Daily dose

Stealing airplanes from the Queen City:

NC House agrees to Charlotte airport authority (AP) -- Transferring control of one of the nation's busiest airports from the city of Charlotte to a regional authority has cleared a significant hurdle. The North Carolina House gave tentative approval Thursday to create a Charlotte Douglas International Airport Authority that would take over operations in January. The 72-42 vote comes after Republican legislators decided to move on the idea after Charlotte city officials wouldn't agree to participate in a legislative study on the idea. Rep. Bill Brawley of suburban Charlotte says the airport is a regional economic asset and an authority will help the airport's long-term health. House Democrats opposing the bill said the airport succeeds under the current governance structure.


And now it's up to Charlotte's former mayor. Will he go against the wishes of all those people who supported him in the past? The magic 8-ball sez: Better not tell you now.


Former lawmaker, long-time lobbyist Zeb Alley dies (WRAL-TV) – Zebulon D. Alley, a former lawmaker and one of the best known lobbyists in state, died Thursday, according to House Speaker Thom Tillis. He was 84. He was an Army veteran, having served in the Korean war and earning a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. Alley was known as always having a kind word for friends and acquaintances, even in the business of politics, which can be rough and tumble. He also served as a mentor to many who work in and around the legislature. "Zeb Alley gave me my first job as a lobbyist and taught me everything I know – but only half of what he knows – about this business," said Ken Melton, a lobbyist who now runs his own firm. "As great as that opportunity was, it never exceeded the real gift he shared with me – being able to call him friend. "He was always there for any of his 'guys,' whether we still worked for him or not, and always stressed for us to look out for each other. We were family. He changed my life in a way that's hard to put into words, and we will miss him every day." Both the House and Senate took note of Alley's passing Thursday, a sign of the respect lawmakers held for the friendly and courteous fixture of the legislative building. Alley served in the Senate during the 1971 session. He also served on the North Carolina Board of Alcohol Beverage Control and as legislative counsel for Gov. Jim Hunt from 1980 through 1984. Alley, a lawyer and graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, had his own lobbying and consulting firm for more than 20 years before joining Nelson Mullens. He was also a veteran, having served in the Korean war with the U.S. Army. Alley earned a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.


Zeb Alley, state senator and longtime Democratic lobbyist, dies at 84 (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Zeb Alley, who rose from a story-telling mountain populist to become a legendary lobbyist, died Thursday. His reputation was such that people said he not only knew where the bodies were buried, but probably supplied the shovel. Alley, who was 84, died at Rex Hospital after several months of failing health. He was such a Raleigh institution that House Speaker Thom Tillis announced his death from the podium, and the Senate adjourned in his honor. These were Republicans, and Alley was a Yellow Dog Democrat. Perhaps no man knew North Carolina’s legislature like Alley, who served as a state senator, worked as legislative liaison for Democratic Gov. Jim Hunt, and was a lobbyist for many of North Carolina’s big corporations. There are tentative plans for a celebration of his life in Raleigh on Tuesday with internment in Waynesville on July 20.



Lawsuit filed against GOP State. Sen. Goolsby's firm (Wilmington Star-News) -- Ten people have sued Republican Sen. Thom Goolsby's Empowered Investor firm.


10 people sue NC Sen. Goolsby's investment firm (AP) -- Ten people are suing the firm owned by Sen. Thom Goolsby and another man, saying they lost money when the company put their savings in volatile investments.


NC lawmakers try to push budget, tax talks ahead (AP) -- Some Republican legislators are sticking around Raleigh a little longer this week to try to begin formal work on the North Carolina state budget and to hammer out a tax overhaul plan.


Long weekend for budget negotiators (WRAL-TV) -- House and Senate lawmakers plan to work through the weekend to overcome an impasse on the state budget and plans to update the tax code.


WNC legislators debate NC abortion bill via social media (Carolina Public Press) -- A small number of Western North Carolina state legislators are active users of social media, but some of them are engaged in big online debates about abortion legislation that is moving rapidly through the General Assembly.


