Saturday News: $50 million for the Clown Car


CHARLOTTE 1 OF 3 FINALISTS FOR 2018 REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION: Party officials believe Charlotte is a finalist for the 2020 Republican National Convention and that a Republican National Committee delegation will visit this summer before final decisions are made, state party Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse said Friday. Woodhouse said state party Chairman Robin Hayes and others have been talking up Charlotte during these meetings and that all the feedback has been positive. National committee members said Charlotte's bid was "very competitive," Woodhouse said in a text. He also said Hayes is working to put together more than $50 million in private financing for the event, though much work remains to be done toward that goal. An RNC spokeswoman declined comment.

SC Democrats block statewide abortion ban

A little too close for comfort:

At 1 a.m. Friday, after three days of debate and facing a Democratic filibuster with no end in sight, Senate Republicans gave in. A bill that would have outlawed virtually all abortions in South Carolina was killed Friday morning after the Senate's GOP majority failed — on a fourth try — to sit down the Democrats who were keeping it from getting a final vote.

The bill made exceptions only for cases of rape, incest or serious medical emergencies. It would have outlawed some 97 percent of the roughly 5,700 abortions performed each year in South Carolina.

For those of you still working under the misconception Republicans would never actually succeed in outlawing abortion, that they're just using the issue to garner votes from the fundamentalist crowd, this should set you right. If Democrats had not held fast on their filibuster, South Carolina women would be on the road to the Handmaid's Tale. And in answer to your next question (What about Roe V. Wade?), engineering a Supreme Court challenge is likely exactly what they were trying to do. Iowa Republicans have openly admitted that was why they just passed their "fetal heartbeat" bill, which would ban abortions after six weeks:

Friday News: Bloom is off the Rose

WAPO REPORTS 27 ALLEGATIONS OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT AGAINST CHARLIE ROSE: A Washington Post investigation says that an additional 27 women are accusing North Carolina native Charlie Rose of sexual misconduct and that accusations of sexual misconduct by Rose spanned a period of 30 years in which CBS managers were alerted to Rose’s behavior toward women. The 5-month Washington Post investigation says that concerns about Rose's behavior were reported to managers at CBS News as early at 1986. In November, the Post reported eight women accused Rose of making unwanted sexual advances, including walking around naked in their presence, groping them and making lewd phone calls. All eight women were either employees or people who wanted to work for Rose on the “Charlie Rose” show that aired on PBS from the late 1990s. The show was suspended after the allegations.

DEQ unveils new Environmental Justice & Equity Board

Something that's been a long time coming:

Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Michael Regan announced the membership of the Environmental Justice and Equity Advisory Board today. Its 16 members, inclusive of diverse racial, ethnic, gender and socio-economic backgrounds, plans to meet quarterly. Its charge is to advise Regan and DEQ on how to ensure all North Carolinians can enjoy clean air, water and land in their neighborhoods.

Since appointed by Gov. Cooper, Regan said his priority “has always been same — to redefine the agency’s purpose. It’s no secret that I wasn’t satisfied with the mission we inherited. It downplayed the protection of people and no, it did not reflect my vision and the governor’s vision of inclusivity.”

He said a mouthful with that last sentence. DENR did not (in my opinion) pay enough attention to "where" potentially polluting industries were sited, when it comes to the socioeconomic class of people affected, anyway. That was before the scourge of McCrory, where the dynamic duo of John Skvarla and Donald van der Vaart played the Citizens United card by elevating industry to the same level (or above) regular citizens by labeling them as "customers" and not potential bad actors that needed close watching. As to environmental justice, I'ma just quote myself to save some time:

Thursday News: Career day


DURHAM SCHOOLS WILL CLOSE MAY 16 FOR TEACHER RALLY: Officials have voted to close schools in a North Carolina district as more than 1,000 teachers are expected to take a day off to lobby for better pay. Local media outlets report the Durham Board of Education voted 6-1 Wednesday to close schools on May 16. Teachers are expected to call out of work that day and head to Raleigh to urge lawmakers to raise pay and increase resources for students. More than 1,000 Durham teachers are planning to attend the March for Students and Rally for Respect. The event starts with a march in downtown Raleigh to the legislative building as the lawmakers go back into session. Teachers also plan to meet with House and Senate members to push for school safety improvements and repairs to crumbling buildings.

Coal Ash Wednesday: Virginia defies Scott Pruitt's rollback of CCR rules


Providing Roy Cooper a blueprint to do the same:

Virginia's governor says the state has no plans to change its coal ash management practices, despite an Environmental Protection Agency plan to roll back regulations governing the byproduct generated by coal-burning power plants. Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam said in a statement Tuesday that the Department of Environmental Quality will maintain its program for regulating coal ash.

The announcement from Northam comes after the EPA announced in March that it was rewriting the rules. It said at the time that the change would save utilities $100 million annually in compliance costs and give states more flexibility in enforcement. Critics said the changes would weaken protections for human health and the environment. The state also filed written comments with EPA, urging the agency not to weaken the rule.

Just a little background: It took several years from the point the EPA announced it was (finally) going to develop rules for storage and disposal of coal ash, and the actual rules being enacted. Reams of research, thousands of hours of testimony and feedback from the public and utilities went into this before it was promulgated. And the end result was (of course) weaker than many of us had hoped. But not weak enough for Scott Pruitt, apparently. He would have done this regardless, but this petition by a couple of utility groups set the formal process in motion:

Wednesday News: Time to pay the piper


NCDP SUES TILLIS AND NC GOP OVER CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA SCHEME: The North Carolina Democratic Party contends that Sen. Thom Tillis and the North Carolina Republican Party's actions during the 2014 campaign violated federal law and elections regulations, according to a complaint by the Democrats. Democrats planned to file the complaint with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday morning. The complaint alleges that Tillis and the state Republicans "knowingly assisted Cambridge Analytica's foreign national employees in influencing" Tillis' 2014 campaign against incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan. Further, the complaint says Tillis and the Republicans "accepted illegal and in-kind contributions" from John Bolton's super PAC through the use of Cambridge Analytica. The Tillis campaign, the NC GOP and the Bolton political action committee all hired Cambridge Analytica during the 2014 campaign.

Tuesday News: The War of Southern regression


ORANGE COUNTY HOLDS PUBLIC DISCUSSION ABOUT CONFEDERATE FLAG ISSUE: The Human Relations Commission-hosted Community Conversation was held just two days after a long-anticipated, 20X20-foot Confederate battle flag was hoisted onto a 60-foot flagpole. However, it had been in the works for over a month after residents raised concerns about the planned flag and asked the county to come up with some rules. The conversation was sparked earlier this year when property owner Robert "Doug" Hall Jr. secured a permit for a 60-foot flagpole on his land near the Division of Motor Vehicles office on U.S. 70. Hall also reached out to the group Alamance County Taking Back Alamance County (ACTBAC) about helping him install a mega-size flag.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Right Congressional action, wrong target:

That's right, Mark Meadows just might be a traitor himself. Trying to impeach the Deputy Attorney General because he refuses to do what the Attorney General *can't* do, fire the Special Counsel investigating Russian efforts to subvert the American electoral process. Good lord.


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