NCDP Clips for Friday, February 27th, 2015
Tweet of The Day
NC senators look to modify McCrory’s jobs incentive plan (Raleigh News & Observer) — Republican state senators voiced concerns this week about a jobs incentive program that Gov. Pat McCrory wants to see significantly expanded within weeks.
‘Gas tax bill’ could also affect homeowners (Charlotte Observer) — The debate in the N.C. Senate Wednesday was on what’s been called the “gas tax bill.” Whether it cuts the tax (as Republicans say) or raises it (as Democrats say) depends on how you look at it. But another part of the bill appears to be more clear. It’s one that could affect thousands of N.C. homeowners.
POLICIES & POLITICS
McCrory: Storms’ impact on state budget unclear (WRAL-TV) — Gov. Pat McCrory said Thursday that he needs to take a look at the cost of the back-to-back-to-back winter storms before rolling out his budget proposal next week. "We’re going to have to do some reassessment of how this will impact our long-term budget," McCrory said during a news conference to detail the state’s response to the snow and sleet that hit much of North Carolina late Wednesday and early Thursday. The state Department of Transportation has blown through most of its budget for clearing roads but has "a little bit of money left" if another winter storm hits in the coming weeks, he said.
McCrory still not sold on Medicaid expansion (Charlotte Business Journal) — N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory sounds skeptical about accepting expanded coverage for low-income people across the state from the federal government. … "My major goal right now is to get Medicaid reform," McCrory told me Wednesday. "In fact, I was in Washington the last six days in which I talked to Health and Human Services, and I even had the (agency) at the mansion two weeks ago. My major goal right now is Medicaid reform because we can’t sustain the current level of expenses and the poor customer service being provided to the elderly, the poor, the disabled and the women that are qualified for Medicaid."
McCrory aims to put all N.C. attractions under one department (Jacksonville Daily News) — The N.C. Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores and Fort Macon soon could be getting a new boss, but not everyone thinks that’s necessarily a good idea.
North Carolina senators oppose NC native Lynch confirmation (AP) — Both of North Carolina’s U.S. senators are opposing the confirmation of Greensboro native Loretta Lynch for attorney general, citing in part pending elections-law litigation by the Justice Department against the state
FCC gives Wilson green light to expand (Wilson Times) — The Federal Communications Commission made a landmark decision Thursday that overturns North Carolina law and allows the city of Wilson’s Greenlight broadband network to expand.
Tillis moves to overturn FCC ruling on local broadband (Raleigh News & Observer) — US Sen. Thom Tillis, R-NC, is moving to overturn a Federal Communications Commission decision that would lift restrictions on city-owned broadband Internet service, including the city of Wilson’s service called Greenlight.
Chattanooga, Tenn., and Wilson, N.C., Celebrate FCC’s Municipal Broadband Ruling (Govt. Executive) — The two cities had petitioned commissioners to block state red tape that limits expansion of high-speed networks built by local governments.
N.C. Medicaid claims lawsuit to face biggest hearing (Triangle Business Journal) — A case that pits almost every Medicaid provider in North Carolina against the state government and its IT contractor will have arguably its most important hearing to date in April.
Prisoner sues over ban on ‘humanist’ study groups (Raleigh News & Observer) — A national organization is suing North Carolina over what it says is state prison officials’ refusal to allow atheists or humanists to hold study groups like religious inmates do. The American Humanist Association’s legal center filed the lawsuit in federal court in Raleigh on Wednesday on behalf of Kwame Jamal Teague, an inmate at Lanesboro Correctional Institution in Anson County.
About 200 Roanoke postal jobs moving to North Carolina (AP) — About 200 postal jobs are being shifted from Roanoke to Greensboro, N.C.
GOP Warns Washington to Think Twice About Legalizing Marijuana (New York Times) — Some Congressional Republicans said Thursday that they would increase their efforts to prevent residents here from possessing small amounts of marijuana, which became legal in Washington at midnight, and warned that the city would face numerous investigations and hearings should the mayor continue her practice of telling them to please find something else to worry about. “We say move forward at your own peril,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, echoing a letter he and Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, sent to city officials this week, warning of legal action and ordering the district to turn over documentation on any employees involved with putting the law into effect.
DOT signs contract for passenger ferry test runs (N.C. Political News) — As part of its ongoing feasibility study on passenger ferry service, the North Carolina Department of Transportation has signed an agreement with Bay State Cruise Company to charter the M/V Provincetown III for test runs of a potential passenger ferry route between Hatteras and Ocracoke Village on May 4-5, 2015.
Snowstorm batters South, knocking out power and blocking roads (LA Times) – A powerful winter storm that blew across the Gulf Coast and into the Carolinas and Virginia left many roads impassable and tens of thousands of people without power Thursday, especially in hard-hit North Carolina.
Carolinas hope for help from temperatures, utilities (AP) — Retired minister Tony Varner marveled at the landscape left behind by the latest winter storm.
Get on the Bus: A Doctor’s Office on Wheels (N.C. Health News) — In the heavily touristed communities of Dare County, many low-income workers get on the bus to see the doctor.
