NCDP Clips for Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

NCDP Clips for Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

Tweet of The Day

LEGISLATURE 2015

McCrory refuses to discuss late night visit with NC House GOP caucus (AP) — Gov. Pat McCrory, who ran for election promising more openness and transparency, refused to disclose what he said to N.C. House Republicans during a late-Tuesday evening closed caucus session. The GOP governor spoke privately to the House Republican Caucus. McCrory, who was joined by Budget Director Lee Roberts and Transportation Secretary Tony Tata, entered and left the Legislative Building committee room without meeting with reporters. House Speaker Tim Moore declined to say what the governor talked about.

More NC abortion rule restrictions up for committee debate (AP) — Republicans at the North Carolina legislature want to add to the state’s abortion rules by extending the waiting period and scaling back when workers at two public medical schools can perform them.

Time dwindling on NC Senate effort to block Dix land sale (AP) — Time appears to be running out for the North Carolina legislature to block the state’s impending sale of land where the Dorothea Dix mental hospital stood to the city of Raleigh for a park.

Bill for ‘soft landing’ on renewable-energy tax credits passes (Charlotte Business Journal) — The N.C. General Assembly sent a bill to Gov. Pat McCrory on Tuesday that would create a “soft landing” for ending the state’s 35 percent tax credit for renewable-energy projects. The action came as representatives of Duke Energy and renewable-energy advocates disagreed at an energy conference in Raleigh about the state of N.C. regulations on renewables and a proposal to extend those tax credits for five years. The Renewable Energy Safe Harbor Act passed its third reading in the state House on Tuesday afternoon. It had been approved by the Senate on April 1.

Retention option for NC appellate judges ekes through House (AP) — Lawmakers in the North Carolina House narrowly agreed Tuesday to give North Carolina appellate court judges a new way to keep their jobs through something called retention elections — when only their name is on the ballot.

NC House bill would let cities, towns add to sales tax (Raleigh News & Observer) — Cities and towns would be able to enact their own quarter-cent sales tax under a plan proposed by state House leaders. The proposal is one response to the legislature’s decision last session to stop cities and towns from collecting a business privilege license tax. The elimination of the tax has left some cities with multimillion-dollar budget holes, and complaints about no other help from lawmakers.

House Bill Proposes UNC System to Consider Fixed-Tuition Rate (TWCN-TV) — Some house lawmakers want UNC Board of Governors to look into the possibility of having a fixed-tuition rate at public universities.

House approves oral chemo bill (WRAL-TV) — House lawmakers voted again Tuesday night to require insurance companies to cover more expensive oral chemotherapy drugs at the same cost to patients as older intravenous chemotherapy drugs.

Tanning bed ban for young people again clears NC House (AP) — The North Carolina House has again agreed to ban children from using tanning beds in the state, citing efforts to protect young people from skin cancer.

NC House waits another day on presidential primary bill (AP) — A meeting to consider a bill that tinkers North Carolina’s presidential primary has been pushed back one day as a lengthy House floor calendar crowded out time for a committee get-together.

NC House may give more time to switch to paper vote (AP) — North Carolina counties where voters still use touch-screen machines to make election choices may get more time to meet a requirement to switch to paper ballots.

Undercover Investigations Of Animal Cruelty Could Become A Crime (WUNC-FM) — Animal rights activists and journalists would be prohibited from going undercover into private businesses and secretly taking pictures and recordings of illegal activity, under a bill approved by a North Carolina legislative panel on Tuesday.

POLICIES & POLITICS

Reports: Volvo passes on North Carolina (WRAL-TV) — Rival states have again beaten out North Carolina as a future destination for a major car manufacturing plant, according to multiple news reports. Volvo Cars culled its list of plant locations to South Carolina and Georgia. The company was reportedly looking to join a number of other companies with factories in the Southeast, including BMW in South Carolina and Mercedes-Benz in Alabama. Graham Wilson, spokesman for the N.C. Department of Commerce, declined to comment Tuesday.

NC Unemployment Rate Increases (TWCN-TV) — North Carolina’s unemployment rate is up. The rate for March increased to 5.4 percent.

No Cost for Extremism (American Prospect) — The GOP isn’t moving back to the center. The “proxy wars” of 2014 were mainly about tactics and packaging, not moderation. Consider three of the 2014 Senate victors—all touted as evidence of the GOP’s rediscovered maturity, and all backed in contested primaries by the Establishment’s heavy, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce: Thom Tillis in North Carolina (a “purple” state at the presidential level) moved to the Senate from being Speaker of the House in North Carolina, where he had been a central player in the state’s sharp right turn. A strong ally of multi-millionaire Art Pope, an arch-conservative and member of the Koch brothers’ inner circle, Tillis sits on the national board of directors of the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which in 2011 selected him as its “legislator of the year.”

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
History Could Repeat Itself: Concerns Over Drilling Along N.C. Coast (Public News Service) — As the country observes the fifth anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill, which continues to impact the Gulf Coast, there are growing concerns over whether the same thing could happen off the coast of N.C.

Green energy job growth outpaces losses in coal industry (McClatchy Newspapers) — Far more jobs have been created in wind and solar in recent years than lost in the collapse of the coal industry, and renewable energy is poised for record growth in the United States this year. Researchers at Duke University, using data from renewable energy trade associations, estimate in a new study published in the journal Energy Policy that more than 79,000 direct and spinoff jobs were created from wind and solar electricity generation between 2008 and 2012. That compares with an estimate of about 49,530 coal industry job losses, according to the study. While natural gas was the biggest winner in creating jobs for electricity generation, with almost 95,000 jobs created in that time, it’s clear renewable energy has been on the rise in the United States.

DENR to drill fracking test well in Walnut Cove (Winston-Salem Journal) — WALNUT COVE – The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources plans to drill 1,750 feet deep in this area to get a better idea of what potential shale-gas reserves may lie in the Dan River Basin. The selected test site sits on land owned by the town of Walnut Cove, a town of 1,400 people. The site is about 2 miles north of the line between Forsyth and Stokes counties, off Crestview Drive, in a predominately black neighborhood of brick ranch homes. Drilling will take 10 days by June 30, DENR officials said. The purpose is to explore for shale gas – not to extract it.

McCrory should stay indoors on Earth Day (Greensboro News & Record column) — If Gov. Pat McCrory attends some cheery Earth Day celebration today, expressing his love for the natural beauty of North Carolina, someone should present him with an oil-soaked pelican or a glass of water tainted with heavy metals. Those gifts best would represent the future he has planned for one of the most beautiful and environmentally blessed states in the South.

On Earth Day 2015, clean water is on our mind (Fayetteville Observer editorial) — A lot of Earth Days have come and gone in the 45 years since the late Sen. Gaylord Nelson founded the annual observance. Around here, they’ve often passed with little notice beyond programs in our schools and sparsely attended observances by environmental groups. But this one feels different. This one should get more widespread notice around Fayetteville and the Cape Fear region, thanks to a year in which we’ve been inundated with environmental concerns that may pose a threat of one sort or another.