Daily dose SCOTUS fever

Court rulings could lead to challenges of NC marriage amendment (NEWS14-TV) -- The Supreme Court ruling could lay the groundwork for North Carolina's marriage amendment to be challenged in court. The marriage amendment defines marriage as between one man and one woman in the North Carolina constitution. All eyes were on Washington, DC Wednesday as the Supreme Court ruling struck down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act. "This is undisputedly a landmark ruling," said UNC School of Law Professor. "This is a tremendous victory for the LGBT community," said Equality NC Executive Director Stuart Campbell. The ruling by the Supreme Court will allow same-sex couples that are legally married access to federal benefits which supporters of marriage equality say is a huge step for same sex couples. "We're also trying to figure out exactly what it will mean in states like North Carolina that have things like amendment one but overall it's moving in the right direction and we're very excited," said Campbell. But the ruling doesn't allow same-sex couples in North Carolina federal benefits because of the state's marriage amendment. It's an amendment gay marriage opponents said is important to keep intact.



Supreme Court Bolsters Gay Marriage With Two Major Rulings (New York Times) -- The court ruled unconstitutional a 1996 law denying federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples and effectively permitted gay marriage in California.


At court, victories for gay marriage (Washington Post) -- In a pair of rulings, the Supreme Court strikes down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act, saying the federal ban on benefits is unconstitutional, and opens the way for same-sex marriages to resume in Calif.


Will the DOMA decision kill gay marriage bans? (Washington Post) -- Many conservatives are upset with Wednesday's Supreme Court decision overturning the Defense of Marriage Act. For many, their anger has less to do with DOMA itself than with the fear that the decision will soon lead the Court to take more drastic action -- declaring all state marriage bans unconstitutional.


Supreme Court decisions won't affect NC law now (AP) -- The mixed decisions from the court brought mixed and sometimes muted reactions in North Carolina, which approved a constitutional ban on gay marriage in May 2012. "We are thankful that North Carolina's marriage amendment is not immediately impacted by the ruling," Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the N.C. Values Coalition, said in a statement. "Citizens in the 50 states are still free to debate, discuss and defend marriage."


High court ruling could affect NC same-sex marriage ban (WRAL-TV) -- A UNC law professor says the language in the decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act could set the stage for future challenges to North Carolina's year-old constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.


Fort Bragg soldiers, Cape Fear region: Supreme Court ruling will help many (Fayetteville Observer) -- News of the Supreme Court's landmark decision Wednesday that strikes a section of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act was welcomed by gay people and gay rights sympathizers in the Fayetteville and Fort Bragg communities.


NC gay marriage advocates happy, though not clear how ruling will affect N.C. (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Though advocates of same-sex marriage in North Carolina are drawing encouragement from the Supreme Court’s decision to reject parts of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act, it may not lead to immediate changes in the state.


Raleigh Gay Rights Activists Welcome Supreme Court Ruling (WUNC-FM) -- Gay activists in North Carolina are welcoming the US Supreme Court's ruling that the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.


SCOTUS Ruling on Same Sex Marriage: What Does it Mean for NC? (Public News Service) -- It will take federal action before North Carolina same-sex couples benefit from the U.S. Supreme Court decisions handed down on Wednesday overturning the Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8.


North Carolina pro and con same-sex marriage advocates weigh in on rulings (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Both sides of the argument in North Carolina have weighed in on the U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage equality rulings. One of the state’s leading opponents of same-sex marriage said the Supreme Court “got it wrong” in its rulings in two cases today. But the group that campaigned against the marriage amendment in North Carolina hailed the rulings as "an enormous victory."


Year after N.C. amendment, couples celebrate (Charlotte Observer) -- In 2012, a landslide of North Carolina voters approved a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.


Jubilant locals celebrate gay marriage ruling (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- Even as many questions remained about the impact of the Supreme Court's ruling on the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8 initiative, local gay and lesbian residents and their straight allies were jubilant Wednesday.



NC governor says tax talks are tough process (AP) -- Gov. Pat McCrory said Wednesday that he and fellow GOP legislative leaders are going through a "tough process" working on a tax overhaul, but he isn't going to spend a long time trying to facilitate a deal.


