August 20, 2014
TV blitz fails to change Hagan-Tillis Senate race: Several polls show Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan and her Republican opponent Thom Tillis essentially tied – essentially the same place they were in February. Read more here.
House defeats Senate gambit on TAs, Incentives: The bipartisan 47-54 vote against House Bill 1224 instead amounted to a legislative insurrection, with rank-and-file members voting against the wishes of House Speaker Thom TIllis, Senate Leader Phil Berger, and Governor Pat McCrory. Read more here.
GOP moves to restrict court challenges of N.C. laws: After passing laws imposing new conditions on abortions and elections, taking away teacher tenure and providing vouchers for private school tuition, Republican state legislators have seen those policies stymied in state and federal courtrooms. Read more here.
Task Force: Rural NC Needs Better Investment Strategies To Improve Health: The North Carolina Institute of Medicine’s Task Force on Rural Health released a report Monday about health disparities in rural counties. It says many of their childhood nutrition programs need more attention. And local schools need more help to recruit health care professionals who will stay and work in rural North Carolina. Read more here.
NC coal ash legislation could be approved Wednesday: Lawmakers could vote on the Coal Ash Management Act as early as Wednesday to create a new coal ash regulatory program that would require Duke Energy to start testing private water wells in January and require replacing drinking water supplies for residents whose water is contaminated by nearby coal ash disposal sites. Read more here.
Public’s first chance to comment on fracking rules comes Wednesday: The Mining and Energy Commission does not have a say in whether fracking will occur; they are using the upcoming hearings to gather suggestions to improve draft rules. Fracking opponents believe the hearings may be the best chance they have to strengthen the guidelines that address things like forced pooling and chemical disclosure. Read more here.
House defeats Senate gambit on TAs, Incentives: By a vote of 47-54, House lawmakers Tuesday turned down a complex end-of-session deal with the Senate that would have fixed a funding issue for teaching assistants, expanded the state’s economic incentive programs, and capped Wake County’s sales tax. Read more here.
Here’s Why North Carolina Keeps Getting Poorer: University of North Carolina professor Gene Nichol — who has written extensively on poverty in North Carolina — has some interesting insights into why so many people in the southern state continue to be destitute. Nichol told us North Carolina "has suffered a double-whammy in a way that is uncommon." Read more here.
Governor names Court of Appeals Judge Bob Hunter to Supreme Court: Gov. Pat McCrory announced today that he’ll appoint current Court of Appeals Judge R.N. “Bob” Hunter, Jr. to fill Justice Mark Martin’s seat on the Supreme Court. Martin will take Chief Justice Sarah Parker’s spot on Sept. 1, following her retirement. Read more here.
Court’s refusal to stay monster voting law is headed to the Fourth Circuit: Students who challenged the state’s monster voting law in court have filed a notice of appeal of U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder’s August 8 ruling denying a stay of that law, pending the November elections. Read more here.
Missouri GOP leader calls Ferguson voter-registration drive ‘disgusting’: Voter participation in Ferguson, MO, has been poor of late, with just 12% turnout in the most recent election. As the Rev. Al Sharpton, host of msnbc’s “Politics Nation,” said at the Greater Grace Church’s during Sunday services, “You all have got to start voting and showing up. 12% turnout is an insult to your children.” Read more here.
The 15 US Cities Where Poverty Is Soaring Fastest: Of the 15 metro areas where poverty is expanding at the greatest rates, nine are located in the South, with four in North Carolina and another three in Florida. Read more here.
The Department of Justice lays out its case against the Alamance County sheriff: U.S. Department of Justice attorneys painstakingly documented allegations of racial profiling and misconduct by the Alamance sheriff for District Court Judge Thomas Schroeder. For years, civil rights advocates in Alamance County have accused Johnson of targeting Latino residents in an effort to spur deportations. Read more here.
Vidant Health files motion to move complaint to federal court: Tuesday morning Vidant Health’s Board of Directors held a special meeting to discuss the future of the closed Vidant Pungo property. The meeting comes after a judge issued a temporary restraining order last week keeping Vidant from tearing down or damaging the property. Read more here.
Former state Rep. LaRoque looking for money from Kinston non-profit he’s accused of stealing from: Former state Rep. Stephen LaRoque wants back pay from the non-profit he founded – the same federally-funded group that prosecutors contend he stole $300,000 from while serving as its executive director. Read more here.