Friday News: Drunk with their own power

SENATE VOTES TO SUBPOENA CABINET SECRETARY HALL (Raleigh News & Observer) -- A state Senate committee on Thursday voted to take the rare step of issuing a subpoena to Cabinet secretary Larry Hall after he failed to appear for the third time at a confirmation hearing that the Cooper administration contends violates a court order. The overwhelmingly Republican committee voted along party lines to compel Hall to appear next Thursday and testify, regardless of what Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper advises him to do. Senate leader Phil Berger said he would sign the subpoena.

N.C. SQUANDERED MILLIONS FOR PRISON MENTAL HEALTH REFORM, WHISTLEBLOWER SAYS (Charlotte Observer) -- In a scathing report to N.C. lawmakers, a retired prison psychologist contends that the state’s efforts to reform mental health for inmates has instead squandered millions of tax dollars while endangering inmates and prison workers. The psychologist, John Schwade, maintains that money allocated for mental health reform in 2015 “has not been spent as promised.” What’s more, Schwade says, many of the inmates who most desperately need treatment aren’t getting it. State prison leaders sharply disputed Schwade’s conclusions, saying they have done much to improve care for those with mental illness.

WILL TRUMP KILL SOCIAL SECURITY BY SAYING HE’S TRYING TO SAVE IT? (New York Times) -- Republicans are retroactively applying those caveats to President Trump’s promises, saying the president understands that programs like Social Security and Medicare must be maintained for Americans who are currently receiving benefits but must be changed for younger Americans who may have to work longer before retiring and getting benefits. “It was really about making sure that those people who are getting benefits or about to get benefits are protected,” said Representative Mark Meadows, Republican of North Carolina and a leader of the hard-line conservative House Freedom Caucus. “If we do nothing, he will not save Medicare and Social Security.”

END VOTING RIGHTS CASE APPEAL, STOP LEGISLATIVE LEADERS' BICKERING (Capitol Broadcasting Co.) -- An effort to end the appeal of terrible voting law changes becomes another push for domination between the legislature's GOP leadership and the Democratic governor. Stop the bickering, end the appeal and let a bad law go away. The legislature can no longer roll over the governor. Cooper is an experienced former legislator and a 12-year attorney general well-versed in the law. He is standing his ground and showing quiet confidence. He is showing leadership. Meanwhile Berger's personal attack machine spews venom and shuts down conversation about the issue. No change there. Perhaps it will drag on for so long that the bill filed this week proposing an end to the State Constitutional ban on secession from the Union might pass. The Legislature could declare itself an independent nation and enact any laws it wanted. You can't make this stuff up.

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