NCDP Clips for Friday, June 5th, 2015

NCDP Clips for Friday, June 5th, 2015

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Gay marriage override vote in NC House pushed back again (AP) — The North Carolina House adjourned for the weekend Thursday without formally deciding whether to cancel Gov. Pat McCrory’s veto of legislation allowing some government officials to avoid performing gay marriages because of religious beliefs.

Legislature backs up-or-down vote for NC high court justices (AP) — The North Carolina legislature formally agreed Thursday to try another method of electing some judges to the state’s highest court.

Lawmakers, employees could have weapons at legislature (Raleigh News & Observer) — A new provision added to gun legislation under consideration at the General Assembly would allow state legislators and legislative employees with concealed handgun permits to carry their weapons around the state legislative complex, including on the floors of the House and Senate.

Changes to NC environmental law gets final approval (AP) — The General Assembly finalized Thursday how it wants to narrow the times a government agency must perform a formal environmental review of a pending project when it spends public funds or disturbs public lands.

Bill requires jury excuses be reported to NC elections board (WRAL-TV) — When someone is excused from jury service, sometimes it is for reasons that would make them ineligible to vote. A bill approved by a Senate committee on Thursday would share information on jury excuses with the State Board of Elections.

Deal Reached On N.C. Presidential Primary Date (Jones and Blount) — N.C. GOP Chairman Claude Pope said GOP and General Assembly leaders have reached an agreement to keep North Carolina’s 2016 presidential primary in compliance with national Republican Party guidelines. While the deal did not include the actual date, it means that the legislature has agreed to move the primary, which had been set to closely follow South Carolina’s first-in-the-South vote and would have incurred severe penalties from the national party.

N.C. to Honor the Achievements of Balsam Range (Cybergrass) — Multi-award-winning acoustic band, Balsam Range, will receive official praise from both the House and Senate of the State of North Carolina on Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Foster Kids Get Closer to ‘Normal’ (N.C. Health News) — North Carolina’s foster kids are one step closer to participating in sleepovers, field trips and extracurricular activities. On Wednesday, Sen. Tamara Barringer (R-Raleigh) presented Senate Bill 423, the Foster Care Family Act, to the House Health Committee.


McCrory denies breaking pledge by backing restrictive anti-abortion bill (Raleigh News & Observer) — Gov. Pat McCrory on Thursday defended his decision to sign one of the most restrictive anti-abortion bill in the nation — that extends the waiting time for an abortion from 24 hours to 72 hours and that imposes other new requirements – despite his 2012 campaign pledge no to back any further restrictions on abortion. “I have followed that promise,” McCrory told reporters at a news conference in Raleigh. “In fact, if anything, I have ensured the bill was written so women would not be denied further access.”

New Abortion Rules adding hurdles to access will become law (N.C. Health News) – -A bill to add hurdles to a woman obtaining an abortion is on its way to Gov. Pat McCrory’s desk Wednesday after receiving a favorable vote in the House of Representatives. And in a statement Wednesday evening, McCrory indicated he plans to sign the bill. The House voted mostly along party lines to concur with the Senate on the Women and Children’s Protection Act before sending it to the governor.

Thousands Sign Petitions Urging Gov. McCrory to Veto Abortion Bill (TWCN-TV) — A group of activists delivered petitions to the governor’s offices in both Charlotte and Raleigh on Thursday.–mccrory-to-veto-abortion-bill.html

Religious Leaders Urge U.S. to Fund Abortions for Rape Victims in Conflicts Abroad (New York Times) — A coalition of religious and human rights leaders demanded the aid for girls and women raped by fighters for groups like the Islamic State and Boko Haram.

I-485: The end of the era of new free lanes (Charlotte Observer) — The opening of the last segment of Interstate 485 on Friday marks a milestone: It’s likely the last large-scale highway program in Charlotte that doesn’t include toll lanes.

After 31 Years In Prison, Brothers Receive Pardons (WUNC-FM) — Henry McCollum and Leon Brown are getting full pardons from the Governor after spending more than three decades in prison. The victim in this case was Sabrina Buie. In 1983 the 11-year-old girl was raped and murdered in Robeson County. Brothers McCollum and Brown were tried and convicted for the murders. They never stopped declaring their innocence. Six years ago their case was reopened, and in 2014 the men were exonerated, due in part to DNA evidence. On Thursday Gov. Pat McCrory granted pardons, after months of review.

U.S. Economy Added 280,000 Jobs in May; Unemployment Rate at 5.5% (New York Times) — Employers added 280,000 jobs in May, the Labor Department reported on Friday, blunting worries about the American economy’s momentum after a stretch of lackluster growth earlier this year. The official unemployment rate ticked up to 5.5 percent.

NC Republicans hold convention, hear from president wannabes (AP) — North Carolina Republicans are gathering to get revved up for next year’s big elections and to hear from a few national politicians who want to be president.

Walker, Cruz, Carson and Trump to speak at N.C. GOP state convention (Raleigh News & Observer) — The NC Republican Party recruited some big names for its upcoming annual state convention. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Dr. Ben Carson and Donald Trump are a few of the featured speakers who will be in Raleigh this weekend.

