June 20, 2014
Tillis campaign tries to poo-poo away war on women charges, but his record speaks for itself: Yes, your campaign mansplains that, despite your extensive record of taking positions and passing bills that hurt women, the idea that you are bad for women is just some kind of hysterical nonsense. Presumably, as your campaign manager is trying to sell the notion that there’s no such thing as the war on women and never has been and Republican candidates are in absolutely no danger because of it, the campaign has a prayer circle going in the back room focused on the prayer that the media won’t, in response, say the name Todd Akin. Read more here.
Sen. Kay Hagan’s bill helps students claim 2-year degrees: U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan introduced a bill Thursday that would help students who don’t finish four-year degrees claim associate degrees if they’ve earned enough credit. The bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, would expand on an approach known as reverse transfers, which North Carolina and other states are testing. It’s designed to benefit students who start at community colleges, transfer to four-year universities and leave before receiving a degree from either one. Read more here.
Another day, another editorial against proposed car insurance rate scheme: Add the Charlotte Observer to the long and growing list of voices opposed to the disingenuous plan cooked up by a group of insurance companies to get out from under the consumer protection regulation overseen by the state Insurance Commissioner. Read more here.
Vote early then die? House bill says those ballots count: The House Elections Committee approved a bill Thursday protecting the votes of people who pass away between casting an early ballot and Election Day, when that vote is officially counted.The proposal adds language to the voting statute that says, "The death of the voter is not grounds for challenge of an absentee ballot if the voter was alive at the time of casting the ballot." Read more here.
The saga of a lottery-teacher pay plan: The state House plan to increase state lottery advertising to generate an extra $106 million to pay for a 5 percent raise for teachers was strange from the outset. Now, it has gotten even more interesting. Read more here.
Big differences remain after busy week: Top lawmakers had targeted the end of next week as when they would leave town, but the House and Senate have yet to come to terms on a number of pieces of legislation they have said were high priorities coming into this session. Policy issues continue to divide the two chambers as well. Keep in mind that June 27 was the date pegged for the end of the legislative session in an adjournment resolution filed earlier this year. Read more here.
North Carolina May Declare Official State Religion Under New Bill: Republican North Carolina state legislators have proposed allowing an official state religion in a measure that would declare the state exempt from the Constitution and court rulings. The bill, filed Monday by two GOP lawmakers from Rowan County and backed by nine other Republicans, says each state "is sovereign" and courts cannot block a state "from making laws respecting an establishment of religion." Read more here.
NC Attorney General: State Level Complaints & Ban On Coal Ash Cleanup Costs: Protecting you, the consumer, is what the office of the NC Attorney General is all about. 2WTK talked with NC AG Roy Cooper about two big consumer issues: contractor complaints and the cost of the coal ash spill clean up. Read more here.
U.S. to Send Up to 300 Military Advisers to Iraq: The president, his aides said, was caught off guard not by the rise of the militant threat in Iraq, but by the speed with which the Iraqi Army crumbled in its resistance to the Sunni militants. Mr. Obama’s announcement also has implications for American policy in Syria, which so far has been shaped by the president’s reluctance to get heavily involved in a complex civil war. Read more here.
House Republicans Are So Mad at the EPA that They Might Force Another Shutdown: Even before the Environmental Protection Agency released a big set of proposed coal regulations this month, Republicans had made clear their intent to undermine the rules. Now, senior members of the House GOP are hinting that their preferred strategy for doing this might be using appropriations bills necessary to keep the government open in order to block its implementation. Read more here.
Prosecutors allege Wisconsin governor part of criminal campaign scheme: Prosecutors spelled out their case against Walker, who is seeking re-election this year and is considered a potential 2016 Republican White House candidate, and others in formerly sealed court documents that were released by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. In the documents, prosecutors asserted that Walker’s campaign coordinated fundraising with conservative groups, including the Wisconsin Club for Growth, during recall elections involving state Senate candidates in 2011 and Walker in 2012. Read more here.
Obama To Extend Family Leave Rights Of Married Same-Sex Couples: Obama is directing the Department of Labor to propose a rule extending the FMLA rights even to states where gay unions are not legal. Obama on Tuesday said he would sign an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating against employees based on their sexual orientation, but he also told gay rights activists they need to keep up the pressure on Congress to pass a broader law. Read more here.
Schools ask for help with state budget changes: Both plans and the budget proposal submitted by Gov. Pat McCrory call for substantial pay raises for teachers. But Short said that when officials in Raleigh sought ways to fund higher teacher salaries, they tended to look at other parts of the education budget for cuts. Read more here.
WNC teachers cross borders for better pay: First-grade teacher Christy McClure will start work at a new school next year. She plans to drive an extra 10 miles — 20 miles round trip — and she estimates she will earn an additional $12,000 a year. McClure will cross the North Carolina border into Georgia, where she says her advanced degrees and 15 years of experience teaching will earn her a big boost in pay. Read more here.