For McCrory, two is better than one (AP) -- A confident Gov. Pat McCrory earned two victories Wednesday — first by signing transportation funding formula changes into law and second by receiving initial House support to shift many Commerce Department duties to an outside group. House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate leader Phil Berger and other lawmakers stood behind the governor — all Republicans — in the old House chamber on the 1840 Capitol building as he made official the "Strategic Mobility Formula."


McCrory on transportation, abortion and more (WRAL-TV) -- Gov. Pat McCrory celebrates the creation of a new "transportation mobility formula" for funding roads, comments on a pending abortion bill, and says his appearance at a nonprofit fundraiser this weekend should not raise any ethics concerns.


Gov. McCrory Signs New Strategic Mobility Formula into Law (N.C. Political News) -- The N.C. Department of Transportation has a new, more efficient way of funding infrastructure investments that will better connect citizens to opportunities, increase jobs, and enhance economic development after Governor Pat McCrory signed into law today the Strategic Mobility Formula, House Bill 817. “Everything we do is focused on strengthening our economy and making government operate more efficiently. This landmark legislation helps us do both,” said Governor McCrory. “A tremendous amount of work has gone into this initiative, and I thank everyone from the statewide to the local level who has been involved with making it a reality. It is critical in changing the way we invest in transportation and do business in North Carolina. We will continue to work collaboratively as we move forward with implementing this new mobility formula and create more opportunities for communities throughout our state.”


McCrory signs bill to change the way NC funds transportation projects (NEWS14-TV) -- North Carolina has a new way to fund road and other transportation projects. Just months after presenting the idea, Governor Pat McCrory signed the so-called Strategic Mobility Bill into law Wednesday morning, changing the way the state now looks at transportation.


NAACP field director, 2 others cited at State Capitol (Raleigh News & Observer) -- State Capitol Police report the following people were charged with second-degree trespassing after refusing to leave the Capitol building for nearly two hours after it closed Wednesday: Robert Thompson Stephens, 26, of Chapel Hill; Joshua Rahim Vincent, 23, of Raleigh; and Hudson Laney Vaughan, 27, of Carrboro. Each was issued summons to appear in court and released on their own recognizance.


Black lawmakers considering getting arrested at Moral Monday protests (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus said Tuesday that the caucus may decide this week whether some of its members should get arrested and go to jail as part of future Moral Monday protests, the Insider's Patrick Gannon reports. Rep. Garland Pierce, D-Scotland, said it would be up to the entire caucus, which could meet as early as Wednesday, to decide whether that is appropriate. "I think we've been vigilant, we've been vocal, but I think we still need to take it to another level," Pierce said. "Whatever that level is, I'd have to wait on the group." Black caucus members, along with other Democrats, have attended the protests but left before being arrested. Pierce said there are members who have said they would consider joining other protesters in going to jail for the cause.


NAACP ready to challenge any changes to NC voting laws (WRAL-TV) -- Leaders of the state chapter of the NAACP said Wednesday that they are prepared to challenge any changes to North Carolina's voting laws in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down part of the landmark Voting Rights Act.


Wake County GOP chairwoman criticizes ‘Moral Monday’ demonstrations (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Two days after the eighth wave of demonstrators assembled at the North Carolina Legislative Building, Wake County Republican Party leaders described the weekly protests as “just a test of wills.”


Rule change (Washington Daily News) -- The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act is null and void likely will not directly affect the way Beaufort


Commerce Department overhaul nears House approval (WRAL-TV) -- The House tentatively approved a major reorganization of the state Commerce Department Wednesday, including creating a nonprofit to take over job-recruitment efforts statewide.


NC bill that revamps regional ED partnerships gets preliminary approval (Charlotte Business Journal) -- The N.C. House of Representatives passed 76-38 the second reading of a bill that would restructure the state’s public-private regional economic development


McCrory won't act to save jobless checks (WRAL-TV) -- State House and Senate Democrats are calling on Governor Pat McCrory to save federal unemployment benefits scheduled to end July 1st for 71,000 people in North Carolina. McCrory says he will not intervene.


