Counting on Cary: Gabe Talton for City Council

I learned yesterday that my friend Gabe Talton may be entering the race for Cary Town Council. If true, this is very good news for both Cary and North Carolina.

When I first met Gabe, he had volunteered to represent me and Jane after our arrest at Moral Monday two years ago. He is a creative and effective attorney, with a deep commitment to fairness. He will likely be running against Don Franz, a long-time Republican who recently declared Independent. Franz ran for state house against Jennifer Weiss in 2010.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Greensboro tells Trudy, "We'll see you in court."

Federal court, no less. I can't wait to hear what the judge says when they tell him what went on in the Caucus meeting where a bunch of lawmakers were forced to change their votes is "Top Secret" and they don't have to tell him what was said. ;)

Daily dose: Two-faced Tillis edition

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Tillis backs protection for pharmaceutical firms (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Sen. Thom Tillis has been trying to work out a compromise on a patent reform bill, which would benefit the pharmaceutical industry by carving out an exemption from a streamlined review process for FDA-approved drugs. Last year he criticized Kay Hagan for taking campaign donations from the pharmaceutical industry.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article27...

Business likes solar

It's not just wind energy getting a boost in North Carolina.

The leadership at NCGA may not care for sustainable energy, but business really likes solar power. Solar power saves money and that has a direct impact on the bottom line. Target Stores like solar so much they are planning to add solar to their stores' rooftops.

Triangle Business Journal is reporting:

Target Corp. plans to have rooftop solar projects on as many as 30 stores in North Carolina by the end of the year, according to information from the company and filings with N.C. regulators.

Day 1: New voting law goes to trial

Some good reporting from a BlueNC friend. First of many.

Signed into law in August 2013, VIVA is a sweeping overhaul of North Carolina voting law. The new law ended same-day registration for voters, cut seven days from the state's early voting calendar, ended pre-registration of 16- and 17-year-olds and eliminated out-of-precinct ballots, among many other provisions.

Some details on NC voter rights case

In bench trials, there's only one opinion that matters:

U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder has given lawyers arguing against and for the changes between two and three weeks to make their case in a bench trial that could test the constitutionality and sweep of new voting rules adopted in Republican-led states.

The trial begins almost a month before the 50th anniversary of the landmark Voting Rights Act, which knocked down state and local efforts to keep African-Americans from voting.

I tried to find a stream or a live-blog to follow, but no luck so far. If anybody reading this finds something like that, please drop it in the comments or send me a message and I'll do it. Here are the three main issues being adjudicated:

Wind farm sprouting near Elizabeth City

And it's going to be a big one:

The $600 million project by Spanish developer Iberdrola Renewables LLC will put 102 turbines on 22,000 acres near the coastal community of Elizabeth City, with plans to add about 50 more. Once up and running, it could generate about 204 megawatts, or enough electricity to power about 60,000 homes.

Florida, Alabama and Georgia have signed contracts to start importing wind power from other regions to help with fuel price volatility. Wind farms have been proposed in Kentucky, Virginia, Alabama and other areas, the industry group said. Still, without state renewable energy mandates like North Carolina's, the growth could be slow going, experts said.

Which is something dinosaurs in the General Assembly like Rucho and Hager just can't seem to grasp: The REPS isn't a "burden" on the people of North Carolina, it's a catalyst for economic growth and a magnet for energy entrepreneurs. And every time they try to attack it, they show just how poor their reasoning skills are.

Daily dose: Court is in session edition

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Effects of changes on minorities at crux of NC voting trial (AP) — Changes to North Carolina's voting access rules finally go to trial this week, with a judge ultimately determining whether Republican legislators illegally diminished the opportunity for minorities to participate in the political process.
http://www.reflector.com/ap/staten/effects-changes-minorities-crux-nc-voting-trial-2932671

Federal trial in NC voting rights case scheduled to begin (AP) — A voting rights trial stemming from three federal lawsuits challenging provisions of a 2013 North Carolina law is getting under way.
http://www.greensboro.com/news/north_carolina_ap/federal-trial-in-nc-voting-rights-case-scheduled-to...

Those burdensome regulations

Among all their other train wreck policies, the NC GOP has made it a priority to "reduce these burdensome regulations", meaning they've spent a lot of time and effort gutting environmental and human safety regulations because sometimes those get in the way of a little bit of additional money in corporate fatcats' pockets.

It hasn't taken all that long for the results of their corporate allegiance to come home to roost. No one knows if the tragic deck collapse on Emerald Isle might have been prevented, but we do know that thanks to Neal Hunt and the NC GOP, Emerald Isle officials have no opportunity to perform routine deck inspections. Because freedom And profits.

At issue is a 2011 state law that says towns may make periodic inspections of residential properties only when there is “reasonable cause” to believe unsafe conditions exist. Emerald Isle Town Manager Frank Rush said that law prevents the town from inspecting beach houses unless there’s a complaint.

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