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Vouchers: Unintended consequences won't please the Skipper

Skip Stam, fresh from his anti-gay bigoted rant, must be stewing over the results of his baby: school vouchers.

Skip doesn't care that vouchers siphon money from public schools that already don't have enough resources.

Skip has no problem with the fact that tax dollars will go to religious schools, thus violating the principle of separation of church and state and the NC Constitution.

But the Skipper must have forgotten that there are religions other than his own. The first round of vouchers have just been awarded, and as expected, religious schools lead the pack.

Parents could identify a top school of choice when they applied for the program. The overwhelming majority of those who chose picked religious schools. Most of the 440 schools requested are Christian, but two of the top three are Muslim.

The Budget circus distracts from debilitating cuts

Chris Fitzsimon sets the record straight:

That means another cut of almost $75 million to the university system. The House proposal also leaves many of last year’s reductions in public school funding in place—less money for teacher assistants, less funding for programs for students with limited English proficiency, and less investment in instructional support personnel that help teachers and school administrators.

The House mini budget is worse than a media stunt. It’s a cynical proposal that damages the public schools that Gov. McCrory and House leaders claim they want to support and it further dismantles the already reeling university system. Not to mention the woefully underfunded courts, pre-k programs and mental health services.

All the Republican posturing about teacher raises is nothing more than kabuki theatre, while behind their fancy fans they're hiding the real issue: continuing tax cuts for the wealthy:

Uriah Ward for NC House 9

My name is Uriah Ward, and I’m the Democratic Nominee for NC House District 9 here in Pitt County. I was born and raised in Pitt County, and I care deeply about this district. I got into this race because I am passionate about public education, and we’re not doing nearly enough to support our teachers and students in North Carolina.

In 2012, our long-term Democratic Representative, Marian McLawhorn, was defeated by first-term Republican Representative Brian Brown. In his time in the legislature, he has supported cuts to education at all levels, advocated for the elimination of teacher tenure, and was one of the primary sponsors of the vouchers bill.

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."

In his own words

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:

REPEAL SUPERMAJORITY EFFECT OF PROTEST PETITIONS

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:

Electric Cars Are Putting the Brakes on Pollution

More than 1,600 electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles are on North Carolina’s roads today, and more than 190,000 across the United States, delivering real benefits for our health and our environment, according to a new report released today by the Environment North Carolina Research and Policy Center. In just the last two years, annual sales of electric vehicles have increased by 500 percent.

Now, with strong implementation of President Obama’s Clean Power Plan and the development of more renewable energy, electric vehicles are set to deliver even greater benefits for the environment.

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