IN CASE YOU FORGOT
"We're going to go in. We're going to have a short session. It's going to be focused. It's going to be disciplined. We're going to get in and out.,"
-- House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, WRAL-TV 05/10/2014
“All indications point toward a session that will be short, with a continued focus on economic growth, job creation, and wise investments.”
-- Becki Gray, John Locke Foundation, 05/09/2014
“We will probably be more assertive than in our first year, which I frankly thought was extremely assertive. … “We had a heck of a good first year, but now I think we can take even more initiatives. … I anticipate that we’ll be together 80 to 90 percent of the time. “We’re having very good dialogue and, in almost all cases, good cooperation.”
-- Gov. Pat McCrory, Charlotte Observer, 05/10/2014
“Hopefully (Gov. McCrory) has learned that we have to work together to get things done. I don’t know if he’s there yet. Hopefully this session will tell us that.”
-- Senate Rules Committee Chair Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson, Charlotte Observer, 05/10/2014
Catlin Defends Changes to Coal Ash Bill (Coastal Review) -- Rep. Rick Catlin of New Hanover County and the N.C. House have come under fire for amendments that opponents say weaken a bill to clean up coal ash ponds.
Chesapeake acts to manage Dominion site's ash (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot) -- When Dominion Virginia Power shutters its coal-fired generating plant on the Elizabeth River by the end of the year, the city wants to make sure nearly a million tons of fly ash buried on site are either removed or sealed. So city officials will soon consider stiffer regulations for companies that produce coal-burning waste - in part to avoid a repeat of Duke Energy's coal ash spill this year in North Carolina.
Think the Economy Can Save Democrats? (National Journal) -- This month's surprisingly strong jobs report elicited fresh optimism that at long last, the economy was poised to recover its full strength. And in Washington, naturally, the question quickly became: Would Democratic candidates receive an unexpected boost from a late-in-the-election-cycle economic surge? The short answer? Don't count on it. … "It's unlikely that even if you have sustained job growth that you're going to see a big difference in the perception of the economy," said Jeff Liszt, a pollster who, among other races, is working with Sen. Kay Hagan's reelection campaign in North Carolina. "And people may believe it's getting better, but not in any way that's helping them. Or even to extent it's helping them, they may feel like they're getting crumbs and others are getting the main benefit."
Zahra Baker case hangs over district attorney race (AP) — A runoff race for the Republican nomination for district attorney in the North Carolina foothills has the challenger accusing the incumbent of sexually harassing an employee, and the incumbent saying the challenger was part of an illegal pyramid scheme.
Four runoff primaries set for Tuesday (WRAL-TV) -- It may be the middle of the summer, when thoughts wander to beach vacations and backyard grills, but some candidates would appreciate a little thought about voting in the coming days.
Candidates face off for seat in House (Rocky Mount Telegram) -- Eligible voters in Edgecombe and Martin counties have 13 hours to go to the polls Tuesday to cast their ballots in a second primary race for the N.C. House District 23 seat.
Tillis, other GOP Senate candidates, distance themselves from Palin’s 'impeach Obama’ (Washington Post) -- Sarah Palin wants to impeach President Obama. But leading Republican Senate contenders in battleground contests aren't racing to her side. … North Carolina state House Speaker Thom Tillis: Spokesman Daniel Keylin said Tillis opposes impeaching Obama. He added in a statement, "The solution is to change Washington and that begins with North Carolina changing their Senator. Thom's focus in Washington will be getting our economy back on track, repealing and replacing ObamaCare with market-based reforms, and putting a stop to President Obama's out-of-control spending."
Democrats, Like GOP before, scour records for provocative comments (AP) — As the nation's midsection has grown more conservative and Republican, Democrats taking on a tact the GOP has used in the past, have sometimes had to rest their hopes on well-positioned GOP contenders imploding with their own politically off-key statements. … "There has been a concerted effort early on to introduce these positions that Republicans hold as extreme," said Justin Barasky, national press secretary for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Meanwhile, Republican candidates are portraying their opponents as the allies of Obama's health insurance program. Democrats are trying to highlight comments by North Carolina Republican Thom Tillis in 2012 about demographic changes in the state as part of what they call his "history of divisive and offensive comments." While the ethnic population is growing, "the traditional population in North Carolina and the United States is more or less stable," Tillis said. North Carolina Democratic consultant Gary Pearce acknowledged the remark is no game-changer.
Emily's List Candidates Are Quiet on Abortion (Wall Street Journal) -- Emily's List is backing more Senate candidates in the South than ever in its three-decade history. The group, which raises money for Democratic women who support abortion rights, is the largest single contributor to four Southern candidates, including North Carolina's Sen. Kay Hagan. Yet none of them are talking much about abortion, a change from recent elections in which Democrats used the issue to stir female voters.
Bradshaw hits Senate campaign trail with cash (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Former Raleigh mayor and ex-state transportation secretary Tom Bradshaw has been lying low in his run for state Senate. But now he’s hitting the trail with a campaign fund meant to raise his profile. Bradshaw is the Democratic nominee for District 15, which is currently held by 10-year veteran Sen. Neal Hunt, Republican who wants to retire this year. Republican State Rep. Jim Fulghum of Raleigh was running for Hunt’s seat but dropped out earlier this month to be treated for recently diagnosed cancer.