North Carolina House Passes New Restrictions on Abortion (New York Times) -- The bill would give a state agency the authority to impose standards similar to those for ambulatory surgical centers.


Abortion bills in House and Senate more alike than different (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Republican lawmakers contend the abortion bill is about health and safety, but Democrats say it’s about making abortions as hard to get as possible.


House Passes Abortion Bill; A Look At Who Provides Abortions In NC WUNC-FM) -- There are a range of facilities in North Carolina where a woman can get an abortion: a stand-alone clinic, a physician’s office, an ambulatory surgical facility, a hospital, and a hospital-affiliated clinic or health center. According to a report released by the Guttmacher Institute in 2011, the most common abortion providers in the state are stand-alone clinics, which are licensed by the NC Department of Health and Human Services. Most clinics that provide abortions also offer a range of other services related to reproductive health. In addition to clinics, all hospitals and obstetrics/gynecology doctors are legally licensed to perform abortions, although not all do. How would House Bill 695 affect abortion providers in NC? On July 3, the North Carolina Senate passed a bill (HB 695) that, if signed into law, would likely shut down all 15 clinics that provide abortions in the state. It would not affect the one abortion-performing ambulatory surgical center in Asheville, nor would it threaten hospitals or hospital-affiliated women’s health centers.


House approves new restrictions on NC abortion clinics (WRAL-TV) -- The state House on Thursday approved a proposal to add regulations to the operations of North Carolina abortion clinics.


House OKs revised abortion bill (Greensboro News & Record) -- The state House passes a sweeping abortion bill that is a mishmash of new safety standards, health insurance restrictions — even a section on motorcycle safety. It now moves to the Senate, which passed a similar abortion bill last week.


NC House bill delays Jordan Lake pollution rules (AP) -- Pollution-control rules for a central North Carolina lake that supplies drinking water to some Triangle communities would be delayed for another three years rather than repealed in a bill passed Thursday by a state House committee.


N.C. House panel delays, not repeals, Jordan Lake rules (Raleigh News & Observer) -- A N.C. House committee narrowly voted Thursday to delay a costly environmental cleanup of Jordan Lake in a classic regional water war pitting development interests against environmental concerns. The House Environment Committee voted 12-9 to delay the lake cleanup by three years. Spooked by the potential $2 billion cleanup bill, lawmakers are considering a cheaper alternative: technology that will stir the lake’s water and prevent algae from forming.


Protest petitions die in the House (Greensboro News & Record) -- North Carolina's long-standing protest petition tradition would be repealed in legislation that moved tonight through the N.C. House of Representatives.


House backs change in Charlotte airport management (WRAL-TV) -- The control of Charlotte-Douglas International Airport will shift from the city to a new regional authority under legislation that the House tentatively approved Thursday.


NC House gives preliminary OK to airport authority (Charlotte Observer) -- The N.C. House on Thursday tentatively passed a bill to create a new airport authority by Jan. 1, a move one Charlotte City Council member called “stealing our airport.”


2014 voters would decide on state eminent domain amendment (Raleigh News & Observer) -- A proposed North Carolina constitutional amendment would ask voters in the 2014 election to restrict eminent domain. The bill carrying the amendment passed the House on Wednesday in a 103-10 vote. Originally House Bill 8, the legislation stopped moving after landing in a committee in April. Its contents were added to a Senate boating safety bill so it would have a chance of becoming law this session. Rep. Chuck McGrady, a Hendersonville Republican and the House bill’s sponsor, said the text hadn't changed substantially. Rep. Paul Stam, an Apex Republican, added an amendment updating the technology referenced. The amendment has passed the House before but stalled in the Senate, and could do so again.


NC legislators seek consensus on beach control structures (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The legislature is debating how far to shift a policy that had traditionally banned the kind of hard structures built along shorelines to control sand from being built along North Carolina's coast - a move that geologists call an effort to stop the New Jersey-fication of the state's beaches.


