McCrory's 'retreat' with donors raises funds and eyebrows (Raleigh News & Observer) -- What McCrory and his gang aren’t too sensitive about is how this looks to all the people who don’t have $5,000 for a weekend and who voted for McCrory as the man who was going to fix what he said was a broken state government and return control and money to the people. It appears control is being returned to the people – the ones with a spare $5,000 for a golf outing. … Secrecy, special interests, big money. Just how is this different from the system candidate McCrory said was broken?
Protests, temporary budget and mega-landfills (WRAL-TV) -- The 30-day budget resolution, the eighth round of Moral Monday protests, a standing-room-only House committee hearing over a controversial Durham development and the Senate's passing of the mega-landfill bill.
Moral Monday turnout in Raleigh biggest yet for protest (AP) -- More than 100 people were arrested Monday following the largest NAACP-led demonstration yet against the policies of the Republican-controlled North Carolina legislature.
Police: 120 arrested in largest Moral Monday protest yet (WRAL-TV) -- State Capitol Police said 120 people were arrested Monday following the largest NAACP-led demonstration yet against the policies of the Republican-controlled North Carolina legislature.
NAACP protesters' cases delayed, 100 more arrested (AP) -- More than 100 people were arrested Monday following what police called the largest NAACP-led demonstration yet against the policies of the Republican-controlled North Carolina legislature.
Legislative protesters seek dismissal of charges (WRAL-TV) -- A Wake County judge on Monday set September court dates for the first group of people arrested in the so-called "Moral Monday" protests at the legislature. Seventeen people were arrested April 29 during the first of what have become weekly demonstrations against Republican-backed legislation that the protesters say harm the working class. More than 450 people so far have been charged with misdemeanor counts of second-degree trespassing, failure to disperse on command and violating building rules, and more protests are planned. Attorney Irving Joyner said the charges should be dismissed on constitutional grounds, arguing that the protesters have a right to assemble on public property.
NAACP’s William Barber emerges as leader of Moral Monday protests (Religious News Service) -- At a time when the country is becoming less religious and liberal politicians shy away from faith-based rhetoric, this Disciples of Christ minister, steeped in the African-American church tradition, has emerged as a galvanizing force in North Carolina’s pushback against the Republican-dominated legislature.
Moral Monday crowds swell in week 8; first protestors appear in court (Raleigh News & Observer) --The weekly demonstrations at the Legislative Building swelled Monday to the largest crowd yet, with police estimating 2,500 to 3,000 in attendance. Nearly 120 people were arrested.
WNC protesters arrested in Moral Monday protest (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- More than 100 protesters from Asheville and elsewhere in Western North Carolina traveled to Raleigh Monday for the eighth wave of Moral Monday protests, flooding the Halifax Mall with blue T-shirts and signs calling attention to the ongoing battle over Asheville's water system.
Goolsby talks Moral Mondays on NPR (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Jacki Lyden interviewed Sen. Thom Goolsby and Willlie Jennings of Duke Divinity School about Moral Monday. Jennings wrote about being arrested for the first time. Goolsby got a lot of attention for a column where he called the event ‘Moron Monday.’ The New Hanover Republican presented a different view for Lyden. "There's a really nice Christian theme to what they say that I very much appreciate, a lot of good prayer," he told her.
At ‘Moral Monday’ protests, older people more likely to get arrested than younger ones (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Though young people have been credited with helping to kick off the weekly protest at the legislature, most of the protesters arrested have been middle age or older. Of the 382 protesters arrested through June 10, more than half were in the 55-64 or 65-74 age groups.
Budget resolution will last 30 days (WRAL-TV) -- Lawmakers will include additional funding for Medicaid in the continuing resolution scheduled to be heard Tuesday morning. The temporary spending measure will last for 30 days.
Senate panel considers N.C. stop-gap spending plan (AP) -- Lawmakers are making contingency plans since there's no state budget in place with less than a week to go before the North Carolina government year ends.
Senate panel considers NC stop-gap spending plan (News14-TV) -- The Senate Appropriations Committee prepared to meet Tuesday morning to debate and vote on a stop-gap spending proposal that would keep funding government operations starting July 1 as budget talks continue. The Senate, House and Gov. Pat McCrory must agree on the temporary budget extension.
