Daily dose

Tomorrow's news will cover mass arrests in Raleigh, courtesy of our illegitimate police state. In the meantime, more misery below the fold.

HUD to shut down offices as a result of sequester (LA Times) -- Across-the-board cuts in the federal budget will force the Department of Housing and Urban Development to close its offices on May 24 and possibly six other days. HUD, which provides assistance programs for low-income and homeless people, said Friday that it had tentatively scheduled additional furloughs of employees for June 14, July 5, July 22, Aug. 2, Aug. 16 and Aug. 30. The agency has been reducing expenses in response to the so-called sequester, Congress’ mandate for budget cuts at a host of agencies including Homeland Security, the Internal Revenue Service and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Senate releases outline of budget proposal (WRAL-TV) -- Senate leaders previewed the release of their $20.6 billion budget in a news release Sunday night. “This budget stands in sharp contrast to the failed attempts of previous leaders to tax, spend and borrow their way to prosperity," Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, said in the release. “We're eager to work with the governor and the House of Representatives to adopt a budget that smartly invests in our key priorities while living within our means.” The Senate release included a table comparing the top-line numbers of the Senate budget to Gov. Pat McCrory's budget. The legislature posted the budget bill and associated money report on its website.

Senate Republicans release first NC budget details (AP) — The Republican-led Senate offered details Sunday evening of the chamber's North Carolina budget proposal for the next two years, a spending plan that the Senate's leader said would absorb still-spiraling Medicaid costs and create a new state division focusing on rural economic development.

NC Senate proposes $20.58 billion budget (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The N.C. Senate's budget proposal will clock in at $20.58 billion, just short of Gov. Pat McCrory's $20.6 billion proposal, according to Senate leader Phil Berger's office.

Senate releases $20 billion budget plan (News 14-TV) -- The Senate is proposing a $20 billion budget that would increase spending by 2.3 percent and offers what senators are calling the largest tax cut in the state's history. The plan was released late Sunday evening. It includes more than $1 billion in additional state dollars to control Medicaid costs.

NC Senate proposes $20.58 billion budget (N.C. Political News) — The North Carolina Senate has followed Gov. Pat McCrory’s lead in crafting a balanced, fiscally responsible state budget that continues to invest in core priorities, streamline state government, reform public education and grow North Carolina’s economy. Like the governor’s proposal, the Senate budget safeguards North Carolina’s long-term fiscal health by investing in critical infrastructure improvements and shoring up reserve and rainy day funds. The $20.58 billion plan – which comes within less than one-tenth of one percent of the governor’s proposal – offers a prudent 2.3 percent increase in overall spending while laying the groundwork for the largest tax cut in state history.

News Conference on Senate Budget Proposal 10:30 Monday (N.,C. Political News) -- The co-chairmen of the Senate Committee on Appropriations/Base Budget will host a news conference to discuss the Senate budget proposal on Monday, May 20 at 10:30 a.m. in the General Assembly’s press conference room. Audio will be streamed under “press conference room” at http://www.ncleg.net/Audio/Audio.html.

Senate budget week begins (WRAL-TV) -- Senate budget writers rolled out their version of the state's annual spending plan on Sunday night. Meanwhile, House lawmakers are expected to take up a school voucher bill this week.

Former congressman to speak at New Bern rally (New Bern Sun Journal) -- Former North Carolina congressman and state schools superintendent Bob Etheridge will be outside the Craven County Administration Building at 2 p.m. Monday to rally support for strong public education.

NC General Assembly police defend arrests of demonstrators (Raleigh News & Observer) -- As protesters gear up to assemble again Monday, legal analysts are raising questions about whether the NC General Assembly police are within their power to arrest the nonviolent demonstrators

N.C.'s gun data may soon be sealed (Charlotte Observer) -- One of the only surviving bills in the N.C. General Assembly related to gun control would close permit information to the public, making it nearly impossible for groups to watchdog how the government issues licenses to buy hundreds of thousands of handguns.

Ferry bill goes before legislative committee Tuesday (New Bern Sun Journal) -- The fate of planned new and increased coastal ferry tolls that go into effect July 1 remains in the hands of the General Assembly committees.

Lobbying Job (The insider) -- Yolanda Stith, the wife of Gov. Pat McCrory's chief of staff Thomas Stith, is working as a lobbyist for the N.C. Association, Long Term Care Facilities, as well as several other groups. The name of her lobbying firm: Capitol Access.

Physicians, health administrators wary of for-profit insurers (Winston-Salem Journal) -- Through all the clamoring surrounding the state’s latest Medicaid reform effort, one message is coming through loud and clear from physicians and administrators: Let North Carolina providers resolve Medicaid financial and operational issues, not for-profit insurers and out-of-state providers. Dr. Aldona Wos, head of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, and state Medicaid director Carol Steckel have heard that recommendation at most of their statewide stops, which are aimed at raising support for Gov. Pat McCrory’s health-care overhaul. That includes their presentation and question-and-answer session last Thursday at Forsyth Medical Center.

