scharrison's blog

Senate Budget stops DEQ from implementing hog waste permit changes

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Putting the health and welfare of NC citizens at riisk:

The Senate bill, which was released Tuesday, includes significant differences in funding for environmental programs and Department of Environmental Quality spending plus a number of policy proposals not in either previous plan.

Among the top differences is spending on research and testing on emerging contaminants, upgrades and additions to DEQ’s main laboratories and several new special provisions, including a review of the recent process for adopting new general permit requirements for animal waste management systems that would delay for a year the implementation of tighter controls for swine, poultry and cattle operations.

Apparently in the minds of Republicans, elections don't have consequences. They are following the recommendations of the former DEQ Secretary (van der Vaart), who is now a John Locke Fellow (whatever the hell that means), instead of the current DEQ Secretary Michael Regan:

Is Phil Berger trying to kill off NC's film industry?

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Cutting off funds and stealing the reserves:

The Senate budget proposal does not include $31 million in new film grant funding that the state House budget has for 2019-20. Any leftover funding amount each fiscal year rolls over into surplus. At last count, there was $65 million in the film grant fund balance.

Berger said during a Tuesday press conference the Senate plans to siphon an unspecified amount of the film grant surplus toward other state funding needs.

This is what happens when you let somebody have absolute power over the process; they pull idiotic moves like this knowing they won't suffer any personal consequences. This would be a bad idea in any annual budget, but considering our biggest competitor (Georgia) just pissed off a bunch of producers with their new abortion law, the timing couldn't be worse:

Tillis & Tucker bump heads trying to brown-nose Trump

And it's only going to get worse over the next 10 months:

“Like other conservatives I had my doubts about Mr. Trump,” Tucker said. “Without a policy record, I questioned whether he would govern as a conservative. . . . I could not be more delighted, and frankly amazed, at how he has transformed this country in the last two years.”

Tillis allies don’t buy it. “It is laughable that a charlatan like Garland Tucker thinks he can make this race into a question of who can better support our booming economy under President Trump,” said Jack Pandol, a spokesman for the Senate Leadership Fund. “North Carolina needs a senator who will work with the president – not one . . . now lying to cover his tracks.”

Oh, the irony. Tucker is lying alright, but he's lying about Trump's "transformation" of the country. He has brought us about halfway to the United States depicted in Idiocracy, and clawing back from that is going to be damn near impossible. Also, I kinda hate to see Carter Wrenn devolve once again:

Representative Sydney Batch deserves a medal

And Tim Moore deserves a swift kick in the pants:

Batch underwent a mastectomy in early May after being diagnosed with breast cancer last year. She had planned to take at least three weeks off to recover, but was forced to come back to work early after she and other Democrats realized their GOP colleagues were trying to capitalize on her absence in order to pass this bill. “Moore is well aware of what’s happening with me and that I’m dealing with ongoing treatment,” she added. “I have not asked for a lot.”

Clemmons and Jackson, who is minority leader of the state House, said Batch, a working mother of two, was in pain and visibly shaking when she showed up for the last few House sessions. Clemmons has driven Batch to and from sessions since she’s still too weak to drive herself.

I hesitate to discuss the details (which I don't know), but odds are it's not just the surgery she's dealing with. There's Chemo and radiation to consider, both of which can be hell to deal with. Make no mistake, the scheduling and then postponing of this override vote is an attempt to wear her down physically, and Tim Moore should be ashamed of himself:

Cleansing higher education of White Supremacist past

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Monuments to the Ku Klux Klan should be purged entirely:

In 2015, as Black Lives Matter gained prominence as a national movement, trustees were impelled to act. Students held protests and demanded that Saunders Hall be renamed Hurston Hall in honor of the celebrated author Zora Neale Hurston, who is said to have attended classes at the university. The vote to rename the hall was not unanimous.

But after a review, the trustees conceded that university leaders in 1920 made a mistake in citing Mr. Saunders’s role as head of the K.K.K. in North Carolina as a qualification.

That last sentence is a doozie. But it also brings up an important question, that may have some bearing on how other buildings are evaluated: If the KKK had not been mentioned in that document, would they still have renamed the building? Or was that particular acknowledgment just too blatant for the Trustees to ignore? There are numerous other historical sources verifying that Saunders was at least one of the Grand Poo-Bahs of the Klan back then; hopefully that would have been enough to strike his name, because there are likely other situations where there isn't a boldly typed sentence to rely on. Here's some historical context:

Berger & Moore testify in racial and gender bias lawsuit

Whitewashing your staff can be a costly venture:

House Speaker Tim Moore answered questions on Tuesday in a Wake County courtroom from lawyers for ex-Fiscal Research Division director Marilyn Chism and for the state. Senate leader Phil Berger testified on Monday.

Chism is a black woman who alleges she was forced out of the job after two years in 2011. Chism, who worked for the General Assembly for 13 years, contends she was pushed out by white men who ran the House and Senate, even as white men in other legislative divisions kept their leadership positions. She wants the federal judge hearing the case to declare gender or racial bias occurred and to award her monetary damages.

Republicans really don't have a leg to stand on here. They fired her either because she was a black woman, or because her research developed estimates that laws they wanted to pass were too costly to justify. Think about it. Republicans whined for years (decades?) that Democrats were not fiscally cautious enough, and ended up overspending because they failed to properly project costs. But one of the first things they do after taking over the NCGA is fire somebody for doing just that:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

The party of dirty tricks is at it again:

Every single Republican was present, so the only reason to postpone the vote is to wait until more Democratic absences. Inexcusable abuse of both the system and the participants.

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