Democrats rail against law ending extended unemployment benefits (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The top Democrats in the state legislature are vowing to keep fighting the implementation of a new law that would end unemployment benefits for an estimated 70,000 jobless workers next week.


NC Dem lawmakers: keep jobless benefits for 170K (AP) -- Some lawmakers in North Carolina's General Assembly are criticizing decisions by the Republican-led legislature and Gov. Pat McCrory that will cut off federal unemployment benefits to about 70,000 people in a few days. State Democratic Party leaders said Wednesday they're working to force a vote on legislation to postpone cuts to state unemployment benefits. The move is a longshot because it would need strong support from Republican lawmakers, who hold overwhelming legislative majorities. The state cuts taking effect Sunday will have the effect of also disqualifying federal benefits for people who have been jobless for longer than the maximum six months North Carolina provides. About 70,000 people will lose federal benefits this weekend, and about 100,000 more by the end of the year.


Is McCrory's tax vision a mirage? (WRAL-TV) -- Budget Director Art Pope denies the governor's office has made a proposal on tax reform. But those knowledgeable about negotiations say a document circulating through the legislative building represents Gov. McCrory's bid to rewrite the tax code.


McCrory favors tax plan without major limits on state spending (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Gov. Pat McCrory said one his major concerns about a tax cut measure working through the legislature is making sure it still provides enough money to fund his priorities. He said the bill needs to allow enough tax revenue to "fit some of my objectives." "The major scenarios I'm looking for are scenarios where the money actually ads up, not just this year, but two, three and four years down the line," he said in an interview. "That will be one of my major issues of whether I go along with tax reform, is do the revenue projects meet my test of needing to operate government in an efficient and effective way."


NC House tentatively OK's abortion education bill (AP) --A bill requiring North Carolina educators to teach that several risk factors, including abortions, can cause later premature births passed the first of two votes in the state House on Wednesday over lockstep Democratic opposition. The bill, which originated in the Senate, initially included abortion as the only risk factor to be mentioned. Senators amended it to include other factors such as prenatal care and smoking. That won support from some Democrats, enabling the bill to pass by a vote of 38-10. The vote in the House was 73-44.


House OKs bill to teach abortion 'causes' miscarriage (WRAL-TV) -- House lawmakers have tentatively approved a proposal to teach middle school students that abortion is a cause of preterm births.


House Tentatively Passes Abortion Teaching Bill (WUNC-FM) -- Lawmakers in the state House have tentatively passed a bill that would require students in grade seven and higher to learn that abortion is a preventable cause of pre-term birth. Republican Edgar Starnes spoke in support of the bill earlier today, saying the more information students have, the better.


NC abortion education bill up for final House vote (Raleigh News & Observer) -- A bill requiring North Carolina educators to teach that abortions cause later premature births is scheduled for a final vote in the state House.


Educators speak out on abortion curriculum bill (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Cyrene Hardy, a health and physical education teacher at Athens Drive High School, says she never discusses abortion in her classes. When students ask about it, she suggests they talk to their parents or counselors.


Some are concerned full disclosure of fracking chemicals may not be mandated (NEWS14-TV)Drilling companies may not have to reveal the secret ingredients they use when fracking wells in North Carolina. A state senate committee advanced a bill that would not require full disclosure of all chemicals used in natural gas exploration. Beverly McNeill and her fellow Durham democratic activists have been concerned. They lined the Legislative Building sidewalk in downtown Raleigh on Wednesday, holding signs and telling lawmakers they want to know exactly what toxic chemicals are being used once fracking begins in the state.


Va border city casts wary eye on NC landfill bill (AP) -- A southeastern Virginia city that borders North Carolina is casting a wary eye toward legislation that could allow a large landfill just over the state line.


State treasurer warns lawmakers pension fund needs more flexibility, or else (Raleigh News & Observer) -- State Treasurer Janet Cowell is urging lawmakers to give her more flexibility to invest the state’s pension money, warning that is is “very unlikely” returns will meet projections without the change. In a recent letter to legislative leaders, Cowell said returns on the state’s $80 billion pension fund are in jeopardy because global stock markets are hitting an all-time high and bond returns are expected to fall. If the state doesn’t meet the 7.25 percent return rate, Cowell said the taxpayers may be on the hook to buttress the promised retirement benefits.