States Bank On Online Sales Tax (Wall Street Journal) -- Congress hasn't yet agreed to end tax-free shopping on the Internet, but some states already are planning how they'll spend the money.

Tangled web of gambling in N.C. (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot Editorial) -- A proposal to legalize Internet sweepstakes cafes in North Carolina appears to be languishing in the legislature - deservedly so. But there should be plenty of life left in a probe of $235,000 worth of campaign contributions involving Chase Burns, a sweepstakes operator facing criminal charges that he ran a charity scam in Florida.

Pre-K funding, eligibility will be a key budget issue IWRAL-TV) -- Gov. Pat McCrory's budget expands funding for pre-K programs while House lawmakers passed a bill to restrict eligibility. Parents and researchers say the state's investment in getting children ready for school has already paid off.

Advocates to ask city council to support in-state tuition for unauthorized students (Winston-Salem Journal) –Pomp and circumstance will ring hollow for some high school students who will soon graduate, according to Wooten Gough, a U.S. citizen who for years has advocated that unauthorized immigrants living in North Carolina should be eligible for in-state tuition at public colleges. Today Gough and a group of advocates plan to attend the 7 p.m. public meeting of the Winston-Salem City Council to ask the council members to pass a resolution supporting proposed state legislation that would allow unauthorized immigrants to pay in-state tuition. Immigrants living without authorization in the U.S. — including those brought to North Carolina by their parents when they were children — must pay out-of-state tuition. Such students, some of whom attended elementary, middle and high school in Winston-Salem, must pay $16,995 for the 65 credit hours necessary to complete an associate degree at Forsyth Technical Community College while their U.S.-born classmates pay $4,485.

McCrory signs wind energy bill into law in support of “all-of-the-above” energy plan (N.C. Political News) — Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law landmark legislation (H.B. 484) Friday that creates a framework for the establishment of wind energy facilities in North Carolina and signals the governor’s continued support for an “all-of-the-above” energy plan. “This law will help unleash our state’s energy resources to power our economy and enable us to harness those resources in a safe, reliable and cost-effective manner,” said Governor McCrory. “Our pursuit of energy from biofuels, clean coal, natural gas, solar, nuclear and wind are part of a prosperous energy future in North Carolina. However, we could not have had such comprehensive legislation related to wind energy without strong support from the military, the wind industry, environmental groups and local communities.”

'YOU MADE HISTORY' (Wilson Times) -- Wilson Early College Academy was a concept that almost didn’t happen in Wilson County in the fall of 2009, according to school officials. In fact, Robin Gasque, principal, said they were told the funding was cut two weeks before they were scheduled to open,

Berger's restraining order denied; amotion hearing to be held Monday (Wilmington Star-News) -- The amotion of Brian Berger will take place on Monday afternoon as scheduled.

Hagan Speaks at Opening of Syngenta’s Advanced Crop Lab (N.C. Political News) -- RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK — On Friday, U.S. Senator Kay Hagan spoke at the grand opening of Syngenta’s Advanced Crop Lab in Research Triangle Park. Syngenta, a global company with more than 27,000 employees dedicated to bringing plant potential to life, celebrated the opening of their $72 million Advanced Crop Lab. Hagan also toured the new lab, which is part of Syngenta’s facility that includes 400 employees. The lab allows scientists to grow corn, wheat, sugarcane, sunflowers and more with precision control and metrics. This research will help farmers grow more for less.

Rain doesn’t keep people away from Got to Be NC Festival (Raleigh News & Observer) -- But the weekend’s off-and-on wet did dampen attendance at the festival that is designed to promote North Carolina agriculture, food, wine and, for the first time this year, beer.

Plan to put juvenile court in former school moving forward (Winston-Salem Journal) -- A proposal to turn the former Hill Middle School into a one-stop shop for juveniles caught up in the criminal justice system could go before the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners next month after a feasibility study is completed.

Pender considers establishing policy for film requests (Wilmington Star-News) -- This year Hollywood's eye has increasingly been drawn to Pender and its county seat of Burgaw.

Records offer rare glimpse into a Justice Department leak probe (Washington Post) -- A reporter’s movements at State were tracked and private e-mails obtained after a 2009 story.

If you blow an .05, are you too drunk to drive? (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The National Transportation Safety Board recommends .05 percent, much more strict than the current DWI standard of .08 percent.

Suburbs overtake cities as home of majority of poor (LA Times) -- Urban gentrification and the decline of manufacturing are among the causes, according to the Brookings Institution. The surge of poverty in suburbs has left many social service agencies unprepared.

Local poll worker accused of voter fraud (Kinston Free Press) -- A Lenoir County poll worker allegedly voted in place of a family member in 2010.

Colleges awarded $845,000 Golden LEAF grant (Rocky Mount Telegram) -- Nash and Wilson community colleges have been awarded an $845,000 grant through the Golden LEAF Essential Skills in Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Initiative.

