NCDP Clips for Thursday, July 23rd, 2015
Tweet of The Day
Elections board head testifies at hearing on NC voter law (AP) — The director of North Carolina’s Board of Elections says more than 96,000 people who used same-day voter registration in 2012 might not have been able to cast a ballot if the state’s new election law had been in effect.
NC state lawmaker offers plan to delay action on EPA rules (AP) — A North Carolina senator introduced legislation on Wednesday to block state agencies from taking action on expected Environmental Protection Agency rules to cut carbon emissions on power plants until the rules complete what will likely be a lengthy legal challenge.
Senate seeks to stall new EPA rules (WRAL-TV) — A key Senate committee voted Wednesday to stop the state from preparing a plan to meet new federal environmental rules, despite a warning from the head of the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Committee formed to make deal on NC environmental rules (AP) — Members of the North Carolina House and Senate will form a committee to tackle numerous proposed changes to the state’s environmental regulations in hopes of reaching a set of compromises before the end of the summer.
Coastal Stormwater Rules Redux (Coastal Review) — The state’s coastal stormwater rules were at the center of a debate this week at an unusual public hearing in the N.C. House over a bill that would weaken many environmental regulations.
Lawmakers leave budget behind, head to California (WRAL-TV) — Two weeks after taking a summer break from their legislative activities, including hammering out a state budget deal, some North Carolina lawmakers are again fleeing Jones Street for more pleasant climes. Nine Republican House members, including Speaker Tim Moore, and Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, are attending the annual conference of the American Legislative Exchange Council in San Diego, which runs through Friday.
A Quiet Day For NC Lawmakers; Here’s Why (WFAE-FM) — Thursdays are usually busy days for lawmakers in Raleigh. It’s the day they wrap up their work for the week and head back to their districts. Today, though, the legislature will be very quiet. Reason for today’s skeletal session: American Legislative Exchange Council, better known as ALEC. ALEC is a non-profit coalition of lawmakers and businesses known as a clearinghouse for pro-business, socially conservative and anti-tax legislation.
While the House is away, the Senate shall play (WRAL-TV) — Members of the state House have the day off today as several members are traveling to a conference out of state. Meanwhile, state senators are takign up bills dealing with revenge porn, executions and firearms.
NC House panel backs jail time for driving without a license (Charlotte Observer) – An N.C. House bill would toughen penalties for driving without a license and add the threat of jail time – a move critics say is targeted at immigrants in the state illegally.
NC Senate moves to bar school districts from suing counties (AP) — School districts in North Carolina may soon be barred for five years from suing their counties over the amount of funding they receive under a new provision approved by the state Senate. They are currently holding their national conference in San Diego. At least nine state representatives will be attending, including Speaker Moore. The Senate says they don’t know how many state senators will be attending.
Senate passes school suits moratorium, gives Uber legislation tentative nod (WRAL-TV) — The state Senate used an hour-long session Tuesday to give tentative approval to bills dealing with tax exemptions for church buildings and regulating ride-sharing services.
Senate bill would end DPI oversight of charter schools (WRAL-TV) — A bill rolled out in the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday morning would take oversight of North Carolina charter schools out of the hands of the state Department of Public Instruction.
Cities, counties balk at home builder tax exemption (WRAL-TV) — Municipal and county representatives spoke out Wednesday against a bill that would exempt new homes in builder inventories from property taxes for up to three years.
NC Senate backs regulations for Uber and similar ride services (Raleigh News & Observer) — The N.C. Senate voted 45-2 Wednesday to regulate Uber, Lyft and other ride-sharing companies that allow anyone to become a taxi driver through an online app.
NC Senate takes up bill to prohibit varying livestock standards across the counties (Raleigh News & Observer) — To prevent different livestock regulations from county to county, state lawmakers are discussing a bill to prohibit local ordinances that set standards for the housing, feeding and caring of farm animals.
NC Senate votes to expand religious property tax exemptions (AP) — Legislation expanding property tax exemptions for religious buildings that are under construction has been approved in the North Carolina Senate.
Bill Would Allow Families to Save for Disabled Members (N.C. Health News) — The ABLE Act will allow for savings that would not affect eligibility for Medicaid or other benefits.
POLICY & POLITICS
Is it worse for McCrory to be called Pat or irrelevant? (Asheville Citizen-Times) — The fact that the Senate’s Republican leadership and their Republican governor often don’t get along well is not news to those who follow state politics closely. What was unusual about what Apodaca, McCrory and Sen. Harry Brown, R-Onslow, said is how obvious it made that fact.
Gov. McCrory taking heat from GOP leaders (WTVD-TV) — Gov. Pat McCrory is used to taking heat from the left, but this week, he’s gotten thumped from his colleagues on the right. McCrory is accused of basically sitting on the sidelines of state affairs. One powerful state senator even said "the governor doesn’t play much of a role in anything."
