July 21, 2014
U.S. Senator Kay Hagan Criticizes State Legislature: Democratic U.S. Senator Kay Hagan was in Raleigh Friday afternoon to discuss a bill she and others have introduced in the U.S. Senate that seeks to restore womens’ access to employer-covered contraception. When Hagan was asked what she thinks of the North Carolina General Assembly’s late efforts to put together a budget for this fiscal year, she was quick to bring up her own record as a former state senator. Read more here.
Senate Dems’ campaign arm outraises GOP: Senate Democrats’ campaign arm has again outraised its Republican rival. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee said Friday that it raised $7.2 million in June. The National Republican Senatorial Committee, meanwhile, raised $6 million. The Democrats have outraised Republicans in 16 of the last 18 months this election cycle. Combined, the two major committees have raised almost $167 million. Read more here.
In NC, conservative donor Art Pope sits at heart of government he helped transform: There is no one in North Carolina, or likely in all of American politics, quite like Art Pope. He is not just a wealthy donor seeking to influence politics from the outside, nor just a government official shaping it from within. He is doing both at the same time — the culmination of a quarter-century spent building a sphere of influence that has put him at the epicenter of NC government and moved his state closer to the conservative vision he has long imagined. Read more here.
NC unemployment stays at 6.4 percent in June, while number of jobs in state goes down: June’s jobs numbers are out for North Carolina, showing that the state has held on to its unemployment rate of 6.4 percent for the second straight month. This month’s job report also shows the state’s labor pool is still shrinking, with 8,577 less people working in June than May. Read more here.
What’s best use of $500 million?: You can have your opinion about teacher pay, other spending and tax cuts – we certainly have ours. But here are the facts. Read more here.
Fjeld’s chance: On Tuesday, Laura Fjeld, the Democratic nominee for NC-06, got a huge break when Phil Berger, Jr. lost his runoff. She drew Mark Walker, an untested baptist preacher, as her opponent. Now, she’ll probably need another break to win–but that break might already be out there. Read more here.
Governor meets with film industry reps, tours production during visit to Wilmington: Gov. Pat McCrory met with representatives of the film industry Thursday during a visit to Wilmington, something local crew members and industry leaders have asked him to do for weeks. Read more here.
McCrory rift with Senate may stall NC budget: The feud has been a running subtext to North Carolina’s legislative session, with threats and perceived insults occasionally flaring into headlines. Now some say it may be contributing to the state’s budget impasse. Tension between Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and GOP Senate leaders, particularly President Pro Tem Phil Berger, has colored a session that lawmakers hoped to adjourn by July 4. Read more here.
Three Things Conservatives Wrote This Week That Everyone Should Read: This isn’t the first time Megan McArdle has used her perch at Bloomberg View to throw unusually substantive buckets of cold water on cherished liberal notions. She’s gone after single payer before, and this week she’s back with an argument that taxing corporate profits is a bad idea and we should stop. Read more here.
Keys judge overturns same-sex marriage ban; attorney general to appeal: In a decision some called “the beginning of the end” of Florida’s ban on gay marriage, a Monroe County judge ruled Thursday that two Key West bartenders and other gay couples must be allowed to marry. “With many similar cases pending throughout the entire country, finality on this constitutional issue must come from the U.S. Supreme Court,” Bondi said in a statement. Read more here.
ICYMI: United States of ALEC: Welcome, to a story that’s been unfolding for more than 30 years but has gone largely untold. That’s the way the central characters wanted it. They were smart and understood something very important: that they might more easily get what they wanted from state capitals than from Washington, DC. So they started putting their money in places like Raleigh, NC; Nashville, TN; Phoenix, AZ; and Madison, WI. That’s because what happens in our state legislatures directly affects our taxes, schools, roads, the quality of our air and water — even our right to vote. Watch here.
States That Raised Minimum Wage See Faster Job Growth, Report Says: New data released by the Department of Labor suggests that raising the minimum wage in some states might have spurred job growth, contrary to what critics said would happen. Read more here.
Right-Wingers Advised to Invest in Water as Fracking in Drought Areas Prompts Activism: As a historic drought grips the U.S. southwest, towns in Texas and California are taking action to make sure precious fresh water is not wasted and spoiled through fracking. At the same time, some investment advisors are urging right-wingers at the annual libertarian "Freedom Fest" to view drought and skyrocketing water prices as a major investment opportunity. Read more here.
Public Will Be Able To Comment On NC’s Fracking Rules At Hearings In Raleigh, Sanford and Reidsville: The North Carolina commission that is drafting rules for hydraulic fracturing will host public comment hearings next month. Members of the Mining and Energy Commission have spent nearly two years writing more than 120 rules. They cover issues including where drilling companies can frack and whether they have to disclose the chemicals they use in the process. Amy Pickle, the commission’s rules chairwoman, says she expects plenty of comments on whether fracking should happen at all. Read more here.
Senate seeks to curb local tax use: Counties would not be allowed to have a quarter-cent sales tax for transportation and another quarter-cent for schools. If they have or institute a sales surtax for schools, they would have to repeal it or allow it to expire before going to voters for a new increase for transportation needs. Read more here.