NCDP Clips for Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

NCDP Clips for Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

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LEGISLATURE 2015

NC House regulatory bill includes swine farm, buffer changes (AP) — The legislature’s first crack at its annual "regulatory reform" bill includes provisions that environmental groups worry could discourage natural pollution protections along streams and rivers.

Religious conservatives lobby for "religious freedom" law (AP) — Religious conservatives are lobbying North Carolina lawmakers to pass legislation that supporters say protects expressions of faith but that opponents contend would legalize discrimination against gays and lesbians.

Democrats call on GOP to focus on economy, not social issues (Raleigh News & Observer) – NC Senate Democrats on Monday called on GOP leadership in the General Assembly to move some of their bills that they say would do a better job of improving North Carolina’s economy than the Republicans’ agenda.

Delay on incentives worries former commerce leaders (WRAL-TV) — Former leaders of the state’s commerce agency warn that the uncertainty over North Carolina’s job incentives programs is affecting the state’s ability to compete with the rest of the Southeast. "It raises questions in the eyes of those who make those investments as to whether North Carolina is the kind of place they want to look," said Jim Fain, who from 2001 to 2008 served as commerce secretary for then-Gov. Mike Easley and oversaw the creation of JDIG. That anxiety, however, may be overblown. On the scale of the state’s economy, uncertainty over the future of North Carolina’s incentives will have no measurable impact, says Brent Lane, who directs the Center for Competitive Economies at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Senate OKs Iran divestment, revolving-door changes (WRAL-TV) — With the crossover deadline approaching Thursday, Senate lawmakers worked quickly Monday night to approve a list of proposals, including Iran divestment, revolving-door employment and ferry privatization.

Powdered alcohol ban given tentative approval by NC House (AP) — Alcohol in powdered form that can become a cocktail with a little water could be prohibited before it reaches North Carolina markets.

NC senators won’t try to stop mental health property sale (AP) — Republican senators announced Monday they will no longer try to stop the sale of more than 300 acres of state land to Raleigh to build a regional park, saying their biggest concerns about the pending deal have been addressed by the governor’s office.

Senate OKs ban on home design rules (WRAL-TV) — The state Senate moved quickly Monday night to ban local ordinances that govern the appearance of single- and double-family homes.

Building code changes could cost time, money (Sanford Herald) — Local governments across the state, including Lee County, have misgivings about a bill that would amend the state’s building codes, saying it could cost cities and counties more money and slow inspections.

House to vote on body-camera study, kids in hot cars (WRAL-TV) — A key House panel moved quickly Monday afternoon to approve several bills aimed at changes to criminal law.

‘Sunday hunting’ bill about more than hunting (Washington Daily News) — Two bills, one in the N.C. House and one in the Senate, have brought up a hot issue, one that would rid the state of one of few remaining blue laws in North Carolina.

POLICIES & POLITICS

Loretta Lynch sworn in as new US attorney general (AP) — Loretta Lynch was sworn in Monday as the 83rd U.S. attorney general, the first African-American woman to serve as the nation’s top law enforcement official.

Vigil calls for marriage equality (Asheville Citizen-Times) — More than 30 people held vigil in Asheville’s First Congregational United Church of Christ Monday evening to express hope for marriage equality. The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to begin hearing opening arguments in four same-sex marriage cases Tuesday. A decision is expected this summer.

Rights groups criticize Burr after report he called for killing U.S. citizen (McClatchy Newspapers) — Civil liberties groups raised concerns Monday about reports that U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, had called in 2013 for the CIA to hunt down and kill an American citizen who’d become a top al Qaida operative, rather than capturing him for trial.

Workers’ advocates to march from site of deadly accident (Raleigh News & Observer) — The site of a deadly construction accident in Raleigh will be the starting point for a march to remember workers who died or suffered a serious injury or illness on the job.

Last of 82nd Airborne’s soldiers in Afghanistan expected home next week (Fayetteville Observer) — The 82nd Airborne Division’s last soldiers in Afghanistan are expected home next week.

EDITORIALS

NC must block effort to end environmental review (Raleigh News & Observer) — Here comes the latest Republican assault on environmental regulation in North Carolina. It should be met with a strong protest and, if necessary, a veto from Gov. Pat McCrory.

A shortsighted view (Greensboro News & Record) — A state House bill that would limit access to police camera footage is ill-conceived and not in the public’s best interest.

NC workers deserve more than Berry providing (Raleigh News & Observer column) — MaryBe McMillan: Thanks to mine safety laws and the Occupational Safety and Health Act, fewer workers die on the job than did in 1970, but we still have a long way to go to prevent workplace injuries and deaths. Especially in North Carolina, where Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry has consistently shirked her responsibility to protect workers.
Claire Douglass: Who does Gov. McCrory represent? Us or big oil? (Fayetteville Observer column) — Gov. Pat McCrory testified earlier this month before a Congressional subcommittee in Washington, D.C., voicing his support for President Obama’s controversial new Atlantic offshore drilling plan. To date, 15 local governments along the N.C.a coast, along with over 400 elected officials and 50 communities in coastal states, have publicly opposed offshore drilling and exploration. Among these leaders is Kure Beach Commissioner Emilie Swearingen, who also testified before Congress. The governor claims he supports an all-of-the-above energy strategy to protect American interests, but his actions speak louder than those words.

As crossover deadline approaches, will redistricting reform get a vote? (Stanly News & Press) — A proposal to reduce the influence of partisan politics in the way North Carolina’s voting maps are drawn has broad, bipartisan support in the N.C. House. Yet the bill appears in danger of being denied a vote in that chamber.

Senate bill would wrongly eliminate local control on home design (Winston-Salem Journal) — Senate Bill 25, the state legislature’s most recent attempt to wrest control from local authorities, would prevent cities and towns from regulating most home designs within own their borders, the McClatchy Tribune news service reported last week. That means the doors would be wide open for all kinds of awkward and uncharacteristic construction in existing neighborhoods, and local safeguards against substandard construction would be eliminated.

Take politics out of redistricting (Wilmington Star-News) — The U.S. Supreme Court has kicked North Carolina’s faulty election maps back to the drawing board.