NCDP Clips August 23, 2013

#NCGA veto session slated for Sept. 3, DHHS salary flap becoming ‘headache’ for McCrory, Sen. Kinnaird discusses NC as ‘laughingstock’ under #NCGOP, Colin Powell hits NC voter suppression measures, highlights of Rachel Maddow live on the ground in NC, Dan Forest whines about DPI response to inquiry, 2011 #NCGOP abortion law in court, Obama administration tackles college affordability, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) sends letter to Boehner calling to defund Obamacare and will GOP chaos help Dems take House in 2014?


WRAL: McCrory calls veto session for Sept. 3
The General Assembly will be back on Sept. 3. Gov. Pat McCrory has called to legislature back to examine two bills he vetoed earlier this month. “The veto should be used for two reasons,” McCrory said in a news release. “The first is to stop legislation about which I have strong reservations of being in the best interest of North Carolina. The second is to ensure the public is made aware of legislation that is not fully scrutinized. These bills meet both criteria.”

ABC11: Salary flap becoming headache for McCrory
The fallout over certain pay raises within North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory’s administration is turning into a political headache for the governor. McCrory has defended the huge pay hikes for several young staffers who worked on his campaign, but critics want the governor to reverse that decision until all state workers get a raise, especially teachers. The young Republicans singled out by critics include Matthew McKillip, who was named chief policy adviser to Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos. Records show the 24-year-old received a $22,500 raise in April, bringing his salary to $87,500. Before joining state government in January, McKillip worked for McCrory’s 2012 campaign and spent 11 months as a research assistant at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.

WRAL: McCrory signs law granting him more firing power over workers
Gov. Pat McCrory has signed into law a measure that will increase the number of state workers he can hire and fire at will to the highest level in a quarter-century.With his signature on House Bill 834 Wednesday morning, McCrory can immediately designate up to 1,500 workers – up from the current 1,000 – as "exempt" from the State Personnel Act. Those employees, which are spread across 11 cabinet departments, serve "at-will" and can’t contest their removal from the job.

News & Observer: Cake and Cameras, but no McCrory
Except for some TV cameras, Bicentennial Mall in downtown Raleigh was mostly empty on Thursday when Madison Kimrey, a 12-year-old activist, showed up for a meeting with cake, lemonade and – hopefully – Gov. Pat McCrory. “I didn’t poison it, I promise,” Madison said, gesturing to a homemade chocolate bundt cake. She announced in a YouTube video she wanted to eat cake and converse with the governor about some recently signed laws she disagrees with – namely the voter ID and election law.

WRAL: McCrory’s Facebook campaign not winning many converts (VIDEO)
Gov. Pat McCrory is using Facebook to call on lawmakers to sustain two vetoes he issued earlier this month.

Citizen-Times: Gov. McCrory tried to bend reality in Graham
After personally witnessing Gov. Pat McCroy’s publicity stunt Monday in Graham County, I was highly disappointed with the misconstrued perception WLOS portrayed. Viewers were lead to believe that the governor significantly impacted Graham County through his participation in a federal grant issuing every student in seventh through twelfth grade a new laptop when he actually only had to sign for state approval. It disgusts me that McCrory had the audacity to invite himself to the orientation ceremony for a photo-op, making it look as though he was primarily responsible for obtaining the computers. I feel the entire ordeal was a desperate, self-centered, approval-seeking stunt that undercut the immeasurable efforts of the faculty and administration of Graham County Schools.


The Nation: North Carolina Republicans Escalate Attack on Student Voting
Hours after passing the country’s worst voter suppression law, North Carolina Republicans escalated their attempts to prevent students from participating in the political process. The attempt to prevent students from voting and running for office where they attend school is likely unconstitutional based on the 1979 Supreme Court case Symm v. United States. Nonetheless, the GOP board of elections in Pasquotank County formally prevented King from running for office today. King can then appeal to the state board of elections, which is also controlled by Republicans. If it refuses to accept his candidacy, he can appeal to the state court of appeals. But time is running short.

