NCDP Clips for Thursday, May 21st, 2015

NCDP Clips for Thursday, May 21st, 2015

Tweet of The Day

LEGISLATURE 2015

COST TO KEEP LEGISLATORS BOUGHT? Top GOP donor withholds $25,000 over House budget (Raleigh News & Observer) — A major conservative donor’s decision this week to yank a $25,000 contribution from N.C. House Republicans highlights an increasingly bitter divide within the party over tax policy and government spending.

After delay, NC House prepped to begin budget debate (AP) — The North Carolina House is trying to kick-start floor debate on its two-year state government budget proposal after a one-day delay.

NC House budget tweaked to address energy credits, UNC funds (AP) — House Republicans tweaked their North Carolina government budget proposal anew Wednesday to address renewable energy tax credits and increase university funding, bidding to pick up more support for the two-year spending plan.

NC Legislators to Begin Budget Debate (TWCN-TV) — The full state House is set to begin its budget debate on Thursday. This is one day later than originally planned, due to changes approved during the committee process.

Rucho bullies committee amid questionable rushed approval of energy bill (Raleigh News & Observer) — Senate finance chairman Sen. Bob Rucho pushed through a bill freezing renewable energy rates on Wednesday, cutting off discussion and refusing to allow a head count instead of a voice vote. He declared the bill had passed, despite a louder and possibly more numerous chorus of "no" votes. The meeting ended with several senators, including at least two Republicans, openly complaining about the way Rucho had handled it. "It wasn’t even close," Sen. Jerry Tillman, a seven-term Republican from Archdale, told Rucho afterward.

Humane Society seeks veto of ‘ag-gag’ bill through TV ads (Raleigh News & Observer) — The Humane Society of the US has purchased air time in Raleigh to run an advertisement calling on NC Gov. Pat McCrory to veto House Bill 405.

Contrary To Party Doctrine, State Republicans Fiddle With Local Control (WFAE-FM) — Wednesday, the North Carolina Senate voted to shrink the Rockingham County School Board and redraw their districts. This is just the latest move by the Republican controlled General Assembly which seems to contradict a core belief of their party: Local Control is best.

Possum bill moseys into Senate (WRAL-TV) — The latest chapter in the legal saga of the Brasstown Possum Drop is headed for the Senate floor after winning approval Wednesday from the Senate Agriculture and Environment committee.

POLICY & POLITICS

In N.C. incentives debate, Skvarla responds to Rucho (Charlotte Business Journal) — N.C. Commerce Secretary John Skvarla wants to clarify a few things. As debate continues over the state’s latest whiff in recruiting an auto plant — Volvo choosing South Carolina over North Carolina and other suitors — a blame game has caught fire. For those scoring at home, North Carolina has failed to land a slew of automakers, starting with BMW in the 1990s (the German carmaker employs 7,000 in Upstate South Carolina, three times the 2,000 jobs promised) and on to Toyota (Texas); Honda, Mercedes and Hyundai (Alabama); Nissan (Mississippi); and Volkswagen, Nissan and GM (Tennessee). The Charleston, S.C., area recently landed plants for Mercedes sprinter vans and Volvo. On Thursday, as part of CBJ’s annual Energy Inc. Summit, Skvarla will discuss incentives, the role of energy in the state economy and related issues, including fracking and off-shore oil exploration.

FEDERAL INVASION? C-17 transports heading to N.C. for major exercise (AP) — A group of 11 C-17 transports are flying from Joint Base Charleston in South Carolina for an exercise with the Army’s 82nd Airborne in North Carolina. The aircraft are departing Charleston Thursday and are set to meet up with four other C-17s at Pope Field in North Carolina. Air Force Col. John Lamontagne says his 437th Airlift Wing is working with members of the 628th Air Base Wing and reservists from the 315th Airlift Wing. They are going to airdrop some 1,400 Army paratroopers and their equipment. He says the exercise helps them prepare for combat missions while loading, launching and landing aircraft. The commander says if the weather permits, the C-17s will fly in formation over the Ravenel Bridge upon their return.
Judge temporarily halts fracking approvals in N.C. (AP) — A judge has halted the approval of fracking operations in North Carolina until a higher court weighs in on the legality of the appointment of several boards that manage state resources and the environment.

THE SPILL

NC officials warn more near Duke ash pits not to drink water (AP) — North Carolina officials are warning more residents living near Duke Energy’s coal ash pits that it’s not safe to drink or cook with their well water.

Contractor to hold meetings near coal ash site (Sanford Herald) — Duke Energy’s contractor, Charah, will meet one-on-one with residents who would be affected by coal ash storage in Sanford — a project that still awaits state approval.

Bill would give extra 3 years for Lake Julian cleanup (Asheville Citizen-Times) — Duke Energy Progress would get an extra three years to clean up coal ash at its Lake Julian generating plant in Skyland and might be able to avoid a public hearing on its plans to retool the plant under a bill filed in the state Senate Wednesday by Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson.

EDITORIALS

Brad Wilson: Brody worthy investment (Greenville Daily Reflector column) — The question in my mind is not whether to invest in preventing chronic disease and in keeping people healthy, but how to best go about it. In North Carolina we are fortunate to have a resource dedicated to answering that question and then putting that knowledge into practice. The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University has a 40-year history of supporting preventive health throughout our state. The school’s focus on preparing doctors to practice primary care and to serve North Carolina communities sets it apart from our other outstanding institutions of medical education.

Renewable energy debate about power more than energy (Politics NC column) — There is a war going on among Republicans in the N.C. House of Representatives. To the casual observer it may seem to be about the future of the state’s clean energy economy – one of the few true growth sectors in North Carolina over the last five years. But the real struggle is over future leadership of the House of Representatives – with Majority Leader Mike Hager, R-Rutherford, looking to position himself to make a challenge to first-term Speaker Tim Moore, before the Cleveland County Republican can firmly establish himself as the undisputed House leader.

Tillis pens love letter to the NRA (Greensboro News & Record column) — The National Rifle Association spent millions to help elect Thom Tillis to the U.S. Senate last year. Yesterday, Tillis published a fawning love letter/thank-you note to the NRA in the Washington Times.

State should expand Medicaid (Wilmington Star-News) — The Honorables in Raleigh are trying to work out a Medicaid reform plan, but no deal seems imminent.

Ending privilege tax drives up property taxes (Raleigh News & Observer) — NC lawmakers cut and eliminated taxes, but often the tax burden is just shifted downward.

NC lawmakers bowing to pork producers (Raleigh News & Observer column) — Heather Jacobs Deck: The swine industry and its friends in the legislature are trying to very quietly gut one of the few effective protections Tar Heels have against the “lagoons” and sprayfields polluting our state.