Daily dose

Daily dose: The continued shrinking of DENR

Proposed move of state parks causes jitters (Coastal Review) -- Although not as many headlines about sweeping changes in state government are expected during the current legislative session, one major proposal is already in the works. Officials with the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources, or DENR, and the Department of Cultural Resources say they are hammering out the details for transferring the state park system, the zoo, natural science museums, aquariums and Jennette’s Pier from DENR to Cultural Resources.

Daily dose: HKonJ edition

'Moral March' participants again demand changes to NC laws (AP) -- Still working toward substantial victories at the ballot box and the legislature, thousands of demonstrators opposed to Republican policies within North Carolina demanded again Saturday that laws be repealed that they say harm the sick, the poor and minorities.
http://www.wral.com/annual-mass-moral-march-for-nc-held-saturday-in-raleigh/14446306/

Daily dose: Sex, lies, and video streaming

LAP DANCES IN LEGISLATIVE CHAMBERS? Ethics panel says sex acts don't violate gift ban (WRAL-TV) -- Sexual acts between lobbyists and a state official covered by North Carolina's state ethics act do not constitute a "reportable expenditure" or "things of value," according to a ruling the State Ethics Commission published the Friday before Valentine's Day.
http://www.wral.com/nc-ethics-commission-sex-acts-don-t-violate-lobbyist-gift-ban/14445227/

Daily dose: The People vs. Trudy Wade

State delegation plays to full house at City Hall (Greensboro News & Record) -- Residents packed into City Hall on Thursday night to get two minutes in front of their legislative delegation. Many had the same message: They do not like Sen. Trudy Wade’s bill to reconfigure the Greensboro City Council.
http://www.news-record.com/news/local_news/state-delegation-plays-to-full-house-at-city-hall/article...

Daily dose: Money in state politics edition

Tar Heel Power Brokers: Special interests spend big to get their way (Facing South) – A first study of its kind looks at the top special interests in North Carolina politics and measures their influence in the state. The Facing South/ISS report looks at two key ways special interests wield their influence: * Election Spending: Money that special interests have spent directly and indirectly to elect state-level politicians in the 2012 and 2014 elections, based on analyzing thousands of state and federal campaign finance reports. Lobbying Clout: Special interests with the strongest lobbying presence in North Carolina government, drawing on the latest rankings produced by the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research .
http://www.southernstudies.org/2015/02/tar-heel-power-brokers-special-interests-spend-big.html

Daily dose: Hole in budget gets deeper

Economists predict $271M NC government shortfall this year (AP) — North Carolina's tax collections this year are expected to come up $271 million short of what's needed to cover the $21 billion state government budget, economists at the General Assembly and Gov. Pat McCrory's administration say.
http://www.reflector.com/ap/staten/economists-predict-271m-nc-government-shortfall-year-2791437

Daily dose: Worker abuse, government style

Report calls for ban on certain NC government work contracts (AP) — The General Assembly should ban personal services contracts from state government, a legislative watchdog agency recommended Monday, saying lax oversight has caused the agreements with temporary workers to be "misused and abused." More than 14,600 such personal service contracts were in force across agencies during the 2012-13 fiscal year, valued at $58 million, the legislature's Program Evaluation Division wrote in a report.
http://www.reflector.com/ap/staten/report-calls-ban-certain-nc-government-work-contracts-2789983

Daily dose: Tribute to Dean Smith

Dean Smith dies at 83; N.C. coaching legend (LA Times) – A blue line, 10 inches wide, awaited North Carolina basketball players at the arena's entrance each day before practice. They knew it as the spot where competition began. It was to be crossed only after both shoes were tied, practice jerseys were properly tucked, and minds were prepared. It was just a line on the floor, but it was also much more: It was a metaphorical border of what celebrated coach Dean Smith called “the Carolina Way” — a sense of humility, teamwork and just plain hard work that came to be seen as the university’s ideal.
http://www.latimes.com/local/obituaries/la-me-dean-smith-story-20150208-story.html

Daily dose: Stam's Medicaid expansion ignorance

LEGISLATURE 2015
FactCheck: Talking about Medicaid 'On the Record' (WRAL-TV) -- Reps. Skip Stam and Grier Martin debated the proposals from Gov. McCrory's State of the State speech in this week's "On the Record." We fact check a couple of Stam’s claims. … "Most of the people who would be in any kind of Medicaid expansion are already getting large subsidies on the federal exchange, several hundred thousand probably," Stam said. He also added, "The other thing is to realize every dollar that's spent by the federal government for Medicaid expansion is being borrowed from the Chinese." The two claims came within a minute of one another, both overstate their points and leave out important context, and taken together they receive a red light on our fact-checking scale.
http://www.wral.com/fact-check-talking-about-medicaid-on-the-record-/14428311/

Daily dose: TGIF version

5 candidates running to succeed Voller as NC Dems chair (AP) -- The state Democratic Party, still reeling after losing its decades of dominance in North Carolina politics four years ago, is once again choosing a leader members hope will unite the party and bring in more money and electoral victories.

http://www.wral.com/5-candidates-running-to-succeed-voller-as-nc-dems-chair/14427198/

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