Daily dose

NC Republicans continue to super-size their control over municipalities:

NC Gets “Anti-Bloomberg” Law (N.C. Health News) -- This week North Carolina became one of only two states in the nation to enact an “anti-Bloomberg” law, despite attempts in dozens of others to get similar legislation passed. Thursday afternoon, Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law the The Commonsense Consumption Act, which includes a provision that prohibits local governments from placing a cap on the size of soft drinks offered for sale. It is similar to legislation introduced in other states in response to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s attempted ban on large sodas.

http://www.northcarolinahealthnews.org/2013/07/19/nc-gets-anti-bloomberg-law/

LEGISLATURE

Charlotte Observer Editorial Rips NC House Speaker Thom Tillis (Talking Points Memo) -- The Charlotte Observer took sharp aim at state House Speaker Thom Tillis (R) in an editorial Thursday, arguing that his constant fundraising road trips for his 2014 bid to unseat Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) compromise his service as speaker. Tillis missed votes on 36 bills in the North Carolina House on Wednesday alone.

http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entry/charlotte-observer-editorial-rips-nc-house-speaker-thom

NC Senate holds Friday session as budget nears (AP) — As negotiators worked privately toward a budget agreement, the North Carolina Senate held an unusual Friday floor session at which they debated legislation addressing Islamic law, overhauling regulations and saving pets in sweltering cars.

http://www.reflector.com/ap/staten/nc-senate-holds-friday-session-budget-nears-2115571

State Lawmakers Work To Finish A Budget (WUNC-FM) -- Lawmakers in the state House and Senate are busy negotiating over a budget. It's July 19th and state legislators know the clock is ticking.

http://wunc.org/post/state-lawmakers-work-finish-budget

As General Assembly protests grow, so do frustrations (WRAL-TV) -- Thousands have participated in the protests that leaders call "Moral Monday," opposing legislative action on everything from unemployment benefits to abortion. An analysis of arrest records offers insight into who those people are.

http://www.wral.com/as-general-assembly-protests-grow-so-do-list-of-frustrations/12672645/

New NC tax deal preserves local revenues for cities, towns (Raleigh News & Observer) -- By expanding the current state sales tax and canceling tax holidays on retail items, the deal reached by Republican leaders boosts municipal revenues a total of $5 million this fiscal year.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/07/19/3042919/new-nc-tax-deal-preserves-local.html

Lawmakers want measured approach to Rural Center's future (WRAL-TV) -- Some lawmakers said Friday that criticism of the ousted president of the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center shouldn't condemn the entire organization.

http://www.wral.com/lawmakers-want-measured-approach-to-rural-center-s-future/12683100/

Health Care Advocates Examine Tax Plan, Wait for Budget (N.C. Health News) -- Members of the North Carolina Hospital Association breathed a collective sigh of relief as Republicans lawmakers rolled out their budget plan on Monday afternoon. The tax plan agreed upon by Gov. Pat McCrory, Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis restored a sales tax refund for not-for-profit organizations.

http://www.northcarolinahealthnews.org/2013/07/17/health-care-advocates-examine-tax-plan-wait-for-bu...

Abortion restrictions being considered in NC have led to closures, lawsuits in other states (Raleigh News & Observer) -- As North Carolina's lawmakers near approving a bill imposing tougher restrictions on abortions, other states show it is usually a contentious process.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/07/19/3042650/abortion-restrictions-being-considered.html

NC won't lift fracking moratorium (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The effort to lift the state's fracking moratorium has died a quiet death, one of several casualties resulting from a House-Senate compromise on the state's energy policy.

http://projects.newsobserver.com/under_the_dome/nc_wont_lift_fracking_moratorium

Biggest potential change to 'fracking' law not in bill (WRAL-TV) -- Environmental watchdog groups say the most far-reaching provisions have been pulled out of a bill changing the state's natural gas drilling laws. But it will be another sprawling regulatory reform bill that could most change what people know about the chemicals gas drillers use.

http://www.wral.com/biggest-potential-change-to-fracking-law-not-in-fracking-bill/12682559/

NC fracking bill doesn't set permit issuance date (AP) — Compromise legislation to further encourage the exploration of natural gas in North Carolina doesn't tinker after all with the schedule on future fracking permits.

http://www.reflector.com/ap/staten/nc-fracking-bill-doesnt-set-permit-issuance-date-2115579

Lawmakers may step out of Dorothea Dix debate for now (WRAL-TV) -- Lawmakers say they'll wait for Gov. Pat McCrory and the City of Raleigh to work out a deal over plans to turn the property attached to a former mental hospital into a park.

