Daily dose

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.

Daily dose: No morals, no compass edition

Losing our moral compass? (Fayetteville Observer column) -- In our state some 500,000 people without health insurance. They are what have been called "the working poor." The Affordable Care Act - Obamacare - provides coverage for them, with the federal government paying for it. But our Republican politicians in Raleigh say no, not here. So the federal taxes you and I pay here in North Carolina go to providing health insurance for folks in New Jersey, whose Republican governor recognizes a good idea. But not here. These uninsured are real people. Some very sick, some in critical condition. Real people, suffering. Real people whose life will be shortened. Real people who will die way too soon, because Republican legislators like those from our neighborhood, Sen. Wesley Meredith and Rep. John Szoka, turn away. And Gov. Pat McCrory? He has publicly recognized that it is an issue that needs to be addressed. But not now. Maybe next year, after more North Carolinians suffer and die. It is clear that these politicians, growing up, missed the parable of the Good Samaritan. Missed that there are some things you must do, just because it is the right thing to do.

Daily dose: AWOL Tata version

As winter storm snarls N.C. traffic, DOT chief promotes book (WRAL-TV) -- A winter storm that dumped inches of snow across North Carolina Tuesday caught state transportation crews by surprise . But when state Transportation Secretary Tony Tata appeared on CNN Tuesday afternoon, it was to talk about his new military thriller, not problems on the roadways.

Daily dose: McCrory can't hide edition

Bad budgets hurt 2016 hopefuls (Politico) -- At the National Governors Association meeting in Washington this weekend, Republican Gov. Pat McCrory said he knows what his counterparts are going through as they put the finishing touches on their budget plans. “You can’t hide as a governor,” he said. “There’s nowhere to hide in a crisis, there’s nowhere to hide during a legislative session, and there’s nowhere to hide regarding just basic leadership skills. You’re in a bubble that’s extremely visible and people are expecting results. “But that’s why we all love the job,” he added. “You hear congressmen and senators go, ‘I hate it.’ I’ve yet to hear a governor say they hate their job … It’s much more difficult … but you can see the results.”

Daily dose: Keystone Veto edition

Obama’s Expected Keystone Veto Likely to Be First in Wave (New York Times) -- Wielding the weapon of his pen, President Obama this week is expected to formally reject a Republican attempt to force construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. But in stopping the transit of petroleum from the forests of Alberta to the Gulf Coast, Mr. Obama will be opening the veto era of his presidency. The expected Keystone veto, the third and most significant of Mr. Obama’s six years in office, would most likely be followed by presidential vetoes of bills that could emerge to make changes in the Affordable Care Act, impose new sanctions on Iran and roll back child nutrition standards, among others. Rep. David E. Price, a North Carolina Democrat, said Mr. Obama had little choice: “I don’t think, in this divided government, there’s much doubt he will have to use it.”

Daily dose: Main Street craziness edition

Main Street Democrats group wants to restore voters’ confidence (Fayetteville Observer) -- Twelve Democrats in the General Assembly say they're different from their colleagues who raised taxes during the Great Recession, an action that helped propel the Republicans to power in the 2010 elections. In January, they formed the NC Main Street Democrat Caucus. It's an effort to save a fading species in the political jungle: the moderate N.C. Democrat. That's who ran the state for much of the 20th century before the many Democrats followed their party to the left and the Republicans shifted right.


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