MAY 16, 2014


Same-sex marriage an issue in North Carolina elections? Maybe: With a state constitution amendment – Amendment One — bolstering an existing law against it, there was little reason same-sex marriage would merit major consideration as North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis, the Republican, battles Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan. But a federal court case in neighboring Virginia, plus a host of lawsuits – including one with a religious twist well suited to the Bible belt – have put the issue in the headlines and on the table. Read more here.

Thom Tillis to miss session for Senate fundraiser in Washington: The Republican will attend a meet-and-greet at the offices of the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, according to an invitation that solicits the maximum $2,600 campaign contribution. Read more here.


Lawmakers tighten Legislative Building access rules: Under the new rules, any group making enough noise to interfere with conversation at normal conversational levels is creating a "disturbance." Singing, clapping, shouting and using a bullhorn are offered as examples of disturbing behavior. All were common during Moral Monday protests in the building last summer. The new rules also allow police or staff to order people to leave the building if they think those people pose an "imminent threat" of a disturbance, even if they haven’t done anything. If the visitors don’t leave, they can be arrested and charged with a misdemeanor. The term "imminent threat" isn’t defined in the rules. Read more here.

Analysis: NC among most gerrymandered states:. North Carolina’s 12th District, which meanders along Interstate 85 from Greensboro to Charlotte, ranks as the winner – or loser, depending upon your perspective – as the most gerrymandered district of all 435 U.S. House districts. The 1st District, which covers most of northeastern North Carolina but has tentacles that reach into Durham and down to New Bern, ranks fifth. Altogether, nine of North Carolina’s 13 congressional districts were among the 92 districts nationwide that scored as the most gerrymandered. Read more here.


GOP kills Senate tax cut bill: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) lambasted Republicans over the vote. “Republicans can’t take ‘yes’ for an answer — they just voted against the second bipartisan bill in less than a week,” he said. “That’s what just happened: the Republicans voted against tax cuts. So maybe the Republicans will hear from their friends down on K Street and around the country and maybe they will learn this is pretty important to everybody.” Read more here.

Judge strikes all Arkansas bans on gay marriage: A judge cleared the way Thursday for gay marriages to resume in Arkansas, striking down all state laws that prevent same-sex couples from wedding. A day after the state Supreme Court effectively halted gay marriages in the state, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza expanded his ruling striking down a constitutional ban to also include the prohibition on clerks issuing same-sex marriage licenses. Justices had ruled Wednesday that Piazza’s decision on the gay marriage ban did not change that license law. Read more here.


3 Western NC green groups to merge: The Asheville-based Western North Carolina Alliance, Hendersonville-based Environmental and Conservation Organization and the Jackson-Macon Conservation Alliance, based in Highlands, have merged into one group, with a name to be decided later, to better influence environmental policy at all levels of government and to build a larger community of advocates for the protection of WNC’s natural resources and quality of life. Read more here.

Transportation secretary latest to endorse same-sex marriage:“I support same-sex marriage,” Foxx said. “Who someone loves should never be an issue at work, or any place else. As the mayor, I was the first mayor to even go meet with the LGBT community. I was, unlike my predecessors, someone who went out, and then went to the annual Human Rights Campaign dinner and signed a letter. I did a lot things, but this is a place where I think the country’s attitudes are shifting and I think North Carolina got it wrong. I hope they get it right.” Read more here.

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