Daily dose

Daily dose: Tata data version

Where’s Tony? (Keep up to date with A.J.) -- Will there be a Tour T-shirt? Here’s where N.C. Transportation Secretary Tony Tata’s been, and where he’s going to promote his new novel: Chicago, IL – Pritzker Military Library, Feb. 24; Quantico, VA – Quantico base exchange, Feb.27; Arlington, VA – Henderson Hall base exchange, Feb. 28; Fayetteville, NC – Airborne and Special Operations Museum, March 7; Fayetteville, NC – Barnes & Noble, March 7; Raleigh, NC – Quail Ridge Books & Music, March 8; Raleigh, NC – John Locke Foundation, March 9; Jacksonville, NC – Camp LeJeune base exchange, March 13; Havelock, NC – Cherry Point base exchange, March 14; Virginia Beach, VA-Barnes & Noble, March 21.

Editor's note: At first I thought this was a joke, but it's a real promo thing. And a joke, though he doesn't know it.

Daily dose: Marching backwards edition

On the Selma Anniversary, These North Carolina Activists Will March Backwards (Mother Jones) -- Activists, politicians, and luminaries from across the nation will flock to Selma, Alabama, this weekend to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the nonviolent voting-rights march that was undermined by police-sanctioned attacks, presaging the passage, six months later, of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. But this year's events, which include a reenactment of the fateful march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, are shaping up to have a more activist edge than past commemorations. Some black leaders, such as North Carolina NAACP president Rev. Doctor William Barber II, will use the day to highlight the assault on black voting rights in the wake of a 2013 Supreme Court decision that rolled back a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. Rather than make it across the bridge, Barber and his delegation plan to turn around and march back toward Selma.

Daily dose: Cause and effect edition

McCrory administration proposes permits to let Duke pollution to continue (AP) — Duke Energy could legally leak pollutants from some of its coal ash dumps under new wastewater permits proposed Friday by North Carolina regulators.

Next N.C. governor's race looks close (Charlotte Business Journal) -- Attorney General Roy Cooper, the presumed Democratic nominee, is, in the early going, proving to be a close contender against incumbent Gov. Pat McCrory. Even so, McCrory, a Republican and a former Charlotte mayor, enjoys a strong base and name recognition.

Daily dose: McCrory's confusing budget edition

McCrory budget restores historic tax credits, boosts education spending (Winston-Salem Journal) -- North Carolinians would not face higher state-government taxes to support the $21.5 billion in general-fund spending next fiscal year starting July, under Gov. Pat McCrory’s proposed budget announced Thursday.

Proposed transportation budget counts on higher gas tax (Raleigh News & Observer) -- In his transportation budget, Gov. Pat McCrory avoids drastic cuts in state spending for road construction and bridge repairs. McCrory’s budget assumes that the General Assembly will change the law this spring, to fix the gas tax at 35 cents a gallon. The Senate approved this adjustment last month, in order to keep the gas tax from dropping to a projected average 30.4 cents in fiscal year 2015-16 and 31.3 cents in 2016-17.

Daily dose: GOP blocks gas tax cut edition

Republican-led House blocks 20 percent cut in state gas tax -- The state House gave preliminary approval 70-47 Wednesday night to block a 20 percent cut in the state's gasoline taxes, an effort aimed at stopping a large shortfall from forming in the state's road-building revenues starting July 1.

A divided NC House OKs gas hike tax to 36-cent (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The House gave tentative approval Wednesday, in a 70-47 vote, to a bill that would drop the state gas tax to 36 cents a gallon starting April 1 and continuing through December. The new rate would be a 1.5-cent tax cut initially, since the current tax is 37.5 cents. But the bill would prevent motorists from enjoying a much bigger tax cut for the last six months of the year.

Daily dose: McCrory's 4th "E" should have been "Ethics."

Ethics complaint against McCrory appears to advance (Raleigh News & Observer) -- An ethics complaint filed against Gov. Pat McCrory in January for failing to disclose income from Duke Energy and Tree.com appears to be moving forward in the State Ethics Commission. A preliminary review period has passed, and neither the governor nor the complainant, an advocacy group called Progress N.C. Action, is commenting. Progress N.C. Action’s complaint alleges ethics law violations by McCrory over what it claims is a pattern by the governor of failing to fully disclose his financial interests as required.

Daily dose: Fear wins again edition

Charlotte LGBT ordinance fails 6-5 in contentious meeting (Charlotte Observer) -- After a contentious meeting on Monday, Charlotte City Council voted down the most controversial ordinance it has considered in years, a nondiscrimination proposal that would have added sexual orientation and gender identity to protected categories. Some 120 people signed up to speak at the 6 p.m. meeting. By 9:45 p.m., nearly 100 had addressed the council, one at a time, at two minutes each. Prior to the meeting, supporters and opponents sent nearly 40,000 emails to City Council members about the proposal.

Daily dose: Hunting season still open edition

'Hunting Ground' Updated (Inside Higher Ed) -- The film originally claimed that the "presidents or chancellors of UNC, Harvard, Notre Dame, Florida State, Berkeley, Occidental and more than 35 other schools all declined to be interviewed." It's no longer making that claim.

NCSU police: Sex assault at frat house reported (Raleigh News & Observer) -- North Carolina State University police say a report of a sexual assault at the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity house early Sunday is under investigation.

Daily dose: Creative bigotry edition

How far must NC go to deal with gay marriage concerns? (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- During the state Senate’s emotional two-hour debate last week over a bill that would allow magistrates and some register of deeds office employees to opt out of facilitating marriages on religious grounds, Sen. Bill Cook made one of proponents’ main arguments in just a few words. “If I were a magistrate and we didn’t pass this bill and I lost my job because I hold certain religious principles dear, I’d sue and I think I’d win,” said Cook, a Beaufort County Republican. Not necessarily, say two experts, one of whom is an advocate of Senate Bill 2, which passed the Senate on Wednesday. But, the bill backer says, just because the state does not have to allow employees to recuse themselves doesn’t mean it cannot legally give them that option.

Daily dose: Weekend edition

Getting ready for the education budget: What you need to know from 2014-15 (EdNC) -- Between the campaign ads last fall and the negative headlines that dominate coverage of our schools, it is hard to know what the deal is with education funding. Is it up? Is it down? Both sides rely on numbers that support their conclusions and pick the comparison point that strengthens their argument.

Will snow, ice reduce state General Assembly agenda? (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- Don't let your friends from up North criticize the way Western North Carolina handles significant snowfall. Tell them to pick on the Piedmont, and Raleigh in particular, instead. Ice and snow last week and mostly snow this week forced cancellation of several legislative sessions and a raft of committee meetings. The House didn't meet Wednesday or Thursday and plans only a pro forma session Friday with just a handful of members attending. The Senate managed to hold a floor session Wednesday with 48 of 50 senators present, but cancelled its Thursday session and will meet with only a skeleton crew on Friday.

NC Juggles Fuel Taxes To Disguise Increase (Go by truck news) -- North Carolina Senators have passed a bill that would freeze fuel taxes until the end of the year, when the rate would increase by nearly 3 percent. The bill is designed to address two problems: 1) falling tax income with the decrease in fuel prices, and 2) a longer-term need for increased transportation funding. If passed, S20, would freeze fuel taxes at 35 cents per gallon through the end of 2015. Next year, the 7 percent wholesale part of the tax rate would be increased to 9.9 percent. Instead of being adjusted every six months, the rate would be adjusted once a year.


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