Daily dose

Saturday News: Drop those charges


JUDGE MIFFED AT BERGER & MOORE FOR ADOPTING RULES BY THEMSELVES: On Friday, Fox told attorneys for Carol Anderson and Dale Herman, the Durham residents who challenged the constitutionality of the rules, that he still agreed that General Assembly members had the authority to delegate rulemaking to a Legislative Services Commission. But Fox said he had trouble with the part of the law that allows rules to be made with just the House speaker and Senate leader present, not a quorum of the 10-member commission. “What I’m saying is if you have 10 members of a commission, you can’t have two deciding ... anything that involves criminal sanctions should require that there be a quorum,” Fox said.

Friday News: The price of bent lawmaking


ATTORNEY CALLS FOR WAKE LEGISLATIVE SPECIAL ELECTION IF NECESSARY: An attorney leading another challenge to North Carolina legislative districts wants Wake County House boundaries changed for this year's elections, but a lawyer for Republican state lawmakers says it's too late for that. Three state judges asked the lawyers Thursday how litigation by advocacy groups and voters should proceed. No decisions were announced. The plaintiffs contend four districts must revert to 2011 boundaries because the state constitution prevented lawmakers from changing them last summer without specific court orders. Complicating the case is the U.S. Supreme Court blocking a federal court ruling so last year's lines are in use for May primaries. Plaintiffs' lawyer Allison Riggs suggested holding special Wake County House primary elections this summer if her clients succeed. GOP lawyer Phil Strach says that would cause disruption and uncertainty.

Thursday News: Zero tolerance


DEMOCRATIC REP DUANE HALL ASKED TO RESIGN AFTER SEXUAL HARASSMENT ALLEGATIONS: Top Democratic leaders, including Gov. Roy Cooper, called for state Rep. Duane Hall, D-Wake, to resign Wednesday after a left-leaning news site reported sexual harassment allegations against him. NC Policy Watch said it had five sources, one of whom the website named, describing "persistent sexual innuendo from the three-term legislator and, in some cases, repeated, unwanted sexual overtures." The site quotes Jessie White, described as a top campaign official for several Democratic legislative candidates, as saying Hall commented on her looks and weight. After she mentioned some relationship troubles to Hall at a bar in 2016 he whispered in her ear, “If you give me two hours, you’ll forget about all those other guys," the article states. "We must create a culture where harassment of any kind is unacceptable," Cooper said.

Wednesday News: They went to Jared


KUSHNER'S CONTACTS WITH FOREIGN OFFICIALS PROMPTS SECURITY CLEARANCE DOWNGRADE: Officials in at least four countries have privately discussed ways they can manipulate Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, by taking advantage of his complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and lack of foreign policy experience, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with intelligence reports on the matter. Kushner’s interim security clearance was downgraded last week from the top-secret to the secret level, which should restrict the regular access he has had to highly-classified information, according to administration officials. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has asked people about the protocols Kushner used when he set up conversations with foreign leaders, according to a former U.S. official.

Tuesday News: Stopped clock version


SUPERINTENDENT MARK JOHNSON OPPOSES ARMING TEACHERS IN CLASSROOMS: North Carolina's schools chief is opposed to arming teachers in classrooms, an idea President Donald Trump and some legislators in North Carolina and other states have suggested following the shootings at a Florida high school that killed 17 people. Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson said Monday he supports the General Assembly increasing money to hire more law enforcement officers in the schools. But Johnson says in a release teachers should not be asked to take on the "massive responsibility" of having firearms in the classroom. He says he's been working to reduce burdens on teachers. A North Carolina House committee has been formed to evaluate school safety and how it can be improved. Johnson says firearms on school grounds should be in the hands of trained, uniformed law-enforcement professionals.

Monday News: Just say "No!"