ON THE ROAD AGAIN: McCrory heads to West Va., for National Governors Association (WNCT-TV) – Just back to North Carolina from a GOP gab-fest in Aspen, Colo., Gov. Pat McCrory is off to West Virginia to attend the National Governors Association Summer Meeting hosted by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin in White Sulphur Springs The meeting convenes Thursday and runs through Saturday.
NC Budget Director offers alternative to sales tax redistribution (WNCT-TV) — Governor Pat McCrory’s administration is commenting on a bill that would redistribute sales tax revenue across the state. McCrory says he would veto the bill that gives more money to smaller counties, raising taxes for many areas in North Carolina.
The Governor’s Office scheduled a satellite interview Wednesday afternoon with WNCT’s Katie Harden to discuss alternatives his team thinks offers a better approach for the state.
Top Democrats greet Hillary Clinton in Raleigh (WNCN-TV) – Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton appeared in Raleigh on Wednesday, speaking to a group of supporters that included some of the state’s top Democrats. Former Gov. Jim Hunt, former Gov. Bev Perdue and former Sen. Kay Hagan were among those at the event.
Advocates call on McCrory to end Confederate license plates (AP) — Advocacy groups plan to deliver a petition to Gov. Pat McCrory calling on him to use his executive authority to halt the sale of North Carolina license plates bearing the Confederate flag.
Tillis, GOP Use Veterans Bill To Attack Planned Parenthood (Huffington Post) — A bill that would have helped female military veterans receive fertility treatments and counseling on Wednesday fell prey to the Republican war against Planned Parenthood. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) abruptly pulled her bill to end a ban on fertility treatments for female veterans receiving care at VA hospitals from the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee after Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) attached amendments targeting Planned Parenthood and other family planning organizations. Tillis on Wednesday said he introduced the amendments because he believes the VA should focus on existing problems in the VA health system rather than introducing new programs.
AG Cooper urges telephone companies to offer robocall blocking (N.C. Political News) — Telephone companies should be using FCC-approved technologies to block unwanted robocalls at the request of consumers,
2 men receive settlement after conviction in NC man’s death (AP) — Despite currently being considered guilty, two men have agreed to an undisclosed settlement with Buncombe County officials in a murder case the men say was botched.
Mental Health and Addiction Task Force Announced. – Mental health advocates are calling the Mental Health and Substance Use Task Force announced by Governor Pat McCrory "unprecedented." The Task Force aims to bring together all three branches of government to work together on issues related to mental health and addiction.
Bill in US Senate would boost NC medical research funding (Raleigh News & Oberver) – -Bill would restore NIH funding nearly to pre-recession levels
McCrory administration communications staff moves (Jones & Blount) — Graham Wilson, formerly deputy director of communications at the N.C. Department of Commerce, is Gov. Pat McCrory’s new press secretary. Wilson takes the press secretary slot vacated by Ryan Tronovitch, who left in April for a sports-related public relations job in Florida.
Fayetteville mayor, police chief get White House invite (WRAL-TV) — Chief of Police Harold E. Medlock and Mayor Nat Robertson will participate Thursday in a forum on best practices in community policing.
Ferguson, Mo. officer offers N.C. police lessons from unrest (Wilmington Star-News) — N.C. Police Executives Association meets in Wilmington
Story behind the ethics call the governor never got (Charlotte Observer) — Sept. 29, 2014, was the kind of day that should rattle a governor.
A needless goodbye to a lucrative industry (Winston-Salem Journal) — The Republican-led legislature’s tax-reform experiment is having a detrimental effect on one prominent industry, as film and TV workers pack their bags and leave for more promising locations. We urge the legislature and the governor to revive film-tax credits in their final budget.
Monument-removal bill disrespectful of local NC governance (Raleigh News & Observer) — GOP legislators, having long advocated against big government, now want to interfere, again, in local governance in North Carolina. The state House has joined the Senate in making it harder for a locality to remove controversial monuments.
Keep aquarium, battleship funded (Wilmington Star-News) — We can only hope that the Honorables in Raleigh — and voters statewide — also appreciate Southeastern North Carolina’s educational attractions.
And, by the way, they are pretty fun, too.
There has to be a better budget process (Rocky Mount Telegram) — Thirty-nine states in the union limit the number of days their legislatures can stay in session each year – some by state constitution, some by law, some by rules of order.
A terrible way to treat patients (Charlotte Observer column) — So the N.C. legislature decided to protect workers, particularly health-care workers, by further criminalizing people with mental illness by making it a felony to assault them while they’re at work. Unbelievable. Assault convictions should be reserved for those with the capacity and intent to harm and injure someone.