NCDP Clips for Friday, April 24th, 2015

NCDP Clips for Friday, April 24th, 2015

Tweet of The Day

LEGISLATURE 2015

Speaker: No action on so-called "religious freedom" bill this year (AP) — The North Carolina House won’t act on a "religious freedom" bill this year that supporters promoted as protecting religious liberties but others criticized as legalizing discrimination against gays and lesbians, Speaker Tim Moore said Thursday.

Dems call for veto threat for religious freedom bill (WRAL-TV) — Accusing Republican legislative leaders of being "obsessed" with social issues, Democratic lawmakers called on Gov. Pat McCrory to pledge to veto the Religious Freedom Restoration Act if it reaches his desk.

NC environmental impact law in jeopardy (Raleigh News & Observer) — With little discussion and no study, North Carolina legislators are attempting to severely weaken – gut some say — an environmental regulation that has been on the books since 1971. Backers claim it’s outdated and unnecessarily costly.

N.C. House approves bill to extend abortion waiting period (Charlotte Observer) — After long and emotional debate, the North Carolina House Thursday passed a bill that would make the state the fourth in the nation requiring women to wait three days before getting an abortion.

House OKs expanded mandate for NC business on worker status (AP) — More businesses in North Carolina would be required to use the E-Verify system to check the immigration status of workers they hired in legislation clearing one General Assembly chamber.

Bill would subject Uber, Lyft to NC rules – but not RDU fees (Raleigh News & Observer) — Raleigh-Durham International Airport officials don’t want the state to take away their enforcement powers.

NC autism coverage bill has broad support; 1 group still out (AP) — Insurers in North Carolina would have to cover autism treatment under a legislative compromise that has support from the state’s dominant insurer and some other groups, but a key organization pushing for the mandate has not yet gotten on board.

Committee shoots down limits on local government spending (WRAL-TV) — A bill put forward by Rep. Michael Speciale, R-Craven, would have allowed local residents to overturn decisions by cities and counties to borrow money for building projects. The House Local Government Committee killed the measure.

N.C. House Plan Would Create Scholarship Program For Aspiring Teachers (WUNC-FM) –House representatives in the state’s General Assembly presented a bipartisan proposal on Thursday to create a scholarship program to help create highly-effective teachers. The program, which received its first approval by a House Education Committee, would provide scholarship loans for individuals to attend “highly-effective” education schools. According to the bill, recipients would receive up to $8,500 per year. “We need to attract and retain high-quality teachers and put them in the places where they’re needed the most,” said Rep. Craig Horn (R-Union).

Senate Bill Would Overhaul Air Rules, Potentially Limiting EPA Requirements (N.C. Health News) — The N.C. Senate passed legislation this week that would scramble the state’s current regimen of air toxics rules.

Last breather before crossover rush (WRAL-TV) — Lawmakers better get some sleep and eat their Wheaties this weekend, with only three days to recover from a long legislative week and to prepare for another long week before the General Assembly’s crossover deadline.

POLICIES & POLITICS

N.C. POOR AND MOST OF US ARE GETTING POORER: median household income decreases (Greensboro News & Record) — An economic report by a N.C. research firm found that the inflation-adjusted income of the median N.C. household fell 8 percent from 2007 to 2013.

What made Loretta Lynch’s father see red (Politico) — The Loretta Lynch supporters in the Senate Thursday did not include Lorenzo and Loretta’s two home-state senators, Thom Tillis and Richard Burr, Republicans both, despite sometimes tearful personal pleading from Loretta Lynch supporters across the state. Burr, a pastor’s son from a progressive Presbyterian church in Winston-Salem, “should have known better,“ said Lorenzo Lynch, the new attorney general’s father. … For many black people in North Carolina, the opposition of their own two senators to a nominee who was so widely praised was seen as more than political. Tillis, a freshman, gave several different reasons for his intention to vote against her — including that Lynch, who managed the huge Eastern District U.S. Attorney’s office, didn’t have enough management experience. Burr said he would vote no because Lynch had supported Justice Department challenges to North Carolina’s 2013 voter registration law. But critics say that law is aimed at disenfranchising minority voters by cutting back early voting, ending same-day registration and requiring photo identification.

N.C. native Loretta Lynch wins confirmation as attorney general (AP) — Loretta Lynch won confirmation as the nation’s first black female attorney general Thursday from a Senate that forced her to wait more than five months for the title and remained divided to the end.

THE SPILL

Duke Energy considering coal ash landfill in low income Eden neighborhood(Greensboro News & Record) — Residents worried about possible health problems.

No consensus about wastewater strategy (Sanford Herald) — Members of the Sanford City Council are fiercely divided on whether refusing to treat wastewater from the site on Colon Road where Duke Energy and its contractor, Charah, intend to store up to 8 million tons of coal ash would be a good idea — and whether it would prevent, or at least disrupt, the companies’ plans.

Who to trust in troubled water? (Charlotte Observer column) — The letter, from the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, told them that tests on their well water showed contaminants above state groundwater standards. They should not use the water for drinking or cooking. Deborah put her coffee down. “What are we going to do?” she said Thursday. “I don’t know. I don’t know what to do.” More than 80 such warnings went out last week to N.C. homeowners with wells located within 1,000 feet of a Duke Energy power plant. The tests were required by state legislation enacted after coal ash spilled from a Duke pond into the Dan River last year. … For now, the Grahams and neighbors have contacted a pair of Salisbury attorneys, Mona Lisa Wallace and Bill Graham (who’s unrelated). Deborah Graham says she’s filling up jugs with water at her mother-in-law’s house. Ralph Graham says he wonders whether he could even sell this house, if he had to. The next round of testing is underway. They’re not sure when the next letter will come.

Duke fines for coal ash pile up, but the ash piles don’t shrink (Clean Energy News) — Duke Energy is under a lot of pressure these days. Coal ash has become a serious financial and public relations liability for the corporation, yet so far, the nation’s largest utility isn’t planning to adequately clean up its mess across the Southeast. The impacts of coal ash on communities and waterways continue, and the price of business as usual is increasing – but it doesn’t seem to be enough so far to drive necessary action.