NCGA

Crossover crapola: The NC GOP's misplaced priorities

It's quite possible that $13,951 per year is way too much:

Roughly 500 bills have passed one chamber or the other. Here’s a glance at some key bills still alive:

>State government would be banned from contracting with companies tied to Iran’s energy sector under Senate Bill 455.
>House Bill 630 would direct state regulators to look into using floating technology at Falls Lake that is being tested in Jordan Lake to prevent and clean up pollution.
>House Bill 601 allows for the sale of deer skins.
>House Bill 161 makes the bobcat the official state cat.
>House Bill 640 allows Sunday hunting on private land.
>House Bill 540 would put a statue of evangelist Billy Graham in National Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

I suppose things could be worse, that all 500 of these bills could be punitive in nature, adding to the layers of attacks on citizens already in place or in progress. But the real problem with these bills is they combine to form a cloud of staticky noise, that diverts attention and the resulting debate on bills that do have a profound impact on people's lives. Which is probably why the leadership gives them time they don't deserve.

N.C. legislature’s death penalty plan: Remove safeguards, add secrecy, ignore innocence

Despite high profile exonerations in NC, lawmakers say we need to hurry up and execute people.

The idea defies reason, and yet, this week the N.C. House took some disturbing and misguided steps to restart executions.

NC charter schools: All your dollar$ are ours

Even your bake sales and booster bucks:

Senate Bill 456 would force school districts to share all local tax revenue proportionally by striking the ad valorem exception. Sponsor Sen. Jerry Tillman R-Randolph, said the bill "puts the funding back where the courts say it should be."

However, the bill also strikes the law's exceptions for "sales tax refunds, gifts and grants restricted as to use, and trust funds." That means donations, from school PTA fundraising dollars to booster revenues for bands or sports teams, would all go into the shared pot unless the school district sets up a separate account for those dollars and unless donors specify that their contribution is for that particular account.

I'm sure Conservative band boosters and other alums will somehow perceive this as "the damn government" meddling in school affairs, which later will coalesce into "the damn Democrats" did it, since they can't grasp the idea of their intrepid Republican heroes pulling stunts like this. And if/when they do see something negative about the GOP on the news, the filters kick in to defend them from "that damn Liberal media." SMFH.

Caught with his pants down

Jeter amendment guts Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard

Common sense gets lost in the crossover shuffle:

The proposal introduced Wednesday night as an amendment to House Bill 760, a regulatory reform measure, would cap the REPS requirement at 6 percent permanently and would allow a utility to claim energy-efficiency savings for up to half of that requirement. Power companies could seek reimbursement from ratepayers for any investments or contracts they've already entered into in order to meet the higher renewables requirements that the proposal repeals.

The measure would also repeal an 80 percent property tax break that solar farms and facilities currently receive.

And this amendment passed 98-18, meaning a whole lot of Democrats have some explaining to do.

Report details massive fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars by the charter school industry

Enough to buy a shitload of public school textbooks:

The 2015 report cites $203 million, including the 2014 total plus $23 million in new cases, and $44 million in earlier cases not included in last year’s report.

It notes that these figures only represent fraud and waste in the charter sector uncovered so far, and that the total that federal, state and local governments “stand to lose” in 2015 is probably more than $1.4 billion. It says, “The vast majority of the fraud perpetrated by charter officials will go undetected because the federal government, the states, and local charter authorizers lack the oversight necessary to detect the fraud.”

The lack of oversight wasn't an oversight on the part of Republicans, they're counting on it. In the absence of that needed fraud detection, they can continue to expand the program until the private sector gains a controlling interest in public education. And some of them probably genuinely believe that fraud and abuse in the private sector is still better than efficiency and good results from government entities. Which is reason #27 why they need to be booted out of the Legislature.

Coal Ash Wednesday: Duke Energy's cozy relationship with DENR

Be careful what questions you ask:

Holleman praises what has happened in South Carolina and says citizen lawsuits brought by the SELC have moved things along there. And he says, there’s another reason why it has not happened here: “The very, very close relationship between the regulator and Duke Energy.”

“That’s insane,” says Tom Reeder an Assistant Secretary at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.”(What would) a career state employee have to gain by entering into some sort of special relationship with Duke? It’s very hurtful when you hear that, actually.”

The answer to your question is contained in the question itself. Thanks to McCrory's liberal use of the "fire at will" policy of exempting DENR supervisors from employment protections, keeping a "career" at DENR viable is now more about politics than professionalism:

GOP moves to delay Supreme Court review of redistricting

That's one way to preserve the supermajority you cleverly created:

The United States Supreme Court’s recent procedural action in these cases does not justify the schedule proposed by plaintiffs. While defendants agree that this Court’s further consideration of this case should proceed reasonably expeditiously, plaintiffs’ motion suggests a schedule that might apply if the United States Supreme Court had reversed this Court’s judgment on the merits and remanded for further proceedings not inconsistent with its opinion. The United States Supreme Court took no such action and the schedule on remand should reflect that reality. This Court should set a reasonable timetable for further
briefing and oral argument. In setting such a timetable, defendants request that this Court take into account scheduling conflicts that impact counsel for all the parties as more fully explained below.

Wait a minute, I thought this was just a totally-anticipated procedural issue, with no substantive impact on NC's redistricting law:

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