NCDP Clips for Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

NCDP Clips for Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

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LEGISLATURE 2015

Preservation tax credit bill may falter in Senate (Lumina News) — A bill to revive the state historic preservation tax credit faces possible death in the N.C. Senate despite Gov. Pat McCrory’s robust support. State tax credits encouraging preservation of historic buildings helped Historic Wilmington Foundation Although the tax credits passed 98-15 in the N.C. House last month, a powerful Senate leader sy say they won’t take up the bill, which would provide a more limited tax credit than the program that lawmakers allowed to expire in December.

NC lawmakers may ban protest petitions in zoning fights (Charlotte Observer) — Protest petitions, a tool for neighbors in zoning fights, would cease to exist under a bill that passed the N.C. House and is now in a Senate committee.

Senate gun bill allows unrestricted concealed carry (Asheville Citizen-Times) — If Sen. Jeff Tarte gets his way this year in the General Assembly, North Carolina could have a new class of concealed carry gun permit holders who could take their firearms anywhere police officers do. Senate Bill 708, which would create the "Homeland Security Unrestricted Concealed Handgun Permit," is among several gun bills filed in the state legislature this year aimed at easing restrictions on gun owners and streamlining the permitting process.

In Their Words: Rep. Susan Fisher (WCQS-FM) – State Rep. Susan Fisher, D-Buncombe, talks about a new proposal in the legislature dealing with abortion. It would mandate a 72 hour waiting period for a woman to have an abortion and would bar UNC or ECU’s medical schools from teaching or providing the procedure. Fisher opposes the bill.

POLICIES & POLITICS

150 years later, Betty McCain fires Civil War parting shot at Gen. William Sherman (Raleigh News & Observer) — Ira David Wood III, playing Union Gen. William T. Sherman on Monday, gave the real scoop on why the famous military figure returned to Raleigh 150 years after capturing the city at the end of the Civil War. Wood said that 150 years ago he was met on the outskirts of Raleigh by a Southern belle. The actor said he was back to meet her as he pulled out a picture of Betty Ray McCain, North Carolina Secretary of Cultural Resources under former Gov. Jim Hunt. “Betty, you and I will meet later at the Wild Turkey Lounge at the Angus Bar,” Wood said to laughter from the crowd at the Executive Mansion. McCain jokingly shot back that she wasn’t that desperate.

Burr starts Senate re-election bid with $2.4 million (Charlotte Observer) — Republican U.S. Sen Richard Burr of North Carolina has raised nearly $1.8 million toward a re-election campaign that has yet to have an opponent. With money from previous campaigns, Burr has $2.4 million on hand, according to a new report filed with the Federal Election Commission. “We’re just now getting the campaign started,” Burr strategist Paul Shumaker said Monday. “We’ve not done a lot of extensive fundraising over the last four years. It’s a good starting point.”

State audit reports $350M in Medicaid liabilities (Raleigh News & Observer) — The state Medicaid program had accumulated $350 million in liabilities as of June 30 last year, about the same time that state health officials were boasting of a $63 million budget surplus in the government health insurance program. The difference represents cash-on-hand vs. money owed.

NC labor officials haven’t had worker safety advice from outside in five years (Raleigh News & Observer) — An advisory council established by law to guide the North Carolina Labor Commissioner on worker safety issues hasn’t met since 2010. Commissioner Cherie Berry said she suspended meetings to save money as the state wrestled budget constraints. State law says the group must meet twice a year.

Legal Aid of North Carolina to help with ACA sign-up (AP) — Health care specialists with Legal Aid of North Carolina are offering to help the uninsured or underinsured get affordable health coverage during a special enrollment period.

Duke Energy increases contributions to GOP governors group (AP) — A campaign watchdog group says Duke Energy increased its contributions to the Republican Governors Association as the utility became mired in coal ash problems. Asked if Duke’s donations influenced Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, chief spokesman Josh Ellis said by e-mail that “I’m not going to dignify that question with a response.”

SCHOOLS & UNIVERSITIES

National Campaign For Grade Level Reading Names N.C. Foundation Lead Organization (EdNC) — The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading has named the N.C. Early Childhood Foundation as the lead organization for the state. The Campaign is a collaborative effort by foundations, nonprofit partners, business leaders, government agencies, states and communities across the nation that focuses on an important predictor of school success and high school graduation—grade-level reading by the end of third grade.

In Praise Of Public Education: A Conversation With Gov. Jim Hunt (Public Schools First NC) Practically the shadow of the state Legislative Building, with the GOP dominated General Assembly in session, former Democratic Gov Gov. Jim Hunt will speak “In Praise of Public Education” at 6 p.m., Thursday, June 4, 2015; AIA NC Center for Architecture Design, 14 Peace Street, Raleigh.

THE SPILL
Speakers at Sanford hearing oppose Duke’s coal ash storage (Fayetteville Observer) — From a poem and a song about pollution to a mock funeral, opponents of a proposed coal ash storage site in Lee County came out in force to voice their disapproval. State officials held a public hearing Monday night to gather community feedback on environmental permits required for a project that would use coal ash as structural fill in a clay mines at the Colon Mine Site. A hearing for a second site, Brickhaven No. 2 Mine Tract A in Chatham County, will be held on Thursday at the courthouse in Pittsboro.

Citizens take stand against coal ash at DENR hearing (Sanford Herald) — About 30 local residents, some dressed in black, filed into an N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources public hearing Monday carrying a homemade casket — symbolizing Lee and Chatham counties being buried under up to 20 million tons of coal ash by Duke Energy.

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
Proposed bill puts limit on fracking (Greensboro News & Record) State Rep. Bryan Holloway has filed a bill that would prevent companies from being able to drill for natural gas on a person’s property without the landowner’s consent.

EDITORIALS
Let the sun shine (Greensboro News & Record) — A bill to promote free-market solar energy development should appeal to both parties and help N.C. consumers.

Don’t try to make sense of tax plan (Charlotte Observer) — Instead of thoughtful reform, N.C. lawmakers cutting first, inflicting pain later.

Why N.C.’s letter grade law gets an F (Raleigh News & Observer column) — The A-F grades given to NC schools grossly undervalue student growth or progress, as the law gives that measure only 20 percent of the total.