REPUBLICAN LEGISLATOR GOES AFTER NCAA AND ACC LEAGUES OVER HB2 BOYCOTTS: An N.C. House Republican wants to look at striking back against the NCAA and ACC for moving sports championships out of North Carolina over House Bill 2. Rep. Mark Brody, a Republican from Monroe, announced in a Facebook post Sunday that he’ll file a bill this week to address the boycotts. Brody says his “Athletic Association Accountability Act” will “determine whether the NCAA and the ACC have violated their tax-exempt status by engaging in political or lobbying activities.” It’s unclear how Brody’s proposal would work, and his Facebook post offers no further details about his bill. According to the IRS, nonprofit groups can’t have tax-exempt status “if a substantial part of its activities is attempting to influence legislation.” But the groups “may engage in some lobbying, but too much lobbying activity risks loss of tax-exempt status.”
HEMP TEST PROGRAM SET TO BEGIN: North Carolina is calling for farmers to grow industrial hemp as part of a statewide test. The plant, a nonintoxicating cousin of marijuana, can be used to produce many products such as cloth and oils that might open new markets for farmers struggling with low prices on conventional crops. "There has been a tremendous amount of interest in growing hemp," said Sandy Stewart, director of the Research Station for the state's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Resources. Industrial hemp is in the same genus - cannabis - as marijuana and their plants look identical, Stewart said. The federal government outlawed cannabis in the 1930s.
COOP SET TO DELIVER STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS TODAY: It’s a safe bet that Cooper’s speech will sound familiar: what he has been saying on the campaign trail, in the time since his election last November and in the budget proposal he released last month — Repeal House Bill 2, expand Medicaid and invest in education to build a skilled workforce. His remarks will be heard by a Republican-controlled legislature that has been jostling with the governor in the public relations battle over which party will do the most for teachers and classrooms. “Because the governor and the Republicans in the General Assembly have gotten off to a rocky start with battles over the governor’s powers and on issues like teacher raises in the next budget, this address is an opportunity for the governor to demonstrate his leadership skills in rising above the back-and-forth with legislative leaders that has characterized his first few months in office,” McLennan said Friday.
ENVIRONMENTAL ORGS GIVE TENTATIVE APPROVAL TO ROY COOPER'S BUDGET: Environmental groups describe the first-term governor’s recently proposed budget as relatively modest in its goals for battling pollution and promoting conservation. But they consider it a step forward nonetheless, because it is being submitted to a Republican-led General Assembly that has been pretty tight-fisted in spending toward those goals. Cooper’s plan for the 2017-2019 budget envisions about $35 million in new spending on the environment during the two-year span with a focus on such areas as improving water quality, dam safety and sediment control. The governor would make the largest investments in the Clean Water Management Trust Fund slated to receive a total infusion of $19.3 million and the Park & Recreation Trust Fund that would get $10.4 million.
AND THEN THERE'S THE FACE-PALM TRUMP BUDGET: President Donald Trump sends Congress a proposed budget this week that will sharply test Republicans' ability to keep long-standing promises to bolster the military, making politically painful cuts to a lengthy list of popular domestic programs. The Republican president will ask his adopted political party, which runs Capitol Hill, to cut domestic agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development, along with grants to state and local governments and community development projects.