June 25, 2014
Hagan co-sponsors bill that calls for sunlight on political donations: The DISCLOSE Act (Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections) would help voters know who’s behind election ads if it became law. It would require tax-exempt advocacy groups and super PACs to disclose donors who give $10,000 or more during an election cycle. Read more here.
It Looks Like African-Americans Really Did Help Thad Cochran Win: Tuesday night, Republican Sen. Thad Cochran defied the polls and defeated tea party challenger Chris McDaniel in the Mississippi Senate primary runoff by a 51 percent to 49 percent margin. Cochran couldn’t have done it without expanding the pool of voters, and in the last three weeks he did just that. Read more here.
Tribe wields huge leverage in NC race: This year’s Senate race in North Carolina has given a Native American tribe enormous leverage on a bill it has been pushing for decades. The contest between Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis (R) is expected to go down to wire and could determine which party controls the upper chamber in 2015. Voter turnout is extremely important to Hagan’s fate, and that’s where the Lumbee Tribe comes into play. Read more here.
NC Sen. Tom Apodaca talks about ending legislative session with only ‘mini budget’: Two questions are on the minds of Jones Street watchers: When will they go home? And,will there be a new budget before they leave? Republican Sen. Tom Apodaca, chairman of the Senate Rules committee, is making predictions. Whether it’s political posturing or reality remains to be seen. Read more here.
Senate gives initial approval to coal ash cleanup plan: The state Senate voted unanimously Tuesday to give preliminary approval to legislation that would require coal ash ponds across North Carolina to be cleaned up in 15 years. Sen. Mike Woodard, D-Durham, tried to introduce an amendment that would have required Duke to pick up the entire tab of the cleanup, but Apodaca said that decision should be left up to the state Utilities Commission. He then used a parliamentary procedure to kill the Woodard’s amendment without a vote. Read more here.
Dems seek seat at budget-negotiations table: Hall, D-Durham, said more transparency is needed in the budget process, which he characterized as fraught with partisan tension. “Since we’ve destroyed the public trust, what can we do to rebuild it?” he asked. “Let’s make this conference process open. Let’s have an open discussion so the public can see who is bringing forward the ideas, what are they actually based on.” “Walking away is not the answer. Taking an interim break is not the answer,” he said. “…We say, and we would demand that that be what is done so that we can move forward and get a budget for the people of this state.” Read more here.
What To Watch Out For In The Supreme Court’s Big Remaining Cases: The Supreme Court is in the home stretch. There are just three days left in this term — Wednesday, Thursday and next Monday — when the justices are scheduled to hand down opinions. Until these cases are decided, however, the fate of women seeking reproductive care, workers and their unions, criminal suspects with cell phones and a president thwarted by a recalcitrant Senate remain uncertain. Read more here.
Dems push to expand benefits for gay couples: House Democrats are pushing to expand Social Security and Medicare benefits for gay couples. Legislation being drafted by Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.),would allow gay and lesbian couples married in states that recognize their union to receive all the benefits of those federal programs regardless of where they live afterwards. Read more here.
How One GOP-Controlled Committee Is Waging A War On Science: Since Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) took over as chairman of the House Science Committee in the beginning of 2013, the GOP majority has been waging a war. Its enemies list is long: The Environmental Protection Agency. The National Science Foundation. Rules that prevent industries from polluting the air and groundwater. Climate scientists studying the effects of a warming planet. The very notion of non-politicized, peer-reviewed scientific inquiry. Read more here.
Stam calls pedophilia, sadism ‘sexual orientations’: During a debate Tuesday, Stam, R-Wake, distributed a handout describing pedophilia, necrophilia and bestiality as "sexual orientations." The House was debating Senate Bill 793, Charter School Modifications. A proposed amendment by Rep. Susan Fisher, D-Buncombe, would have banned charters from discrimination in hiring or admissions on the grounds of "sexual orientation or gender identity." Read more here.
House resurrects, passes Boone ETJ bill: Less than 24 hours after it was voted down in the House Government Committee, a bill to strip the town of Boone of its powers of extraterritorial jurisdiction was resurrected by the same committee and moved quickly to the House floor for a vote. Senate Bill 865 bans Boone from exercising its ETJ powers as of Jan. 1, 2015. Read more here.
Efforts to unionize Mountaire Farms plant in Robeson County continue: Local 1208 of the United Food and Commercial Workers union continues to lead efforts to unionize the Mountaire Farms poultry plant in Robeson County. Read more here.