July 7, 2014
Senate majority could rest on the sage grouse: An obscure, chicken-sized bird best known for its mating dance could help determine whether Democrats or Republicans control the U.S. Senate in November. Environmentalists and the two Democratic senators being challenged, John Walsh in Montana and Mark Udall in Colorado, oppose the idea. They say they don’t want a listing, either, but that the threat of one is needed to push states to protect the bird. Read more here.
Democrats Aim to Exploit GOP EX-IM Rift: The battle over the Export-Import Bank is making a splash in congressional elections, with North Carolina Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan using the obscure financing agency’s activities as a frequent talking point. Hagan — one of the most vulnerable senators in the country — held her campaign kickoff event this spring with the proprietor of a local company called Miss Jenny’s Pickles, which makes overseas sales with the bank’s help. Read more here.
GOP ignores key lesson on race: Why it won’t learn from Thad Cochran: Will party ever follow Cochran’s lead and reach out to black voters? Candidate Thom Tillis shows why they’re lost. Read more here.
House, Senate budgets would alter Industrial Commission deputies: Both the Senate and House budgets would allow for the removal of all current deputy commissioners over the next year and a half. The state’s trial attorneys’ organization and the N.C. Democratic Party say those changes could politicize the commission, which hears workers’ compensation cases and personal or property-damage claims against state agencies. It raises concerns that the deputy commissioners would be judged by the governing political party based on decisions they made in past cases, they say. Read more here.
Judge to examine NC voter law: A North Carolina law passed last year that requires voters to present photo identification and eliminates same-day voter registration has been called one of the farthest reaching overhauls to election rules in the country. Now a judge will decide whether it will stay that way. Read more here.
Few women, Latinos in General Assembly: Women make up half of North Carolina’s population but occupy only 22 percent of seats in the statehouse, the vestige of a thick glass ceiling that still lingers over the lawmaking body. North Carolina ranks among the lower half of states in terms of female legislators, according to April data from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Read more here.
Shifting Tactics, Moral Monday Movement Launches a New Freedom Summer: Fifty years after the murders of Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman, North Carolina activists move from civil disobedience to big voter mobilization push. Read more here.
Students Joining Battle to Upend Laws on Voter ID: This week in a North Carolina courtroom, another group will make its case that such laws are discriminatory: college students.Joining a challenge to a state law alongside the N.A.A.C.P., the American Civil Liberties Union and the Justice Department, lawyers for seven college students and three voter-registration advocates are making the novel constitutional argument that the law violates the 26th Amendment, which lowered the voting age to 18 from 21. Read more here.
Democrats’ Florida push calls for US shift on Cuba: When Charlie Crist went to Miami’s Little Havana recently, the Democratic candidate for governor stood before a crowd and said what few politicians have in decades of scrounging for votes in the Cuban-American neighborhood: End the trade embargo against Cuba. But Democrats now sense an opening with newer Cuban arrivals and second-generation Cuban-Americans who favor resuming diplomatic relations with the communist island. In a sign of just how much the climate has shifted, Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton, who backed trade limits when she ran for president in 2008, is now calling for the embargo to be lifted. Read more here.
New Obama Initiative Stresses Equal Access To Good Teachers: The Obama administration will announce plans on Monday to enforce a long-ignored federal mandate: a decade-old requirement that states give students of all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds equal access to good teachers. Read more here.
The god that sucked: How the Tea Party right just makes the 1 percent richer: These are the fruits of 30 years of culture war. Hell-bent to get government off our backs, you installed a tyrant infinitely better equipped to suck the joy out of life. Cuckoo to get God back in the schools, you enshrined a god of unappeasable malice. Raging against the snobs, you enthroned a rum bunch of two-fisted boodlers, upper-class twits, and hang-em-high moralists. Ain’t irony grand. Read more here.
Kathleen Bennett: Stupid hats: Gov. Pat McCrory talks about “taking your stupid hat off” when it comes to situations that he feels warrant that condescending remark. Well, I believe that McCrory should take off his stupid hat and see the damage that he is doing by not financially supporting N.C. teachers. Read more here.
Wake County School uncertain about funding for new program: Wake County school leaders say that until the state budget is adopted they’re not certain which portion of $10.2 million in new, locally funded programs will be started this school year. Read more here.
Pope gets more attention as NC budget director: Pope has gotten just what he wanted during his first 18 months as Gov. Pat McCrory’s state budget director by exerting too much influence on taxes and other issues.The decision by senators recently to threaten Pope with subpoenas unless he showed up to explain McCrory’s Medicaid spending calculations may diminish his perceived influence in Raleigh. Once Pope came voluntarily, senators proceeded to grill him and his lieutenants for two hours. Read more here.