Insurance Commissioner upset with lawmakers’ regulatory reform (Triangle Business Journal) -- North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin has come out against proposed changes to the laws regulating professional employer organizations.


Carbon monoxide detectors, billboard rules part of regulatory reform rules (WRAL-TV) -- Residents would lose a key ability to challenge local land use cases in a sweeping regulatory reform bill that passed the state House Thursday night. The same bill will require carbon monoxide detectors in certain hotel rooms.


NC regulatory reform with billboard provision passes (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Sweeping regulatory reform - billed by sponsors as job creation - drew criticism Thursday for a provision that would lessen municipalities' independence when it comes to billboard regulation.


NC House passes “Create Jobs Through Regulatory Reform” bill (N.C. Political News) -- The North Carolina House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 112 today, which eliminates many of the onerous government regulations that suppress job creation efforts and economic growth in the state. The bill, which is designed to “Create Jobs Through Regulatory Reform,” earned bipartisan support, passing the House with an 83-29 vote. “This is another step in the process of reducing the regulatory burden on hard-working families across our state,” said House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg). “This bill will make North Carolina more business-friendly and will allow job creators to put our citizens back to work.”


Bill would allow all-terrain vehicles on public roads in NC (Raleigh News & Observer) -- ATV dealers and manufacturers joined safety advocates in opposing a North Carolina House proposal that would allow the vehicles on some state roads.



MAN OF THE PEOPLE: Gov. says he's talked with Capitol protesters (AP) -- Gov. Pat McCrory says he has often entered the crowds at the North Carolina Capitol protesting decisions he and Republican legislative leaders advocate, and gotten cussed out in the process. McCrory said during a visit to Wilson on Wednesday that he welcomes protesters, but his interactions haven't been pleasant. "I go out in the crowd all of the time. Frankly, yesterday I went out and talked to several of them and they were not very respectful. They did not represent the majority of people who call themselves moral by cussing me out, but, you know, that's the way things go sometimes," McCrory said in an interview with The Wilson Times (http://bit.ly/12kloPj).


UNDER-COVER GOV? McCrory says he’s mingled, but no one’s seen him -- (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The Wilson Times reported this week that Gov. Pat McCrory said he has often entered the crowds that gather in the capital city to protest the Republican agenda and policies. He said he even got a good cussing by protesters. But in the age of mobile phone cameras and instant posting to social media, the governor seems to have moved in and out of the throngs without anyone capturing his interaction on video or film. Janet Conner-Knox, a reporter with the Wilson newspaper, met with McCrory on Wednesday while he was in town to praise Wells Fargo for expanding a loan program to farmers. Conner-Knox said on Thursday that she asked McCrory specifically about the Moral Monday demonstrations and whether he planned to ever talk with the protesters. His response, which she said she recorded, was: “I go out in the crowd all of the time. Frankly, yesterday I went out and talked to several of them and they were not very respectful. They did not represent the majority of those who call themselves ‘moral’ by cussing me out, but that’s the way things go sometimes.” It’s not clear by “yesterday” whether the governor was talking about Moral Monday or a Tuesday abortion protest. Jeff Weaver, chief of the General Assembly police department that has been tasked with providing security for the weekly Moral Monday events, said he had not seen the governor at the demonstrations nor had any of his officers reported seeing him. The Rev. William Barber, head of the state NAACP, made similar remarks.


Hagan raises over $2 million (Politico) -- North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan raised over $2 million in the second quarter of this year, swelling the Democrat’s war chest ahead of what’s expected to be a challenging reelection campaign, according to campaign officials. Hagan ended the month of June with $4.2 million in the bank. The first-term senator is one of a number of Democratic incumbents facing competitive 2014 elections, who have made the most this year of the fundraising head start they have over potential challengers. She previously raised $1.6 million between January and March.