http://www.wral.com/lawmakers-may-step-out-of-dorothea-dix-debate-for-now/12681496/

GOP lobbyist says Wake school board members threatened Sen. Hunt (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The controversy over the heated exchange Thursday between Wake County school board member Jim Martin and state Sen. Neal Hunt isn't going away. Martin contends he wasn't acting unprofessionally when he confronted Hunt in the hallway of the Legislative Office Building. Martin submitted this letter to the editor to explain the exchange. In a related matter, Tom Fetzer charges that Martin and school board member Susan Evans acted in a threatening and harassing manner when they confronted Hunt.

http://projects.newsobserver.com/under_the_dome/more_fallout_over_heated_wake_county_schools_exchange

NC legislators consider curbing power to protest local developments (Raleigh News & Observer) -- A bill now in the final stages of debate could eliminate the "protest petition," essentially a bargaining chip for the neighbors of gas stations, shopping centers and other controversial developments.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/07/19/3042473/nc-legislators-consider-curbing.html

Bill to protect animals left in hot cars advances (Charlotte Observer) -- The state House passed legislation Thursday that would give rescue workers explicit permission to break into cars to remove dogs and other animals from hot cars.

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/07/19/4177142/house-oks-bill-to-let-officers.html

N.C. House Speaker Tillis: Charlotte ‘incredibly irresponsible’ in removing Jerry Orr (Charlotte Observer) -- N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Republican, called the removal of city aviation director Jerry Orr “incredibly irresponsible” and “a clear example of why it has become so difficult” to work with city.

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/07/19/4175206/nc-house-speaker-tillis-charlotte.html

POLICY & POLITICS

McCrory’s action on Rural Center jeopardizes 50 jobs at senior citizen med center (WNCN-TV) -- Gov. Pat McCrory called for funded to be cut to the North Carolina Rural Center after a state audit raised questions about how tax payer money was being spent. The end of funding is having an affect on towns across the state. The Town of Smithfield had plans to use a $200,000 grant from the center to convert a vacant building into a senior citizen medical facility. The conversion would bring around 50 jobs to the area. "We're talking about 40 to 50 jobs with an average salary of $55,000," said Chris Johnson, Executive Director of the Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation.

http://www.wncn.com/story/22889719/smithfield-waiting-on-the-future-of-rural-center-funding

Lawmakers want measured approach to Rural Center's future (WRAL-TV) -- Some lawmakers said Friday that criticism of the ousted president of the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center shouldn't condemn the entire organization.

http://www.wral.com/lawmakers-want-measured-approach-to-rural-center-s-future/12683100/

Governor visits ASU, King Street (Watauga Democrat) -- Gov. Pat McCrory met with Boone officials, merchants and members of the public during a visit to Appalachian State University and to King Street businesses Friday. McCrory first appeared at the closing ceremony of the second annual Appalachian Energy Summit, where leaders of all 17 University of North Carolina campuses and several private institutions gathered for three days to strategize and set goals to reduce energy consumption. "The economy's hurting right now. People are hurting, especially in small town North Carolina," said McCrory, a Republican in his first year as governor. "One of my main goals ... (is) having the energy business get us out of the recession." The governor's presence in Boone attracted about 30 protestors speaking out against multiple state government actions, including the recent abortion bills, voter ID and various other issues. The crowd shouted, "Shame! Shame!" as McCrory exited Mellow Mushroom.

http://www2.wataugademocrat.com/News/story/Governor-visits-ASU-King-Street-id-012016

Police make arrest in Fayetteville teen's shooting death (WRAL-TV) -- North Carolina's labor force shrank by more than 10,000 people from May to June, according to figures released Friday by the state Department of Commerce. Coupled with a small increase in the number of people unemployed, the state's unemployment rate remained unchanged at 8.8 percent. More than 416,700 people in the state remain unemployed, up 596 from May, and the state's labor force shrank by 10,362, to 4,709,264. The number of people employed fell by 10,958, to 4,292,497.

http://www.wral.com/NCs-labor-force-shrinks-in-june-unemployment-rate-holds-at-8-8-/12680994/

NC sheds 11,000 jobs as unemployment rate unchanged at 8.8 pct (AP) — Department of Commerce figures show that employers in North Carolina dropped nearly 11,000 jobs from May to June. The state’s unemployment rate remained unchanged in June at 8.8 percent.

http://www.reflector.com/ap/staten/nc-unemployment-rate-june-due-release-fri-2115363

NC jobless rate remains at 8.8 percent (Charlotte Observer) -- The North Carolina economy, which lost jobs in May, recovered some of those jobs in June while the unemployment rate remained at 8.8 percent.