Groundbreaking ceremony planned for Montford Point memorial (AP) — A ceremony is scheduled to mark the start of construction of a monument at Camp Lejeune to honor the Montford Point Marines, the first black Marines to enlist in the Corps.
First black female mortician in state recognized (Washington Daily News) — A local woman was recently recognized by state officials as being the first female African American in her field in North Carolina
Sacrifice, legacy to be focus of 3rd symposium on Civil War (AP) — A symposium about the sacrifices made during the Civil War will be held in Southport and Wilmington.
Voice of the voiceless to be honored (Charlotte Observer) — Few people in Charlotte these days have heard of Jim Grant. And that’s fine with Jim Grant. At 78, he’s content to remain in relative tranquility in Wilson, quietly working on the social justice causes that have occupied his life. On Saturday, Grant will be honored by the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union with its highest tribute, the Frank Porter Graham Award.
Charlotte Observer’s Leland captures Thomas Wolfe award for 10th time (AP) – Charlotte Observer writer Elizabeth Leland received the Thomas Wolfe Award for Outstanding Writing by a newspaper with circulation over 30,000 for a story on former Mayor Patrick Cannon. It was the 10th time Leland has received the award. Martha Quillin of The News & Observer of Raleigh won honorable mention for a story on designing a better downtown.
SCHOOLS & UNIVERSITIES
NC public universities again seeking tuition, fee hikes (AP) — North Carolina’s public universities a poised for another couple of years of higher tuition and fees after a one-year tuition freeze this year.
UNC board radicals moving to disband poverty center led by sharp GOP critic (AP) — North Carolina’s public university board is thinking about eliminating an anti-poverty center headed up by an outspoken critic of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and other Republican lawmakers he accuses of doing too little to help the poor.
Who Teaches N.C. Public School Students? (EdNC) — Through the budget that it approves and the policy legislation that it enacts, the General Assembly has a profound influence on the lives and work of North Carolina teachers, now numbering more than 96,000.
Ex-CFCC president probe hinges on auditor’s office finding (Wilmington Star-News) — "We are waiting on the state auditor’s to determine if there are criminal violations found in their investigations."
Toxic Waste Spill in N.C.: Coal Ash (VICE) — An estimated 113 million tons of coal ash are produced annually in the US, and stored in almost every state — some of it literally in people’s backyards. With very little government oversight and few safeguards in place, toxic chemicals have been known to leak from these storage sites and into nearby communities, contaminating drinking water and making residents sick.
Duke Energy’s Dan River spill deal goes to judge (Charlotte Business Journal) — Duke Energy Corp. still needs a judge’s OK, but it looks like the company has a deal to resolve a federal grand jury investigation spurred by last year’s massive coal-ash spill.
ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
UNC study raises questions about hog waste polluting state’s waterways(Fayetteville Observer) — Researchers based at the University of North Carolina say experiments using DNA tests found that large-scale hog farms in North Carolina are allowing hog manure wastewater to pollute rivers, stream.
Todd Miller Wins Prestigious Award (Coastal Review) — The founder and executive director of the N.C. Coastal Federation has won a Peter Benchley Ocean Award for his lifelong work in protecting and restoring the natural resources of the N.C. coast.
Losing our moral compass? (Fayetteville Observer column) — In our state some 500,000 people without health insurance. They are what have been called "the working poor." The Affordable Care Act – Obamacare – provides coverage for them, with the federal government paying for it. But our Republican politicians in Raleigh say no, not here. So the federal taxes you and I pay here in North Carolina go to providing health insurance for folks in New Jersey, whose Republican governor recognizes a good idea. But not here. These uninsured are real people. Some very sick, some in critical condition. Real people, suffering. Real people whose life will be shortened. Real people who will die way too soon, because Republican legislators like those from our neighborhood, Sen. Wesley Meredith and Rep. John Szoka, turn away. And Gov. Pat McCrory? He has publicly recognized that it is an issue that needs to be addressed. But not now. Maybe next year, after more North Carolinians suffer and die. It is clear that these politicians, growing up, missed the parable of the Good Samaritan. Missed that there are some things you must do, just because it is the right thing to do.
Tillis disappoints (Greensboro News & Record) — Thom Tillis said it was his most difficult decision in 45 days as a U.S. senator to oppose Greensboro native Loretta Lynch’s confirmation as attorney general.
Sens. Tillis, Burr crassly partisan in opposing Loretta Lynch (Raleigh News & Observer) — Partisanship trumps grace and judgment as Sen. Thom Tillis opposes the nomination of North Carolina native Loretta Lynch for attorney general.
Give ECU medical school more funding (Wilson Times) — The first class of the new four-year medical school at East Carolina University enrolled in 1977, and the mission of the school had been clearly stated by lawmakers who approved it:
Paul Stam: Revenue prophecies (Raleigh News & Observer column) — There is a $271 million “shortfall” from the 2014 prophecies about the 2014-2015 budget. The budget itself contains explicit language that the governor shall reduce expenditures to not exceed actual revenue. North Carolina does not print money or borrow for current expenses.