NCDP Clips for Thursday, April 30th, 2015

NCDP Clips for Thursday, April 30th, 2015

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LEGISLATURE 2015

20 arrested at NC Legislature protesting GOP’s policies (AP) — Twenty people are facing trespassing and other charges after members of the "Moral Monday" movement disrupted the North Carolina Senate and House on Wednesday to protest Republican policy priorities.

Legislators honor Holocaust survivors, solider (WRAL-TV) — The North Carolina House and Senate passed a joint resolution Wednesday, 70 years after the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp, to honor the first American soldier to arrive and one of the men he saved. George Rose, of Wilmington, was the first to march through the gates of Dachau.

I grew up in Eden, never thought my neighbors would deny me equality (The Guardian) — When my parents’ friend Phil Berger was elected to the state Senate, we celebrated. After he tried to deny me the right to marry, he won’t return my calls.

NC lawmakers stay late to help bills beat deadline (AP) — The North Carolina House worked into the wee hours Thursday to wrap up a marathon week after passing scores of bills before a deadline designed to separate what lawmakers consider the best ideas from the rest of the pack.

Bills would shake up N.C. judicial elections (N.C. Lawyers Weekly) — Something old, something new and something borrowed could be coming through. That’s not a wedding day checklist, but rather describes a trio of bills being considered by the North Carolina General Assembly that could dramatically shake up the state’s methods for electing judges.

N.C. Lawmakers Push Several Education Bills Before Legislative Deadline (WUNC-FM) –N.C. lawmakers passed several education-related bills on Wednesday, just hours before their legislative “crossover” deadline. Most bills that do not involve money must pass either chamber by Thursday at midnight to have a greater chance of surviving the session.

Renewable Energy Requirements Weakened (WCQS-FM) — The North Carolina House has voted to weaken the state’s law requiring utilities get a certain amount of their power from renewable energy.

House adjourns as ‘crossover’ deadline arrives (Raleigh News & Observer) — The House passed roughly 70 bills during 10 hours of floor debate Wednesday and early Thursday as crossover loomed, finally adjourning at 2:26 a.m. with no plans to take more votes until Tuesday.

More medical workers can monitor executions in NC House bill (AP) — North Carolina hasn’t carried out an execution since 2006. Now some legislators have passed a bill its sponsor argues will help loosen the legal knot that halted lethal injections.

House bill seeks to end execution stalemates (WRAL-TV) — Doctors would no longer be required to participate in executions in North Carolina under the measure. Debate on the measure took a brief detour into completely abolishing the death penalty.

NC House has ceasefire on bill expanding gun rights (AP) — North Carolina lawmakers are postponing action on gun legislation that would reduce the penalty for taking pistols into businesses that don’t want them and punish doctors who ask about gun ownership.

Bill lifting environmental reviews scaled back (Raleigh News & Observer) — An environmental protection that requires extra scrutiny of publicly financed projects would be scaled back in a bill the NC House passed Wednesday night.

House approves weak school calendar bill (WRAL-TV) — House lawmakers voted Wednesday night to give school districts the same calendar flexibility they already have.

House clears bills on education, law enforcement, alcohol sales, more (WRAL-TV) — Facing a key legislative deadline, members of the state House approved dozens of bills on topics ranging from education to law enforcement Wednesday night. Virtually all of them will now wait for review by the state Senate.

House panel votes to ban new recreational drugs (Raleigh News & Observer) — A House committee voted Wednesday to add more recreational drugs to the state’s list of illegal substances – an effort to keep pace with drug users who are finding new ways to get high.

NC House agrees on technology, teacher loans; money is next (AP) — The North Carolina House has passed blueprints to improve public schools by expanding digital technology and creating grants for training principals. But a pilot plan to give premium pay to the best teachers in schools needs more work.

Committee votes down helmet law repeal (WRAL-TV) — The House Rules Committee says motorcycle riders should continue to have to wear helmets.

NC Senate unanimously agrees to take on employer schemes (AP) — The North Carolina Senate wants to create a government office to investigate allegations companies are gaming the system by treating workers as independent contractors to avoid paying taxes and unemployment insurance.

Charter school funding change wins Senate approval (WRAL-TV) — A bill passed by the state Senate Wednesday would force school districts to share more of their tax funding with charter schools. But critics say it may open the coffers unfairly.

Teacher assault felony gets Senate nod (WRAL-TV) — A proposal to raise the penalty for assaulting a teacher passed the state Senate Wednesday.

Senate OKs employer fraud fix (WRAL-TV) — State senators on Wednesday unanimously approved a proposal to crack down on employers who misclassify employees as independent contractors to avoid employment costs.

POLICIES & POLITICS

NC ‘economic turnaround’ going in wrong direction, outlook for growth is dim according to NCSU index (WRAL-TV)Recent economic data shows North Carolina’s economic growth is slowing, according to N.C. State University economist Michael Walden. In his latest report, Walden said that his monthly index of economic indicators has dropped four out of the last six months. "It appears the surge in the Index in late 2014 may have been temporary," he wrote.

Jeb Bush to stop in Raleigh, Charlotte to see potential donors (Raleigh News & Observer) — Jeb Bush is planning to meet privately with potential donors in Raleigh and Charlotte on Friday before heading to the state GOP convention in South Carolina. Top on the list in Raleigh – mega-donor wheeler-dealer Art Pope.

Crossroads GPS building N.C. war chest (Raleigh News & Observer) — The national campaign powerhouse Crossroads GPS announced Wednesday it has raised more than $2 million in contributions and firm pledges this year as it builds a new advocacy fund in North Carolina.

McCrory heads to Houston to talk offshore fossil fuel exploration (Houston Chronicle) — Besides the look into technological frontiers, the Offshore Technology Conference’s first four days will include numerous panels on such topics as politics and regulation; safety and well integrity; and drilling processes specific to deep water. One highlight, conference board chair Ed Stokes said, is a panel of elected officials who will discuss the future of drilling and assess federal and state regulations. The panel includes Republican North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory and U.S. House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Ron Bishop, R-Utah.

NC senators couldn’t keep native Lynch from destiny (Winston-Salem Chronicle) — The United States has made history again, but without the votes of North Carolina’s two senators. Senators Thom Tillis and Richard Burr voted against the confirmation of North Carolina native Loretta Lynch. She became the first African-American woman attorney general of the United States when the Senate voted 56-43 to confirm her on Thursday, April 23 and when she was sworn in on Monday.

Burr is waging a scorched-earth campaign to protect CIA (The Week) — Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) is chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which oversees the CIA. He is also that agency’s most devoted lapdog in Congress. Since he failed to prevent the 2014 release of the Senate report on the CIA’s torture program, he’s been looking for some way to punish the people responsible for embarrassing his beloved cabal of incompetent torturers. And he seems to have found his victim — Alissa Starzak.

Burr deflects questions about calling for drone killing (McClatchy Newspapers) — Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, the Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, declined on Wednesday to discuss whether during a closed-door hearing he called for a suspected terrorist to be killed.

Why N.C. car insurance rates are the nation’s lowest (Charlotte Observer) — Government is pretty distrusted these days, but here in North Carolina, motorists of all political stripes can rightfully sing the praises of Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin and the N.C. Department of Insurance, the state officials responsible for capping what insurance companies can charge for auto insurance.