Business taxes in spotlight of tax reform plan (WRAL-TV) -- Aside from the total amount raised, one of the biggest differences between the House and Senate plans for tax reform is over the franchise tax on businesses.
The end is near ... sort of (WRAL-TV) -- As the General Assembly winds down work for the year, lawmakers will employ time-honored strategies to keep ideas alive, keep some bills at bay and keep those following their work guessing.
N.C. abortion education bill up for House hearing (AP) -- A bill requiring North Carolina educators to teach that abortions are linked to later premature births is headed to a state House committee. The bill is scheduled for a hearing today. It already passed the Senate in an amended form last month 38-10.
NC landfill law changes approved by Senate (AP) -- The North Carolina Senate gave its final approval Monday to legislation scaling back restrictions on new landfills supporters say would help meet future in-state trash demands but critics argue will invite huge dumps for out-of-state refuse.
Senate okays mega-landfill bill (WRAL-TV) -- A controversial proposal to loosen the rules for landfills in North Carolina is headed for the House after receiving final Senate approval Monday night.
State Senate Approves Bill Loosening Restrictions On Landfills (WUNC-FM) -- Lawmakers in the state senate have passed a measure that scales back restrictions on landfills. Senate Bill 328 would reduce buffers between wildlife refuges, state parks, and game lands. Garbage trucks transporting material to landfills would no longer have to be leak-proof, but only leak-resistant. Republican Senator Harry Brown successfully sponsored an amendment that would give the military a way to object to proposed landfills that could interfere with training or operations near military bases.
NC abortion education bill up for House hearing (AP) -- A bill requiring North Carolina educators to teach that abortions are linked to later premature births is headed to a state House committee.
NC lawmakers OK bioptic lenses to earn license (AP) -- The General Assembly has created a way for North Carolina residents with significant impaired eyesight to pass a driver's license test.
State Attorney General says keep handgun permits (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Getting rid of handgun permits will mean more criminals, domestic abusers and mentally ill people will be able to buy guns, State Attorney General Roy Cooper said in a letter to N.C. House members. The legislature is considering a bill that would get rid of the law requiring a permit to buy a handgun. House Bill 937 has ping-ponged between the House and Senate. The Senate added the provision eliminating pistol permits and sent the bill back to the House. The bill also expands the areas where people with concealed carry permits can take their weapons.
Bill to prohibit destruction of firearms signed into law (Daily Caller) -- On June 19 Gov. Pat McCrory (R) signed into law Senate Bill 443, legislation to prohibit the destruction of firearms. This new law will take effect on Sept. 1, 2013. Introduced by state Senator Andrew Brock (R-34), this law will eliminate the option of destroying lawful firearms that are in safe working condition that have been seized or otherwise recovered by law enforcement. It will also require the firearms be transferred to a law enforcement agency for official use, be sold at public auction to Federal Firearms License (FFL) holders, be maintained by the State Bureau of Investigation for training or experimental purposes, or be transferred to a museum or historical society.
Group Homes Provide Support, Keep Mentally Ill from Hospital (N.C. Health News) -- People with mental illness who live in group homes are anxiously waiting on lawmakers to decide about funding for their facilities
Seven apply for Docham’s seat (Lexington Dispatch) -- The Davidson County Republican Party is searching for a replacement for Rep. Jerry Dockham, R-Davidson, who is expected to take a governor-nominated position with the N.C. Utilities Commission on July 1. The Republican Party, which has the statutory obligation to find a replacement for Dockham's seat, took applications and resumés until midnight on Thursday. Seven people applied and include former Davidson County Commissioner candidate Karen Atwood; Realtor and former House candidate Dick Johnson; educator and former House candidate Christy Jones; former Thomasville City Council candidate Carl Shatley; high school teacher Tony Taylor; Davidson County Commissioner and local contractor Sam Watford; and Republican Party treasurer and trust analyst Roger Younts.
Controversial Durham development gets hearing before lawmakers (WRAL-TV) -- The five-year battle over a proposed development in southern Durham County shifted from local government to the General Assembly on Monday, in a standing-room-only committee hearing.
