NCDP Clips for Thursday September 17th, 2015

NCDP Clips for Thursday September 17th


Budget now turns to House debate, votes (AP) — It’s now the House’s turn to decide on the two-year North Carolina state budget drawn up by Republican negotiators over the past several weeks.

21 NC House ultra-conservatives back budget deal (Raleigh News & Observer) — On the eve of Thursday’s N.C. House budget vote, Speaker Tim Moore got some good news from the radical right conservative wing of the GOP caucus. A group of 21 House Republicans – 10 of whom voted against the original House budget in May – issued a statement saying they support the budget reached by House and Senate leaders.

Budget compromise gets final Senate approval (AP) — The North Carolina state budget deal negotiated by Republicans got some Democratic votes before it cleared the Senate on Wednesday.

Budget picks up Democratic votes as it clears Senate (WRAL-TV) — Three Senate Democrats who initially voted against the $21.7 billion state budget proposal – Erica Smith Ingram, D-Northampton; Ben Clark, D-Cumberland, and Jane Smith, D-Robeson — backed the plan Wednesday along with all of the chamber’s Republicans.

WOOPS! N.C. budget leaves hundreds of teacher jobs uncertain (Raleigh News & Observer) — Hundreds of North Carolina elementary school teachers face an uncertain future now that the state budget is expected to block school districts from paying teachers with money set aside for teacher assistants.

Does state budget leave some teachers in jeopardy? (Raleigh News & Observer) — The proposed state budget would prevent school districts from using teacher assistant money to pay for hundreds of teachers. Darren Graci, a teacher at Apex Elementary in Wake County is one of hundreds of teachers statewide who could no longer be funded out of teacher assistant dollars under restrictions in the proposed state budget.

Plan to distribute new sales taxes comes into focus (Raleigh News & Observer) — Several urban counties, including Durham and Mecklenburg, would get a small share of additional revenue from new sales taxes, according to updated legislative projections released Wednesday.

New State Budget and the Environment (Coastal Review) — The state Senate gave final approval yesterday to a $21.7 billion state budget that includes dozens of provisions affecting coastal policy and spending, including a weakening of sandbag rules on the beach and raising the cap on small jetties called terminal groins.

Budget Would Fund Private School Vouchers, Teacher Raises and TAs (WUNC-FM) — This summer, North Carolina lawmakers unveiled controversial education proposals – like ending funding for driver’s education, and slashing money for teacher assistant positions to pay for more teachers. After months of press conferences, closed-door negotiations and loud floor debates, lawmakers released details of their budget deal this week. Below are some of the K-12 education highlights:

Budget funds mental health reforms in some prisons (WRAL-TV) — With the final version of the state budget now in hand, advocates say they remain wary about funding meant to reform mental health treatment in North Carolina prisons.

New NC sales tax plan would boost 13 WNC counties (Carolina Public Press) — A final House and Senate conference report reached the Senate floor on Tuesday morning and was adopted, 33-16 along party lines, roughly eight hours later. A final vote is scheduled for this afternoon (Wednesday). The House, which requires a longer time to review the bill, is expected to hold its first key vote Thursday and a final vote after midnight Friday morning.

Troubled Rural Hospitals Get Attention at the Legislature (N.C. Health News) — Representatives from two recently closed rural hospitals came to Raleigh to ask for some help from the legislature.

Senate panel backs exemption for eastern N.C. hospital (AP) — Eastern North Carolina leaders who wrapped up a 130-mile walk to Raleigh to fight for re-opening a closed rural hospital got support Wednesday from a Senate panel to avoid an extensive regulatory process to unshutter its doors.

Belhaven could get second chance at hospital (Raleigh News & Observer) — Legislative provision would overcome DHHS concern

Needle Disposal Bill Gets Positive Review (N.C. Health News) — House Bill 712 has been sitting in Senate Rules since April. The bill would allow the State Bureau of Investigation to work with the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition to create a pilot project to make it easier to dispose of used hypodermic needles and syringes that may have been dirtied by people using heroin and other injectable drugs.

Compromise ‘revenge porn’ bill finalized in N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina General Assembly has agreed on a "revenge porn" law.

Changes to review school sex-ed materials approved by House (AP) — An overwhelming majority in the North Carolina House have agreed to changes that could broaden the scope of materials middle-school teachers use to instruct about sex education.

House OKs changes to sex ed (WRAL-TV) — The state House voted Wednesday to allow more types of experts to design and approve sexual education materials in North Carolina schools. But some are concerned it opens the door to ideological groups.

Proposed sales tax change would benefit rural counties (Winston-Salem Journal) — The proposed state budget deal would keep intact the current sales-tax revenue distributed to Forsyth County, but local leaders still have concerns about the plan. The proposed $21.74 billion compromise budget, which the state Senate has approved and the House will first vote on today, would add new sales taxes on some services and direct the new revenue to small and rural counties.

BRINGING HOME THE BACON: Wade delivers extra furniture market funding (Greensboro News & Record) — The proposed state budget includes a nice gift for High Point, thanks to Sen. Trudy Wade and Rep. John Faircloth. From a High Point Market Authority news release today:

NC Lawmaker Shares Facebook Post Referring To Obama As ‘Islamic Son of A B#***” (CBS NEWS DC) — A North Carolina Republican lawmaker’s Facebook post is beginning to garner national attention. State Rep. Michael Speciale shared a photo on Facebook referring to President Barack Obama as an “Islamic son of a b****.”

Committee gives nod to bills helping Belhaven hospital, laying groundwork for Graham statue (WRAL-TV) — The Senate Rules Committee sent 13 bills on to the floor. Topics ranged from a measure that will help rural hospitals to a pilot program for drug needle cleanup programs.

