IN FIRST BUDGET, COOPER PUSHES FOR MEDICAID EXPANSION (N.C. Health News) -- In rolling out his first budget, Gov. Roy Cooper said he will be able to increase North Carolina’s spending for the coming fiscal year by $1.1 billion. Cooper’s $23.48 billion dollar spending plan for 2017-18 emphasizes increasing teacher pay, increasing salaries for state employees across the board and builds on former Gov. McCrory’s infrastructure improvements to upgrade more state properties. “I have talked to hospital CEOs. I think they are willing and ready and able to step up in exchange for this expansion,” he said. “It’s gonna be a net gain for them. They’re getting hundreds of millions of dollars in this expansion.”
HALL WILL ATTEND HEARING, AFTER JUDGE DECLINES TO RULE ON SUBPOENA (Raleigh News & Observer) -- A judge has declined to act on the governor’s request to delay a subpoena commanding Larry Hall to appear before a Senate committee Thursday. Hall reportedly plans to attend. Hall is caught in the middle of a power struggle between the Republican-controlled Senate and Gov. Roy Cooper, who sued to block the Senate from conducting nomination hearings on his Cabinet appointments. After Hall missed three meetings of the committee, the Senate issued a subpoena last Thursday for Hall to appear.
MORE BILLS CHIP AWAY MORE OF GOVERNOR'S POWER (Greensboro News & Record) -- Here we go again. More proposed fiddling with the courts by our legislature. Two bills would transfer from the governor to the legislature the power to appoint District Court judges and special Superior Court judges when vacancies occur. The bill filed today would eliminate any role played by local lawyers. The legislature could make the selection with no input from the Bar. The second bill would have the legislature instead of the governor appoint unelected special Superior Court judges, including those designated by the chief justice to serve as business court judges. Both these measures are meant to further erode the power of the governor and to further strengthen the legislative branch.
BURR SAYS HE ‘DIDN’T DO ANYTHING INAPPROPRIATE’ IN RUSSIA PROBE, DEFENDS LACK OF TOWN HALLS (Raleigh News & Observer) -- U.S. Sen. Richard Burr this week defended his remarks to reporters about reports of contacts between Russians and associates of President Donald Trump, and he explained why he hasn’t held town halls in North Carolina. Burr was also asked if he thinks a special prosecutor is needed in the investigation of possible Trump ties to Russia. “If at the end of (the Intelligence Committee’s probe) we found a reason to have a special prosecutor, I would gladly go out and call for one,” he said. “But there’s been nothing to suggest that this rises to the level of a special prosecutor.”