BlueNC's blog

Friday News: Provenance

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SBOE DELAYS APPROVAL OF NEW VOTING MACHINES UNTIL COMPANY OWNERSHIP IS REVEALED: North Carolina election officials were supposed to certify new voting machines on Thursday for millions of voters to start using in 2020. But they declined to make any decisions, citing uncertainty over who owns the three companies that were seeking approval to sell voting machines here. The state gave them until next week to divulge everyone who owns at least 5 percent of their companies or any parent or subsidiary company. “I believe this follows along with the cyber security concerns we have found in the Mueller report and other documentation that has been furnished to our board,” Robert Cordle, the chairman of the State Board of Elections, said Thursday when the board announced its surprise decision.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article231523978.html

Thursday News: More ICE, more guns

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SENATE TAKES AIM AT NC SHERIFFS' AUTONOMY: Two months after the House passed a bill requiring North Carolina sheriffs to cooperate with federal immigration officials, a revised measure surfaced in the Senate on Wednesday. The new proposal, which now is backed by the North Carolina Sheriffs' Association, includes a process for a judge to order whether a person should be held under an immigration detainer but no longer allows people to sue and fines to be levied against sheriffs who don't cooperate. The Senate Judiciary committee also discussed a proposal to allow people to purchase as many handguns as they want during a five-year period with a single pistol purchase permit instead of requiring them to get a permit from their local sheriff before buying each gun.
https://www.wral.com/wednesday-wrap-play-nice-with-ice-or-else/18448407/

Wednesday News: A key part of the puzzle

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GOVERNOR COOPER SAYS EXPANDING MEDICAID CRITICAL IN FIGHTING OPIOID ABUSE: More than half the people who are hospitalized for opioid addiction are uninsured, and they often can't afford to pay for treatment, Cooper said. In some areas, there aren't even any treatment programs available. Expanding the Medicaid program to tens of thousands of low-income working adults would change the landscape in fighting opioid addiction, the governor said. "You hear law enforcement say [addicts] need to be in treatment, they need help. Law enforcement, they know where they need to be, but often, there's no place for them to go, particularly in the rural areas," he said. "This, again, is why Medicaid expansion is key to this issue." Studies show states with Medicaid expansion have made more progress in fighting opioids than states without it.
https://www.wral.com/cooper-pitches-medicaid-expansion-as-weapon-in-opioids-battle/18444997/

Tuesday News: Charters are taking over Wake County

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CHARTER ADVISORY BOARD INSISTS ON FIVE NEW WAKE CHARTERS: The N.C. Charter Schools Advisory Board voted a second time Monday to recommend approval for North Raleigh Charter Academy and Wake Preparatory Academy to open in 2020. The State Board of Education had sent both charters back to the advisory board for further review because of the last-minute concerns raised by Wake schools. North Raleigh Charter Academy is a K-8 charter school that would be managed by Charter Schools USA, a for-profit company that operates several schools in the state, including Cardinal Charter Academy in Cary. Wake Prep would be a K-12 school in Wake Forest that’s managed by a charter school operator who made millions of dollars building, selling and leasing properties to the schools he runs in Arizona. The state board is required under state law to decide by August whether to approve the two new schools. Last week, the board had voted to approve 10 charter schools to open in 2020, including three in Wake.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article231315848.html

Monday News: More voting problems ahead

REPLACING ELECTRONIC VOTING MACHINES BY MARCH 2020 MAY CAUSE A FIASCO: Roughly a third of North Carolina voters use electronic machines with no paper ballots. But that might all change next year for the 2020 presidential election. Supporters of the change say it will help ensure election security, especially given reports from the FBI and other sources that the Russian government attempted to influence America’s 2016 elections and may have hacked into some U.S. voting software. But the switch has been held up for years, despite first being ordered in a 2013 law. Now, some officials — including the new state elections director — worry that there’s not enough time left to get new voting systems in place for the 2020 elections.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article231315348.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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BUDGET SHOULD MAKE NC BETTER, NOT BOOST PARTISANSHIP AND SETTLE SCORES: Sen. Brent Jackson’s impulsive scheme to spend $250 million and move the state Department of Health and Human Services (and the nearly 5,000 who work for the agency) from Raleigh to Granville County is crystal clear evidence of the arrogance of the Senate’s leadership. The propaganda operation in the Senate leader’s office has shifted into high gear. It has sifted out miniscule tidbits in the budget and inflated them into happy talk. Regardless the propaganda, the budget speaks for itself. It is about partisanship, ideological rigidity and revenge. It is not about a better North Carolina. We deserve better. 2020 can’t come soon enough.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-budget-should-make-n-c-better-not-boost-partisanship-and-settle-score...

