MAY 29, 2014


Hagan comes out swinging against Tillis: U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan spent much of the primary season on the defensive, as both Republican candidates and outside groups attacked her for her support of the Affordable Care Act.That changed Tuesday night, when Hagan teed off on her challenger during a stop in Raleigh.Speaking at the annual Green Tie Awards dinner of the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters, Hagan criticized Tillis on the issue of climate change and the "special interest agenda" he has advanced in the legislature. Read more here.

Sen. Kay Hagan joins calls for VA Secretary Eric Shinseki’s resignation: U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan on Wednesday said the results of an interim Veterans Affairs inspector general report made her conclude that VA Secretary Eric Shinseki should resign. Her Republican counterpart, Sen. Richard Burr has also called for changes in the VA leadership. And House Speaker Thom Tillis, who is running for Hagan’s Senate seat, has made Hagan’s earlier stance – to wait for the results of the investigation – into a campaign issue. Last week, he accused her of refusing to hold the Obama administration accountable. Read more here.


Senate budget funds teacher salaries through other ed cuts: Senate budget writers pay for a $468 million plan to boost teacher salaries by slashing other areas of the education budget, including funding for teaching assistants. Budget documents released late Wednesday night give details of the spending plan and suggest that cuts to teaching assistants in early-grade classrooms will pay for roughly half of the salary plan. Read more here.

Koch brothers buy fracking company for over $2 billion: Flint Hills Resources, owned by American investors Charles and David Koch, successfully acquired fracking company PetroLogistics for $2.1 billion in cash. The deal was announced Wednesday. Read more here.

What Went Wrong in North Carolina: In less than two years since he took office, McCrory’s colleagues in the North Carolina legislature have passed the most dramatic array of right-wing legislation in the country. Under McCrory, North Carolina has ended the state’s tax credit for the working poor, made deep cuts to unemployment benefits, and passed a right to carry concealed guns in bars and parks. Read more here.


House to vote on bolstering gun checks: The House is scheduled to vote Thursday on a bipartisan proposal to bolster the background check system for gun sales. Unveiled late Wednesday, the legislation would provide $19.5 million in additional grant money to help states submit records to a national FBI database designed to block gun sales to certain criminals and the severely mentally ill. Read more here.

U.S. Economy Shrinks For The First Time In 3 Years: The U.S. economy contracted in the first quarter for the first time in three years as it buckled under the weight of a severe winter, but there are signs activity has since rebounded. Read more here.


NC bill would cut funds for school buses: State lawmakers are considering a bill that would reduce funds for school buses over the next five years. The House bill would limit the number of spare buses and their replacement parts, while revising the state inspection process for school bus maintenance. Read more here.

Durham County’s proposed budget raises taxes and staff pay: New County Manager Wendell Davis proposed a $552 million budget for 2014-15 on Tuesday, with a 3.5 percent tax-rate increase and an emphasis, Davis said, on “human capital.” The proposed spending plan is 4.9 percent more than the current year’s budget of $526.4 million. More than a third of the property-tax-rate increase is for raising employee pay, following a compensation study that found Durham County pay ranges average 4.6 percent below those of nine public-sector peers. Read more here.

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