Hagan, Franken, McConnell crack $2 million in second quarter (Washington Post) -- Facing a tough reelection fight, Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) raised over $2 million in the second quarter of the year, bringing her total cash on hand to $4.2 million, Democrats said. So far State House Speaker Thom Tillis is the only major Republican in this race. After announcing his candidacy at the end of May, Tillis has raised about $300,000 and has $250,000 on hand. But Rep. Renee Ellmers (R) is still weighing her options. National Republican Senatorial Committee staff have met recently with Ellmers and state Senate leader Phil Berger, a likely sign that they’re not quite confident in Tillis. North Carolina is close to a pure battleground; Mitt Romney won there by 2.2 percent in 2012.


Report says N.C. film industry strong at mid-year–but can it match 2012? (Port City Daily) -- Television and movie productions in the Wilmington area figured prominently in a positive report issued Thursday on the state’s filming industry.


Gov. Pat McCrory to visit New Bern Friday (New Bern Sun Journal) -- N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory is expected in New Bern at noon Friday for one of his “Main Street Tours.” The first-term governor has been to the city several times. He campaigned in 2012 with fundraisers and walks down Middle Street to speak with regular people in the hometown of then-Gov. Bev Perdue, who became the state’s first woman governor with a 2008 victory over McCrory. After his 2012 election, McCrory, a former mayor of Charlotte, held one of his four Inaugural events here and promised to be back often to New Bern and Eastern North Carolina. The governor’s staff said he will begin his walk at Captain Ratty’s Restaurant at 202 Middle St. and will make additional stops.


Wildlife Commission Elects New Leadership (N.C. Political News) -- The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission unanimously elected a new chairman and vice-chairman during its business meeting today to preside over the governing board of the state regulatory agency. Jim Cogdell, of Norwood and the District 6 commissioner, will serve as chairman. John Litton Clark, of Clinton and a House Speaker Appointee At Large, will serve as vice chairman. Cogdell replaces David Hoyle, Jr., of Dallas, who is the District 8 commissioner. Clark replaces Ray White, of Manteo, who is the District 1 commissioner.


Will Va. Gov. McDonnell need to resign? (Washington Post) -- Why the embattled Virginia governor might still be able to survive the final six months of his term.



N.C.’s Investment Management Industry Large, Growing (UNC News) -- The investment management industry in North Carolina is large and growing, concluded a new report from Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Duke University may expel students for sex assault (AP) — Duke University students could be kicked out of the elite North Carolina school if they are found responsible for sexual assault committed beginning this fall.


NC child died of Rocky Mountain spotted fever (AP) -- Federal health officials are confirming that Rocky Mountain spotted fever caused the death of a Buncombe County child last month.


Monster shopping cart pulls into NC grocery stores (AP) -- The strange scene of a monster-sized grocery cart is pulling in to stores across North Carolina to promote locally grown food.



Federal regulators say overwork, noise led to Harris nuclear plant mistake (Raleigh News & Observer) --The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said that long work hours in cramped, noisy conditions likely contributed to an oversight that shut down the Harris nuclear plant in Wake County.


NRC: Minor violation for missed NC nuke plant flaw (AP) -- Analysts hired to look for flaws inside a Duke Energy nuclear plant might have missed a tiny crack near the reactor core that went undetected for a year because they worked for weeks without a day off and may not have worked independently, a report Thursday by federal regulators said.


Duke Energy defends rate charges, settlement (Charlotte Observer) -- Duke Energy Carolinas defended its handling of disputed charges in its North Carolina rate case Thursday, saying most of them were justified even as it made further concessions.


Stay or scram? N.C. to survey hurricane response (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot) -- State and federal emergency officials plan to begin a survey Monday asking hundreds of Outer Banks residents if they would evacuate for a hurricane. Typically fewer than a third of Dare County's more than 34,000 residents leave even under a mandatory evacuation. The results will be disseminated to local emergency management officials by October, said Allan McDuffie, hurricane evacuation study manager for the Army Corps of Engineers.


