TILLIS BLAMES DEMOCRATS FOR HIS FLIP BEFORE HE FLOPPED: On March 14, Tillis voted to support President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration to circumvent Congress and fund a wall on the southern border. Tillis’ vote received attention across the country, because it came less than a month after he wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post that criticized Trump’s decision. On Feb. 25, the Post published Tillis’ letter: “I support Trump’s vision on border security. But I would vote against the emergency.” A Washington Post reporter called Tillis’ vote a “remarkable flip-flop.” WRAL’s editorial staff referred to it as a “flip-flop for the ages.” The Fayetteville Observer’s editorial writers said it was an “Olympic gold flip-flop.” In a fundraising email, the North Carolina Democratic Party said Tillis “says one thing, then does another.”
HEMP IS NORTH CAROLINA'S NEWEST CASH CROP: Lawmakers on Wednesday rolled out the annual Farm Act, and 10 pages of the 16-page proposal are dedicated to setting up the necessary infrastructure to capitalize on the federal government's loosening of restrictions on hemp production. Under a two-year pilot project allowed by the government, North Carolina's hemp production has skyrocketed, Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said. The state now has 634 licensed farmers growing hemp on about 8,000 acres and 3.4 million square feet of greenhouse space, up from 124 farmers and 2,200 acres and 242,000 square feet of greenhouse space last year, he said. There are also 413 licensed processors statewide, up almost tenfold from a year ago. The Farm Act calls for creating a nine-member state commission to license hemp growers. Growers would agree to allow state and local law enforcement on their property for spot inspections to ensure no one is trying to grow marijuana instead of hemp.
MOVE OVER CRAFT BEER, CRAFT LIQUOR IS STUMBLING THROUGH: Supporters of House Bill 378 and Senate Bill 290 say the changes would level the regulatory playing field for craft distillers, treating them more like the state’s craft breweries and wineries. Current law allows distilleries to serve quarter-ounce tastings and sell up to five bottles, per customer, per year to people who take a tour of their facility. All other purchases require a trip to the ABC store, and distillers say it can sometimes be difficult to get the government-run stores to stock their products. The new legislation – sponsored by Rep. Chuck McGrady, R-Henderson, and Sen. Rick Gunn, R-Alamance – would allow distilleries to get permits to serve on-site beer, wine and mixed drinks. “Now that we’ve done cideries and craft breweries, people are beginning to recognize that having an adult drink and even having family around playing games and whatnot are not inconsistent things,” McGrady said.
DONALD TRUMP'S CHILDISH ATTACKS ON JOHN MCCAIN CONTINUE: Now, months after Mr. McCain’s death in August, Mr. Trump suddenly cannot stop talking about his old adversary, outraging Mr. McCain’s supporters and creating another divide — if only temporary — between himself and congressional Republicans. His attacks began over the weekend, when the president used his Twitter feed to berate Mr. McCain for his role in giving the F.B.I. a dossier of unverified information about Mr. Trump’s connections to Russia that was compiled by a former British spy — a dossier the F.B.I. already had. He brought up Mr. McCain’s vote against repealing the Affordable Care Act. He claimed that Mr. McCain, a former prisoner of war, was “last in his class” at the Naval Academy, when Mr. McCain actually graduated fifth from the bottom. On Tuesday, seated in the Oval Office next to President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, Mr. Trump told reporters that he was “never a fan” of Mr. McCain, and never would be. And on Wednesday, Mr. Trump reiterated all those reasons in a diatribe that was part of a week that Mr. Trump seems to have dedicated to airing personal feuds.
NEW ZEALAND BANS ASSAULT RIFLES BEFORE ALL THE BODIES HAVE BEEN BURIED: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced an immediate ban Thursday on semi-automatic and automatic weapons like the ones used in the attacks on two mosques in Christchurch that killed 50 worshippers. The man charged in the attack had purchased his weapons legally using a standard firearms license and enhanced their capacity by using 30-round magazines “done easily through a simple online purchase,” she said. “Every semi-automatic weapon used in the terrorist attack on Friday will be banned,” she said. Ardern’s announcement comes less than a week after the killings, as more of the dead were being buried. At least six funerals took place Thursday, including for a teenager, a youth soccer coach and a Muslim convert who loved connecting with other women at the mosque.