February 10, 2014
President Obama Is Days Away From Dropping The Veto Hammer On Keystone XL: Obama’s veto — just the third of his presidency and the first since 2010 — is expected to come with little fanfare, with even opponents of the pipeline arguing the White House should avoid further angering Democrats and unions who want Keystone to be built. Read more here.
The Supreme Court Just Admitted It’s Going to Rule in Favor of Marriage Equality: Early Monday morning, the Supreme Court refused to stay a federal judge’s order invalidating Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage. In doing so, the justices immediately set up a constitutional crisis between the state’s lawless chief justice and the federal judiciary. They also effectively admitted what court-watchers have suspected for months: The court is preparing to rule in favor of nationwide marriage equality at the end of this term. Read more here.
Castor and Butterfield Introduce Legislation to Boost America’s Commitment to Medical Research: “Funding for medical research is too essential to be subjected to political squabbles,” said Rep. Butterfield, who serves with Rep. Castor on the House Energy & Commerce Committee and represents a part of the Research Triangle in North Carolina. “This bill ensures that regardless of the political climate medical research will be considered as a non-discretionary program, guaranteeing funding, jobs, and scientific advancement.” Read more here.
HSBC (World’s 2nd Biggest Bank) Busted for Massive Tax Cheating Schemes: HSBC’s Swiss banking arm helped wealthy customers dodge taxes and conceal millions of dollars of assets, doling out bundles of untraceable cash and advising clients on how to circumvent domestic tax authorities, according to a huge cache of leaked secret bank account files. Read more here.
The FBI Is Making House Calls to Keystone XL Opponents: Federal agents have been contacting activists who have participated in anti-Keystone XL and anti-tar sands protests, according to the Canadian Press. The visits have been happening to activists in Oregon, Washington state, and Idaho, and a lawyer working with the activists told the Canadian Press that he has advised them not to talk to the agents. Read more here.
Why millions of Americans cannot vote: According to the Sentencing Project, approximately 5.85 million voting-age Americans were not permitted to vote because they were previously convicted of felonies. Watch here.
Gov. Rauner strikes first blow against public sector unions: Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner struck a first official blow on Monday against the public sector labor unions he has frequently criticized by ordering an end to a requirement that workers pay dues even if they decide not to join a union. Read more here.
After Losing on Gay Marriage, Conservatives Target Trans People: The state of Florida would like to remind you that it’s still terrible: A bill has been proposed that would ban trans people from bathrooms that match their identity. If passed, trans people could face up to one year in prison for being in a bathroom that does not match the sex they were assigned at birth. Read more here.
Detroit commuter’s low-wage job reflects new reality: James Robertson’s story is emblematic of a new reality in the manufacturing business: Factory jobs no longer represent a guaranteed ladder to economic vitality. Call it the Robertson economy. Read more here.
Answer Man: Will changes give frackers eminent domain?: The Associate Press reported, "the law would ask voters in 2016 to change the state Constitution so private property condemnation can be done only for a "public use" — like roads, schools and utility lines. The amendment also would require jury trials when requested to determine just compensation for taking such land." Read more here.
Where you sit is where you stand: Berger, R-Rockingham, sat toward the back when he was in the minority throughout the last decade. Today he sits up front as the Senate President Pro Tem. Surrounded by fellow Republicans everywhere he looks, he has a grip on power like Vladimir Putin – and a similar fondness for true democracy. Read more here.
Senator Phil Berger: Taking hypocrisy to new levels: As Batten points out, Berger was sponsored at least five reform bills over a period of eight years that would have done almost exactly what the proposal he is now standing in the way of in 2015 would do. Read more here.
Civil rights groups, education scholars join fight challenging North Carolina’s school voucher law: Civil rights groups as well as a long list of academic scholars have joined the fight to end the state’s new school voucher law, which allows families to use taxpayer dollars to send their children to private schools over which the state exercises almost no oversight. Read more here.
Onslow County GOP treasurer resigns: Onslow County Republican Party’s treasurer resigned this week after he accused party members of “felonious activities” — citing alleged elections-law violations — and said local GOP executive board members declined to notify law enforcement, according to his comments and a resignation letter. Read more here.
Asheville teachers want planning time protected: The head of the Asheville City Association of Educators asked city school board members to protect teacher planning time as the system considers adding time to the school day for students next year. Read more here.
Wilmington mayor outlines state of the city and looks to the future: Mayor Bill Saffo delivered his annual state of the city address Monday afternoon at city hall. Read more here.
Cumberland County schools asking state to change funding formula: During the meeting, school system officials asked legislators to push to restore lottery funding for school capital needs, revise the low-wealth school-funding formula, fully fund state-mandated education programs such as driver’s education and oppose shifting the cost of replacing school buses from the state onto the counties. Read more here.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board to vote again on new member: The board deadlocked after repeated votes Thursday to name a replacement for Joyce Waddell. She had represented District 3, the area north and east from uptown Charlotte to the University City area, before being elected to the N.C. Senate. Read more here.