TRUMP ADMIN TO HOLD PUBLIC OFFSHORE DRILLING MEETING IN RALEIGH TODAY: The federal government's only scheduled public meeting in North Carolina to discuss expanding oil and gas exploration off the Atlantic coast and in other waters is expected to attract busloads of people opposing the idea. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is holding local events across the country about a proposal by President Donald Trump's administration to open more waters to drilling. The North Carolina meeting starts Monday afternoon at a Raleigh hotel. Several environmental groups fighting expansion are helping bring residents from the Outer Banks, Wilmington and elsewhere to rally and to speak with agency representatives. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is adamantly opposed to offshore drilling and has threatened litigation unless North Carolina is left out. Top state Republicans, including former Gov. Pat McCrory, generally have supported offshore expansion.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


STAND WITH NC OR STAY IN BED WITH THE NRA? The National Rifle Association has spent $11.6 million in North Carolina congressional elections – almost all of it on Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis. That’s around $682,000 for each of the dead in Parkland, Florida. It is $79,710 for each of the 138 school house dead nationwide since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. The NRA’s investment has paid off — to the benefit of gun manufacturers. Sales of non-essential military-style assault weapons skyrocketed. Meanwhile, the lavish campaign spending effectively thwarted any reasonable, constitutional laws to keep these inappropriate and dangerous weapons away from the public. This is not about doing away with the 2nd Amendment or in any way limiting anyone’s right to hunt. It is about common sense. It is about representing the voters of the state – a majority of whom support a ban on assault weapons.

Saturday News: "Help! I'm being oppressed!"

COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST NC GOP SPURS DALLAS TO WAIL ABOUT "POLICE POWERS": The North Carolina Democratic Party asked Attorney General Josh Stein’s office to investigate a recorded call state Republican Party Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse made to registered Republicans seeking candidates for office. The attorney general’s consumer division sent the state GOP a letter Wednesday asking for a response to the complaint and proposed resolution. Stein and the Democratic Party are trying to intimidate Republicans, Woodhouse said. They “attempted to use the full weight and police powers of the North Carolina Department of Justice to intimidate its rival political party, the Republicans, from making calls to voters and asking them to run for office,” Woodhouse said. Laura Brewer, Stein’s spokeswoman, said Woodhouse is overreacting. “There is no merit to any of these hysterical claims,” she said in an email.

Friday News: Ineffective and incompetent


MOORE SAYS NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO DEBATE GUNS, CAN'T WE LOCK THE SCHOOL DOORS? “Folks want to try to drag the gun debate into it,” Moore said in the television interview. “Look, that’s a discussion for another time.” The state Democratic Party condemned Moore for rejecting a debate about guns. “Speaker Moore’s tone-deaf comments are shocking and infuriating,” NC Democratic Party Executive Director Kimberly Reynolds said in a statement. “We have a gun epidemic in this country that nearly every American wants to seriously address, yet one of the most powerful legislators in our state is shutting the door on common sense reforms just days after the Parkland shooting.” Moore told journalists Thursday he wanted to focus on solutions that can win support from both sides. "We can agree, for example, that we need to enhance the security of the schools. If somebody shouldn’t be in the school, by golly they ought to not be able to get in. Is there a way that doors can lock better?”

Thursday News: Because the Constitution


GOP FACES ANOTHER LAWSUIT OVER FOUR WAKE COUNTY DISTRICTS: Attorneys for the state NAACP, League of Women Voters, Democracy North Carolina, the A. Philip Randolph Institute and four named voters want the courts to change four Wake County districts back to what they looked like in 2011. That was before the GOP majority was forced to redraw the state's House and Senate election maps in a federal case brought by much the same legal team and which found racial gerrymanders in a number of districts statewide. The plaintiffs' lawyers in that case argued repeatedly that Republican legislators violated the North Carolina Constitution in that redraw because they changed district lines they didn't have to. Absent a court order, the state constitution forbids redrawing districts more than once a decade, a process undertaken after the U.S. census produces new population numbers. Attorneys argued Republican leaders didn't have to redraw the four Wake County House districts targeted in this latest case to address the previous racial gerrymander. Those four districts are 36, 37, 40 and 41.


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