HARRY BROWN'S NEWEST ATTACK ON WIND ENERGY SURVIVES COMMITTEE: The bill’s main proponent, Republican Sen. Harry Brown of Jacksonville, said the wind turbine ban is needed to protect airspace for military test flights and to keep military installations in the state. Critics said the bill is unnecessary because the Department of Defense already makes sure that planned wind facilities won’t interfere with military flights. An 18-month moratorium on new wind turbines in the state, which Brown pushed two years ago, stalled a wind project that a Charlottesville, Va., company called Apex Clean Energy is planning in Chowan County. All of Chowan is in the restricted zone, and a ban could kill the project. Senate Bill 377 cleared the Senate Commerce and Insurance Committee on a close voice vote. The committee chairman did not ask for an exact tally, and one of the Republican members said later that he did not vote.
NC SENATE PASSES DUKE ENERGY'S FIVE-YEAR RATE PLAN: Senate Bill 559 heads now to the House for more discussion. It would allow the North Carolina Utilities Commission, which reviews the company's requested rate increases, to approve increase plans up to five years ahead of time instead of going through the lengthy annual reviews used now. Proponents have stressed that the bill simply gives this power to the commission, a seven-member board appointed by the governor with General Assembly confirmation. It doesn't require the multi-year plans. But dozens of companies, including some of North Carolina's largest employers and energy users, oppose the measure, fearing rate hikes. Environmental groups also are against the bill, as are consumer advocates who fear less opportunity for public input if multi-year plans are approved.
5 NEW CHARTER SCHOOLS PROPOSED FOR WAKE COUNTY AMID OPPOSITION: Wake County could see another major expansion in charter schools that is thrilling school-choice advocates but worrying school district and PTA leaders. The State Board of Education may approve 12 new charter schools to open in 2020, including five schools in Wake County. The decision comes as charter school enrollment in Wake County has continued to rise, while overall growth in the Wake County school system has come to a near stop. The state board is being lobbied by parents both for and against the new Wake charter schools. State education leaders are weighing whether charter school growth has reached a tipping point in Wake County, particularly in the North Raleigh/Wake Forest area. “In the panel that we had the day before yesterday, the word saturation was used,” state board member Jill Camnitz said at Thursday’s meeting. “I’m wondering if this part of Wake County is approaching that point.”
NC NAACP WANTS NC SUPREME COURT TO SETTLE AMENDMENTS ISSUE: A civil rights organization wants North Carolina’s highest court to step in and settle a legal fight over whether two constitutional amendments approved by voters last year should have been voided by a lower court. Lawyers for the state NAACP filed a petition on Wednesday asking the state Supreme Court to take up their lawsuit now, instead of letting another appeals court weigh in first. The state Court of Appeals already has set aside temporarily the February ruling by Wake Superior Court Judge Bryan Collins, who threw out amendments that voters approved in November mandating photo voter identification and lower caps on income tax rates. Collins agreed with NAACP leaders who argued the 2018 legislature had been “illegally constituted” through gerrymandered districts and lacked the power to proposed the amendments.
FAILED COUP IN VENEZUELA EXPOSES GUIADO'S TACTICAL SHORTCOMINGS: This week in Venezuela, the opposition leader Juan Guaidó struggled to create that sense of inevitability for his plan to oust the president, Nicolás Maduro, but the military backing he called for never emerged. His failure, alongside the success of recent movements to oust unpopular leaders in Algeria and Sudan, underscores the dynamics that typically make a coup succeed or fail. A historic lull in coups and revolutions appears to be ending, making these dynamics increasingly consequential well beyond Venezuela. Some of Mr. Guaidó’s failures have been tactical, such as issuing his call to action on Twitter, Mr. Singh said. Coup leaders traditionally favor national TV and radio stations because seizing them is a way to convince the country that they have already taken control. Mr. Guaidó has also called on military leaders to join him, drawing attention to his lack of support. “You don’t say ‘We can win if only we have your support.’ What you say is ‘We’ve already won,’” Mr. Singh said. “By making it seem like you’ve already succeeded, you get the support necessary to succeed.”