NCDP Clips for Monday, March 17th, 2015

NCDP Clips for Monday, March 17th, 2015

Tweet of The Day

LEGISLATURE 2015

NC judges side with McCrory in fight with legislature (AP) — The North Carolina governor who worked at an energy company now under fire for leaking coal-ash pits won a legal ruling Monday that could give him more power in choosing members of the commission overseeing the dumps’ cleanup.

Air pollution mandate change for NC fracking rapidly signed into law (AP) — Environmental legislation that gives leeway to a North Carolina state panel in creating air pollution rules for fracking has been signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory.

McCrory hits the road for roads; House panel takes up free college for high achievers(WRAL-TV) — Gov. Pat McCrory is in Washington, D.C., advocating for federal road funding. House committees will be taking up bills to "clarify" the state lottery act and give community college scholarships to high-achieving students.

Local leaders pan sales tax change (Winston-Salem Journal) — Winston-Salem and Forsyth County stand to lose about $8 million in revenue each year if state lawmakers change the way sales tax revenues are distributed to give more weight to rural counties, city officials said. Instead of distributing money according to the point of sale, state lawmakers may be asked to consider distributing the money according to population.

Wake County to form citizens committee on voter representation (Raleigh News & Observer) — The Wake County Board of Commissioners agreed Monday to form a citizens committee to study the issue of how voters are represented by them. The committee comes in response to a bill making its way through the North Carolina General Assembly that would change the way Wake commissioners are elected.

POLICIES & POLITICS

Cooper: NC public officials too secretive with records (Charlotte Observer) — N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper said Monday that elected officials must accurately complete ethical disclosure forms, and he said state policies charging fees for public records are part of a “shift toward secrecy” in government. Cooper spoke at the N.C. Open Government Coalition’s Sunshine Day, a gathering of journalists, citizens and government officials to focus on transparency in government.

‘Public scrutiny protects people’: NC open gov group hosts Sunhine Day event(WRAL-TV) — The North Carolina Open Government Coalition hosted its annual Sunshine Day event Monday in Durham to bring awareness to public records and open meetings laws in the state. State Attorney General Roy Cooper served as the keynote speaker and urged government officials to be more transparent. Cooper, a likely candidate for governor in 2016, did not mention Gov. Pat McCrory by name but criticized the governor and general assembly, saying North Carolina’s tradition of open government "is in danger of becoming a thing of the past."

Industrial Commission collects $678,000 in fines (Winston-Salem Journal) — The N.C. Industrial Commission said Monday it collected $678,000 in civil penalties during fiscal 2013-14 from businesses that failed to carry workers’ compensation insurance. The amount represented a 43 percent increase from fiscal 2012-2013 collections and a 621 percent increase from penalties collected in fiscal 2011-2012. A more aggressive stance on violators began in early 2014.

Goodwin cites needs to find balance between reasonable profit and greed (Wilkes Journal-Patriot) — N.C. Commissioner of Insurance Wayne Goodwin said during a gathering of the Wilkes County Democratic Party Saturday night that much of his job is a balancing act

NC backers of Loretta Lynch go to DC to lobby senators (AP) — North Carolina residents unhappy with announcements by their two U.S. senators that they’ll oppose the nomination of Greensboro native Loretta Lynch as attorney general are heading to Washington to try to get them to change their minds. The state NAACP chapter said a women’s coalition along with state president the Rev. William Barber were slated to travel to Washington Tuesday for a news conference. The advocates also wanted to meet with Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis.

States like N.C. see their uninsured population decrease slower (Triangle Business Journal) — States that did not expand Medicaid after the Affordable Care Act – including North Carolina – saw their uninsured population decrease at a slower clip than those that expanded Medicaid.

US Supreme Court Ruling Could Affect How NC Regulatory Boards Function (TWCN-TV) — A U.S. Supreme Court ruling could affect how regulatory boards in North Carolina function. Starting in 2006, the State Board of Dental Examiners began sending cease and desist letters to non-dentists offering teeth whitening services.

As 2016 political slates solidifies, primary calendar remains in flux (Washington Post) — Many states, seeking to play a more decisive role, have yet to decide when their contests will take place.

SCHOOLS & UNIVERSITIES

Ongoing search for real common ground in education (EdNC) — Graig Meyer is on a quest this session to find common ground among legislators for the benefit of our students. After a three-part series this week about his own quest for common ground, he is going to blog for EdNC.

Wake County commissioners support teacher pay raises (Raleigh News & Observer) — Wake County school leaders said Monday that it will be up to the county to pick up for the state when it comes to raising the salaries of teachers, especially veteran educators.

THE SPILL

NC Supreme Court hears case over Duke coal ash dumps (AP) — North Carolina’s highest court is weighing whether state environmental rules require Duke Energy to clean up its leaky coal ash dumps immediately, or years down the road.

Commissioners eye coal ash deal with Duke (Sanford Herald) — The Lee County Board of Commissioners revealed at their regular meeting Monday that Duke Energy had made an offer of up to $12 million in exchange for storing coal ash at Sanford’s Colon Mine site.

Officials taking comments on water quality implications with relocating coal ash(Wilmington Star-News) — State officials have started accepting public comments on the water quality implications associated with relocating coal ash

EDITORIALS
Don’t shield jobs info from public (Charlotte Observer) — You don’t need to see the details. Just trust us, we know what we’re doing. That’s perhaps the last thing you want to hear from a public official when tens of millions of your tax dollars are at stake. But that’s essentially what the state’s leaders are telling us when it comes to the new public-private economic development agency handling our job recruiting.

Changing way sales tax distributed no fix for rural NC (Raleigh News & Observer) — When President Obama or other Democrats talk about the need to raise taxes on the wealthy to give the middle class a break, Republicans scream about “wealth redistribution” as if the president were going to send the National Guard in to country clubs to steal the silver. People should keep the money they earn, the GOP mantra goes. We have to be fair to them. Their tax burden already is too high, and this awful redistribution of wealth is pure evil and a first cousin to socialism. Bad, bad, bad. Ah, but a discussion in progress in Raleigh, on Jones Street where Republicans rule the General Assembly, has a different take on wealth redistribution. Namely, that when it means taking from the big ol’ (and sometimes Democratic) cities and handing it over to rural counties, it’s just fine.

Proposed law would limit Wake voters’ choice of commissioners (Raleigh News & Observer) — A General Assembly bill would shortchange Wake voters to bolster the GOP.

Legislature sets sights on local government (Rocky Mount Telegram) — Not content just to push North Carolina away from longer early voting periods and Medicaid expansion, state senators now have turned their attention toward setting the table for local governments.