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/07/19/4175062/nc-jobless-rate-remains-at-88.html

‘No’ vote urged on Rep. Mel Watt to oversee Fannie, Freddie (McClatchy Newspapers) -- The Club for Growth, a conservative advocacy group, is urging senators to oppose Rep. Mel Watt’s nomination.

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/07/19/197134/no-vote-urged-on-rep-mel-watt.html#emlnl=Daily_News_Update

NC congressman to be honored at Charlotte event (AP) – Mel Watt, a veteran North Carolina lawmaker is being honored for his service by a group of Mecklenburg County Democrats.

http://www.wral.com/nc-congressman-to-be-honored-at-charlotte-event/12684355/

Rally addresses voting bill (Greenville Daily Reflector) -- On Friday, voter advocacy groups had a simple message in response to an amended state bill — North Carolina is not Florida.

http://www.reflector.com/news/rally-addresses-voting-bill-2115853

Planned Parenthood: Wilmington office to stay open (AP) -- Planned Parenthood Health System says it won't close its Wilmington office even if the North Carolina General Assembly approves new restrictions on abortion clinics.

http://www.wral.com/planned-parenthood-wilmington-office-to-stay-open/12684356/

Sen. Kay Hagan announces $6 million in federal grants -- U.S. Senator Kay Hagan announced today that vital financial support is coming to North Carolina to tackle the homeless veterans crisis.

http://www.mountainx.com/article/51371/Sen.-Kay-Hagan-announces-6-million-in-federal-grants-to-help-...

Obama Gives Frank Speech About Race (Wall Street Journal) -- The president made his first extensive comments on the Zimmerman verdict, speaking in personal terms about his own experience of being black in America.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323309404578615960169400522.html?mod=WSJ_hps_LEFTTopSt...

Obama: 'Trayvon Martin could have been me' (Washington Post) -- The president spoke in deeply personal terms Friday about the Trayvon Martin case, discussing his own experience as a black man and what he sees in his daughters'

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/07/19/obama-on-trayvon-martin-historical-c...

President Obama's remarks on Trayvon Martin (full transcript) (New York Times) -- President Obama spoke Friday at the White House about the killing of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.

http://link.email.washingtonpost.com/r/TNGYL1/V13IRL/LLAR4C/6VC920B/OJ9YFO/T3/h

President’s Comments at Briefing Are Greeted With a Mix of Hope and Skepticism (New York Times) -- Even some longtime civil rights advocates were more skeptical about the potential impact of Mr. Obama’s remarks. “We’re kidding ourselves if we think we’ve made major headway on the issue of racism,” said one veteran of the movement, the Rev. Nelson Johnson, 70, of Greensboro, N.C. Among some conservative advocates of gun rights, the president’s comments sparked darker suspicions. “It is a deep exploitation of events to further gun control,” Paul Valone, president of Grass Roots North Carolina, said of Friday’s remarks. “They will stoop to any depth to make this happen. Even a race relations argument should be irrelevant to this case.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/20/us/presidents-comments-at-briefing-are-greeted-with-a-mix-of-hope-...

Judge Challenges White House Claims on Authority in Drone Killings (New York Times) -- A federal judge on Friday sharply and repeatedly challenged the Obama administration’s claim that courts have no power over targeted drone killings of American citizens overseas. Judge Rosemary M. Collyer of the United States District Court here was hearing the government’s request to dismiss a lawsuit filed by relatives of three Americans killed in two drone strikes in Yemen in 2011: Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical cleric who had joined Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula; Mr. Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman, who had no involvement in terrorism; and Samir Khan, a 30-year-old North Carolina man who had become a propagandist for the same Qaeda branch.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/20/us/politics/judge-challenges-white-house-claims-on-authority-in-dr...

