NCDP Clips for Thursday, March 26th, 2015

NCDP Clips for Thursday, March 26th, 2015

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LEGISLATURE 2015

NC House votes for historic preservation tax credit program (Raleigh News & Observer) — The N.C. House voted 96-18 Wednesday to reinstate tax credits for historic preservation projects – a program that expired as part of Republican-led tax reform efforts two years ago.

Senate pursuing more regulatory reform (WRAL-TV) — Three senators on Wednesday filed a wide-ranging regulatory reform bill that would, among other things, exempt people who voluntarily report environmental violations from civil penalties, expunge criminal records for various juvenile offenses, increase the penalty for illegally parking in handicapped spaces and allow cursing on highways.

McCrory Says Sales Tax Bill Will Cause ‘Great Harm’ (WFAE-FM) – Gov. Pat McCrory has now made it clear, he is against a Senate plan to redistribute sales taxes. And he’s looking for allies in that fight.

Senator’s bill would give huge pay to court clerk in his district (Raleigh News & Observer) — Legislation proposed by NC Sen. Bill Cook could lead to more pay for some court clerks, including one in his district now paid $84,390.

House committee kills medical marijuana legislation (Greensboro News & Record) — N.C. House judiciary committee hears passionate testimony on the health benefits before killing HB 78.

NC lawmakers take up McCrory picks while appealing lawsuit (AP) — North Carolina legislative leaders say they’re going to consider several of Gov. Pat McCrory’s choices to government positions while appealing a court ruling involving appointment powers.

NC House panel OKs bringing back tax break for seniors (Raleigh News & Observer) — After outcry from seniors across the state, the N.C. House Committee on Aging on Wednesday approved a bill that would reinstate a tax deduction for medical expenses.

NC Sen. Waddell files bill to raise experienced teacher pay (Charlotte Observer) — While on the school board late last year, Joyce Waddell and her colleagues were unhappy that the state legislature’s salary plan didn’t give experienced teachers much of a raise. Now just a few weeks into her first term in the state Senate, the Mecklenburg County Democrat has introduced a bill that would take care of that. Senate Bill 384 would commit $20 million to raise the pay for teachers who have spent more than three decades in the classroom.

POLICIES & POLITICS

Supreme Court decision on Alabama redistricting may have impact on N.C. (AP) — A divided Supreme Court on Wednesday said a lower court must take another look at whether Alabama’s Republican-led legislature relied too heavily on race when it redrew the state’s voting districts in a way that black leaders say limited minority voting power. The decision has strong implications for a similar challenge to North Carolina’s congressional and legislative redistricting now pendingin the courts.

N.C. personal income fails to keep up (Triangle Business Journal) — Personal income in North Carolina increased at a slower pace than in many other states, and below the national average in 2014.

4 lawmakers from Mecklenburg are the new order (Creative Loafing-Charlotte) — A new generation of leaders must face the challenge of restoring faith in public service at the lowest point in our politics. Four people from Mecklenburg are well-positioned to meet that challenge: Jeff Jackson and Joel Ford serve in the state Senate, while the other two, Tricia Cotham and Charles Jeter, are members of the North Carolina House. Young and optimistic, they are what Thomas Jefferson envisioned as America’s "natural aristocracy" grounded "in virtue and talents."

N.C. sites ready, incentives not so much so (Charlotte Business Journal) — John Skvarla says the keys to attracting an auto assembly factory to North Carolina are having megasites available and having the right incentives lined up. The relatively new secretary of the N.C. Department of Commerce says with four megasites close to being ready, the state is doing well on that side of the equation. As for incentives: Not so much.

Coleman gears up for new campaign (Winston-Salem Chronicle) — North Carolina residents may have a sense of deja-vu next November when it’s time to go to the polls. Democrat Linda Coleman has announced that she will face current Lt. Gov. Dan Forest again in the 2016 race. She said that she’s excited to run again.

The writer of Devo’s ‘Whip It’ has a message for the GOP’s House whip (Washington Post) — Gerald Casale of the 1980s new-wave band would like Steve Scalise and Patrick McHenry to stop using his song to raise money.

AG Cooper Announces Student Anti-Drug Video Contest (TWCN-TV) — If a picture is worth 1,000 words, how much is a video worth? North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper is hoping enough to save some lives. He spoke Wednesday to students at the Career Center High School in Winston-Salem.

Triangle-area restaurants choose to increase pay for workers (AP) — As a national debate rages about raising the minimum wage, a handful of Triangle restaurants have voluntarily decided to pay their employees more.

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

Military leads charge for clean energy (Fayetteville Observer) — The organization with the largest light bill in the country is leading the charge to find renewable energy. At UNC-Chapel Hill’s Clean Tech Summit Richard Kidd, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for energy and sustainability, gave a few concrete examples.

Bill to extend N.C. renewable-energy tax credits submitted in the Senate (Charlotte Business Journal) — The Energy Investment Act would extend through 2020 a 35 percent tax credit for renewable-energy projects that is scheduled to end this year.
Coal ash deal approved (Sanford Herald) — The Lee County Board of Commissioners voted 5-1 Wednesday in favor of approving an agreement with Duke Energy to receive compensation for the storage of coal ash in the county.

EDITORIALS

Killing Common Core may sabotage national security (Fayetteville Observer) — Former military leaders tend to be pretty conservative in their politics. But a group of retired generals and admirals all but declared war last week on efforts to march North Carolina away from national "Common Core" standards for public education.

What’s the vision? (Higher Education Works column) — Two years ago, the board that oversees our state’s public universities adopted a plan with an ambitious goal: To raise the percentage of North Carolinians with a bachelor’s degree from 26% of our adult population to 32% by 2018. Projections indicate that the jobs of North Carolina’s future will increasingly require a college degree. Yet from the repeated budget cuts our public universities have seen from Raleigh, it’s not clear our elected officials embrace the goal adopted by the board they appointed.
Silencing protest (Greensboro News & Record) — Six years ago, the state legislature returned long-denied strength to Greensboro residents: the protest petition.

A troubling N.C. Senate jobs plan (Charlotte Observer) — The N.C. Senate is pushing some wildly irresponsible changes to the state’s economic development approach.