What do we eat? New food map will tell us (AP) -- Do your kids love chocolate milk? It may have more calories on average than you thought. Same goes for soda. Until now, the only way to find out what people in the United States eat and how many calories they consume has been government data, which can lag behind the rapidly expanding and changing food marketplace. Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are trying to change that by creating a gargantuan map of what foods Americans are buying and eating. Part of the uniqueness of the database is its ability to sort one product into what it really is — thousands of brands and variations.

Movie About a Severed Leg Seeks Backers via Crowdsourcing (New York Times) -- Will Ed Cunningham’s movie about a loose leg find its footing on Kickstarter? This week should tell. Mr. Cunningham, an ESPN sports analyst who has produced documentaries like “Undefeated” and “The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters,” on Sunday turned to the crowdfunding service Kickstarter. He is trying to raise money to finish what has been a nearly six-year labor of love: a film about the peregrinations of a severed leg that turned up in a smoker grill that was sold at a North Carolina storage unit auction in 2007.

Charlotte remembers 1963 desegregation 'eat-in' (AP) — In the spring of 1963, a prominent civil rights leader led dozens of protesters on a four-mile march from a predominantly African-American college campus to the center of Charlotte's downtown.

Ifill to speak at Wake Forest commencement (AP) -- The moderator and managing editor of "Washington Week" on PBS will speak at the commencement ceremony for Wake Forest University graduates.

Wake Forest grants new law degree to 2 students (AP) -- Two people are receiving the first doctoral of juridical science degrees from Wake Forest University, the school's highest postgraduate law degree.

Leading US drugs tester celebrates 1700s doctor (AP) --- A North Carolina company that bills itself as the world's largest testing drug firm is celebrating the Scottish surgeon credited with running the first scientifically valid tests for a health problem.

Infant Stress Linked to Behavior Problems Later in Life (Public News Service) -- Recent studies have shown that infants' brains react to external stresses, even while they sleep. Domestic conflicts, violence and other traumatic events can influence a person's behavior later in life - even if they don't have any conscious memory of the original stress.

Law may delay wind project (Elizabeth City Daily Advance) -- A new state law regulating construction of wind farms in North Carolina could delay but not stop a proposed 89-turbine wind farm planned in northern Camden and Currituck counties, officials said last week.

McCrory signs wind energy bill into law in support of “all-of-the-above” energy plan (N.C. Political News) — Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law landmark legislation (H.B. 484) Friday that creates a framework for the establishment of wind energy facilities in North Carolina and signals the governor’s continued support for an “all-of-the-above” energy plan. “This law will help unleash our state’s energy resources to power our economy and enable us to harness those resources in a safe, reliable and cost-effective manner,” said Governor McCrory. “Our pursuit of energy from biofuels, clean coal, natural gas, solar, nuclear and wind are part of a prosperous energy future in North Carolina. However, we could not have had such comprehensive legislation related to wind energy without strong support from the military, the wind industry, environmental groups and local communities.”

Transylvania tract is newest state forest (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- The 8,000-acre Headwaters State Forest in southern Transylvania County will eventually be open for hiking, biking, fishing and hunting.

Our Coast: Shackleford Banks (Coastal Review) -- Wild horses are just one of the many natural attractions that make this preserved barrier island near Beaufort worth a visit.

Wells Dry, Fertile Plains Turn to Dust (New York Times) -- Parts of the vast High Plains Aquifer are so low that crops can’t be watered and bridges span arid stream beds.

Chipping away at state workers' job security (Raleigh News & Observer) -- State employees have an appeals process in case of firing, and enjoy of measure of job security which many value as a perk to balance stagnant wages. Most work hard, but Republicans seem to enjoy making state workers targets of criticism.

AdvantageWest move a fix for something that isn't broken (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- Nearly two decades ago, North Carolina created regional economic development agencies to help rural areas compete for new jobs. Now Republicans in the General Assembly want to undo that in the name of efficiency.

Tax reform needed, but will have all legislators under fire (Winston-Salem Journal) -- It is a rare occasion when we use this space to sympathize with legislators. Today is one.

North Carolina legislature is misfiring on public education (Charlotte Observer column) -- The following piece is signed by the superintendents of the following school districts: Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Cumberland County, Gaston County, Durham, Guilford County, Johnston County, New Hanover County, Union County, Wake County and Winston-Salem/Forsyth, as well as the president of the NC New Schools Project.

Making Meetings A Bit More Open (Southern Pines Pilot) -- North Carolina already has a pretty good Open Meetings Law. It got that way at least partly because of pressure from news media organizations over the years. But the law doesn't just benefit reporters. It requires public bodies to keep their meetings open to any member of the public who wants to be there.

Laudable bill to fight electric rates gets axed (Rocky Mount Telegram) -- It appears that Senate Bill 720 likely won’t receive serious consideration this legislative session after it failed to pass out of the N.C. Senate before Thursday’s crossover deadline.

A True Champion (Southern Pines Pilot) -- Kudos to Phil Ford, for doing so much to lend his legendary influence as a basketball star at UNC-Chapel Hill to a program to assist with the funding of the N.C. Association of Free Clinics in general - and the Moore Free Care Clinic in particular.