June 3, 2014
Can Republicans expand their reach in blue states? Oregon Senate race provides a test: Republicans don’t need Oregon in order to win back the Senate this year. But they do need to make inroads in blue states such as this one to compete for the White House in 2016. Read more here.
Primary day: The 7 key questions: It’s the right’s last realistic shot of knocking off an incumbent GOP senator this year — a down-to-the-wire race in Mississippi where six-term Republican Sen. Thad Cochran is scrambling to stave off tea party-backed state Sen. Chris McDaniel. Read more here.
Fact Check: Does ‘fracking’ bill break a promise?: During last week’s debate over a bill that would modify the state’s rules on "fracking" – on-shore natural gas exploration and drilling, if you prefer – opponents of the new proposal accused the bill’s backers, mainly Republicans, of going back on a promise made in 2012. In particular, they said that lawmakers had pledged in 2012 to lift the fracking moratorium only after rules for drilling were in place. Read more here.
STATE SUPERINTENDENT JUNE ATKINSON’S RESPONSE TO THE SENATE BUDGET PROPOSAL: The Senate budget presented today would provide teachers with a pay increase (average of 11 percent) that is long overdue. This is vital for North Carolina to be competitive with other states that increasingly recruit North Carolina teachers with higher pay and better support. But this increase comes at a significant cost. Teachers who accept the new pay structure will forfeit their due process rights, sometimes called tenure or career status. Apart from pay, this budget continues to undercut support for teachers and for learning. Read more here.
House begins work on Common Core repeal, budget bills: The six state House budget subcommittees will begin sifting through the governor’s budget and the state Senate’s budget proposal during 8:30 a.m. meetings.The House Education Committee will hear a bill that could lead to North Carolina developing new standards to replace Common Core. Read more here.
Debate Over Forced Treatment Of The Severely Mentally Ill: The vast majority of people with mental illness do not commit violent crimes. But the recent California shooting rampage has reignited debate over how to prevent this kind of tragedy from happening again. In the absence of any meaningful gun reform, lawmakers have proposed competing mental health measures. Read/Hear more here.
How the gun debate is playing out among some of California’s congressional delegation after Friday’s shooting: The tug-of-war over gun-control efforts and gun rights is also playing out in Congress as midterm election campaigns efforts gather steam. In Congress, the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed an amendment to boost funding – from $19.5 million to $78 million – to assist states that have laws on the books requiring background checks on gun purchasers. Read more here.
More good Obamacare news: Unshackled from COBRA: As many as 3.5 million people over the last few years have gotten their health insurance through COBRA, the program that allows people to stay on their or their spouses employer’s policy after loss of a job, or the death of the spouse. It’s helped millions of people, but not every laid-off worker or widow because it’s expensive. Enter Obamacare, and a brand-new freedom for COBRA enrollees. Read more here.
State Democratic leaders to meet in New Bern: The North Carolina Democratic Party’s chairman and the African-American Caucus president will be in New Bern tonight for an Eastern District Region meeting. The 6:30 p.m. regional gathering will be used for “energizing and empowering minority voters to fight reactionary legislation coming from Raleigh,” Read more here.
Where Is Lady Justice?: It’d be well within reason to expect that women would have reached parity by now with men in terms of judicial appointments. Unfortunately, that just isn’t true. Here in 2014—the future!—we are still lauding districts’ first appointments of female judges, or female judges of color. In fact, there are nine district courts in the US where a woman has still never served as judge. Despite the fact that women make up 50% of law school graduates, men make up 2/3 of judges nationwide. Read more here.
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