NCDP Clips for Thursday, May 14th, 2015


NCDP Clips for Thursday, May 14th, 2015

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LEGISLATURE 2015

10 people seeking action on NC minimum wage arrested (AP) — Another 10 people opposed to Republican state government policies were arrested Wednesday inside the North Carolina Legislative Building, this time while demonstrating in support of raising the minimum wage.

NC spending decisions unveiled in House budget subcommittees (AP) — House Republicans are ready to unveil portions of their attempt to write North Carolina’s state government budget for the next two years.

Democrats complain about House budget process (Raleigh News & Observer) — N.C. House Democrats complained Wednesday that the Republican leader’s budget timeline is too rushed to allow for their input. N.C. House Democrats complained Wednesday that the Republican leader’s budget timeline is too rushed to allow for their input. Republicans said the timeline resembles the budget process when the House was controlled by Democrats before 2010. “The way we have done things is no different than the way you all did them when you were in charge,” said Rep. Bryan Holloway, a Stokes County Republican and Education Appropriations co-chairman.

Let the wild budget rumpus start (WRAL-TV) — State House budget subcommittees will review their areas of the budget. House Speaker Tim Moore said his chamber plans to pass the roughly $21.5 billion spending plan by the end of next week.

Senate approves juvenile justice reforms (WRAL-TV) — The state Senate voted unanimously Wednesday to changes that expand the rights of children in the state’s juvenile justice system.

N. Carolina tanning bed ban for children gets final approval. (AP) — A complete ban on children under 18 using tanning beds in North Carolina is heading to Gov. Pat McCrory’s desk after years of discussion at the legislature.

Bill to add trash trucks to NC ‘move over’ law gets final OK (AP) — The General Assembly has agreed to add garbage trucks to the list of parked or standing vehicles that motorists must change lanes or slow down for under North Carolina’s "move over" law.

Push to take Charlotte airport control from city gains new life (Charlotte Observer) – Charlotte’s airport could be heading into more political turbulence: Members of an oversight board have asked Gov. Pat McCrory and legislative leaders to change the makeup of the commission set up to run the airport, which could open the door to ending Charlotte City Council’s control. And Republican Sen. Bob Rucho of Matthews, who engineered the commission’s 2013 creation, said he’ll explore the possibility of new legislation.

Mothers, Sheriffs And Doctors Call On Lawmakers To Keep Permits For Handguns(WUNC-FM) — One morning this month, Kaaren Haldeman, an anthropologist in Durham, sent her three sons to school and drove to downtown Raleigh. There, down the hallways of the North Carolina General Assembly building, she led two mothers who were pushing babies in strollers.“Have you been in this building much?” she asked them. “It’s like a labyrinth.”Haldeman, a volunteer with the gun-control advocacy group Moms Demand Action, had a list of 20 state representatives they wanted to meet.

POLICY & POLITICS

Auditor: NC health agency wasted $1.6M on Medicaid payroll (AP) — North Carolina’s health agency wasted at least $1.6 million in excessive payments for temporary help connected to the Medicaid billing system that suffered a troubled launch two years ago, the state’s financial watchdog said Wednesday.

Scathing audit accuses DHHS director of ‘nepotism’ (Triangle Business Journal) — The former director of the state office that manages Medicaid claims payments abused her authority by employing friends and family members who were not qualified for their positions, gave unjustified pay raises and logged unjustified overtime, according to a state audit released Wednesday morning.

Audit: Former NCTracks director wasted $1.6M, hired family members (WRAL-TV) — A state audit released Wednesday slammed the former director of the state’s upgraded Medicaid payment system, questioning more than $1 million in spending and alleging nepotism, excessive pay and breach of state rules.
House Approves Revised Measure Banning Most Abortions After 20 Weeks (New York Times) — The House on Wednesday voted to ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, approving a revised version of a bill that Republican leaders had abruptly pulled in January amid objections from some of their own members. The measure passed in a 242-to-184 vote, with one member voting present. The bill dropped a provision in the original version that would have required women who became pregnant through rape to report their assault to law enforcement authorities to be eligible for an abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Two Republican co-sponsors of the measure, Reps. Jackie Walorski of Indiana and Renee Ellmers of North Carolina, withdrew their sponsorships because of concerns with its language. Ellmers did vote for the bill.

Recognition for All: North Carolina Same-Sex Couples Await Supreme Court Ruling — The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the freedom to marry in June, and while same-sex couples in North Carolina now receive recognition at the state and federal level, some of their peers in neighboring states do not.

THE SPILL

Duke Energy to be sentenced Thursday in coal ash case (Charlotte Observer) — Duke Energy ignored repeated warnings before a broken pipe dumped tons of coal ash into the Dan River last year, according to court filings Thursday as the company faces a federal judge. Duke refused to spend $20,000 on video inspections that could have prevented the spill, the filings show. Instead, the company is expected to plead guilty to nine criminal charges that it agreed to settle for $102 million. Senior U.S. District Judge Malcolm Howard will hear the plea agreement, involving ash-related violations at five power plants, at a 10 a.m. hearing.

EDITORIALS

Bring in some chairs and discuss schools (Rocky Mount Telegram) — The on-again, off-again communication efforts between commisioners in Nash and Edgecombe counties might seem funny if there wasn’t so much hanging in the balance.

Dan Blue and Larry Hall: Wrong priorities bring a tax surprise (Fayetteville Observer column) — Did your taxes go up this year? If so, you’re not alone.

S.C. winning at incentives game (Wilmington Star-News) — The state’s economic development fund is out of money and Republicans are bickering over whether to replenish it.

WOS NOT EARNING HER PAY: More DHHS woes (Raleigh News & Observer) — Aldona Wos, secretary of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, is a physician and a wealthy Republican fundraiser who agreed to lead the giant state agency for a salary of $1. It has not been a bargain.

N.C’s registration drop (Charlotte Observer) — The state needs to investigate why there’s been a dramatic drop in voter registration of people needing public assistance.

‘Coach Gut’ set a high standard at UNC-CH (Raleigh News & Observer) — Bill Guthridge faithfully served his friend Dean Smith, and his university, for 33 years.

The huge cost of letting NC buildings go unrepaired (Raleigh News & Observer column) — Bill Smith and Betsy Bailey: North Carolina is suffering from aging facilities in dire need of repair, maintenance and renovation. This lack of attention to critical physical assets actually drives up utility costs and leads to higher costs for repair.

Offshore exploration (Greenville Daily Reflector) — As the Department of the Interior moves forward its plan to open the Atlantic coastline to oil and gas exploration, it should heed the environmental concerns of citizens, and the expertise of those who study the science of marine resources and the risks associated with exploiting them.