Senator Soucek Rips ETJ Away from Boone

Yesterday, 6/25/14, Senator Dan Soucek (R-45th) succeeded in his effort to strip Boone of its extraterritorial jurisdiction. SB 865 won approval in a vote of 66-46. The ETJ will now be controlled by the Republican led Watauga County Commissioners barring legal action that could be taken by the Town of Boone.

On Monday, 6/23/14, the House Committee on Government did not provide the bill with a favorable report by a vote of 12-15. On Tuesday, however, the bill was reintroduced in the absence of some Committee members who had voted against it and was given a favorable report.

NC Senate threatens to subpoena Art Pope

Too many bullies on the playground:

Pope complained that a Senate spokesman wrongly accused him of withholding budget information; the Senate in turn threatened to subpoena Pope if he didn’t appear at a committee meeting Thursday morning.

Pope wrote back that he was happy to attend. “While it is highly unusual to be holding Senate Appropriations Committee meeting on the budget, during Conference negotiations over the state budget bill, and to receive an invitation without even 24 hour notice, I will be happy to attend your meeting and respond to your requests,” Pope wrote.

Translated: "Keep it up, and you can kiss that $12,000 Pope family bundle goodbye for this November."

NC GOP playground fight breaks out

The good ole boys are acting like little kids. The NC House and Senate budget bills clash and so do the House representatives and senators.

"Art Pope and Nelson Dollar’s latest budget gimmick fails to account for the state’s deteriorating Medicaid situation and could violate North Carolina’s constitutional requirement for a balanced budget,” Senate Rules Chairman Tom Apodaca said in a news release.

In his own news release, Governor Pope responded, "I know you are, but what am I?". Dollar, meanwhile, called a press conference and shot back, "I'm rubber and you're glue Tom!"

Protest Petitions on the chopping block today

So much for the GOP's "property rights" championship:


SECTION 3.5.(a) G.S. 160A‑385(a) is repealed.

SECTION 3.5.(b) G.S. 160A‑386 is repealed.

This was previously in another bill, was removed, and added to S734 about five minutes ago. The level of deception permeating the Legislature these days is mind-boggling. Here's what's being repealed:

Coal Ash Wednesday: Senate GOP refuses to protect consumers

Sorry folks, you're just not that important:

Duke has said it plans to pay for damage caused by the Dan River spill – the bill also would require the utility to pay for cleaning up any future ash spills – but it plans to pass as much of the rest of the cleanup cost on to customers through higher electric rates.

Sen. Mike Woodard, D-Durham, tried to introduce an amendment that would have required Duke to pick up the entire tab of the cleanup, but Apodaca said that decision should be left up to the state Utilities Commission. He then used a parliamentary procedure to kill the Woodard's amendment without a vote.

That angered Sen. Josh Stein, D-Wake, who asked that Apodaca allow a vote on the proposal. Apodaca twice refused, even once when he was bargaining with Stein to withdraw a separate amendment that would require liners on any ash ponds allowed to remain where they are. Apodaca said he would work with Stein on his proposal, which could resurface Wednesday.

It's apparent Apodaca was afraid to put this to a floor vote, because he knew it would either pass or expose more Republican Senators to the ire of voters if it was voted down. Whatever the case, the leadership is guilty of dereliction of duty, and should be removed.

Pat gets out the red pen

Guvnor McCraven, continuing his unsuccessful attempts to appear relevant, decided it was time to veto something again.

Gov. Pat McCrory has vetoed a bill tweaking the state's unemployment insurance law and the commission that makes final benefit decisions in appeals.

McCrory said in a statement Tuesday that he was unhappy with the legislature's changes to a three-member Board of Review, which he has the power to appoint.

As with his previous two vetoes from last session, Pouting Pat chose a relatively obscure bill that has broad support, and gave a really petty, nitpicking reason for vetoing it. Pat is upset because he appointed some of his cronies and now Tillisberger wants to boot those folks off the commission and have approval rights for future appointments.

Skip Stam's bigotry goes over the top -- again

During debate over an amendment to protect LGBT students in charter schools, North Carolina's bigot-in-chief Skip Stam decided he would embarrass himself, the general assembly and our state:

During debate, Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam (R-Wake) took objection to the addition of "sexual orientation" as a protected class for students, stating that "pedophila" and "masochism" are one of 30 sexual ” orientations” he claimed exist. Stam went on to circulate a misleading handout to fellow House members on "What is Sexual Orientation?"

Rep. Tricia Cotham tweeted a copy of Skip's horrible handout that claims 30 "sexual orientations" such as arousal by feces. No kidding

Berger tries (and fails) to justify his tenure blackmail scheme

Not much of a salesman, frankly:

Building on feedback from educators, the Senate proposal would repeal the law that automatically eliminates tenure in 2018 and instead offer teachers a choice. Teachers who decide to work on annual contracts would move to the new pay scale and receive the substantial salary increase. Those who decide they value tenure more would remain on the current pay schedule.

Now, some liberal special interests and columnists demagogue and diminish the opportunity for teachers to receive a generous 11 percent raise in exchange for signing an annual contract. But bear in mind that most North Carolinians - save for a few rare cases like professional athletes, celebrities and CEOs - work "at will" with no problem.

You really are one arrogant son of a bitch, aren't you? To be clear, the imbalance of power between employee and employer in NC is nothing to brag about. That most people can be terminated without cause, many kept from receiving a decent severance, and in some cases denied their rightful unemployment benefits, is shameful and hearkens back to the late 19th Century before the labor movement. In other words, a Republican paradise. And the longer we let Phil Berger run the show, the farther back in time we will travel.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

This one deserves rescuing:

His history of race-based prejudicial behavior makes him one of the worst possible nominees for the job:

Concerns arise out of proposed sale of Jennette's Pier

Strictly business or political pay-back?

More than 10 years ago, with the pier at risk of being demolished and replaced by a hotel or luxury homes, the N.C. Aquarium Society, the nonprofit support arm of the state’s three aquariums, helped by Basnight’s considerable political muscle, bought the pier, the attached pier house and 5.12 acres of mostly oceanfront property for $4.2 million, tapping a $4.6 million grant from the trust fund.

It wasn’t long before Republican unhappiness with Jennette’s bubbled to the surface.

“Is owning a pier a core function of government or is that better left to the free market?” Becki Gray, vice president for outreach with the John Locke Foundation, a conservative policy group in Raleigh, wrote in the Oct. 29, 2010, edition of the foundation’s Carolina Journal Online. “Could those funds be spent better on education or public safety, or, better yet, returned to taxpayers? . . . The state shouldn’t be in the pier business.”

Because Basnight. Seriously, if anybody can point me in the direction of a Democrat-sponsored project the puppets at JLF or Civitas actually supported, I'll eat my hat. It doesn't matter if Jennette's Pier is raking in the cash for the state or if everybody who lives within 50 miles of the pier loves the place, it's got Marc Basnight's fingerprints all over it so its days are numbered.

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