Saturday News: A rare beast

COURT-ORDERED WAKE REDISTRICTING PLAN HAS BIPARTISAN SUPPORT: A proposal redrawing state House districts in Wake County should be on the floor next week after clearing two committees on Thursday after little debate. State judges ordered new Wake lines by the end of June after ruling Republicans in 2017 impermissibly redrew four districts that hadn't been struck down in previous litigation. House Democratic and Republican leaders sponsored a new map identical to a third-party expert's recommendations to federal judges in late 2017. Currently Democrats hold all 11 Wake seats, and incumbents seeking re-election wouldn't be forced to run against each other under the proposal. This map would only be used next year, since decennial redistricting begins in 2021.
https://www.wral.com/a-rare-feat-bipartisan-support-on-nc-legislative-remap/18437596/

Friday News: Speaking of fracking...

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JIM WOMACK LEADS LIST OF CONTENDERS TO REPLACE ROBIN HAYES: North Carolina Republicans are gathering for their annual convention and regrouping after some electoral setbacks, an absentee ballot probe and legal troubles for the outgoing state chairman. More than 1,000 people are expected to attend the GOP convention beginning Friday in Concord. Delegates on Saturday will choose a successor to Robin Hayes as chairman. Hayes said he wouldn't seek re-election the day before being indicted on charges related to attempts to bribe the state's insurance commissioner on behalf of a wealthy donor. Announced candidates to succeed Hayes include Michael Whatley, Jim Womack and John Lewis. Republican majorities at the legislature are no longer veto-proof after November's elections. A new election also was ordered in the 9th Congressional District after investigations of a political operative working for then-GOP nominee Mark Harris.
https://www.wral.com/nc-republicans-look-to-regroup-pick-leader-at-convention/18437292/

Thursday News: Obsessive and compulsive

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HARRY BROWN'S RELENTLESS ATTACK ON WIND ENERGY CONTINUES: A proposed ban on new wind farms in much of eastern North Carolina re-emerged at the statehouse Wednesday but shrunk to a three-year moratorium instead of an indefinite one. The three-year ban, in areas where the state considers the obstruction risk significant, cleared the Senate Finance Committee Wednesday. It's keyed to a map the state produced identifying hundreds of square miles that would be off limits. Most of that land is in eastern North Carolina, but the no-build zone extends into the Piedmont, and there's a swath in the western part of the state as well. The bill has two more committees to go, but it could be on the Senate floor early next week. It would need House approval, too, and would be subject to veto from the governor.
https://www.wral.com/eastern-wind-farm-ban-bill-back-shrunk-to-3-years/18433939/

Wednesday News: The whole point of the Blue Wave

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GOVERNOR COOPER PREDICTS "BORN ALIVE" VETO WILL BE SUSTAINED: As for the "born-alive" abortion survivors bill, the House is slated to attempt an override vote on his veto Wednesday. The Senate already voted to overturn the veto, but Republican leadership faces more difficult numbers in the House, where they hold a majority but will need to pull more Democrats to reach the three-fifths threshold needed. "I think the veto will be sustained," Cooper said. "We need to move on from these divisive social and political issues and talk about the real issues facing the people of North Carolina: education, health care, bringing good-paying jobs." Override vote will be held at 2 p.m. in the NC House.
https://www.wral.com/governor-weighs-in-on-state-budget-abortion-veto-other-issues/18431106/

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