Strategic Mobility Formula sheds some of the old inequities (Raleigh News & Observer) -- A sweeping new law awaiting the governor’s signature will throw out the 24-year-old “equity formula,” which skimped on money to fight urban traffic congestion. Triangle leaders are waiting to see how NCDOT will evaluate road and transit projects
New DMV bills combine vehicle registration and taxes (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Beginning in July, North Carolina drivers will start seeing combined bills for their vehicle’s property taxes and registration renewals, which have previously been dealt with separately.
Private schools eye legislation (Greenville Daily Reflector) -- Local private schools are keeping a close watch on a proposal poised for its final votes in the Legislature to provide state money for scholarships to their institutions.
EITC looks to be eliminated in NC (Kinston Free Press) -- How the loss of earned income tax credit affects Lenoir County
POLICY & POLITICS
NC Unemployment Ends for Thousands July 1 - Nicole Feig is one of thousands of North Carolinians who still can't find work. She was laid off from her job as a finance manager last November. Next week, on July 1, she and an estimated 70,000 others in the state will fall off the unemployment cliff because state lawmakers
Nearly 7,000 Triangle residents to lose unemployment benefits (Triangle Business Journal) -- Triangle long-term jobless people make up about 10 percent of the nearly 71,000 North Carolina residents expected to lose extended unemployment benefits on July 1. According to the state's Division of Employment Security (DES), those affected include 4,713 people in Wake County, 1,698 in Durham and 414 in Orange.
Voting rights ruling could impact N.C. (Charlotte Observer) -- The U.S. Supreme Court could rule as early as today on a voting rights case that could have far-reaching effects in North Carolina and other states, particularly in the South.
NC schools chief warns of teacher losses (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- North Carolina is losing ground in teacher pay and losing teachers to other states, State Superintendent June Atkinson said Monday.
Red Hat Celebrates Opening Of New Raleigh Offices (WUNC-FM) -- Gov. Pat McCrory joined officials with software maker Red Hat to cut the ribbon on the company's new downtown Raleigh headquarters today. Company leaders announced a plan two years ago to move from offices on NC State's Centennial Campus to a capital city high rise. Nine hundred of Red Hat's 5,700 employees worldwide are based in Raleigh. CEO Jim Whitehurst says it was important that his company stay in North Carolina's capital.
Red Hat workers bring energy to new downtown Raleigh headquarters (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Red Hat, a 21st century software company, marked the shift of its headquarters to a downtown Raleigh building formerly occupied by an oh-so-20th-century business, Progress Energy, at a Monday ribbon-cutting.
Hagan Announces Support To Hire 20,000 More Border Patrol (High Country Press) -- U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan announced her support for the bipartisan amendment to bolster border security provisions in the Senate immigration reform legislation by doubling the number of border patrol agents, adding hundreds of miles of fencing and using high tech tools to prevent the future flow of illegal immigration.
Cain coy on Senate run (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Former ambassador to Denmark Jim Cain would not confirm or deny his rumored candidacy for the 2014 Senate primary race against U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat from Greensboro, after a speech Monday to the Rotary Club of Raleigh. Cain, also a former president and CEO of the Carolina Hurricanes, first answered with a “no comment,” but continued: “At some point in life I will get back into public service, but whether the Senate race in 2014 is the right time and opportunity or not at this point, I don’t know. I’ll just say there are many who are encouraging us to run.”
Better mental health treatment is key to reducing jail population, new study says (Raleigh News &Observer) -- A new report from N.C. State University and other researchers shows that mentally ill patients who receive outpatient treatment after hospitalization incur fewer costs to taxpayers and are less likely to wind up in jail.
Federal funding package helps Port of Wilmington, Brunswick and Pender beaches (Port City Daily) -- A $24.5-million federal investment is programmed for southeastern North Carolina’s coastline and waterways, according to a release from Congressman Mike McIntyre’s office Monday.
Cooper honored by fellow attorneys general (Rocky Mount Telegram) -- Attorneys General from across the country honored N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper with the group’s top award last week in Boston.
IED blast kills Fort Bragg soldier, Hoke County resident (Fayetteville Observer) -- Authorities said a U.S. Army soldier from Montana's Blackfeet tribe died after his Humvee struck an improvised-explosive device.
Ruger eyes former Unifi building in Mayodan for 500-job gun plant (Triad Business Journal) -- Sturm Ruger & Co. is considering a 200,000-square-foot former Unifi plant in the town of Mayodan to house the company's third gun plant.
