NCDP Clips for Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

NCDP Clips for Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

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LEGISLATURE 2015

NC Democrats’ chair, lawmakers hold news conference on taxes (AP) — North Carolina Democrats want to talk about state taxes as the April 15 deadline to file income tax returns approaches.

GOP Legislature vs. The People – A new survey of North Carolina registered voters shows a stark divide between the Republican-dominated legislature and the people it represents. Only 31% of North Carolinians agree with the legislature’s GOP leadership who think business owners should be allowed to refuse service to gay customers. Public Policy Polling’s survey found 56% of North Carolinians say it shouldn’t be permitted. Voters think their legislators took the wrong tack on a bill to redraw county commission lines in Wake County while killing a bill to end religious exemptions for vaccinations. Only 12% of voters think the General Assembly should be involved with things like drawing City Council and County Commissioner lines while 73% think that should be left to the local level. A mere 24% of voters think parents should still be allowed to exempt their children from immunization requirements for religious reasons, compared to 64% who think there should not be an exemption.

Taking from the rich to give to the poor (Greensboro News & Record) — N.C.’s biggest cities and counties stand to lose millions in sales tax revenue if lawmakers approve a bill changing the formula for distribution.

Discussion Over Medicaid Continues as Bill-Filing Period Nears Its Close (TWCN-TV) — With only a few days left for lawmakers to file bills for this two year legislative session, there have been many proposals on what to do about Medicaid. When lawmakers began the 2015 legislative session, there was general agreement that finding answer for Medicaid reform was amongst the top priorities.

McGrady files bill to create benefit corporations in NC (Asheville Citizen-Times) — Two years after it died on the floor of the state House, a bill that would have created benefit corporations in North Carolina has been brought back. A benefit corporation, also known as a B Corps, looks to solve social and environmental problems through business.

Some legislators want to see a Billy Graham statue in Raleigh (AP) — — Some General Assembly members say it’s time North Carolina native Rev. Billy Graham is honored with a statue inside the U.S. Capitol. His likeness would replace a statue remembering a former governor with links to the white supremacy movement over a century ago.

Lawmakers’ Plan A: No instruction on Plan B (WRAL-TV) — A bill filed last week would ban North Carolina schools from teaching students about the morning-after birth control pill.

Many in Johnston are wary of religious-freedom bill (Raleigh News & Observer) — Johnston County religious leaders and economic boosters are questioning the implications of, and motivations behind, a religious-freedom act filed in Raleigh. The bill has swept North Carolina into the national storm swirling around similar legislation passed in Indiana and Arkansas. Critics say the laws extend legal protections to business and individuals who discriminate against gays and lesbians. Supporters say the laws simply shore up the rights already guaranteed in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

POLICIES & POLITICS

Supreme Court rejects N.C. appeal on election law (AP) — The Supreme Court has passed up an early chance to review a contested North Carolina election law that opponents say limits the ability of African-Americans to cast ballots.

US Supreme Court won’t review NC voting rights provisions – for now (Raleigh News & Observer) — With lawsuits pending in federal court on sweeping changes to North Carolina elections law, the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to review questions about two specific provisions dealing with same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting.

Former Gov. Perdue Joins Whiteboard Advisors (News Release) — With over 25 years of public service, Governor Beverly “Bev” E. Perdue has joined Whiteboard Advisors’ growing team to support education innovators improving outcomes for students across the country.

Ellmers already gets opponent for May 2016 NC GOP primary (AP) — Jim Duncan, outgoing chairman of the Chatham County Republican Party announced Monday his bid for the 2nd Congressional District seat held byRenee Ellmers since 2011. Duncan is also the founder of a group called the Coalition for American Principles

Watch NC Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, one of our elected Democrats serving on the Council of State, in an in-depth interview this month on New Hanover County public access TV.

SCHOOLS & UNIVERSITIES

Former Durham principal running for top schools post (Raleigh News & Observer) — Henry J. Pankey, who worked at Southern and Hillside high schools in Durham, announced his will run for NC superintendent of public instruction.

NEA Ads Target Burr and Other Senate Education Committee Lawmakers (Education Week) — The U.S. Senate education committee is expected to consider a bill to rewrite the No Child Left Behind Act. So to keep the pressure on lawmakers to pass a bill that it believes works for teachers, the National Education Association, a 3-million-member union, has launched a $500,000 ad buy in 13 states, all of which are home to members of the Senate education panel – including North Carolina’s Richard Burr.

Duke squeaks by Wisconsin 68-63 for NCAA title (AP) — Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor, Duke’s group of youngsters, outscored Wisconsin by 14 points over the final 13 minutes to a 68-63 victory for the program’s fifth NCAA basketballl title.

THE SPILL

Coal ash moratorium bill wouldn’t affect Lee, Chatham projects (Sanford Herald) — Rep. Robert Reives II, D-Lee, and Rep. Brad Salmon, D-Harnett, co-sponsored a bill filed last week to extend the coal ash structural fill moratorium set forth in the Coal Ash Management Act. But Reives said if passed, he did not expect the bill to affect Duke Energy’s coal ash storage plans for Lee and Chatham counties.

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

Two more solar farms approved for Robeson County (Fayetteville Observer) — The Robeson County Board of Commissioners approved requests for two solar farms at its meeting Monday night,

County holds off on solar farm moratorium (Rocky Mount Telegram) — The Wilson County Board of Commissioners backed away from almost setting a moratorium on solar farms after concerns were raised Monday night.

NC air quality agency wants to reduce auto emissions tests (Raleigh News & Observer) — North Carolina legislators have reduced the number of cars that must undergo an emissions inspection every year, and state environmental officials say they can cut back even more without making the air unhealthy.