Scenes from a Political Career: Jesse Helms, 1921-2008 (New York Times) -- Scenes from the 52-year political career of the former North Carolina senator, who died early Friday. Jesse Helms, became a beacon for the right wing of American politics, a lightning rod for the left, and, often, a mighty pain for presidents whatever their political leaning.

http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2008/07/04/us/0704-HELMS_index.html?emc=tnt&tntemail0=y&_r=0

NCDOT awards contract for repairs to Bonner Bridge (AP) — The N.C. Department of Transportation has awarded a $1.4 million contract to a Mount Airy company to make repairs to the Bonner Bridge.

http://www.reflector.com/ap/staten/ncdot-awards-contract-repairs-bonner-bridge-2115535

Secretary of Commerce to speak at prayer breakfast (Lexington Dispatch) -- The Thomas A. Finch Community YMCA and J. Smith Young YMCAs announced that Sharon Decker, North Carolina Secretary of Commerce, will give the keynote address at the first Community Prayer Breakfast. This year's event will be held from 7:15-9 a.m. Sept. 6 at the Conference Center on the campus of Davidson County Community College.

http://www.the-dispatch.com/article/20130719/News/307199981/-1/NEWS?Title=Secretary-of-Commerce-to-s...

Proposal could ban gender-neutral housing at UNC system universities (NEWS14-TV) -- Last November, the option to allow students of mixed genders to live together on the Chapel Hill campus was approved unanimously by the Board of Trustees. Now, a proposed policy has resurfaced from the UNC System Board of Governors that would ban gender-neutral housing from all 17 universities.

http://triangle.news14.com/content/top_stories/696685/proposal-could-ban-gender-neutral-housing-at-u...

GENERAL NEWS

Wild chickens run free in Fayetteville, foul up Lafayette Village subdivision (Fayetteville Observer) -- Wild chickens are wandering in a Fayetteville neighborhood, scratching up yards and jolting people awake.

http://www.fayobserver.com/articles/2013/07/19/1268810?sac=fo.local

NC teenagers get second chance through fixing cars (AP) — On many weekday mornings Dave Moore can be found teaching lessons about life and cars to his latest group of students at his Winston-Salem auto body repair shop.

http://www.reflector.com/ap/staten/nc-teenagers-get-second-chance-through-fixing-cars-2115871

Chatham megasite a potential 'strong competitor' for auto plant (Triad Business Journal) -- A 1,700-acre megasite in Chatham and Randolph counties has good potential to host an automobile plant or other large-scale industrial user.

http://www.bizjournals.com/triad/blog/2013/07/chatham-megasite-a-potential-strong.html

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

Governor visits ASU, King Street (Watauga Democrat) -- Gov. Pat McCrory appeared at the closing ceremony of the second annual Appalachian Energy Summit, where leaders of all 17 University of North Carolina campuses and several private institutions gathered for three days to strategize and set goals to reduce energy consumption. "The economy's hurting right now. People are hurting, especially in small town North Carolina," said McCrory, a Republican in his first year as governor. "One of my main goals ... (is) having the energy business get us out of the recession." In response to a question about cuts to state funding for greenways in transportation legislation this year, McCrory said, "I don't know that detail" and added that he would look into it. When asked about ideas or plans for other mass transit projects in the state, McCrory spoke more broadly about the need to tie isolated towns and regions to larger economic centers, even if that means crossing state lines.

http://www2.wataugademocrat.com/News/story/Governor-visits-ASU-King-Street-id-012016

NC fracking bill doesn't set permit issuance date (AP) — Compromise legislation to further encourage the exploration of natural gas in North Carolina doesn't tinker after all with the schedule on future fracking permits.

http://www.reflector.com/ap/staten/nc-fracking-bill-doesnt-set-permit-issuance-date-2115579

Biggest potential change to 'fracking' law not in bill (WRAL-TV) -- Environmental watchdog groups say the most far-reaching provisions have been pulled out of a bill changing the state's natural gas drilling laws. But it will be another sprawling regulatory reform bill that could most change what people know about the chemicals gas drillers use.

http://www.wral.com/biggest-potential-change-to-fracking-law-not-in-fracking-bill/12682559/

NC officials would get to review trade secrets under fracking proposal (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Energy companies could not withhold chemicals under the pretext of trade secrets under a bill the Senate approved Friday. The legislation is a response to concerns by the state Mining and Energy Commission that lawmakers were giving too many concessions to the energy industry.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/07/19/3042714/nc-officials-would-review-trade.html

Crack growing in Blue Ridge Parkway (AP) — A crack that has closed a 20-mile stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway in western North Carolina is getting worse.

http://www.reflector.com/ap/staten/crack-growing-blue-ridge-parkway-2115437

EDITORIALS

The Venus' flytrap only grows in these parts; punish poachers severely (Wilmington Star-News) -- These rare carnivorous plants have long been a target of poachers

http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20130719/ARTICLES/130719547/1108/opinion?Title=Editorial-The-V...

Celia Rivenbark - This might drive you to the brink, too (Wilmington Star-News column) -- I spent a little time at the DMV the other day when the Princess went to get her very first driver's license.

http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20130720/NEW9000/130719575/1155?Title=Celia-Rivenbark-This-mig...