SHORT SESSION, DAY 62: Overtime 14, $700,000
NC Budget Stalemate Costs Taxpayers Thousands (Public News Service) -- The meter is running for the North Carolina General Assembly to pass a new budget. Lawmakers were to agree on the details before the Independence Day holiday. But now, the daily bill to keep the state Legislature open is running around $50,000, according to Logan Smith, communications director for Progress North Carolina.
One more time, with feeling (WRAL-TV) -- THE WEEK AHEAD: Lawmakers return to Raleigh this week after sometimes tense – some would argue testosterone laden – week of budget negotiations to try again for a $21.1 billion state budget deal. Senators announced plans for the week of a series of 9 a.m. Rules Committee meetings through which the bulk of the remaining non-budget legislation will run. "Tuesday's going to be fun," Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson, said. He did not say what would happen if the Senate reached the end of the week with everything on its agenda completed other than the budget.
Tillis departure means new NC speaker in 2015 (AP) — This year's General Assembly session has coincided with the ramped-up U.S. Senate campaign of House Speaker Thom Tillis.
Albert Parmon, husband of state Sen. Earline Parmon, dies at 72 (Winston-Salem Journal) -- Albert Parmon, the husband of state Sen. Earline Parmon, died Saturday after a brief illness. He was 72. Albert Parmon worked for 37½ years as a supervisor in the production plant at the Winston-Salem Journal, his wife said. The couple was married for 47½ years, and they have four children and five grandchildren.
POLICY & POLITICS
Voters born elsewhere make up nearly half of N.C. electorate (UNC DataNet) -- One hundred years ago, when North Carolina had a population of about 2.5 million people, more than nine out of 10 residents were native Tar Heels. Today’s North Carolina, in contrast, approaches a population of 10 million, with more than 4 million residents born in another state or country. Population growth and change have had a dramatic effect on the state’s electorate. The 2012 presidential election exit poll found that barely half of the state’s voters were native North Carolinians. Forty-eight percent of people who cast ballots in North Carolina were born elsewhere
Federal gridlock could spell problems for local roadwork (Charlotte Observer) -- With the national Highway Trust Fund dwindling, North Carolina will be able to finance its own ongoing transportation projects in the short-term – but local projects will suffer if a long-term federal funding solution is not found.
Capitol’s Partisanship Is Taking Hold in Governors’ Ranks (New York Times) -- At the National Governors Association meeting in Nashville, it’s apparent that the same divisions that have stymied policy-making in Congress are increasingly evident in the governors’ ranks.
DA wants to try 14-year-old as adult in attack on Burlington woman (Burlington Times-News) — The Alamance County District Attorney’s Office wants to try a 14-year-old charged with shooting and beating a Burlington woman as an adult.
McCrory named to NGA executive committee (WRAL-TV) -- Governor Pat McCrory on Sunday was named to the executive committee of the National Governors Association (NGA) for the 2014-15 year, his office announced.
NC plans Outer Banks road repairs after Arthur (AP) — North Carolina road workers are warning that traffic could be slowed this week on a key Outer Banks highway as work begins in earnest to repair damage caused by Hurricane Arthur.
Lovette heads to trial in Mahato killing (Raleigh News & Observer) -- More than six years after Duke graduate student Abhijit Mahato was found shot to death in his Durham apartment, Laurence Lovette is scheduled to go on trial Monday for allegedly robbing and killing the 29-year-old student in January of 2008.
Trial set in death of Duke graduate student (AP) — Trial is set to begin for a man accused of killing a Duke University graduate student more than six years ago.
Leland wants residents to be able to vote on liquor sales (Wilmington Star-News) -- Leland wants authority to hold a referendum on giving the council power to create an ABC board and store.
Council to vote on effort to recruit NC company to Danville (Danville [Va.] Register Bee) -- Danville City Council will be discussing topics ranging from a multi-million-dollar loan to horseback riding when it meets Tuesday at 7 p.m. The Industrial Development Authority is planning on buying the former Amcor/Shorewood site in Airside Industrial Park, and work out a lease-purchase agreement with an as-yet-unannounced move of a North Carolina company into the site.
Mystery manufacturer could bring 1,000 jobs to Brunswick Co. (Triangle Business Journal) -- An unnamed company is looking at building a manufacturing plant in Brunswick County that could bring 1,000 jobs to southeastern North Carolina.
ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
N.C. customer advocate calls for no change in solar rules (Charlotte Business Journal) -- A regulatory hearing on whether to expand or significantly reduce standard power-purchase contracts utilities offer solar developers in North Carolina ended with the Public Staff of the N.C. Utilities Commission recommending no change. The public staff is assigned to protect the interests of N.C. utility customers in cases before the commission. John Robert Hinton, director of the staff’s economic research division, said Thursday his analysis does not support contentions by Duke Energy and Dominion North Carolina Power. The companies say their ability to provide reliable electricity at the lowest cost to customers is threatened by current regulations governing solar transactions.
