July 29, 2014
U.S. Senate to vote Tuesday on highway transportation legislation three days before deadline: The Senate is set to take up legislation to keep federal highway money flowing to states, with just three days left before the government plans to start slowing down payments. Read more here.
Republicans narrowly favored to capture Senate in November: A new CBS News/New York Times Battleground Tracker estimate finds the Republicans positioned to take the Senate this year, with a likely 51-49 seat edge if the November election were held right now. The margin of error on that current seat estimate, at plus or minus 2 seats, means Democrats still have a real possibility to keep the chamber and that we head into campaign season with control up for grabs — with a closely-divided Senate surely coming in 2015 in either case. Read more here.
N.C. ranks 38th in child economic well-being: North Carolina ranks 38th among U.S. states in child economic well-being and 34th in overall well-being, according to the 2014 Kids Count report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The study ranks all 50 states using factors such as housing costs, parent employment, poverty and teens not working and not in school. Read more here.
NC to stop defending marriage amendment: Following a federal appeals court ruling Monday that Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said his office would no longer oppose challenges to the state’s constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex marriage. Read more here.
A final budget deal, votes expected this week: House and Senate budget writers expect to finish negotiations on a state budget plan Tuesday but what it will say remains unclear. Speaker Thom Tillis and President Pro Tem Phil Berger announced a tentative deal Saturday but it became clear Monday that many details remained uncertain. Read more here.
Move to Center Divides G.O.P. in North Carolina: The objective of the Republican Party here last year was clear: Unleash the pent-up conservative revolution in a state where the party had not controlled the state legislature and governor’s office for more than a century. But this summer is a different story. One of the leaders of the revolution, Speaker Thom Tillis of the House, is trying to win a United States Senate seat. Another, Gov. Pat McCrory, is eyeing a tough challenge in 2016, and the legislature is unpopular. Read more here.
Stream buffer protections rewritten by industry, DENR: A plan to update regulations that protect streams and rivers was adopted last year after a nearly five-year process that incorporated input from a wide range of interests. In just five months this winter, the McCrory administration rewrote those rules with the help of private companies that had a financial stake in the outcome – including the company where state Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary John Skvarla once worked. Read more here.
‘Puppy mill’ bill likely dead for the year: A proposal to regulate large commercial dog breeders appears to be dead for the year, doomed once again by opposition from state Senate leaders. The House passed legislation in 2013 that would require large commercial dog breeding operations, or "puppy mills," to meet basic standards of animal welfare, sanitation and humane treatment. The Senate refused to take up the proposal. Read more here.
Appeals panel strikes down Virginia gay marriage ban: A federal appeals court panel in Virginia became the second one this summer to strike down a state ban against same-sex marriage Monday, making it more likely that the Supreme Court will settle the issue as early as next year. The circuit court has jurisdiction over Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Read more here.
San Diego Approves $11.50 Minimum Wage: The San Diego City Council gave formal approval on Monday to an ordinance that would incrementally raise the minimum wage in California’s second-largest city to $11.50 an hour by January 2017, mostly for workers in the restaurant and retail sectors. The council adopted the Democratic-backed measure on a 6-3 party-line vote – the same two-thirds majority it would take to override a veto threatened by Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer. Read more here.
Alabama’s Refusal To Expand Medicaid May Hurt Its Economy: Alabama’s refusal to expand Medicaid eligibility to 235,000 uninsured, low-income residents is hindering the state’s economic development efforts, experts argued at the Economic Development Association of Alabama’s summer conference on Monday. Read more here.
Wright School Fights, Again, To Stay Open: The Wright School is funded entirely by the Legislature. It serves North Carolina’s most challenging 6-to-13 year old kids. On average, children have had two hospitalizations and three psychiatric diagnoses before coming to the Wright School. Five times since 2009, the general assembly has considered cutting the $2.7 million annual allocation that keeps it open. Read more here.
Asheville to host 2nd Mountain Moral Monday on Aug. 4: A year ago this week, organizers with the fledgling Mountain People’s Assembly were scrambling to pull together flyers and T-shirts for a rally they thought might attract 1,000 people. But that Monday, an estimated 10,000 people filed in to Roger McGuire Green in Pack Square Park to hear to their message and see the charismatic leader who has since become a household name across the state: North Carolina NAACP president the Rev. William Barber. The Mountain Moral Monday event will return Aug. 4, likely drawing thousands to downtown Asheville. Read more here.