Rural Center needs financial safeguards (Rocky Mount Telegram) – Growing criticism of the N.C. Rural Economic Development Center came to a head this week with a state audit that found glaring indequacies in accounting, followed by the resignation of longtime President Billy Ray Hall.

http://www.rockymounttelegram.com/opinion/our-views/rural-center-needs-financial-safeguards-2115099

Put the brakes on sizing up the NC Railroad (Raleigh News & Observer) -- North Carolina should hold on to its railroad. There are signs Republicans are considering selling it.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/07/19/3041949/put-the-brakes-on-sizing-up-the.html

McCrory, memory: an ethical task (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- Far too frequently politics is considered solely a matter of power, interests and competition. We forget, then, that a central act of any polity is to offer its people participation in a process of remembering.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/07/19/3041996/mccrory-memory-an-ethical-task.html

Comments

Bloomberg and ALEC, WRAL and Civitas

This week North Carolina became one of only two states in the nation to enact an “anti-Bloomberg” law, despite attempts in dozens of others to get similar legislation passed.

Besides the provision prohibiting local governments from regulating portion sizes, it also prohibits lawsuits based on claims that particular foods cause obesity. That's the part the big restaurant chains are pushing. According to Fox8 in Greensboro:

House Bill 683, the “Commonsense Consumption Act,” is a model bill from ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, a free-market pro-business group.

Any news outlet reporting on items from the legislature should be noting any bills that are derived from ALEC - it's another example of big money buying your state government.

As General Assembly protests grow, so do frustrations (WRAL-TV) -- Thousands have participated in the protests that leaders call "Moral Monday," opposing legislative action on everything from unemployment benefits to abortion. An analysis of arrest records offers insight into who those people are.

Sometimes how the news is being reported is more interesting than the news itself. This story, where WRAL is doing some in-depth research and analysis of the Moral Monday arrest records looks like it's a hearty "FU" directed at Civitas's attempts to use the same data to degrade or make fun of the protestors. Could this be the beginning of a trend away from a reliance on Pope foundation "experts" in news stories by NC's more mainstream news outlets?

WRAL has not been as reliant on Pope-a-ganda

as the N&O / McClatchy has been. The N&O regularly cedes its opinion pages to Pope employees and apologists. In addition, some N&O reporters there have long relied on Pope "experts" as primary sources in their "he-said-she-said" stories. For example, their reliance on Mike Walden of NC State shows just how deeply invasive the Pope machine really is.

Ted Vaden, who used to be the ombudsman for the N&O, leveled some tentative criticisms at the paper for its over-reliance on Pope-a-ganda. He didn't last long.

James

PS Did you get my email through the BlueNC messaging center?

N&O, Pope and news outlets

True, but I've noticed more than once over the past few years that one of Pope's foundations or cronies have been a "go to" for a quote or point of view without someone with an alternative POV or putting the quotes in a context that validates arguments or "data" that's just downright false.

The piece on Moral Monday was surprising.

I think a bigger concern for liberals and progressives in NC is the Curtis Media Group. Over the past couple of decades, they've built up quite a little radio empire with AM and FM outlets around NC. They've also bought the North Carolina News Network that provides news updates to 75 affiliates in the state.

Once in a while I tune around the dials to see what stations are up to. Curtis Media's WPTF in Raleigh devoted a long segment to the budget bill this week with a crony from one of Pope's foundations going on and on about how it lowers taxes and the host just going along. Then they had a news update from the North Carolina News Network, repeating the same Republican line. After the news break, they started a long segment on the Zimmerman verdict with a guest from the Heritage Foundation.

I felt nauseous and turned to something else.

Curtis Media Group stations are located in the Triad and Triangle, but are also prominent stations in key rural Teabagger areas, effectively making the only source of local news an outlet for outright conservative lies.

News outlets like this are one of the problems in NC. While those of us that are younger or in urban and suburban areas might turn more to the web for local news and different points of view, many older voters are still "hooked" on radio as their outlet for what's going on in the area and that's where Pope's extremist views are presented unchallenged.

Thank Heavens...

...that our hard-working legislators are protecting our right to a Big Gulp. Not to mention designating several new official state symbols, trying to enact a state religion, ensuring nipples stay covered and women become second-class citizens.

These and their other foolishness are so much more important than jobs and the economy, right? (Say, didn't they all run on platforms about jobs and the economy? And those are the issues they've ignored?).

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"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014