NCDP Clips for Monday, April 20th, 2015

NCDP Clips for Monday, April 20th, 2015

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LEGISLATURE 2015

Consumer finance, partisan judicial elections on calendar (WRAL-TV) — Here’s what’s going on at the General Assembly and around state government. COMMITTEES WE’RE WATCHING: A pair of House committees will hold unusual Monday afternoon meetings as they attempt to juggle legislation in advance of the April 30 crossover deadline: JUDICIARY: The House Judiciary I Committee will handle bills dealing with financial accountability for charter schools and a handful of other bills. HEALTH: The House Health Committee will hear presentations on the state’s Certificate of Need law, which restricts when health care providers can open up new hospital beds or buy major new pieces of equipment.

A package of education bills (EdNC) — The next 10 days are going to be busy ones at the North Carolina General Assembly as we move toward the crossover deadline on Thursday, April 30 — that’s when most bills need to have passed one house to continue to be in play this session. EdNC will be providing updates on these bills as they move through the committees and chambers.

Schaffer takes center stage on conservative social issues (Charlotte Observer) — Rep. Jacqueline Schaffer has championed some of the session’s most socially conservative and controversial legislation.

Push for gender-equity amendment returns to N.C. (AP) — Roberta Waddle of Fayetteville won’t forget the day the Equal Rights Amendment died in North Carolina.

Session’s slow pace is about to pick up (Raleigh News & Observer) — Bills are piling up in legislative committees as the General Assembly approaches a key April 30 deadline. That’s the day most bills must be voted out of one chamber to have a chance of becoming law. So far, the session has generated plenty of ideas. But if it seems like lawmaking is off to a slow start – it is. Only 13 bills have become law. And many of those were local, technical or procedural, such as bills setting the State of the State address. The trickle is changing. Committee meetings and House sessions are going longer, and legislators are jockeying to get their bills heard in committees. Thursday saw a nearly four-hour House session, and it might seem short compared with the rest of April’s expected grueling schedule.

Ideology valued above people (Fayetteville Observer) — Phil Berger, leader of the Senate in the N.C. General Assembly, voted against expanding Medicaid for North Carolinians under the Affordable Care Act. His people back home don’t agree with him.

Still No Progress on "Raise the Age" Legislation (Public News Service) — North Carolina lawmakers are back in session today, with various committee meetings on their calendar. What is not on today’s docket is a bill (HB 399) that would raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction so that 16 and 17 year olds who commit misdemeanors are handled in the juvenile system.

POLICIES & POLITICS

McCrory discloses financing for trips he said he didn’t need to reveal (Raleigh News & Observer) — NC Gov. Pat McCrory has filed, again, another new ethics disclosure report, which includes eight trips he took last year. McCrory initially didn’t think he needed to report trips like these.

Tax loss hurting municipal budgets (Rocky Mount Telegram) — Nash County municipalities are scrambling to compensate for budget shortfalls due to the elimination of the local business license tax.

Dreams of working in movies in NC beginning to fade (Wilmington Star-News) — When Leigh Wiley was a film student at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, she dreamt of the day when she could pack up her degree and see the world one production at a time. But Wiley, a North Carolina native, found the opportunity and community of the local film industry right outside her door too comfortable to leave behind.

THE SPILL

Rural communities targeted for coal ash dump (Greensboro News & Record) — The North Carolina chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People will join residents from several rural N.C. counties to oppose coal ash landfills. The residents and the NAACP plan to hold a news conference Monday at the General Assembly to discuss their opposition to the proposed placement of Duke Energy coal ash landfills.

"They are sacrificing the area" (Sanford Herald) — Lynette Hampton, a Sanford native, moved to Osgood Road with her husband last year, not knowing Duke Energy would announce its plan to store up to 8 million tons of coal ash in the area a few months later.
Sanford City Councilman Chas Post calls out the Republicans who are attempting to grandstand and capitalize on the issue of coal ash storage in Sanford and Lee County.

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
Offshore drilling wells up controversy in Kure Beach (WECT) -The possibility of offshore drilling on our coastline could be moving even closer. Gov. Pat McCrory proposed moving the potential drilling 20 miles closer at a recent congressional hearing. McCrory said having the original 50-mile buffer unnecessarily puts much of North Carolina’s most accessible and undiscovered resources under lock and key. Kure Beach Commissioner Emilie Swearingen said she was the only person invited to Wednesday’s hearing to speak against offshore drilling.

EDITORIALS
Job-killing discrimination (Durham Herald-Sun) — An important voice last week joined the chorus objecting to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act bills under consideration in the N. C. General Assembly. This latest voice is especially forceful because, while speaking to the moral arguments, it also invokes a mantra legislative leaders use against environmental regulation, local taxing decisions and a host of other issues: job-killer. The voice was that of Robert Greenberg, North Carolina senior executive of tech giant IBM, whose thousands of employees and retirees in Research Triangle Park give him a powerful megaphone.

Assault on N.C. environment (Charlotte Observer column) — Discuss the damage the General Assembly and current state administration have inflicted on protection of our environment and natural resources, in only 10 minutes. Many of us have worked for decades to protect what is special about North Carolina: our coast and mountains, streams and rivers, water quality and air quality and natural areas. It is hard to even imagine this has happened in North Carolina, in our state. The Philistines have come over the walls. It is not the North Carolina I know, and I want it back.

Money talks, especially in campaign season (Fayetteville Observer) — Democracy North Carolina, along with many others, is watching the political giving of Duke Energy, which for most of his working life was Gov. Pat McCrory’s employer. Duke also has cultivated a good – maybe too-good – working relationship with state regulators, although that has cooled a bit since coal ash became a big problem and a political issue. ,,, Democracy North Carolina Executive Director Bob Hall suggests that, "Duke Energy’s large donations raise questions about the governor’s ability to serve the public interest more than his own political interest."

Don’t further politicize judiciary (Charlotte Observer column) — The N.C. House voted to make judicial elections partisan, but that’s not the way to create more-informed voters.