Daily dose

Saturday News: No good deed goes unpunished


SENATE BUDGET INCLUDES NEW FEES FOR ELECTRIC AND PLUG-IN HYBRID VEHICLES: The proposed budget approved by the Senate on Friday would increase the annual fee paid by owners of electric vehicles by $100, to $230 starting next year. Owners of plug-in hybrid vehicles would face a new registration fee of $115 a year. Both fees would be adjusted for population growth and inflation annually starting in 2021. A similar proposal was included in an early version of the House budget but was stripped out before the plan was approved by the House. Budget negotiators from the House and Senate will have to decide whether the proposal ends up in the final version of the budget the General Assembly sends to the governor. Owners of electric vehicles have paid a special annual registration fee since 2013, and it was raised to $130 two years later. But this would be the first time hybrid vehicle owners would face such a fee.

Friday News: Racist, sexist, or both


REPUBLICANS CUT CHIEF JUSTICE CHERI BEASLEY'S STAFF IN HALF: “I think it’s a dastardly thing,” Lowe said. “We’ve got our first African-American female chief justice. And we haven’t taken resources away from others that served this position and served this state. To take them away now, it just seems morally wrong.” Lowe briefly continued his criticisms but then cut himself off, saying “the last thing I want to do is cuss in this chamber.” McKissick said that “when we make decisions like this, it should be blind.” The budget isn’t official yet, since the House and Senate have different suggestions that they will need to reconcile. The cuts to Beasley’s staff are just one example of differences in the two chambers, since the House did not recommend similar cuts. But if the proposed cuts to Beasley’s staff are approved in the end, McKissick said that she would be the only appellate judge in the state with just one law clerk. “I have to ask what the justification for this is,” McKissick said.

Thursday News: Mark your calendar


NC HOUSE VETO OVERRIDE VOTE ON "BORN ALIVE" BILL WILL BE JUNE 5: After pulling a potential vote to override Gov. Roy Cooper's veto of an abortion bill off the House calendar nine times over the last four weeks, House Speaker Tim Moore on Wednesday set a date certain for the vote. Moore, R-Cleveland, said the override vote on Senate Bill 359, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, would be held on June 5. The bill would make it a felony for a doctor not to provide care for an infant born after a botched abortion, and it creates a duty for other health care professionals to report any such failure to act. Lawmakers passed the measure last month, but Cooper quickly vetoed it, calling it "an unnecessary interference between doctors and their patients" because state law already protects newborns. "This needless legislation would criminalize doctors and other health care providers for a practice that simply does not exist," he said.

Wednesday News: Now they're just breaking stuff

SENATE REPUBLICANS MOVING DHHS TO GRANVILLE COUNTY: The Senate proposes $250 million to construct a new administrative facility in Granville County for DHHS employees currently working at the Dix location in Raleigh. The State Employees Association of North Carolina compared the proposal to move DHHS to the DMV move. “Much like the DMV move, this would cause the state to lose many well-trained career employees. But unlike the DMV move, this would add significant traffic to already congested roads. And we cannot imagine that citizens traveling those roads on a daily basis now would appreciate this,” SEANC Government Relations Director Ardis Watkins said in a written statement. The move could affect up to 2,000 employees, according to SEANC.

Tuesday News: Tarheel Taliban


FRANKLIN GRAHAM CALLS FOR PRAYER TO "STRENGTHEN" DONALD TRUMP: Evangelist Franklin Graham, the son of the late Rev. Billy Graham, called on Christians Sunday to set aside Sunday, June 2, as a "special day of prayer for the President." "President Trump's enemies continue to try everything to destroy him, his family and the presidency," Graham wrote on Facebook. "In the history of our country, no president has been attacked as he has. I believe the only hope for him, and this nation, is God." The response has been mixed. Many people have promised to pray for the president. And many have taken Graham to task for politicizing prayer. Andy Rowell, a graduate of Duke Divinity School and assistant professor of ministry leadership at Bethel Seminary in Minnesota, wrote: "All Christians believe in praying for their government leaders. But this initiative and wording and signers has been shaped to be an event flattering President Trump without regard to the morality of what he does."

Monday News: Wake us from this nightmare


NC'S CONGRESSIONAL DEMS TALK IMPEACHMENT: North Carolina’s three Democrats in the U.S. House say they are getting closer to supporting impeachment steps against President Donald Trump, citing the administration’s stymieing of House investigations. “The President has demonstrated a clear disregard for the rule of law and he must be held accountable. Impeachment is not off the table,” Rep. Alma Adams, a Charlotte Democrat, said in a statement. “We are at a tipping point in this whole impeachment thing where members are going to have to crystallize their positions on impeachment. I’m not there yet, but we’re getting pretty darn close,” Butterfield, a Wilson Democrat, told McClatchy this week. “If this cover up continues, President Trump may leave us no choice,” said Rep. David Price, a Chapel Hill Democrat.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


KEEP LEGISLATIVE ANTICS OUT OF ABORTION BILL VOTE: Legislative antics are always present in some capacity, but this round is downright cruel. Remember, the legislators in Raleigh work part-time. They have jobs separate from legislating, don’t make much money from it and have to commute from all over the state. They also have personal lives and families. One such legislator is Sydney Batch, who represents District 37 in Wake County. During her campaign last year, she was diagnosed with cancer. Despite that, she stayed in the race and defeated an incumbent in a district difficult for Democrats to win. Batch is recovering from surgery for her cancer, but still made it to vote. Then Moore rescheduled it. Another representative left her husband, who is currently in the hospital, to appear for the same vote. Moore rescheduled it. How long can this go on? To bring legislators dealing with real, personal issues back and forth on a vote that may never occur is cruel and serves no purpose for North Carolinians.

Saturday News: Judicial remedy


JUDGE FORMALLY STRIKES DOWN NC'S 20-WEEK ABORTION BAN: A federal judge has formally issued his decision striking down North Carolina's ban on abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy, except in a medical emergency. U.S. District Judge William Osteen signed his judgment dated Friday — 60 days after issuing a memorandum explaining why he declared the law unconstitutional. He wrote in March the 20-week limit prohibited some abortions before a fetus could live outside the womb. The judgment means some women could now obtain abortions later but prior to viability. Osteen wrote the 60-day delay was designed in part to give legislators time to replace the law. That hasn't occurred.

Friday News: Long overdue


GOVERNOR COOPER ISSUES EXECUTIVE ORDER FOR PAID PARENTAL LEAVE: Starting Sept. 1, new mothers will get eight weeks paid leave after giving birth with full pay. Fathers and other partners will get four weeks, as will parents who adopt or take in a new foster child. The benefit kicks in after an employee has been with the state for one year. Before this, state policy required employees to take sick leave or vacation to spend time with a new child, and they could also take up to three months of unpaid leave. "During this important bonding time, our employees will no longer have to choose between their career and their child," Cooper said at a ceremony to sign the executive order. Some 56,000 state employees at state agencies under the governor will be eligible.

Thursday News: Toxic ideas


NC REPUBLICAN BILL WOULD ALLOW TVS AND COMPUTERS BE DUMPED IN LANDFILLS: “This is like a bad penny that keeps turning up,” Sen. Mike Woodard, a Durham Democrat, said Wednesday. The worry about electronics in landfills is not just about the space they use, but toxic heavy metals they contain. Michael Scott, director of the Waste Management Division at the state Department of Environmental Quality, said the department would prefer changes to the current electronics recycling program rather than lifting the ban on landfill disposal. The recycling market has ups and downs, he said, but there’s still a market for materials from electronics. The state has six major recyclers, Scott said.


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