DALLAS WOODHOUSE BULLIES SEN. DON DAVIS INTO VOTING FOR BUDGET: The vote, the first of two the Senate will take on the budget, was 36-14. Sen. Don Davis, D-Pitt, was the lone Democrat to cross the aisle to vote for a plan crafted by Republicans in a process that allowed no amendments once leadership signed off on budget changes drafted almost entirely behind closed doors. Davis occupies what may be the only competitive Senate district held by a Democrat, making this a tougher vote for him than most. North Carolina Republican Party Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse called Davis out by name ahead of the vote, and Republicans were already plotting campaign commercials on social media during the debate, ticking off the state employee and teacher raises Democrats would be voting against.
GOP BUDGET DELAYS IMPLEMENTATION OF JORDAN AND FALLS LAKE RULES SEVERAL MORE YEARS: Strategies for new rules to clean up Jordan Lake were scheduled to be put into place about a year from now, but will be given until the end of 2020, under the budget. New regulations for Falls Lake will be given until the end of 2024. The Sierra Club says this fifth delay of environmental protections at Jordan Lake conflicts with the federally mandated requirements to protect drinking water reservoirs. "The budget contains yet another delay of the many-times-delayed Jordan Lake clean-up rules," Sierra Club legislative affairs director Cassie Gavin said in an email Wednesday. "Given the public focus and concern about water quality issues right now, this is surprising and unwelcome."
TILLIS CHEESES WILMINGTON BUSINESSMEN TO BOOST ROUZER'S CAMPAIGN: Regulatory reform, tax reform, immigration and foreign trade were among the bevvy of issues U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis and U.S. Rep. David Rouzer -- both North Carolina Republicans -- discussed during an intimate round table chat with business leaders Wednesday. Tillis said the push to scale back the number of regulations -- right down to the number and types of forms required by businesses -- would primarily benefit small businesses, given that big businesses have “legions of specialists and attorneys” to handle any regulations. “If you’re a small business, on any given day you could be the CEO, the CFO, the head of regulatory affairs or anything else,” Tillis said. “But that’s really where the regulatory burden needed to be eased.” The state’s junior senator and Southeastern North Carolina’s representative in the U.S. House, who are on a break from session, held the impromptu meeting with a handful of the region’s business leaders at the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce.
ACLU AND SPLC FILE LAWSUIT TO STOP NC FROM REVOKING DRIVERS LICENSES FROM THOSE WHO CAN'T PAY FINES: A federal lawsuit filed in North Carolina says low-income people shouldn’t lose their drivers’ licenses when they can’t afford to pay traffic fines and court costs. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center are among the groups that filed the lawsuit Wednesday on behalf of two named plaintiffs. They say they can’t afford to pay their traffic tickets, so they have to decide between driving with a revoked license or not supporting their families. The lawsuit says the practice violates the right to due process under the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution because the state doesn’t offer drivers a hearing to explain why they haven’t paid. DMV Commissioner Torre Jessup is named as the defendant. A spokeswoman says the state is reviewing the lawsuit.
TRUMP REALLY WANTS TO FIRE JEFF SESSIONS, BUT THESE MEAN PEOPLE WON'T LET HIM: The case that Sessions' protectors have outlined to Trump time and again largely consists of three components: Firing Sessions, a witness in Mueller's investigation of obstruction of justice, would add legal peril to his standing in the Russia probe; doing so would anger the president's political base, which Trump cares deeply about, especially with midterm election looming this fall; and a number of Republican senators would rebel against the treatment of a longtime colleague who was following Justice Department guidelines in his recusal. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has said that he will not schedule a confirmation hearing for another attorney general nominee if Sessions is fired. Giuliani told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Trump has asked him multiple times, before and after the former New York mayor joined the president's legal team last month, about whether Sessions should have been fired.