Bill to Place Billy Graham Statue in Washington Advanced by Committee (TWCN-TV) — A bill has been advanced by a state Senate committee that would give the Rev. Billy Graham a place of honor in Washington. The proposal sets up a process where a posthumous statue of Graham would be placed in statuary hall of the U.S. Capitol.

Payments to eugenics victims still up in the air as budget process drags on (WRAL-TV) — North Carolinians who were sterilized by the state’s eugenics program have been waiting for the rest of their compensation from the state, but the process has been put on hold by the ongoing budget debate in the General Assembly.


19 MONTHS! Delayed records from NC Commerce Department are part of a pattern (Charlotte Observer) – -Electrolux announced it was planning to double the size of its Charlotte headquarters in late December 2013. In early February, an Observer reporter requested all public records related to the deal from the N.C. Department of Commerce, a standard practice when a major incentives deal is announced. After more than 19 months and numerous follow-up requests, the Commerce Department provided the documents Monday. There was no explanation for the lengthy delay for the documents, which are public under state law. Commerce Department spokeswoman Kim Genardo didn’t respond to questions about the delay.

South Carolina offered big money in bid to lure Electrolux (Charlotte Observer) — When Swedish appliance company Electrolux was considering expanding its North American headquarters in Charlotte two years ago, South Carolina made a big-money play to lure the company across the state line. Newly released public records from the N.C. Department of Commerce show South Carolina offered a package of tax breaks worth almost $67 million, nearly double what North Carolina was offering.

Former N.C. governor says time is now to invest in education (Las Cruces Sun-News) — Former N.C. Gov. Jim Hunt told New Mexico State University’s eighth Domenici Public Policy Conference Wednesday New Mexico should begin investing in to improve the state’s long-term economic outlook. Hunt suggested: Creation of a New Mexico Board of Science, Technology and Innovation to shepherd the state toward a more technologically invested future; Stronger focus on the state’s research universities as an economic driver; Focus on strengthening the state’s K-12 schools and community colleges; Commitment to early childhood development and education. Hunt said, progress won’t come cheap.

N. C. parks site hacked, employee credit cards exposed (AP) — North Carolina is replacing dozens of state-issued credit cards for employees of the agency that oversees state parks after an apparent hacking of the division’s website, the state’s top technology officer said Wednesday.

Charlotte mayor in Democrat runoff; GOP choses candidate (AP) — Charlotte Mayor Dan Clodfelter must win a runoff to have a chance to win a full term as leader of North Carolina’s largest city.

Inspirational couple wows the crowd at Stevens Center (Winston-Salem Journal) – Former astronaut Mark Kelly had the crowd on his side from the very start during Wednesday night’s American Perspectives talk at the Stevens Center, but when his wife came out on stage the place went crazy.

GOP Presidential candidate Rubio visits N.C. next week (AP) — Republican Marco Rubio is coming to North Carolina to talk with voters and raise money for his presidential campaign.


Budget Would Fund Private School Vouchers, Teacher Raises and TAs (WUNC-FM) — This summer, North Carolina lawmakers unveiled controversial education proposals – like ending funding for driver’s education, and slashing money for teacher assistant positions to pay for more teachers. After months of press conferences, closed-door negotiations and loud floor debates, lawmakers released details of their budget deal this week. Below are some of the K-12 education highlights:

Four Students Save Popular Duke Professor (Duke U. News) — Four Duke EMS students who resuscitated Professor George Grody, advisor to the Duke Marketing Club, from cardiac arrest include: Kristen Bailey, Kirsten Bonawitz, Ritika Patil, and Kevin Labagnara. All four Duke EMS students are pre-med and relied on their training that night, but they realized the outcome might have been different if they were not all so close at hand.

Averting the driver education crisis (EdNC) — The driver education crisis appears to be averted by the deal reached by the House and Senate to provide $24 million in funding for programs in 2015-16. But that is just the beginning. The conference budget bill raises issues related to funding in the second year of the biennial budget, governance, effective and efficient delivery of the driver education program, the means of evaluation, and the reports required of school districts.


End of energy tax credits simply bad business for NC (Raleigh News & Observer column) — Gary Lanier: The changing dynamics within the farming business create many challenges to achieve consistent profitability. Farmers who lease a portion of their acreage to solar projects can now remain in farming with the new, steady stream of solar lease payments.

Budget more a reprieve (Greenville Daily Reflector) — As long as public schools continue growing by accepting more and more students from all walks of life, any state budget that does not reflect an effort to keep pace with that growth should be troubling to all taxpayers.

Bad state budget (mostly) spares city (Charlotte Observer) — Well, it could have been worse. Given the half-baked budget schemes flying around the General Assembly this year, that’s about the best that can be said about the spending plan that has finally emerged in Raleigh. The budget continues the ongoing rewrite of the state tax code, cutting corporate and personal income taxes in ways that predominantly benefit the wealthy, while increasing sales taxes in ways that shift heavier burdens onto the poor and the middle class.

New state program may bring relief (Winston-Salem Journal) — A new federal grant to our state’s public health division may help with the growing and insidious problem of drug addiction.

Blue Ridge Parkway needs a boost (Rocky Mount Telegram) — Once you successfully navigate the gridlock of Raleigh-Durham and make your way past Greensboro and Winston-Salem, North Carolina’s highways truly become a pleasure to drive.

NC budget targets Planned Parenthood (Raleigh News & Observer) — Conservatives slip in budget provision that would strip funding from Planned Parenthood programs. It won’t reduce abortions, but it may increase that unwanted pregnancies.