NC Sheriff denied gun permit to shooter (AP) -- A man who police say shot four people last week in Greenville had applied for a gun permit last year, but the Pitt County sheriff turned him down, the sheriff's office said Monday.
New mosaics discovered in synagogue excavations in Galilee (UNC News Service) -- Excavations in the Late Roman (fifth century) synagogue at Huqoq, an ancient Jewish village in Israel’s Lower Galilee, have brought to light stunning mosaics that decorated the floor. The Huqoq excavations are directed by Jodi Magness of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and co-directed by Shua Kisilevitz of the Israel Antiquities Authority. Sponsors are UNC, Brigham Young University, Trinity University in Texas, the University of Oklahoma, the University of Toronto and the University of Wyoming. Students and staff from UNC and the consortium schools are participating in the dig.
Tutco to add 90 jobs at plant in Arden (Winston-Salem Journal) -- Tutco Inc. said Monday it will expand its manufacturing plant in Arden, adding 90 jobs and spending more than $500,000 on capital investments over three years. Tutco is considered the world’s largest supplier of open coil heating elements, producing 35,000 to 38,000 heaters a day. Tutco heating components can be found in commercial applications, including refrigeration, HVAC, appliance, lab equipment and vending.
Fund to assist shooting victims (Greenville Daily Reflector) -- A fund to help victims of Friday’s shooting spree has been established by a health care system and the law firm where one person was wounded, the law firm announced Monday.
ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
Duke Study Finds Additional Gases In Groundwater Near Pennsylvania Fracking Sites (WUNC-FM) -- New samples of drinking water near hydraulic fracturing sites in Pennsylvania show more evidence of natural gas contamination. A report released today from Duke University says researchers found ethane and propane in addition to methane in water near fracking sites in the Marcellus shale basin. The same team of scientists first found elevated levels of methane in Pennsylvania drinking water in 2011.
Fracking can increase methane in drinking water, study finds (LA Times) --Scientists have found that methane and other gases pose a significant risk of contaminating drinking-water wells near natural gas drilling, raising new questions about possible health and safety risks from the production technique known as fracking. A study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that drinking-water wells in northeastern Pennsylvania within a kilometer of high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, showed methane concentrations six times greater, on average, than in wells farther away. … Methane that accumulates in confined spaces such as basements and sheds poses a risk of explosion, but there is little research into the effects on human health of prolonged exposure to methane, said the study’s lead author, Robert B. Jackson, professor of environmental sciences at Duke University.
Studies find methane in Pa. drinking water (Raleigh News & Observer) -- New research in Pennsylvania demonstrates that it's hard to nail down how often natural gas drilling is contaminating drinking water: One study found high levels of methane in some water wells within a half-mile of gas wells, while another found some serious methane pollution occurring naturally
Obama to Outline Ambitious Plan to Cut Greenhouse Gases (New York Times) -- President Obama plans to implement the proposals, which include far-reaching regulations on power plants and energy efficiency, with a series of executive actions that will not require Congressional approval.
Obama to unveil sweeping climate plan (Politico) -- Proposed EPA rules could harm the coal industry while boosting natural gas, nuclear and renewables.
Obama climate strategy shows opportunity and challenges (Washington Post) -- Policies he will introduce affect power, vehicles, local communities, but details remain unsettled.
Obama to unveil carbon-cutting climate plan (LA Times) -- The president will outline the first U.S. regulations aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The plan to slow climate change largely sidesteps Congress and is already drawing heat from Republicans.
Obama to Unveil Plan for Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Wall Street Journal) -- The president will lay out a multi-pronged plan to tackle climate change, stressing the 'moral obligation' he feels to start advancing policies that can rein in greenhouse-gas emissions.
Power plant limits at center of Obama climate plan (AP) -- Taking climate change efforts into his own hands, President Barack Obama is proposing sweeping steps to limit heat-trapping pollution from coal-fired power plants and to boost renewable energy production on federal property.
White House promotes clean energy through Durham fourth-graders (Triangle Business Journal) -- Has the White House, yes, as in the building on 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. ever quoted you on their web site? For most, the answer is no.