MSNBC: Retiring NC senator: ‘We’re becoming a laughingstock’
When North Carolina Republicans passed perhaps the nation’s most restrictive voting law last month, they weren’t just making it harder for minorities, students, and other Democratic-leaning groups to vote. They also were eviscerating the legacy of one prominent progressive lawmaker. “They’ve dismantled 17 years of my work,” Ellie Kinnaird, 81, told MSNBC Thursday afternoon, days after stepping down after ending her long career in the state Senate to devote herself full time to fighting the state’s hard-right lurch. “All those election laws that they removed, that was my work.”

WRAL: Colin Powell rips NC elections law
Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell blasted North Carolina’s new elections law on Thursday, telling Gov. Pat McCrory point blank it was wrong for him to sign it. Powell was the keynote speaker at the CEO Forum in Raleigh, and his comments came shortly after McCrory delivered the opening address to the gathering of business executives from across the state.

News & Observer: Speaking in Raleigh, Colin Powell blasts North Carolina voting law
Moments after Gov. Pat McCrory left the stage, former Secretary of State Colin Powell took aim at North Carolina’s new voting law Thursday, saying it hurts the Republican Party, punishes minority voters and makes it more difficult for everyone to vote. "I want to see policies that encourage every American to vote, not make it more difficult to vote," said Powell, a Republican, at the CEO Forum in Raleigh. "It immediately turns off a voting block the Republican Party needs," Powell continued. "These kinds of actions do not build on the base. It just turns people away."

MSNBC: Rachel Maddow – Work-around Sought for Damaged Voting Rights Act (VIDEO)

ABC-WTVD: Boards of Elections Under Scrutiny Statewide
With North Carolina’s tough new voting law in the national spotlight local boards of elections from around the state were in Cary Wednesday for training. In the days since the elections bill became law, a handful of counties have made changes that some fear could have a chilling effect on voting. Elections officials from those counties had little to say, but their critics were fired up and ready to talk. The day after Gov. Pat McCrory signed the voting bill, the Republican-led board of elections in Watagua County shut down two early voting sites. One of them, at Appalachian State University.


WRAL: Lt. Gov. Forest unhappy he got what he asked for
In a new release, Forest describes the reply as "bureaucracy at its best," complaining that the department did not take the time to individually answer his questions. He doesn’t say if the answers could be found in all those boxes of paper, website links or thumb drives. "Forest’s office today also announced that they would mail a copy of DPI’s reply to every member of the General Assembly, all 115 school superintendents, all elected county commissioners and local School Board members statewide," the news release said. He better hit those back-to-school sales for a good deal on copier paper.

Dome: Forest unhappy with DPI’s response to his 40-page letter about Common Core
Back in July, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest sent a letter to the Department of Public Instruction with 67 questions about the Common Core State Standards, the new learning goals adopted in North Carolina and most other states. Forest has been a critic of the Common Core, which has become a favorite target of the Tea Party and conservative talk show hosts. His letter was not 67 simple questions, however. Including appendices, the letter ran on for 40 pages and the questions had more than 150 sub questions and requests for documentation. “It was government bureaucracy at its best, Forest said. And he vowed that he would mail a copy of the DPI response to every legislator, school superintendent, school board member and county commissioner in the state. Dome wants to know who will pay for the postage.”


News & Record: 2011 N.C. Abortion Law Challenges Before Judge Again
A federal judge wants to hear from lawyers in person on the legality of 2011 ultrasound requirements passed by North Carolina legislators before deciding whether they should be tossed out permanently as unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles already put the restrictions on hold nearly two years ago while the litigation took its course. She scheduled oral arguments for Friday in Greensboro on competing motions to strike down or uphold challenged portions of the law.

News & Observer: Case involving NC’s abortion ultrasounds to be heard in Greensboro
Lawyers will be in federal court on Friday to argue for and against a 2011 North Carolina law that requires physicians to perform an ultrasound four hours before providing an abortion and to place the screen in the woman’s view while describing the images in detail. U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles will hear arguments in a federal courtroom in Greensboro. Key provisions of the law have not gone into effect while under challenge by women’s health-care providers and civil-liberties advocates. Eagles issued a preliminary injunction in October 2011.

NY Times: A Question of How Women’s Issues Will Fare, in Washington and Overseas
Catherine M. Russell’s portfolio includes half the population of the planet, roughly 3.5 billion women. But working with the 70,000 employees of the State Department to make women’s issues a permanent priority, she said, may be the “harder slog” in a difficult new job. “It’s something that most people in the building I think are very receptive to, but it’s a long process,” Ms. Russell said in a recent interview in a coffee shop in downtown Washington.


