NC CONSERVATIVES ARE BACK TO FIGHTING SEX EDUCATION CLASSES: A proposal sponsored by conservative House members could change the way students receive health and sex education instruction in North Carolina schools. The state requires schools to offer sex education classes, but House Bill 196 would strike a provision requiring school systems to have an opt-out provision for students whose parents don't want their children to get the instruction. Instead, the bill would require schools to obtain parental permission before a child could attend the classes. The bill also would require parental consent for students to learn where contraception or abortion referral services can be obtained. Current law leaves it up to local school boards to set policies on how such information is provided. The bill's sponsors, Reps. Michael Speciale, R-Craven, Julia Howard, R-Davie, and Larry Pittman, R-Cabarrus, didn't respond to requests for comment Thursday.
BERGER & MOORE AT ODDS OVER SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION FUNDING: Under House Bill 241, $1.5 billion of the bond funds would go to counties for public schools, $200 million would go to community colleges, and $200 million would go to UNC campuses. The question about borrowing the money would be on the November 2020 ballot. The Senate has passed a bill that would pay for school construction with money from the state budget over nine years. Senate Republicans say their idea would save the state more than $1 billion in debt payments. At the news conference, Moore said he was concerned that the Senate’s pay-as-you-go proposal would end the state’s tradition of having the counties take primary responsibility for school buildings. A bond is also more reliable, Moore said. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper also wants a school bond, and promoted it during his State of the State address this week.
FACT-CHECKING REPUBLICANS ON COOPER "BREAKING TRADITION" WITH SUPREME COURT: Prior to Cooper’s appointment of Beasley, North Carolina governors made seven appointments to the chief justice position over the last five decades. In six of the seven cases, the appointees were previously the senior associate justices. The last governor to break tradition was Republican Jim Martin in 1986, who skipped over a Democrat to appoint a Republican. In fact, in each of the seven instances since 1969 that the chief justice seat became vacant, the governor appointed a member from his own party. So by calling on Cooper to appoint Newby, Republicans asked him to do something no governor had done in the last 50 years. Nor have Republican governors passed up opportunities to replace a member of the opposing party with a member of their own. They did so twice since 1986, including as recently as 2014.
TRUMP ORDERED OFFICIALS TO GRANT JARED KUSHNER TOP-SECRET SECURITY CLEARANCE: President Trump ordered his chief of staff to grant his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, a top-secret security clearance last year, overruling concerns flagged by intelligence officials and the White House’s top lawyer, four people briefed on the matter said. Mr. Trump’s decision in May so troubled senior administration officials that at least one, the White House chief of staff at the time, John F. Kelly, wrote a contemporaneous internal memo about how he had been “ordered” to give Mr. Kushner the top-secret clearance. The White House counsel at the time, Donald F. McGahn II, also wrote an internal memo outlining the concerns that had been raised about Mr. Kushner — including by the C.I.A. — and how Mr. McGahn had recommended that he not be given a top-secret clearance. The disclosure of the memos contradicts statements made by the president, who told The New York Times in January in an Oval Office interview that he had no role in his son-in-law receiving his clearance.
TRUMP OVERREACTED, BLEW AN OPPORTUNITY ON NORTH KOREA: "Basically, they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, and we couldn't do that," he said. "We had to walk away from that." Hours later, two senior members of the North's delegation told reporters that was not what Kim had demanded. They insisted Kim had asked only for partial sanctions relief in exchange for shutting down the North's main nuclear complex. Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said the North was also ready to offer in writing a permanent halt of the country's nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests. Vice Foreign Minister Choe Sun Hui said Trump's reaction puzzled Kim and added that Kim "may have lost his will (to continue) North Korea-U.S. dealings." The State Department then clarified the U.S. position. What Pyongyang was seeking, he said, was the lifting of sanctions that impede the civilian economy and the people's livelihood — as Ri had claimed. But Kim wasn't looking for the lifting of sanctions on armaments. Those were imposed earlier, from 2006, when the North conducted its first nuclear test.