Heavy rains dampening farmers' summer profits (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Heavy rainfall in June has left many North Carolina farmers struggling to keep their crops alive and healthy. The storms have caused fields to flood, roots to rot and leaves to brown.


Supporters of Climate Change Action Say "Get On the Bus!" (Public News Service) -- Today Asheville is the first stop in North Carolina for a 21-state bus tour rallying support for the new national climate change plan President Barack Obama announced late last month. The “I Will Act on Climate” bus tour continues to Greensboro later today,


Above-normal rain totals leave 63 counties under flash flood watch (Winston-Salem Journal) -- After weeks of seemingly unrelenting rain, the National Weather Service lists 63 North Carolina counties under a flash flood watch until Friday morning, including Forsyth County.


Pony Up to Park at Some N.C. Beaches (Coastal Review) -- While only a handful of North Carolina’s coastal towns charge beachgoers to park, the oft-controversial topic is a recurring discussion in some towns, begging the question of whether free parking at the beach will eventually become a thing of the past.


Agencies negotiating on sea turtle protections (Wilmington Star-News) -- The federal agency in April designated 68 miles of North Carolina coastline as critical habitat


U.S. House clears energy spending bill (Politico) -- The White House has vowed to veto it, and the bill is on a collision course with the Senate’s version.


Man gets 90 days for national forest vandalism (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a 24-year-old Canton man has been sentenced to 90 days in jail for damaging a national forest in the North Carolina mountains with his vehicle.


A Guide to Personal Weather Stations (New York Times) -- Backyard weather stations have become more sophisticated, yet easier to set up and use.



Seeing Omens in North Carolina’s Political Path (New York Times) -- “The Decline of North Carolina” (editorial, July 10) was right on target. Conservatives are now fully in control of my state. They have been trying to decrease voting rights, and increase executions, among other things. I hope that your editorial board keeps an eye on my state to see what happens next. -- CHUCK MANN; Greensboro, N.C., July 10, 2013


Part-time job, full-time fear as federal benefits end in NC (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- My age and the age of the majority of the other soon-to-be 170,000 North Carolina residents with no federal unemployment benefits are the principle cause of our continued need for benefits.


'Ag Gag' bans sleuthing (Fayetteville Observer) -- Unless the state Senate has already smuggled its anti-journalism scheme into law aboard some bill with an innocuous title, it may soon become a crime for reporters of any stripe to infiltrate slaughterhouses and report what they see.


Slow your roll, GOP; public is antsy for redo (Charlotte Observer column) -- As the 2013 N.C. legislative session lumbers agonizingly to an end – the first in a century with Republicans in control of everything – a lot of N.C. residents can’t wait for a vote do-over. And it’s not just Democrats who are raring for another button-push or lever pull in the voting booth.


NC recovery difficult as urban-rural divide deepens (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- What ails North Carolina's economy is the "hurt" that has been put on small town and rural areas from trends beyond their control over the past 25 years - and particularly in the past decade.


State prison savings are bipartisan effort that must keep going (Winston-Salem Journal) -- North Carolina is cutting one state budget line by millions of dollars and, for once, almost everyone is happy about it.


Save Hofmann Forest from being sold (Raleigh News & Observer) -- A deal to sell NC State's prized Hofmann Forest, an 80,000-acre wonder of nature near Jacksonville, is apparently nearing completion, and that is a bad idea. The notion of selling was never contemplated by Julius Hofmann, the school's founding dean of forestry, who purchased it.


Play about frontier hardship survives its own struggle (Winston-Salem Journal) -- We were glad to hear that 62nd season of the outdoor drama “Horn in the West” has begun, despite facing the financial challenges that have hindered so many arts and historic productions in recent times.


Legislature taking a gamble on the coastline (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Republicans in the General Assembly are flirting with changes in coastal regulations that could put North Carolina's fragile coastline in peril. The GOP is anti-rules when it comes to development, but some of those rules really are not made to be broken.