Shorter wait for convicted felons who want guns (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Convicted felons would be able to petition to own guns 10 years after finishing their sentences rather than the current 20 under a bill that had its first hearing Wednesday.


Lawmaker, DAs call on governor to end home release for prisoners (WRAL-TV) -- Almost 150 inmates ( DAs letter to McCrory on home leave and List of inmates in the "home leave" program) were allowed out on home leaves during the most recent weekend, including 36 people convicted of murder.


House lawmakers skeptical of 'game nights' bill (WRAL-TV) -- Sponsors say they want to clarify the state law on charity fundraisers. But opponents say the measure may open the doors to the mob, lead to bankruptcy and possibly be unconstitutional.


New N.C. law puts more litigation in small-claims courts (Triangle Business Journal) -- A new law raises the threshold dollar amount for getting a lawsuit into N.C. Superior Court, allowing plaintiffs to sue in lower courts with simpler rules. Starting on Aug. 1, small-claims courts will be able to take claims for as much as $10,000, up from $5,000 today. Small-claims courts’ simpler rules on procedures and evidence make it easier for parties to represent themselves there instead of having to pay attorneys. Small-claims courts have no juries, and presiding are magistrates who act somewhat like arbitrators and who may or may not be licensed attorneys.


Plug pulled on N.C.'s anti-Tesla bill (Triad Business Journal) -- A bill that would ban sales of cars directly to consumers was blocked by an N.C. House committee Tuesday.


Governor urges Senate to act on first lady's legislative priority (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Gov. Pat McCrory is backing up his wife, First Lady Ann McCrory, in calling for a Senate hearing and vote on House Bill 930, the puppy mill legislation, before the end of the legislative session, the Insider reports. "For those who say there isn't enough time to take up this important issue, I guarantee the people of North Carolina would deem legislation that ensures our state is home to responsible dog breeders is worthy of the Senate's time," the governor wrote in a letter to Senate leader Phil Berger on Monday. "I urge the Senate to move forward quickly." Ann McCrory has made passing the legislation her first public project as first lady and held a news conference recently to urge the Senate to pass the legislation. But senators said they weren't likely to budge.


Wetlands protection rollback removed from bill (Raleigh News & Observer) -- A controversial measure that would roll back some wetlands protections was removed from a farm bill approved in a House committee on Wednesday. The provision originally would have removed the current requirement that development and other uses in wetlands that are not under federal jurisdiction obtain water quality permits. The N.C. Home Builders Association supported that change, arguing the requirement to obtain a permit from the state Environmental Management Commission exceeds federal requirements and is therefore in conflict with a law enacted last session.


Top officials quietly urge compromise on Charlotte airport authority (Charlotte Observer) -- Months of acrimonious debate over Charlotte’s airport may be headed to a cooling-off period, thanks in part to quiet interventions by the governor, a lawmaker and a Charlotte businessman.



PAY TO PLAY: McCrory dismisses concerns about event, says he's doing everything right (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Gov. Pat McCrory on Wednesday dismissed concerns about his participation this week in a big-dollar event for donors to a private nonprofit, saying what he is doing is right for the state. McCrory is scheduled to attend a $5,000-a-person retreat Thursday and Friday at a luxurious Greensboro Resort that features a dinner and policy briefing on state issues. The Republican executive said he is not concerned about the perception about paying for access or the timing of the event, which comes at the crux of the legislative session. "Everything we are doing is right, regardless of the perception you are giving," McCrory said in an interview after he signed a major transportation bill, one of his top legislative priorities. "We are doing things right and in the proper way."


McCrory in town for private fundraiser (Greensboro News & Record) -- Gov. Pat McCrory is expected here today for a private fundraiser that also will feature South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.


