Daily dose

Daily dose: Token Lt. Governor edition

Token payments won't close teacher pay gap (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Lt. Gov. Dan Forest wants to give new meaning to the term “teacher’s license.” He wants the state to issue special “I-support-teachers” license plates with the proceeds going to boost teacher salaries. What’s next? A cake sale at the legislative cafeteria? Maybe a car wash at the Governor’s Mansion? Forest no doubt means well, but his proposal serves only to illustrate how clueless conservatives like himself are about teacher pay.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2015/02/18/4565855_token-payments-wont-close-teacher.html?rh=1

Daily dose: More like him, please

Jeff Jackson’s wonderful, terrific, very good and definitely not bad day in the N.C. Senate (Charlotte Observer) -- Sen. Jeff Jackson had a busy day. He’s expanded Medicaid, restored university funding, approved nonpartisan redistricting, made investments in wind and solar energy, outlawed puppy mills and enacted broad-based economic development. And he may just be getting started. On a day when icy roads and a curtailed schedule kept most lawmakers home, Jackson, a Charlotte Democrat, showed up at his legislative office for a morning meeting. When his appointment failed to show, he went to work. “I thought I would fix the state,” he said in a phone interview.
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2015/02/17/5520757/sen-jeff-jackson-has-senate-to.html

Daily dose: People's Grand Jury edition

'People's Grand Jury' begins proceedings to indict McCrory (Fayetteville Observer) -- Progressive activists began a symbolic "People's Grand Jury" proceeding on Monday to indict Gov. Pat McCrory and other state leaders for their decision to reject federal Medicaid for an estimated half-million lower-income North Carolinians. Four witnesses testified about their personal struggles to pay for health care - one with cancer said she has to go without because she has no insurance - before a jury of 14 people in a meeting room at the N.C. Legislative Office Building.

Daily dose: The continued shrinking of DENR

Proposed move of state parks causes jitters (Coastal Review) -- Although not as many headlines about sweeping changes in state government are expected during the current legislative session, one major proposal is already in the works. Officials with the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources, or DENR, and the Department of Cultural Resources say they are hammering out the details for transferring the state park system, the zoo, natural science museums, aquariums and Jennette’s Pier from DENR to Cultural Resources.

Daily dose: HKonJ edition

'Moral March' participants again demand changes to NC laws (AP) -- Still working toward substantial victories at the ballot box and the legislature, thousands of demonstrators opposed to Republican policies within North Carolina demanded again Saturday that laws be repealed that they say harm the sick, the poor and minorities.
http://www.wral.com/annual-mass-moral-march-for-nc-held-saturday-in-raleigh/14446306/

Daily dose: Sex, lies, and video streaming

LAP DANCES IN LEGISLATIVE CHAMBERS? Ethics panel says sex acts don't violate gift ban (WRAL-TV) -- Sexual acts between lobbyists and a state official covered by North Carolina's state ethics act do not constitute a "reportable expenditure" or "things of value," according to a ruling the State Ethics Commission published the Friday before Valentine's Day.
http://www.wral.com/nc-ethics-commission-sex-acts-don-t-violate-lobbyist-gift-ban/14445227/

Daily dose: The People vs. Trudy Wade

State delegation plays to full house at City Hall (Greensboro News & Record) -- Residents packed into City Hall on Thursday night to get two minutes in front of their legislative delegation. Many had the same message: They do not like Sen. Trudy Wade’s bill to reconfigure the Greensboro City Council.
http://www.news-record.com/news/local_news/state-delegation-plays-to-full-house-at-city-hall/article...

Daily dose: Money in state politics edition

Tar Heel Power Brokers: Special interests spend big to get their way (Facing South) – A first study of its kind looks at the top special interests in North Carolina politics and measures their influence in the state. The Facing South/ISS report looks at two key ways special interests wield their influence: * Election Spending: Money that special interests have spent directly and indirectly to elect state-level politicians in the 2012 and 2014 elections, based on analyzing thousands of state and federal campaign finance reports. Lobbying Clout: Special interests with the strongest lobbying presence in North Carolina government, drawing on the latest rankings produced by the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research .
http://www.southernstudies.org/2015/02/tar-heel-power-brokers-special-interests-spend-big.html

Daily dose: Hole in budget gets deeper

Economists predict $271M NC government shortfall this year (AP) — North Carolina's tax collections this year are expected to come up $271 million short of what's needed to cover the $21 billion state government budget, economists at the General Assembly and Gov. Pat McCrory's administration say.
http://www.reflector.com/ap/staten/economists-predict-271m-nc-government-shortfall-year-2791437

Daily dose: Worker abuse, government style

Report calls for ban on certain NC government work contracts (AP) — The General Assembly should ban personal services contracts from state government, a legislative watchdog agency recommended Monday, saying lax oversight has caused the agreements with temporary workers to be "misused and abused." More than 14,600 such personal service contracts were in force across agencies during the 2012-13 fiscal year, valued at $58 million, the legislature's Program Evaluation Division wrote in a report.
http://www.reflector.com/ap/staten/report-calls-ban-certain-nc-government-work-contracts-2789983

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