CNN: Obama schools on college costs
President Barack Obama kicked off a two day bus tour in upstate New York Thursday, unveiling plans to change the way the federal government will award federal student aid to colleges and universities. Complaining that "college has never been more expensive," the president said to students at the University at Buffalo that "a higher education is the single best investment you can make in your future." But he added that over the last three decades "tuition has gone up 250%, income has gone up 16%." As a result, Obama pointed out, the "average student owes 26,000 dollars" in debt upon graduation.

NY Times: A Federal Prod to Lower College Costs
President Obama has been accused of promoting small-ball ideas in his second term, but the proposal he unveiled on Thursday is a big one: using sharp federal pressure to make college more affordable, potentially opening the gates of higher education to more families scared off by rising tuitions. While there are questions to be answered about his plan, his approach — tying federal student aid to the value of individual colleges — is a bold and important way to leverage the government’s power and get Washington off the sidelines.

Politico: Anthony Foxx, MADD lukewarm about lower blood-alcohol limit
Don’t look for DOT to lead the charge in embracing an NTSB recommendation to lower the blood-alcohol limit for drunken driving. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said Thursday that if anyone’s going to take the lead on lowering the limit to 0.05 percent, it should be the states. “To the extent that states adopt measures to lower the limit, that would give us the basis to study the data and to understand the impacts nationwide,” Foxx said at an event announcing the Transportation Department’s annual Labor Day crackdown on drunken drivers.


Politico: 80 House GOPers urge John Boehner to defund Obamacare
A North Carolina Republican and 79 colleagues sent a letter Wednesday to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) urging them to defund Obamacare as part of a government funding bill. Rep. Mark Meadows, who has spearheaded the effort, said in the letter that he and his colleagues “urge” the House GOP leadership to “affirmatively de-fund the implementation and enforcement of Obamacare in any relevant appropriations bill brought to the House floor in the 113th Congress, including any continuing appropriations bill.”

NYT: Clock Is Ticking for Recess, and for a Deficit Deal
“It ends badly for the American people and the Republican Party if we shut down the government,” said Representative Reid Ribble, Republican of Wisconsin and a member of the House Budget Committee. “I hope grown-ups get in a room and behave like grown-ups, not simply actors on a political stage.”

Politico: Debt ceiling drama underway
The maneuvering over the debt ceiling — the marquee fiscal fight of the fall — is just one piece of the intensely complicated Capitol Hill drama that will begin playing out when Congress returns Sept. 9. Over the next 90 days, government funding runs dry, the $16 trillion-plus debt ceiling needs to lifted, and elements of both parties will launch serious efforts to soften the blow of sequester cuts. Not to mention, some Republicans and Democrats want to move on immigration reform before the year is out while other lawmakers hope to push through changes to National Security Agency surveillance programs.


National Journal: Hotline’s Inaugural 2014 Senate Rankings
Hagan’s biggest asset may end up being the middling quality of the Republican opposition. The early front-runner, state House Speaker Thom Tillis, has seen his campaign defined early on by the Legislature’s rightward turn. He’d much rather be talking about his previous business background and the economy, not the GOP’s restrictions on voting accessibility. If he can’t rebound with a stronger message or if Republicans don’t land a more compelling alternative, Hagan may be in for a smoother ride than expected.

The Hill: Democrats hope GOP chaos in fall will help them win back House
Democrats are banking that a chaotic autumn will convince voters the GOP is damaging the economy and help their party pick up House seats in 2014.The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has been pushing the chaos theme, arguing House Republicans are willing to shut down the government and injure the nation’s credit in order to win ideological battles in Washington.

NYT: Demographic Shifts May Help Virginia Democrats
For 36 years, elections for governor of Virginia have unfailingly followed this pattern: whichever political party holds the White House loses. But despite President Obama’s tepid job approval ratings, Democrats have a shot at breaking that rule this November. Some polls show the Democratic nominee, Terry McAuliffe, with a narrow lead over Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, his Republican challenger.


Micah Beasley, Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party
Twitter: @Micah4NC

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