NC commerce secretary makes case for recruiting revamp (Charlotte Business Journal) -- The first time then-Gov.-elect Pat McCrory tried to reach Sharon Decker to gauge her interest in becoming North Carolina's commerce secretary, she ignored his call. Decker was having foot surgery and couldn’t answer. Now, six months into her job heading the commerce department, Decker and McCrory are planning some extensive surgery for the state's economic-development strategies. As in a complete makeover, with a newly created privately funded partnership overseeing the research and recruiting — and making recommendations on incentives — for the state. Another major change: revamping the line-up of regional economic-development partnerships by grouping the counties in different combinations and creating eight prosperity zones overseen by the new privately funded organization. The shift would end state funding for groups such as the Charlotte Regional Partnership.


Study: Early-college students far more likely to earn degree (Triangle Business Journal) -- Students who complete early-college programs are significantly more likely not only to enroll in a college or university, but also far more likely to go on an earn a four-year degree.


Sen. Hagan says immigration bill will help N.C. economy and she’ll vote for it (McClatchy Newspapers) -- Sen. Kay Hagan on Wednesday announced that she’ll vote for an immigration overhaul that provides a path to citizenship …


Uphill battle begins for Mel Watt’s nomination to head mortgage regulator (McClatchy Newspapers) -- President Barack Obama’s pick to lead the federal agency that oversees mortgage finance faces an uphill battle Thursday at a Senate confirmation.


US Senate to hear from NC's Watt, may vote on Foxx (AP) -- Two North Carolina politicians nominated to high positions in the Obama administration are being considered by the U.S. Senate, which must consent to their new roles.


Finley to stay chairman of NC Utilities Commission (AP) -- The current chairman of North Carolina's regulatory body for telecommunications, electric and natural gas markets is Gov. Pat McCrory's choice to stay at that post for four more years.


NC: Prison staff acted properly in inmate altercation (AP) -- Lawyers for the state of North Carolina say prison guards acted appropriately in altercations with handcuffed inmates that left several with broken bones and one confined to a wheelchair.


NC DENR says survey results show significant improvement in customer service (N.C. Political News) -- Results of a recent customer service survey reveal a significant improvement in how responsive and helpful people believe the N.C. Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources is today compared to 2011. The online survey conducted in May by staff in the state environmental agency found a 20 percent improvement overall in how customers think the agency is performing its customer service function. The data from this year’s customer service survey came from 371 people, 83 percent more than took a similar survey in 2011. A comparison between the two surveys and more results from the 2013 survey are available at: http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/guest/2013-survey-results.


The prisons of WNC, by the numbers (Carolina Public Press) -- From inmate totals and costs to staffing levels, a data visualization of the area’s state prisons and detention center, including those proposed for closure in state budget plans.


Member of McCrory's staff visits Carson (Salisbury Post) -- Just before school ended for the year, Jesse C. Carson High School celebrated “Legislative Day” with a visit from Chris Estes, chief information officer for N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory. “Mr. Estes interacted with the students describing political initiatives as they relate to technology and education,” said Carson principal Kelly Withers in a school press release. “The students were excited to be able to speak directly with someone who is part of the Governor’s core team.”


North Versus South: Border Security Not Created Equal Say Critics (Public News Service) -- The Senate today is expected to push through the final hurdles of the Immigration Bill. A last minute add-on to the bill is the Hoeven-Corker Amendment, which would increase border security at the Mexican border.


Digital collection examines NC's politically charged Speaker Ban Law (WRAL-TV) -- Fifty years ago this week, North Carolina lawmakers instituted a state statute that sparked major controversy over academic freedom and the First Amendment. Adopted June 25, 1963, the Speaker Ban Law – legislation passed on the last day of the legislative session that year – restricted known Communists and other "radicals" from speaking at public universities. The move outraged educators, including the late William Friday, who served as president of the University of North Carolina system for 30 years. Students at the university system's flagship campus in Chapel Hill tested the law, inviting banned speakers to campus, some who famously spoke on a public sidewalk on Franklin Street in the mid-1960s. Now, the State Archives of North Carolina has made it possible with a digital collection to step back in time and relive some of the controversy through audio, photos, letters, telegrams and other documents that were part of a 1965 government-commissioned study on the Speaker Ban law.


From pulpit to politics? Mark Harris hires staffer (Charlotte Observer) -- The effort to draft Rev. Mark Harris is beginning to look more like a campaign.


