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NC Republicans introduced religious bigotry bill like Arizona's

QNotes reminds us that Republicans in the legislature introduced a bill very similar to Arizona's new law that allows businesses or individuals in government to refuse services to individuals because of their religious beliefs.

Will the extremists in the legislature try again?

Although targeted at LGBTs, these proposed bills would, according to the ACLU and Anti-Defamation League, give businesses a license to discriminate against any minority group they wished.

You can get a pdf of NC's proposed bill here.

NC Student Power Union to UNC board - debt free students by 2020

The NC Student Power Union, a student rights group in the state formed during the Occupy protests, is calling on the UNC administration to create a plan to ensure that no student has to incur debt for a college education in the state by 2020.

Days after a 500 student walkout at UNCG, the NC Student Power Union is headed to the UNC Board of Governors with a big idea: that no student in the system should graduate with debt.

Maddow on Skvarla

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow profiles some of the non-scientific beliefs of John Skvarla, Pat McCrory's man in charge of DENR.

Did you know that Creationists have this wacky theory that since the earth is only 6,000 years old that things like oil and natural gas aren't finite resources made from the remains of million year old plant material? And that Skvarla believes this nonsense?

Perhaps Skvarla would like to tell us his views on climate change.

Burr stumping again for his ACA alternative

Senator Richard Burr (R-Land of Make Believe) is on the stump again flogging the dead horse of the ACA alternative proposed by he and some other Republican Senators and backed by the Koch stinktank machine.

Meanwhile, with all the actors and misleading stories used in ads to bash the Affordable Care Act, Mother Jones wonders if anyone is actually being harmed by the law.

Will any media outlet actually challenge Burr to produce a fully documented case of someone being harmed by the ACA that can stand up to scrutiny?

Koch brothers interfering in NC school voucher lawsuit

NC Policy Watch takes a look at the libertarian law firm funded by the Koch brothers that are representing some parents in court cases challenging NC's school voucher law.

The law firm was founded in 1991 by Clint Bolick and Chip Mellor. In the firm’s early days, Bolick was known for his work opposing affirmative action legislation, and acted as one of the top strategists endeavoring to hold up the passage of the 1991 Civil Rights bill.

And, according to the New York Times, he is one of the prime architects behind school voucher plans in Milwaukee and Cleveland, which have come under intense scrutiny for no better or worse academic outcomes for its students as compared with public schools and numerous incidents of fraud and abuse of the programs.

Feds expanding coal ash probe to "specific individuals" in DENR

Breaking from WRAL - The federal probe into McCrory's DENR and Duke Energy has expanded to included "specific employees" and to _all_ of the coal ash sites in North Carolina.

In a separate subpoena also released by the state Wednesday, federal prosecutors ask for information related to certain Department of Environment and Natural Resources employees. Among the information those employees are commanded to produce are "All documents related to payments ... received by you from any of the Relevant Parties" and "All documents relating to receipt of an item of value received by you from any of the Relevant Parties." The relevant parties include Duke Energy and the company once known as Progress Energy, which Duke acquired two years ago.

McCrory didn't receive a subpoena.

Rockingham County considers moving polling places out of schools

Via the Greensboro News and Record, the Rockingham County Board of Elections is considering a proposal to move polling places out of schools. The proposal would impact nine of the 15 voting sites in the county, including all in Reidsville. Critics notes that the move would cost $22,000 and that they wouldn't be able to find alternatives for all of the sites.

In explaining their vote against using schools as voting sites, Toni Reece, the election board’s chairwoman, and board member Velma Loy — both Republicans — had concerns about voters wandering away from polling locations and into areas where there are students.

Sorry, I don't buy this - public schools have been used as polling places for decades with no problem.

Student walkout planned at UNC-Greensboro

Students at UNC-Greensboro are planning a walk-out protest tomorrow:

Just take another pay cut? A course cut? A higher teaching load? Academic program cancelled? Wondering why UNCG continues the plans to build a $91 million Rec Center when we have to "give back" $8 million because we fell so far short of our enrollment target? Raking thousands and thousands of dollars in student debt to pay for an increasingly watered down education? Worried your degree won't be worth the paper it's printed on by the time you graduate?

Enough is enough. We cannot take it anymore.

Join us on the EUC lawn at 1pm on February 19th for a student and faculty walk out and rally. Our demands are simple: Expand education, not administration. Cut our debt, not our budget!

Facebook page for the protest here.

Cook makes "offensive" comment to McCrory; McCrory gets him fired

The Charlotte Observer reports that an employee at Reid's Fine Foods was fired after McCrory and his security team complained that the man was offensive to McCrory:

On Sunday afternoon, McCrory was shopping at Reid’s Fine Foods when Drew Swope, a 45-year-old cook, said he asked if he could help McCrory.

After realizing he was speaking with the governor, whom he disagrees with politically, Swope said he told McCrory, “Thanks for nothing,” and walked away.

Swope said the governor was upset at his comment and began “yelling” at him. He said McCrory said he was a customer and shouldn’t be treated that way.

He said the governor and his security team complained to the food store owner, who then fired him.

Swope was out of line for treating a customer that way, but could McCrory have handled the situation with more tact?

New law holds up filling court vacancies, gives Gov power to disregard Bar Association

The News and Record in Greensboro is reporting on a problem with a vacancy in the 18th Judicial District. While you weren't noticing, the NC legislature changed the procedure for filling these vacancies.

Provisions inserted into a bill passed last year dictate that when a judicial vacancy opens in District Court, the local bar nominates five people.

However, the governor can choose anybody.

In the past, the governor had to choose from one of three nominees submitted by the local bar.

Under the old system, the governor also had 60 days to appoint someone. If the governor didn’t make the appointment within that time, the person with the most votes out of those selected by the bar association would be installed.

The new provisions provide no deadline for the governor to make a decision.

Last month, the local bar association submitted five candidates for the vacancy, but McCrory has not responded.

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