Daily dose

Monday News: Amendment madness continues


NC SENATE BACK IN SESSION TODAY FOR AMENDMENT REWRITE SHENANIGANS: The state Senate planned Monday to debate and vote on a pair of amendments aimed at complying with a ruling by judges last week. The judges said the referenda attached to the amendments lawmakers passed in June failed to explain suitably what changes would occur if voters approved them. Republican lawmakers called a special session last Friday, when the House voted for the replacement amendments. Both amendments would shift powers from the executive branch to the legislature, although the scope of one amendment was scaled back in the latest versions. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper sued over the previous amendments and says the new ones remain "dishonest and dangerous."

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


IF "SILENT SAM" RETURNS TO HIS PEDESTAL, THIS ALUM WILL MOVE ON: Last year, I donated $50,000 to the university in order to establish a study abroad scholarship for minority and low-income students. My intention has been to renew that gift several times over in the years ahead. I believe the University is a magnificent institution with a unique legacy in American higher education. And yet, if the university re-installs the 1913 statue known as “Silent Sam,” I will discontinue my financial support and involvement in its alumni programs. This is a clarifying moment in the university’s history. Strange as it might seem, the university finds itself with a decision that’s identical to the one the administration of 1913 contemplated: Whether to erect a statue honoring the Confederate cause. Not whether to take such a statue down as debated in places like Charlottesville and New Orleans, but—owing to the handiwork of the “vandals”—whether to put one up.

Saturday News: Tying a ribbon on a pig


"SPECIAL" SESSION DOES VERY LITTLE TO IMPROVE AMENDMENTS: In a news conference Friday morning, Sen. Dan Blue, the leader of Senate Democrats, said Republicans are more interested in power than policy. “Power-grab amendments, that’s what this is about,” said Blue, noting this is the seventh special legislative session since early 2016. “An outrageous amount of this General Assembly’s time and resources have been spent circumventing the law and rigging, and trying to rig the system,” Blue said. During the House debate, the Republican majority rejected suggested changes from Rep. Darren Jackson, the Democratic leader from Wake County. Jackson wanted to make it clear on the ballot that the amendment would change the makeup of the elections board, giving it eight members rather than nine. He warned that a board with an even number would be hopelessly deadlocked on critical ethics and voting issues.

Friday News: Confederacy of dunces


LARRY PITTMAN SAYS TOPPLING OF SILENT SAM COULD LEAD TO ANOTHER CIVIL WAR: In a post on Rep. Michael Speciale’s Facebook page, Pittman suggested that chaos will be the result if nothing is done. “I contacted a friend on the UNC Board of Governors and told him that whoever decided that nothing would be done to stop this from happening should be summarily fired and any UNC students who were involved should (be) expelled,” Pittman’s post says. “I called the Chancellor’s office and left a message to that effect, as well. If we don’t stand up and put a stop to this mob rule, it could lead to an actual civil war.” Pittman is one of several who suggested that law enforcement, UNC officials and North Carolina politicians should be held accountable for the downed statue.

Thursday News: Another "Special" Session?


REPUBLICANS FILE INTENT TO APPEAL, BUT MAY REWRITE BLOCKED AMENDMENTS: Speaker of the House Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger asked to take that fight to the state Court of Appeals, where they'd try to overturn a three-judge panel's decision to forbid the state from putting a pair of constitutional amendments on the ballot as planned. Another path remains a possibility though: another special legislative session, held on short notice to rewrite the ballot questions in a way that will pass muster with the court. Cooper said Wednesday afternoon that the legislature should not come back into session, and that doing so with ballot deadlines looming in September would be "reckless." The State Board of Elections has said Sept. 1 is the latest it can finalize ballots and meet federal deadlines. Both amendments in question in Cooper's suit would shift appointment powers from the governor's office to the legislature.