Juanita Baker, 78, trailblazer in NC Department of Correction, dies (Raleigh News & Observer) --Juanita Baker was one of the first African Americans and women to reach top positions in the Department of Correction during her more than 40-year career. She was the widow of former Wake County sheriff John Baker.


Mecklenburg Commissioner Kim Ratliff under fire for racial statements (Charlotte Observer) -- A Mecklenburg County commissioner is under fire for making statements with racial overtones that have some people calling for removal – or at least a reprimand.


DA: No investigation of Asheville police chief (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- Buncombe County District Attorney Ron Moore will not ask for a criminal investigation into the actions of Asheville Police Chief William Anderson in the aftermath of a March 9 car wreck involving the chief's son.



Swimmers braved winds, sea to save ship’s crew (Elizabeth City Daily Advance) -- The two Elizabeth City-based Coast Guard rescue swimmers honored Wednesday with the Distinguished Flying Cross braved 30-foot seas and gale-force winds to rescue 14 members of the HMS Bounty crew after their ship sank off the North Carolina coast last year.


2 get Distinguished Flying Cross Two U.S. Coast Guard rescue swimmers at Air Station Elizabeth City have been awarded the nation’s highest honor for heroism during a flight for their efforts responding to the sinking of the tall ship HMS Bounty off the North Carolina coast last year.


N.C. launches digital GED testing program (Kinston Free Press) -- It's set to expand across Tar Heel state within next few months


Economic struggles part of playbill for outdoor dramas (Winston-Salem Journal) -- In tough economic times, budget cuts are inevitable. But supporters of arts — and outdoor dramas, in particular — worry that some of the cuts will be devastating. “Some people think the arts are frivolous and don’t deserve state money, but if you look at any culture, dating back to the Greeks and Romans, it’s the arts that define the civilization,” said Charles Massey, director of marketing for the nation’s oldest outdoor drama, “The Lost Colony” in Manteo. The state budgets proposed by the governor, House and Senate would all cut arts grants, but some proposed cuts are more severe than others, said Karen Wells, the executive director at Arts North Carolina.


Cherokee casino to rebrand Deen restaurant (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- Allegations of insensitivity to blacks, women continue to rock celebrity chef.


Preserving History: ‘Horn in the West’ gets a little help from friends for 62nd run (Winston-Salem Journal) -- “The show must go on” is more than just a slogan for outdoor drama “Horn in the West” in Boone as it prepares to launch its 62 nd year.


Why SECU membership is exploding (Triangle Business Journal) -- Raleigh-based State Employees Credit Union (SECU) added 67,080 members in the 12 months ending March 31, the third-largest membership surge.


Has Harris Teeter found a buyer? (Raleigh News & Observer) -- One supermarket-industry analyst said Wednesday a sale to Cerberus would mean job cuts as the private equity firm looks to boost cash flow. But another sees cuts as unlikely.


Raleigh pharmaceutical company tries again with 'pink Viagra' (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Sprout Pharmaceuticals confirmed Wednesday that it has submitted the drug flibanserin for FDA review. Flibanserin, originally developed as an antidepressant, is now being evaluated as a treatment for Hypo-Active Sexual Desire Disorder in premenopausal women.



Va border city casts wary eye on NC landfill bill (AP) -- A southeastern Virginia city that borders North Carolina is casting a wary eye toward legislation that could allow a large landfill just over the state line.


Duke Energy's rate hike takes a beating at hearing (Charlotte Observer) -- Seniors on fixed incomes and moms who fear their kids face environmental ruin dominated the opening of a Wednesday night hearing in Charlotte on Duke Energy Carolinas’ latest rate hike.


Finley to stay chairman of NC Utilities Commission (AP) -- The current chairman of North Carolina's regulatory body for telecommunications, electric and natural gas markets is Gov. Pat McCrory's choice to stay at that post for four more years.


Duke Energy responds cautiously to Obama's carbon plan (Charlotte Business Journal) -- Duke Energy is reacting cautiously to President Obama’s climate-change proposals, including plans to regulate carbon emissions


Charlotte leaders on Houston trip seeking tips on growing energy industry (Charlotte Observer) -- The word “utopia” doesn’t immediately leap to mind when you drive into this sprawling city dominated by oil companies and stifling 98-degree heat.


