Daily dose

Daily dose: Fletcher's very bad day edition

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Elections board: NC senator may have misspent campaign money (AP) — North Carolina elections officials decided Wednesday to send state prosecutors the findings of their two-year investigation into a powerful state senator's use of campaign contributions from political supporters on personal expenses from speeding tickets to shoe repairs.
http://www.reflector.com/ap/staten/elections-board-nc-senator-may-have-misspent-campaign-money-2911621

Daily dose: Railroading the budget version

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Democrats criticize haste, lack of transparency in NC Senate budget process (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The N.C. Senate’s budget proposal will likely get four days of debate before it gets a final vote – a speedy timetable that’s drawing fire from Democrats who worry the spending plan’s sweeping policy changes won’t be adequately vetted. Top Senate Republicans have spent weeks working in secret on the budget. Highlights of the plan were first announced in a news conference Monday afternoon, with detailed documents released and explained during appropriations subcommittee meetings a few hours later. Some of those Monday meetings took place in tiny committee rooms without audio feeds available online – meaning some attendees crowded the halls outside the rooms trying to hear the discussion. It’s due on the Senate floor Wednesday. Senate leader Phil Berger said the first vote is expected Wednesday, with a final vote on Thursday.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article24...

Daily dose: "Probe yourselves" edition

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Women’s Bodies Safe from North Carolina Lawmakers, For Now (New York Times column) -- There is no shortage of absurdly creative (or creatively absurd?) attempts by lawmakers around the country to prevent women from controlling what happens inside their own bodies. Depending on where they live, those seeking to exercise their constitutional right to an abortion must endure, among other things, waiting periods of up to 3 days, medically inaccurate lectures , or trips of hundreds of miles to reach the closest operating clinic that hasn’t been shut down on false pretenses. But for the purest expression of paternalistic condescension, wrapped in a bow of bodily invasion and delivered via an unequivocal violation of the First Amendment, it is hard to match the transvaginal ultrasound laws that have proliferated in recent years. North Carolina’s version — which finally died Monday morning when the Supreme Court declined to consider the federal appeals court ruling that struck it down — forced doctors to subject a woman seeking an abortion to an ultrasound exam (generally via a wand inserted into her vagina), position the sonogram so she is able to see it and, even if she “averts her eyes” and “refuses to hear,” describe to her what it is depicting.
http://takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/06/15/womens-bodies-safe-from-north-carolina-lawmakers-for-...

Daily dose: Falling into the gap edition

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Michelle's story: Closing the health insurance coverage gap (Mountain Xpress) -- In 2013, Gov. Pat McCrory and the General Assembly chose not to expand Medicaid to those with incomes below 133 percent of the federal poverty line. Consequently, North Carolina is among a minority of 24 states not receiving federal Medicaid expansion funding. This decision has created a coverage gap for over 500,000 North Carolinians like Michelle whose income does not qualify for ACA coverage. Those in the coverage gap include workers in retail, tourism, food services and construction industries. “Because I am enrolled in school and don’t have any income, I was told by the ACA reps that I should enroll onto my husband’s coverage,” she says. “This would cost us $800 a month, and with only one income, we couldn’t live on what would be left over.” So Michelle decided to go without health insurance while she was pursuing her degree.
https://mountainx.com/opinion/michelles-story-closing-the-health-insurance-coverage-gap/

Daily dose: Picking losers and losers edition

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NC school choice group may get OK to decide who gets money (AP) — A non-profit group that has lobbied to increase public charter schools and private education vouchers could soon be in charge of allocating taxpayer money to new and proposed charters to help get them started.
http://www.reflector.com/ap/staten/nc-school-choice-group-may-get-ok-decide-who-gets-money-2905521

Daily dose: Carolina Fallback edition

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DOING THE MATH: ‘Carolina Comeback’ coming up short (WRAL-TV) -- Numbers out this week from the U.S. Dept. of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis paint a less rosy picture of North Carolina’s economic health. According to GDP figures for 2014, the state's economic growth last year was 1.4 percent –well below the national average and far short of the state's 2.3 percent growth in 2013. It's below the regional average for the Southeast, which is 1.7 percent. South Carolina, by comparison, posted a 2.2 percent growth rate. Georgia's GDP grew 2.3 percent, and Florida's grew 2.7 percent.
http://www.wral.com/is-the-carolina-comeback-slowing-/14708364/

Daily dose: Regressive Republican revenues edition

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NC Senate proposes income tax cut, sales tax increase (Asheville Citizen-Times) – Average North Carolinians will pay more of their income at the cash register when they buy things so the rich pay less of their income when they file their income tax returns under a tax proposal rolled out by the state Senate's Republican leadership this week.
http://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/2015/06/10/nc-senate-bids-corporate-personal-tax-cuts-years/...

Daily dose: Cut taxes and borrow edition

NC Senate proposes new tax cuts, lowers funding for economic development (Winston-Salem Journal) -- The state Senate revealed Wednesday its plan for shifting the state’s economy into a higher gear, adding new tax cuts for corporations and individuals to a House bill supported by Gov. Pat McCrory. House Bill 117, known as NC Competes, passed the House by an 88-29 vote March 5, then moved to the Senate.
http://www.journalnow.com/news/state_region/nc-senate-proposes-new-tax-cuts-lowers-funding-for-econo...

McCrory asking local governments to vote support of his $2.85B 'Connect NC' borrowing (Brunswick Beacon) -- Gov. Pat McCrory’s office is seeking support for Connect NC,” a $2.85 billion bond proposal to improve the state’s infrastructure, by asking local government leaders to review information and to adopt resolutions supporting it. At least two Brunswick County towns have delayed commitment.
http://www.brunswickbeacon.com/content/towns-address-mccrorys-285b-connect-nc-bond-proposal-state

Daily dose: Silencing whistleblowers edition

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North Carolina's Ag-Gag Law Might Be the Worst in the Nation (VICE News) -- The North Carolina legislature has approved a law that proponents say is aimed at protecting businesses from property theft. But critics of the law say it is actually meant to silence whistleblowers who want to expose wrongdoing on factory farms and other businesses. Known as ag-gag laws, bills like North Carolina's have historically sought to protect meat and poultry producers against employees who document health or safety violations inside slaughterhouses. North Carolina's new law is "deceitful," said Matthew Dominguez of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which fought its passage.
https://news.vice.com/article/north-carolinas-ag-gag-law-might-be-the-worst-in-the-nation

Daily dose: Help save the Fox edition

Campaign aimed at helping Orange County Judge Carl Fox get marrow transfusion (AP) — The sheriff of Orange County is working with a Superior Court judge on a different kind of case, working to find a donor for a bone marrow transfusion. Sheriff Charles Blackwood is urging people who are eligible to join the national marrow donor registry to help Judge Carl Fox.
http://www.greensboro.com/news/north_carolina_ap/campaign-aimed-at-helping-judge-get-marrow-transfus...

Judge battling cancer from bench, on social media (WRAL-TV) -- Superior Court Judge Carl Fox continues to dispense justice as he deals with a possible death sentence of his own - a blood cancer that requires a bone marrow transplant to survive.
http://www.wral.com/judge-battling-cancer-from-bench-on-social-media/14698458/

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