warns that legislation will “siphon money” away from scholarship for poor students to attend private schools. Instead, the money will go to the “largest and wealthiest school districts” in the state. Here is the truth. No one in North Carolina – not a single child -- who qualified for the so-called “Opportunity Scholarship” private school vouchers, has been denied a dime. In fact, in the current school year, of the $54.84 million available for the vouchers, $35.56 million has been obligated. More than a third of the money won’t get used to help educate anyone.

Saturday News: Punishing good behavior


LEGISLATURE MULLS HUGE INCREASE IN FEES FOR EVS AND HYBRIDS: A proposal to ratchet up the annual registration fee for a hybrid or an electric vehicle cleared its first legislative hurdle on Wednesday. Senate Bill 446 calls for increasing the fee on electric vehicles from $130 to $275 over the next three years. A new fee for hybrids would be imposed as well, starting at $87.50 and growing to $137.50 by 2022. After 2022, the fees would be adjusted every four years to keep up with inflation. Sen. Joyce Waddell, D-Mecklenburg, said the higher fees could discourage people from buying a hybrid or an electric vehicle. Davis said that isn't his intent, and Sen. Bill Rabon, R-Brunswick, said the proposal is simply a matter of fairness. "Without any question, on the roads that they travel, [these vehicles] will cause just as much of a problem as my light pickup truck, and I'm paying 36 cents a gallon to ride on that road," Rabon said. "It is only fair that they pay an equal amount."

Friday News: False premise


CONSERVATIVES USE DECEPTION IN BATTLE AGAINST REPRODUCTIVE FREEDOM: Identical House and Senate bills, one of which could receive a floor vote as soon as next week, require physicians and nurses to care for children born alive after the procedure. They could face a felony and active prison time if they don't, along with potentially $250,000 fines and other monetary damages. Abortion-rights advocates and their largely Democratic allies say the measures address a non-issue and are designed to intimidate medical providers and women who have the right to an abortion. Newborns aren't being left to die, they say, and any malicious activities already are subject to criminal laws and medical licensing boards. "The legislation is not aimed at treating a problem that exists," said Kelsea McLain with A Woman's Choice of Raleigh, which provides abortions. "Rather it's aimed at creating inflammatory rhetoric around abortion rights and access to further stigmatize our rights."

Thursday News: Never again


ANTI-SEMITIC PROPAGANDA PLACED IN UNC CHAPEL HILL LIBRARY: The university did not report what was on the posters. Ari Gauss, executive director of N.C. Hillel, the UNC-based foundation for Jewish college students across the state, said he had seen the posters. He condemned them in a statement on the Hillel’s website. “We are outraged that vicious anti-Semitic flyers, referring to “an evil Jewish plot,” were placed at Davis Library at UNC Chapel Hill this week, the statement said. “We are disgusted by the vile and hateful rhetoric on these flyers. The language is reminiscent of centuries-old, anti-Semitic rhetoric that incited the murder of thousands of Jews in pogroms throughout Eastern Europe and the murder of millions of Jews during the Holocaust. This racist, repulsive language has no place on any campus or in any society.” Unrelated to the discovery of the flyers, Gauss said, the Hillel is hosting a speaker at UNC Thursday night, Dr. Marc Dollinger, a Jewish historian who will talk about the history and impact of anti-Semitism.

Wednesday News: No Teachercops


OPPONENTS OF BILL TO ARM TEACHERS HEADED TO GENERAL ASSEMBLY TODAY: A growing number of mothers is voicing opposition to arming teachers in the classroom. On Wednesday, hundreds of people are planning to confront state lawmakers about the issue and other school security issues. The advocates plan to voice concerns at the State Legislature about the School Security Act, a bill that would give teachers a 5 percent raise if they become sworn police officers. This would give them authority to carry a concealed weapon in class and give them arresting power. The group speaking out Wednesday consists mainly of moms, but they're not the only ones opposed to arming teachers. State Superintendent Mark Johnson and the N.C. Associations for Educators have also spoke up, raising concerns.

Tuesday News: Denial is a river in Egypt

CHARLES TAYLOR CLAIMS HE MADE NO MONEY OFF MONEY-LAUNDERING BANK: A former congressman from western North Carolina says he never made any money off his shares in a Russian bank and sold off his stock before accusations of money laundering by banking authorities in Moscow, WLOS reports. The Bank of Russia revoked the license for Commercial Bank of Ivanovo last week. The Russian central bank said CBI broke money laundering rules “on multiple occasions,” according to a press release. Bloomberg News reported last week that Taylor, a Republican who served in the House for 16 years, owns 80% of the bank. “While I bought stock in the bank of Ivanovo several years ago, I have never been an officer or director in the Bank. Further, the Bank has never paid any dividends fees or other monies to me,” Taylor said in the statement, which he also sent to the Asheville Citizen Times.

Monday News: Too much money


CALLS FOR CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM ECHO IN WAKE OF BRIBERY SCANDAL: “This just unfortunately creates more of the jaded cynicism that people across all spectrums have toward democracy and politicians,” said Bob Phillips, executive director of the advocacy group Common Cause North Carolina. Phillips suggested going back to a system in which the candidates in some elections were eligible for taxpayer-funded grants to their campaigns — if they promised not to take above a certain amount of money from other sources. North Carolina had such a process for a short time in the 2000s. Last Tuesday — the same day the charges against Lindberg, Hayes and the others became public — Democrats in the N.C. Senate filed a bill that included election, redistricting and campaign finance reforms. One of the proposals was to bring back a public financing system, which the bill calls the “Fair Election Program.”

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


THIS NAVY TEST PILOT SAYS SEN. BROWN'S WIND ENERGY BAN IS MISGUIDED: I served in the U.S. Navy for 35 years as an aviator, test pilot, aircraft carrier commanding officer and commander of the U.S. 3rd Fleet, retiring at the rank of vice admiral. I later served as assistant Secretary of the Navy, responsible for all Navy and Marine Corps installations around the world. Nothing is more important to me than protecting the safety of our military aviators and ensuring the continued viability of our military training facilities. With that in mind, Senate Bill 377, the “Military Base Protection Act,” recently introduced in the North Carolina Senate, caught my eye. The bill’s title actually is a misnomer. It has little to do with protecting military bases. Rather, the legislation really is just a ban on wind energy development along North Carolina’s coast. And while it is important that all development (not just wind development) be compatible with critical military missions, this bill is unnecessary.


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