UNC Charlotte’s solar team aided by Ingersoll-Rand (Charlotte Business Journal) -- UNC Charlotte’s Solar Decathlon team got a hand from Ingersoll-Rand employees on Wednesday.


Coal Industry to Fight Obama Climate Plan (Wall Street Journal) -- The domestic coal industry is teaming up with other business groups to blunt the impact of President Obama's climate-change agenda, while also shifting its business focus to exports.


Amendment One debate rekindled (Greenville Daily Reflector) -- Both sides of the debate over North Carolina’s Amendment One — which defines marriage as being between one man and one woman — will find themselves exonerated by the two rulings handed down Wednesday by the U.S. Supreme Court.


Authorities euthanize flock of geese at NC park (AP) -- At least 140 Canada geese have been euthanized after being deemed a nuisance at a Gaston County park. Officials say the flock had become such a nuisance at the park in Dallas that they were left with no choice but to remove them. Gaston County Parks and Recreation Director Cathy Hart said the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service was enlisted to retrieve the geese Tuesday, then humanely euthanize them.


North Carolina Beach Water Quality Among The Nation's Best (WUNC-FM) – Environmental advocates say North Carolina's beaches fared well in their latest water quality study. The Natural Resources Defense Council's 2012 "Testing The Waters" report examined many of the nation's beaches for levels of pollution.


Seining the Sound to Learn Cool Stuff (Coastal Review) -- Did you know that blue crabs molt or that pipefish are related to seahorses? Learn about the creatures of our sounds in a free N.C. Coastal Federation program this summer.



Moral Monday protests grow (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Conservative groups ridicule them and Republican legislators ignore them, but the number of protesters keeping increasing.


Dose of political energy restores rhythm to Democratic Party (John Davis Consulting column) -- On Monday, a crowd of political activists estimated by police to be 2,500 – 3,000 strong stood outside the General Assembly in Raleigh in opposition to the conservative initiatives of the new Republican leadership in the state capital. This was the eighth consecutive “Moral Monday” protest rally since April 29 of this year. These rallies are giving Democrats a therapeutic dose of political energy. Up until the start of these Moral Monday protest rallies, there were few signs of political life among North Carolina Democrats. They were struggling to recover from the devastating defeats during the elections of 2010 and 2012; the loss of power and influence over state government.


No secrecy on fracking (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Allowing exploration companies to keep the chemicals they use in this process secret would be a foolish idea, and the way a state Senate committee came to approve it is suspicious.


Faulty math amid other fracking frights (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- During the crafting of the original Senate Bill 76 – the Domestic Energy Job Act Bill – NC senators used extremely faulty math in explaining the benefits and then passed an unsafe version of the bill.


Obama’s tackling of climate change will help N.C. economy (Charlotte Observer column) -- There are many reasons President Obama is right to address climate change, and address it now.


N.C. could face teacher shortage (Wilson Times) -- After flirting briefly with teacher salaries at the national average some years ago, North Carolina has been in a steady decline, to the point that currently the state is 46th in the nation


State tax on Social Security would overburden senior citizens (Winston-Salem Journal) -- As legislative leaders try to devise a new tax structure, North Carolina senior citizens are waiting anxiously to see if their Social Security payments will be taxed.


Keep state landfill policies as they are (Rocky Mount Telegram) -- Through recycling programs and careful waste management, North Carolina has made a remarkable turnaround on its landfill needs.


The justices rule in favor of equality (Charlotte Observer) -- In the maze of legal implications surrounding the Supreme Court’s two rulings on gay marriage Wednesday, at least one sentence rang especially clear. It was written by Justice Anthony Kennedy about the federal Defense of Marriage Act.


The real disgrace at UNC Chapel Hill (Charlotte Observer column) -- After months of uncertainty, the accrediting agency Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) has informed UNC Chapel Hill that the university’s efforts to “make whole” degrees earned with fraudulent credit hours in the department of African and Afro-American studies will be monitored throughout 2013-14. Thankfully, accreditation is not in jeopardy, which is good news for UNC and for the entire state.