Rogers' radio interview goes silent (Charlotte Observer) -- A funny thing happened, says public radio reporter Alex Chadwick, during his interview about the nation's electric grid with Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers: The power went out. It happened during taping of an hour-long special called "The Switch" that will air on Charlotte's WFAE at 7 p.m. Sunday. The apparently brief outage, Rogers quickly pointed out, wasn't Duke's fault. The special is part of "Burn: An Energy Journal," hosted by Chadwick. It's about the aging, over-capacity electric grid, which transmits energy from power plants to consumers and most people don't think about until the lights go out.
20MW project approved for Charlotte solar developer (Charlotte Business Journal) -- N.C. regulators have approved a Charlotte company’s proposal for a 20-megawatt solar project in Halifax County.
Duke Trustee Donates $5.5 Million For Energy Initiative (WUNC-FM) -- Duke University trustee Ralph Eads and his wife are giving $5.5 million dollars to the school, most of it going to support Duke's Energy Initiative. Part of it will go toward the creation of the new Eads Professor of the Practice in Energy Finance.
US agency says shallow, weak quake registers in NC (AP) -- Federal earthquake scientists say they registered a small earthquake in rural eastern North Carolina, but it was so weak nearly no one felt the shaking. The U.S. Geological Survey says the earth shook Monday morning about three miles below the surface of the earth near the town of Deep Run, about eight miles southwest of Kinston. The agency says the shallow temblor was measured at a magnitude 2.1 that produced light shaking and no damage just after 7 a.m. A quake of magnitude 2.5 to 3 is the smallest generally felt by people.
Asheville mayor wins first place for local climate-protection effort (Carolina Public Press) -- Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy has been selected a top winner in the 2013 Mayors’ Climate Protection Awards,
Lionfish: It's What's For Dinner (Coastal Review) -- The invasive lionfish turns out to be quite tasty, which may provide a path to their long-term management. Today's Coastal Review Online offers some recipes that can help you do your part.
Education cuts worrisome (Greenville Daily Reflector) -- As members of the N.C. House and Senate attempt to resolve differences between the budget plans approved by their respective chambers, communities like Greenville should prepare themselves for bad news.
D-Minus - Kids Count gives grownups bad grades (Fayetteville Observer) -- State-by-state comparison of child well-being isn't a precision instrument, but most of us know we'd prefer that North Carolina not rank 35th.
McCrory and lawmakers tear down N.C. schools; gains (Fayetteville Observer) -- When I joined the Harnett County Commission over three decades ago, I joined a proud North Carolina tradition that stretches back as far as Gov. Charles Aycock. Tar Heel State leaders realized long ago that education was key to turning North Carolina from a poor, rural "Rip Van Winkle State" into a modern, growing region where everyone had a chance to succeed. … But in the last few years, our state lawmakers have forgotten who we are as a state. They have lost the value we place in public education. To the folks running state government in Raleigh now, education reform is just another code word for cut, slash and burn.
No need to rewrite car-insurance law (Winston-Salem Journal) -- There’s an old saying at the legislature: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Getting It Right On Solar Farms (Southern Pines Pilot) -- Last month, the Moore County Planning Board went off on an unusual tangent by rejecting an amendment to the county zoning ordinance that would have allowed solar farms. The Board of Commissioners deserves praise for correcting that error this past Tuesday.
Affair outed for Alamance chair Tom Manning (Greensboro News & Record column) -- I'm way behind on this, but The Alamance News outed county chairman Tom Manning's extra-marital affair last month. The newspaper doesn't have a website, but Publisher Tom Boney Jr. sent me some pdfs, and I've posted some of the headlines.
Sterilization victims shouldn't be bargaining chips in budget negotiations (Winston-Salem Journal) -- Budget negotiations among House Speaker Thom Tillis, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and Gov. Pat McCrory are pending. It’s always been an ugly process, and certainly was when Democrats ruled, with each leader trying to satisfy his interests and those of the state.
Tax proposal would put cities in a bind (Rocky Mount Telegram) -- Rocky Mount Mayor David Combs has raised some important questions about a tax reform proposal that already has passed the N.C. Senate.
Partisan judicial elections promote democracy (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- Democracy has not collapsed in the states that elect their judges without a public-financing system. Nor is there any evidence that North Carolina’s judiciary lacked independence or integrity from 1868, when North Carolina started electing its judges.