RICHARD BURR COMES UNDER FIRE FOR WANTING TO TAX ATHLETIC SCHOLARSHIPS: From a Playboy reporter to the publisher of a conservative magazine, Burr drew fierce pushback on Tuesday for a tweet about how the government should treat student-athletes. “If college athletes are going to make money off their likenesses while in school, their scholarships should be treated like income. I’ll be introducing legislation that subjects scholarships given to athletes who choose to ‘cash in’ to income taxes.” Roughly an hour after Burr tweeted, his comment generated 6,000 responses -- most of them negative -- and less than 900 “likes.” The criticism came from the left and the right. “You could sell a t-shirt with your own smiling face on it to your friends and (Burr) would want to tax your scholarship. What a stupid backwards garbage idea,” tweeted Ben Domenech, co-founder of The Federalist, a conservative website.
RATEMAKING PART OF DUKE ENERGY'S BILL S559 IS STRIPPED OUT: Lawmakers hit the brakes Tuesday on legislation to change the way North Carolina regulators approve utility rate increases, dealing a blow to Duke Energy, which pushed hard for the change. The soon-to-emerge new version of Senate Bill 559 will still change the way Duke and other utility companies finance storm repairs, a move said to save ratepayers money that always had broad support at the statehouse. But the bill's second section, which supporters had previously declined to separate from less controversial parts of the bill, is coming out. The state Senate was on board with this second part of the bill, but supporters couldn't get over the hump in the House. Support, and opposition, was bipartisan in both chambers. Gov. Roy Cooper expressed concerns with the bill but never publicly threatened a veto. The solar industry also pushed back against the measure, making for tougher sledding in the House. A solar group sent out a fundraising ask for Rep. John Szoka, R-Cumberland, earlier this year, calling him a champion for opposing the bill.
GOP CONGRESSMEN WANT NCGA TO HURRY UP WITH NEW MAPS: Some members of North Carolina’s congressional delegation want the state’s legislature to redraw its congressional map — and do it fast. “I don’t understand how their rationale could be any different from the legislative districts, and they redrew those,” Rep. George Holding, a Raleigh Republican, said of the state legislature, which recently — and quickly — redrew House and Senate maps after a court order. In addition to low turnout, lawmakers cited cost to counties and voter confusion among reasons not to hold a standalone primary. “It serves no one’s interest to have a standalone congressional primary,” said Rep. Richard Hudson, a Concord Republican. Said Rep. Greg Murphy, a Greenville Republican: “We don’t need to, in my opinion, have the taxpayers incur any additional costs.”
PAPADOPOULOS OUT OF JAIL, AND RUNNING FOR KATIE HILL'S CONGRESSIONAL SEAT: Now a free man living in California, Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to federal agents investigating Russian interference in Donald Trump’s election, is planning to make his return to politics — as a candidate for Congress. His seat of choice? The one occupied by Rep. Katie Hill (D-Calif.), who announced Sunday that she is resigning amid an ethics investigation into allegations that she had been romantically involved with her legislative director. Hill has denied the charge but admitted to engaging in a consensual three-person relationship with her now-estranged husband and a member of her campaign staff. The freshman lawmaker, who identifies as bisexual, became embroiled in controversy earlier this month after a conservative news site and British tabloid published nude photos of her without her consent. “If he pled guilty to lying to the FBI — how do we know he’ll tell us the truth?” Smith tweeted, tagging Papadopoulos. “We deserve someone from our community serving as our voice — not @realDonaldTrump’s wannabe political hack!”
WHITE HOUSE DOCTORED TRANSCRIPTS OF UKRAINE CALL TO OMIT BIDEN REFERENCES: Colonel Vindman, who appeared on Capitol Hill wearing his dark blue Army dress uniform and military medals, told House impeachment investigators that he tried to change the reconstructed transcript made by the White House staff to reflect the omissions. But while some of his edits appeared to have been successful, he said, those two corrections were not made. Colonel Vindman did not testify to a motive behind the White House editing process. But his testimony is likely to drive investigators to ask further questions about how officials handled the call, including changes to the transcript and the decision to put it into the White House’s most classified computer system — and whether those moves were meant to conceal the conversation’s most controversial aspects. In hours of questioning on Tuesday by Democrats and Republicans, Colonel Vindman recounted his alarm at the July 25 call, saying he “did not think it was proper” for Mr. Trump to have asked Mr. Zelensky to investigate a political rival, and how White House officials struggled to deal with the fallout from a conversation he and others considered problematic.