COURT-ORDERED WAKE REDISTRICTING PLAN HAS BIPARTISAN SUPPORT: A proposal redrawing state House districts in Wake County should be on the floor next week after clearing two committees on Thursday after little debate. State judges ordered new Wake lines by the end of June after ruling Republicans in 2017 impermissibly redrew four districts that hadn't been struck down in previous litigation. House Democratic and Republican leaders sponsored a new map identical to a third-party expert's recommendations to federal judges in late 2017. Currently Democrats hold all 11 Wake seats, and incumbents seeking re-election wouldn't be forced to run against each other under the proposal. This map would only be used next year, since decennial redistricting begins in 2021.
NC GOP DESPERATE TO REBRAND ITSELF AND ATTRACT AFRICAN-AMERICAN VOTE: At the GOP state convention Friday, Republicans discussed how to reach out to minority groups, who make a large part of city voters in N.C. On Saturday, the convention will elect a new chairman to help recruit more of those voters to the party. Jim Womack, who’s running for party chairman, said the GOP has to “reach voters where they are.” If elected, he plans to start running ads on radio stations that cater to African-Americans. “The first thing is that the party has to get branded as the party of family, faith and fun,” he said Friday. Michael Whatley, who’s also running for chair, said the party needs a permanent presence in urban communities. And it has to remind voters of Republican economic policies he said have benefited those communities. “It’s messaging but it’s also presence,” he said.
TRUMP BACKS OFF ON MEXICO TARIFFS AFTER SIGNED AGREEMENT: President Donald Trump announced late Friday that he had suspended plans to impose tariffs on Mexico, tweeting that the country “has agreed to take strong measures” to stem the flow of Central American migrants into the United States. But the deal the sides agreed to falls short of some of the dramatic overhauls the U.S. had pushed for. A “U.S.-Mexico Joint Declaration” released by the State Department said the U.S. “will immediately expand the implementation” of a program that returns asylum-seekers who cross the southern border to Mexico while their claims are adjudicated. Mexico will “offer jobs, healthcare and education” to those people, the agreement stated. Mexico has also agreed, it said, to take “unprecedented steps to increase enforcement to curb irregular migration,” including the deployment of the Mexican National Guard throughout the country, especially on its southern border with Guatemala. And Mexico is taking “decisive action to dismantle human smuggling and trafficking organizations as well as their illicit financial and transportation networks,” the State Department said.
APPEALS COURT SAYS KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE CAN MOVE FORWARD: An appeals court has lifted a judge's injunction that blocked construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the U.S., but the developer has said it's too late to begin work this year and environmental groups vowed to keep fighting it. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday ordered dismissal of the lawsuit by environmental and Native American groups, saying President Donald Trump had revoked a 2017 permit allowing the $8 billion pipeline to be built. Trump later issued a new permit, and the appellate judges agreed with Justice Department attorneys who say that nullifies the legal challenge involving environmental impacts. Attorneys for the plaintiffs accuse Trump of trying to get around court rulings by issuing the new permit, which they say also is flawed. They have filed another, ongoing lawsuit to block the new presidential permit.
HOUSE DEMS WILL NOT TRY TO REMOVE HYDE AMENDMENT IN SPENDING PLAN: “While we loathe the amendment, the view was: Okay, let’s proceed in this fashion,” said DeLauro, arguing that Republican control of the White House and the Senate remains an obstacle to any change. DeLauro and Democrats on the Appropriations Committee worked with colleagues and outside allies before moving forward with their spending bill — weeks before Biden’s position became prime campaign news.hat groundwork has earned them backing from the most influential abortion rights groups, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and NARAL Pro-Choice America. Executives from both groups said Friday that they were not opposing passage of the spending bill next week, citing the other advances and the futility of pursuing Hyde repeal with Trump in office and Republicans controlling the Senate. “While we are disappointed and we are going to continue to work against Hyde, there are huge wins in the bill — especially when you talk about protecting birth control access for 4 million people,” said Erica Sackin, a Planned Parenthood spokeswoman.