N.C. plays catch-up on water standards (Charlotte Observer) -- A years-overdue rewrite of state water quality standards stiffens limits on metals, the toxic elements that have been in the public eye since the Dan River coal ash spill in February. Environmentalists and the Environmental Protection Agency, which oversees federal clean water law, cheer the new standards. But they say the proposal is just as notable for what it doesn't do.
Stop gas exports rally in D.C. (Politico) -- Activists on Sunday joined a Washington, D.C., rally against the gas industry’s push to export fracked and liquefied natural gas from U.S. coastlines.
Fracking issue galvanizes grassroots efforts (Winston-Salem Journal) -- Since learning last month that Davie County may be poised for natural gas exploration through a process known as fracking, Rosalyn Fielding has rarely been away from her computer or off her telephone.
NC State, Duke University team up to explore the deep sea (Raleigh News & Observer) -- NC State and Duke University scientists plunged more than 3,500 feet in the submarine Alvin to investigate the underwater communities that thrive among methane gas bubbles and seeping hydrogen sulfide.
Charter School Corruption in N.C. (Diane Ravich Blog) -- To think about charter schools in America today, you have to separate the rhetoric from the reality. It helps to have a guide, someone who sees the man behind the curtain. Blowing smoke in the eyes of the media and the public. Fortunately there is such a man in North Carolina. His name is George Hartzman. He is a financial consultant. The smoke machine doesn’t blind him to the reality. The rhetoric tells us that charter schools will save poor minority kids from failing schools. The reality is that charter schools produce no better results and make their sponsors rich with taxpayer dollars. Look at North Carolina. There, the red legislature passed charter legislation. Not all charter teachers need certification. Some people with good friends are getting very rich, like Baker Mitchell, who is on the board of the libertarian John Locke Society, which was created by zillionaire Art Pope, who happens to be state budget director. Mitchell collects rent on charters, which provide him with a few millions a year. Nice. He also sits on the state advisory board on charters.
Can reason reclaim the GOP? (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- A fascination with imagined scandals and threats has hobbled conservatives’ ability to contribute to solving real problems.
Restrictive voting law needs to go on pause until its day in court (Wilmington Star-News) -- A federal judge will soon decide whether to block North Carolina's new voting laws. Based on evidence presented last week in U.S. District Court in Winston-Salem, a preliminary injunction is warranted.
NC needs to keep film credits rolling (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- The first time I visited North Carolina was thanks to the film industry. This was in 1986, and I had been assigned by the Los Angeles Times to write a set story about a new King Kong movie, “King Kong Lives,” which was shooting at a studio recently built by producer Dino de Laurentiis in Wilmington. … For some reason, many current lawmakers seem to think there needs to be massive changes in the incentives that help attract film and TV productions to the state. If successful, they will guarantee that North Carolina will soon become a film industry afterthought.
Out of state money attempts to unseat Hagan (High Point Enterprise column) -- There is no such thing as a perfect candidate to vote for. Sometimes we are forced to pick between the “good the bad and the ugly.” The candidate who is average, the candidate who is bad or the candidate who is terrible. In North Carolina we have to pick between an average Democrat Sen. Kay Hagan and terrible Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate Thom Tillis. Democrat Kay Hagan will support the majority of the wants and needs of the North Carolina citizens. Thom Tillis, by his prior actions and speeches, has made it perfectly clear that he only supports the wants and needs of the 1 percent of the very rich and powerful citizens of North Carolina. … Ask yourself this simple question, “Why are the rich and powerful spending so much money to defeat your senator?” Could it be that she opposes the moves made by the Republicans to only represent the interest of the “super rich and powerful.”
Doing time: Program for prisoners is practical, humane (Winston-Salem Journal) -- One day, most inmates will be released. The problem that’s long plagued society is how to blend punishment with rehabilitation, to prepare the prisoners for productive lives on the outside – and break the cycle of many of them committing more crimes upon release and returning to prison.
From 1889 to 2014, Political Parallels Abound (Wall Street Journal column) -- The country is narrowly divided between Democrats and Republicans, with a bright line separating red states and blue states. Rapid technological change is sowing economic unease. A wave of immigration adds to the unsettled feeling. Anger rises over income inequality, which is discussed in popular books. Put it all together and the result is a rising tide of populist sentiment. A description of today's political picture? Well, yes. But that also happens to describe the political lay of the land that existed on July 8, 1889, the day The Wall Street Journal was born 125 years ago. In fact, the similarities between the situation then and now are uncanny. Yet while the parallels are fascinating, they aren't the most important part of this picture. More instructive is what unfolded in the decade or so that followed.
Another step closer to justice (Charlotte Observer) -- Orlando Hudson, chief resident Superior Court judge in Durham, believes that the conviction of Darryl Anthony Howard 19 years ago for two murders and arson was one of the most “horrendous” prosecutions Hudson has seen in his 34 years on the bench.