NC REPUBLICANS DANCE BACK AND FORTH WITH VETO OVERRIDES AND CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS: Three of the seven vetoes Gov. Roy Cooper issued late Monday have been overridden and are now law. They are the Farm Act, with its controversial provision insulating hog farms from lawsuits by neighbors, changes to the early voting schedule and rollbacks of various state regulations. The House quickly overrode two other vetoes but didn't even touch the final two. The Senate has yet to take up any of the four remaining. Both chambers also continue to pass proposed amendments back and forth. The Senate gave final approval to an amendment that would once again overhaul the structure of the state elections board. The measure, if approved by voters in November, also would asset legislative authority to appoint people to dozens of state boards and commissions.
NC GOP TRIES TO DISTANCE ITSELF FROM AVOWED WHITE SUPREMACIST LEGISLATIVE CANDIDATE: A website tied to a candidate for the North Carolina General Assembly says God is a racist white supremacist and that Jews are descended from Satan. Russell Walker is a Republican candidate running for state House District 48 which includes Scotland and Hoke counties. On Tuesday, the North Carolina Republican Party withdrew its support for Walker. "What is wrong with being a white supremacist? God is a racist and a white supremacist," the website connected to Walker says. "Someone or group has to be supreme and that group is the whites of the world ... someone or something has to be inferior ... In all history in sub-Saharan Africa, no two-story building or a waterproof boat was ever made." Walker has authored multiple essays and other articles on the site and has said it belongs to him.
BUSINESS LOBBIES BLOCK COOPER APPOINTMENT TO INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION: The chances are slim one of Gov. Roy Cooper's picks will gain legislative approval for the North Carolina Industrial Commission because he's opposed by more than a dozen business groups. The outlook is so gloomy that a Democrat, Sen. Floyd McKissick of Durham, suggested Wednesday that nominee Robert Harris simply withdraw. Harris is an attorney with 15 years experience at the Industrial Commission, where he adjudicates workers compensation claims as a deputy commissioner. Cooper tapped him to move up to the full commission, but business groups don't like his track record, saying he sides too often with employees. Lobbyists for the groups said they had a team of attorneys analyze more than 300 of Harris' decisions as a deputy commissioner and that he sided with employees 60 percent of the time.
LGBT AND ABORTION RIGHTS LESS SECURE WITH EXIT OF KENNEDY FROM SUPREME COURT: Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Supreme Court's decisive man in the middle on abortion, gay rights and other contentious issues, announced his retirement Wednesday, giving President Donald Trump a golden chance to cement conservative control of the nation's highest court. The 81-year-old Kennedy, often a voice of moderation over three decades on the court, provided the key vote on such closely divided issues as affirmative action, guns, campaign finance and voting rights in addition to same-sex marriage and the right to abortion. Kennedy informed his colleagues of his plans, then went to the White House to meet with Trump, where the president said they talked for half an hour about a potential successor and other topics. The retirement will take effect at the end of July.
TRUMP PICKS FOX NEWS EXEC WHO "LOOKED THE OTHER WAY" ON SEXUAL HARASSMENT AS DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF: Shine, who left Fox last year amid questions over his handling of sexual harassment and discrimination allegations, was expected to oversee the White House press and communications shops, according to another person familiar with Trump’s thinking. Trump has effectively been serving as his own communications director since the departure of Hope Hicks several months ago. Shine was never accused of direct wrongdoing but resigned from Fox last year amid allegations that also led to the departures of CEO Roger Ailes and Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly. The longtime Ailes lieutenant was considered vulnerable because of claims that he looked the other way as charges of toxic workplace behavior piled up. He’d been named co-president with Jack Abernethy upon Ailes’ departure. Shine is close with another Fox News host, Sean Hannity, a close friend of the president’s.