Wednesday News: Kneeling towards theocracy

GOP LAWMAKERS QUOTE SCRIPTURE IN BILL BANNING SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: A bill filed Tuesday by four N.C. House Republicans would direct state government to defy a U.S. Supreme Court ruling and restore the state constitution’s ban on same-sex marriage. The bill quotes the Christian Bible and says the ruling “exceeds the authority of the court relative to the decree of Almighty God that ‘a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh’ (Genesis 2:24, ESV) and abrogates the clear meaning and understanding of marriage in all societies throughout prior history.” The bill would order state government to return to the constitutional amendment known as Amendment One, which was approved in a 2012 voter referendum. It also says that same-sex marriages performed in other states wouldn’t be recognized in North Carolina.

TRUMP PRESS SECRETARY APOLOGIZES FOR IDIOTIC HOLOCAUST REFERENCE: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer apologized Tuesday for making an "inappropriate and insensitive" comparison to the Holocaust in earlier comments about Syrian President Bashar Assad's use of chemical weapons — remarks that drew instant rebuke from Jewish groups and critics. Spicer said in an interview with CNN that he was trying to make a point about Assad's use of chemical weapons and gas against his people but "mistakenly made an inappropriate and insensitive reference to the Holocaust, for which there is no comparison. And for that I apologize. It was a mistake to do that." During the daily White House briefing, Spicer told reporters that Adolf Hitler "didn't even sink to using chemical weapons." Critics noted the remark ignored Hitler's use of gas chambers to exterminate Jews during the Holocaust.

PUNISHMENTS FOR NC SANCTUARY CITIES MOVE FORWARD: The state would punish cities that declare themselves sanctuaries for illegal immigrants by withholding funding, under a bill that cleared a Senate committee on Tuesday. The voice vote was split along party lines with Republicans favoring Senate Bill 145. It now goes to the Senate Finance Committee. A similar but narrower bill is in the House. Under the bill by Sen. Norm Sanderson, a Republican from Arapahoe, universities that don’t comply with federal immigration laws would lose state funding. Cities and counties that don’t comply would lose revenue from the state such as for streets, beer and wine taxes, telecommunications taxes, sales taxes and taxes on natural gas.

VETO LIKELY ON GOP'S ATTEMPT TO DOMINATE ELECTION BOARDS: Legislation that deprives the governor’s political party of controlling appointments to a new state elections and ethics board was approved in the General Assembly on Tuesday. The bill is headed to the desk of Gov. Roy Cooper, who has said he would veto it. Senate Bill 68 combines the current State Ethics Commission and State Board of Elections into a single board, and incorporates lobbying oversight that currently resides with the secretary of state.

PRICEY HARRISON FILES BILL TO STOP DUKE ENERGY FROM PASSING ALONG COAL ASH COSTS: A newly proposed state law would require that Duke Energy build landfills on power-plant property to dispose of its remaining coal ash ponds and pay for everything out of its own pocket — not those of customers. The bill introduced this week by state Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Greensboro) would make the utility use the same, on-site closure method statewide as it is employing for ash basins at the site of its former Dan River Steam Station near Eden. Harrison’s proposal, House Bill 687, also would instruct the N.C. Utilities Commission to not allow any “electric public utility to recover from the retail electric customers ... costs incurred on or after Jan. 1, 2014, that are related to the management of coal combustion residuals” — the regulatory term for coal ash, a byproduct of generating electricity.