Democrats Wage a National Fight Over Voter Rules (New York Times) — Democrats allied with Hillary Rodham Clinton are mounting a nationwide legal battle 17 months before the 2016 presidential election, seeking to roll back Republican-enacted restrictions on voter access that Democrats say could, if unchallenged, prove decisive in a close campaign. The effort, which is being led by a lawyer whose clients include Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, reflects an urgent practical need, Democrats say: to get litigation underway early enough so federal judges can be persuaded to intervene in states where Republicans control legislatures and governor’s offices. But Republicans dismiss it as little more than a publicity gambit to energize minority voters in support of Democratic candidates. A similar lawsuit was begun last year in North Carolina. Other potential fronts in the pre-emptive legal offensive, Democrats say, could soon be opened in Georgia, Nevada and the increasingly critical presidential proving ground of Virginia.

N.C. board hears comments on rules for voter ID law (AP) — The North Carolina Board of Elections is pushing ahead with proposed rules to implement the state’s new voter ID law even as the constitutionality of its new elections laws including voter ID will be argued in state and federal courts this summer.

Massive hack of federal gov’t spurs critical concerns (CBS News) — China-based hackers are suspected of breaking into the computer networks of the U.S. government personnel office and stealing identifying information of at least 4 million current and former federal workers, American officials said. … Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., said the government must overhaul its cybersecurity defenses. "Our response to these attacks can no longer simply be notifying people after their personal information has been stolen," he said. "We must start to prevent these breaches in the first place."

Fort Bragg would get C-130s under Tillis amendment (Fayetteville Observer) — Sen. Thom Tillis is taking a new tack in the fight to keep Air Force planes at Fort Bragg. After months of wrangling with Air Force officials, North Carolina’s junior senator has introduced a new amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would require C-130 H cargo planes that have been upgraded through a modernization program to be moved to Fort Bragg.–s-under-tillis-amendment/article_10b980bf-501f-516d-ad63-774ef7b3ad09.html

Mecklenburg Commissioners Have Votes to Support Anti-Toll Resolution (TWCN-TV) — Mecklenburg County commissioners have the votes to pass a resolution asking the state to stop the Interstate 77 toll lane project. Gov. Pat McCrory, the former mayor of Charlotte, recently said local governments passed this proposal several years ago and it’s too costly to back out now.

ACLU of North Carolina celebrates 50th anniversary (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina will mark the 50th anniversary of its founding by sparking conversations about the civil liberty issues the group has tackled over the years.

AdvantageWest will shut down by year’s end (Asheville Citizen-Times) — AdvantageWest, the regional economic development entity whose funding was slashed by the state, will suspend operations by the end of the year, ending a 21-year run.

Yadkin Valley Community Hospital Shuts Down, a Community Remains Hopeful (N.C. Health News) — On Friday May 22, just past 6 p.m., Yadkin Valley Community Hospital was shut down by HMC/CAH Consolidated Inc., the Missouri-based company licensed to operate it under a lease agreement with Yadkin County that runs through July 31. Yadkin County Attorney Edward Powell said around lunchtime that Friday, county officials received a call from Drexdal Pratt, director of the state Division of Health Service Regulation. According to Powell, Pratt said DHSR employees who were at the hospital conducting a regulatory survey had learned that hospital administrators planned to cease operations the following morning.


Broken word (Raleigh News & Observer) — Now in North Carolina comes a bill that is gratuitously condescending and insulting to women. This is all about the anti-abortion rights advocates trying to basically outlaw abortion, which is what many of them would like to do. But it also amounts to a group of lawmakers, mostly older men, telling all women what they can and cannot do about their health. The person who should be most embarrassed is Gov. Pat McCrory, who promised in his 2012 campaign that he would not support “further restrictions on abortion” but is signing the abortion bill. It’s called political cowardice.

McCrory’s belated pardon ends McCollum’s and Brown’s long journey to justice (Raleigh News & Observer) — It should not have taken Gov. Pat McCrory nine months to decide to grant pardons to Henry McCollum and Leon Brown, two intellectually disabled men who were exonerated of the rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl in Robeson County in 1983.

Public officials must represent all (Charlotte Observer) — Magistrates are duty-bound to serve all members of the public, not just the ones whose marriages they support.

Mental health care and a financial scandal (Rocky Mount Telegram) — Allegations that the former chief financial officer of a giant mental health services agency took kickbacks and misspent tax dollars underscores problems at the agency, obviously, but also with the way North Carolina treats people with mental disabilities in general.

The dangers in the UNC ‘program prioritization’ cuts (Raleigh News & Observer column) — Michael Behrent: At first glance, the decision by the UNC Board of Governors to terminate 46 degree programs across the 17-school system seems mundane: Board members and system administrators were quick to emphasize that the closures would have little concrete impact. Yet North Carolinians have every reason to worry.

Concentration on concussions must begin early (Winston-Salem Journal) — Almost daily, from pro-football circles to high-school ones, evidence proving what some players have always known mounts: Head injuries sustained in the sport can cause long-term brain damage and be deadly.

Teachers win in part (Greensboro News & Record) — Court ruling protects tenure for teachers who already have it but not for others. The legislature should preserve it.

Why is this state still in the liquor business? (Fayetteville Observer) — Lawmakers are reforming the state’s alcoholic-beverage control laws in ways that seem useful, albeit timid.