Wednesday News: Informed consent required


3-JUDGE PANEL REJECTS WORDING OF POWER-GRABBING AMENDMENTS: The order from a three-judge panel said ballots should not be printed that ask voters to make changes in the state constitution on how state boards and commission members are appointed and how judges are selected to fill vacancies. The order said those ballot questions did not fully inform voters of the changes that would result if the measures passed. The court order gives Gov. Roy Cooper a victory, at least temporarily, in his lawsuit against legislative leaders. In their order, a majority of the three-judge panel said ballot language for the amendments changing how board members would be appointed and how court vacancies would be filled do not “sufficiently inform the voters” and are “not stated in such a manner as to enable them intelligently to express their opinion.”

Tuesday News: Should be "Zero"


CHEMOURS LOSES POLICY BATTLE ON GENX CONCENTRATION LEVELS: A state board of scientists threw its weight behind North Carolina's longstanding health goal on GenX Monday, signing off on a conservative amount of the chemical believed to be safe in drinking water. That threshold: 140 parts per trillion. The miniscule amount represents the best estimate state scientists can make on the amount bottle-fed infants and other potentially sensitive populations can drink without expecting health problems from a chemical whose health effects have not been heavily studied. State regulators first set this level in July of last year, soon after the public learned GenX was found in the Cape Fear River and municipal water supplies downstream from the Chemours plant. In backing that threshold Monday the Secretary's Science Advisory Board on Toxic Air Pollutants rejected Chemours' suggestion that the state adopt a significantly higher threshold.

Monday News: It's called Climate Change, get used to it


OVERNIGHT DOWNPOUR FLOODS RALEIGH STREETS, FELLS TREES: A flash flood warning expired for Wake County at 6 a.m. Monday after heavy rain from overnight storms flooded roads. According to officials at Duke Energy, trees were down on Medlin Drive and Catawba Street, leaving almost 30 customers without power. Officials said the trees were cleared from the road by 6 a.m. Three right lanes on Interstate 440 westbound near Lake Boone Trail were blocked overnight due to another downed tree. Officials with the DOT said the lanes reopened by 7:15 a.m. Commuters in Raleigh should be cautious but not concerned, as roads are improving. At one point overnight, all four lanes Atlantic Avenue at Hodges Street were covered in standing water. At 5:30 a.m., the water had receded and was reduced to the sides of the road.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


THE WEIGHT OF HISTORY BEARS DOWN ON AMENDMENTS: James Madison, writing in the 1788 Federalist Papers No. 47, cited North Carolina for going too far at its outset in giving the legislative branch power to appoint the governor, as well as executive office-holders and judges. It was not until the 1835 state Constitution that North Carolina voters got the right to elect their governors. In the Federalist No. 48, Madison warned tartly that “the legislative department is everywhere extending the sphere of its activity, and drawing all power into its impetuous vortex.” And he observed that “the danger from legislative usurpations, which, by assembling all power into the same hands, must lead to the same tyranny as is threatened by executive usurpations.” No doubt Jim Holshouser — and perhaps even James Madison of Virginia — would have joined former governors Jim Hunt, Jim Martin, Mike Easley, Bev Perdue, and Pat McCrory in defining for voters the long-term consequences of power-shifting amendments to their own well-being.

Saturday News: Out of control


WOODHOUSE THREATENS TO IMPEACH SUPREME COURT JUSTICES OVER AMENDMENTS: North Carolina Republican Party executive director Dallas Woodhouse says Republican lawmakers could vote to impeach judges or justices who decide to remove any constitutional amendments from the ballot this fall. State Democratic Party chairman Wayne Goodwin was on stage with Woodhouse when he first made the comment. "I was shocked. I could not believe what I’d heard," Goodwin told WRAL News. "This just further shows that Republicans – Republican legislative leaders in particular – will stop at nothing to preserve their power, whether it’s misleading voters on the ballot, or it’s by gerrymandering districts, or in this instance, intimidating members of the judicial branch." Goodwin also said he doesn't believe the idea of impeaching justices originated with Woodhouse.


Subscribe to RSS - Daily dose