NCDP Clips for Tuesday, July 14th, 2015
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DECIDING JIM CROW’S 21st CENTURY FATE
Sides Dispute Basis of N.C. Voting Laws as Trial Opens (New York Times) — A trial over North Carolina’s voting laws opened in a federal courtroom here on Monday, with civil rights groups and the Justice Department arguing that the state had turned back the clock with sweeping changes to its election laws, while the state said the revisions applied equally to all and left its voting rules well within the national mainstream.
Historic federal trial on N.C.’s election law starts (Winston-Salem Journal) — In opening arguments this morning, attorneys for the N.C. NAACP and other plaintiffs called the law, signed by Gov. Pat McCrory in August 2013, an “omnibus” assault on the rights for blacks and other minorities to vote.
Thousands march through downtown to protest law (Winston-Salem Journal) — Standing in the middle of Main Street, the Rev. William Barber could hear the people before he could see them.
Back in the saddle (WRAL-TV) — Lawmakers return from their summer break this week with the need for a deal on the state budget coloring all their other work. Gov. Pat McCrory plans to create a mental health and substance abuse task force.
McCrory renews criticism of legislature’s budget plans (Charlotte Observer) — Gov. Pat McCrory on Monday renewed his criticism of state lawmakers for including a host of policy proposals — so-called “special provisions” — in their proposed budgets.
POLICY & POLITICS
Fact Check RED LIGHT: NC GOP goes too far in claims about union backing for ‘Moral Monday’ (WRAL-TV) — The GOP can show that nonprofit is a backer of the Moral Monday movement. Whether union involvement in a particular effort is a good thing or a bad is a matter of political interpretation. But the documents do not show that the money in question was used to pay Moral Monday protestors or organizers. At best, the GOP can argue that some $30,000 might have been used for T-shirts, signs and video services and the like, but that’s a far cry from proving that the Moral Monday groups are "paid by unions to fight voter ID in North Carolina" or hire "paid actors to pretend to protest and to get arrested at the legislature." We give this GOP claim a red light for overstating their case.
Tillis backs protection for pharmaceutical firms (Raleigh News & Observer) — Sen. Thom Tillis has been trying to work out a compromise on a patent reform bill, which would benefit the pharmaceutical industry by carving out an exemption from a streamlined review process for FDA-approved drugs. Last year he criticized Kay Hagan for taking campaign donations from the pharmaceutical industry.
ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
Amazon Web Services Announces Its Largest Renewable Energy Project To Date(Symbian One) — Amazon Web Services, Inc., an Amazon.com company announced it has contracted with Iberdrola Renewables to construct and operate a 208 megawatt wind farm in Perquimans and Pasquotank counties, called the Amazon Wind Farm US East. This new wind farm is expected to start generating 670,000 megawatt hours of wind energy annually starting December 2016 — enough to power more than 61,000 homes in a year.
Big N.C. wind farm would be first in US South (AP) — Fields in rural North Carolina are becoming an alternative energy hub as investors break ground on the South’s first big wind farm.
Amazon to buy wind farm’s energy (Elizabeth City Daily Advance) — Online retailer Amazon will purchase the electricity produced at a planned wind farm in Pasquotank and Perquimans counties — North Carolina’s first commercial scale-wind energy facility. Gov. Pat McCrory is scheduled to attend a groundbreaking ceremony in Pasquotank today at 10 a.m. for Amazon Wind Farm East, the new name of what formerly was known as Desert Wind.
Confederate myths too many Americans believe (Raleigh News & Observer column) — James W. Loewen: So many Americans believe myths about the Civil War and the Confederacy because textbooks and monuments are wrong.
Voting law on trial (Greensboro News & Record) — The voting rights trial that opened in federal court in Winston-Salem Monday is getting a wide audience but may not measure up to its big claims. …. It is a voter discouragement law, not intended to prevent fraud but to make it a little less convenient for qualified North Carolina residents to register and vote. If legislators’ motives could be put on trial, the law would be overturned. The legal questions may be tougher to judge.