NCDP Clips for Wednesday August 26, 2015


NCDP Clips for Wednesday, August 26

LEGISLATURE 2015

Price tag rising for extended legislative session (WRAL-TV) – -While the prolonged budget stalemate has idled lawmakers, the bill for their stay in Raleigh continues to rise.

3rd spending extension for N.C. government poised to occur (AP) — Legislative leaders agree they’ll have to pass another temporary spending measure that keeps North Carolina government operating into September while they work on a budget deal.

Recovery cannot save state budgets from politics (Christian Science Monitor) — The economy is recovering and state tax revenues are growing, giving states greater flexibility in their budget decisions. However, the biggest problem with state budgets appears to be political. North Carolina missed its budget deadline but the legislature passed a temporary spending bill that gives them until mid-August to find compromise. As the debate drags on, the Republican legislature is losing patience with the Republican governor. The GOP Senate Rules Committee chairman said Gov. Pat McCrory "doesn’t play much of a role in anything" and the Senate majority leader called him "tone-deaf."

NC budget delays put heat on Rep. Nelson Dollar (Raleigh News & Observer) — Early this month, the leader of the state Senate, Phil Berger, announced a compromise in what has become a protracted state budget negotiation. Berger said his chamber would agree to a specific target for state spending – more than what the Senate wanted but less than in the House version of the state’s proposed spending plan.

Jobs announcement pending as budget standoff continues (WRAL-TV) — As lawmakers prepare another temporary spending resolution, Gov. Pat McCrory is preparing for what appears to be a significant jobs announcement in Clayton.

Medicaid agreement close, not final, says key Senator (Raleigh News & Observer) — After reports of progress in Medicaid negotiations last week, a key legislator said Tuesday that the details are not yet final.

2 events to draw attention to well-being of women in NC (AP) — Events at the N.C. Legislature and in Durham are designed to gather women and working families to highlight what advocates call the impact of economic and social discrimination on the well-being of women in North Carolina.

Women’s Equality Day: Where Does N.C. Stand? (Public News Service) — Today is Women’s Equality Day, and a new national survey ranks North Carolina near the top for one consideration that is important to women.

Solar’s Future In NC Hangs In Balance Over Tax Credit (WUNC-FM) — Solar developers are calling on Duke Energy and the General Assembly to continue a tax cut they say is key to their future. When combined with a 30 percent federal tax break, the state’s 35 percent tax credit has propelled North Carolina to become one of the top four states in the country for installed solar capacity, behind only California, Arizona, and New Jersey.

Coast to coast: Solar push is far-reaching (Fierce Energy) — Utilities from coast to coast are capitalizing on the power of solar. Duke Energy is seeking approximately 53 megawatts (AC) of utility-scale solar capacity to be in service in its South Carolina service areas by the end of 2016 — another development in Duke Energy’s Distributed Energy Resource Program, which was approved by the Public Service Commission on July 15 and marks an important milestone in realizing the vision of Act 236, the Distributed Energy Resource Act of 2014.

Lawmakers frustrate economic development head (Charlotte Observer) — N.C. legislators want to cut the budget of the Economic Development Partnership

NCGOP Considers Move that Could Keep Trump off Ballot (TWCN-TV) — The North Carolina Republican Party is considering a requirement that may keep the billionaire front runner off the primary ballot.

McCrory Signs Bill to Lengthen Time Between Parole Hearings For Sex Offenders, and six other bills (McCrory News Release) – Gov. Pat McCrory signed legislation that lengthens the time between parole considerations for inmates convicted of certain sexually violent crimes. Under Senate Bill 675, the time between parole considerations is now two years. Previously, inmates of these crimes could receive parole consideration annually. McCrory also signed six other bills.

Moore Bills Still Pending as Legislature Nears Adjournment (Southern Pines Pilot) — State Sen. Jerry Tillman says he has assurances that two local bills — one to authorize doubling the hotel room occupancy tax and the other to reduce the size of the school board — will be heard before the General Assembly adjourns.

POLICY & POLITICS

‘Give Us The Ballot’ By Ari Berman (New York Times book review) — In 2014, the first election since 1965 without the preclearance protections of the Voting Rights Act, voters in 14 states faced new voting restrictions adopted by mostly Republican legislatures, including a voter identification law in Texas and cutbacks on same-day registration and early voting in North Carolina. … The Supreme Court allowed both laws to go into effect, over dissents from Justice Ginsburg. But because the new voting restrictions were arguably adopted to help Republicans rather than harm ­African-Americans, the Supreme Court may continue to uphold them on the grounds that the Constitution does not prohibit hy per partisanship by legislatures.

This Year’s Bird Flu: Think Critters, Not People (N.C. Health News) — At his annual food-safety summit, Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler warned farmers that the highly pathogenic avian influenza that’s been ravaging farms in the Midwest is likely to come to North Carolina.

Avian influenza informational meetings set for backyard poultry owners (Troxler News Release) — he N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is holding five regional meetings to inform backyard poultry owners about the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus that is expected to be introduced in the state this fall.

Meetings set to discus avian flu threat (Rocky Mount Telegram) — Nashville and several other North Carolina towns are set to host free regional educational meetings next month for backyard and small-flock poultry producers about the highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak in the United States.

Bird flu threat cancels Eastern Triangle Farm Tour (Raleigh News & Observer) — 10th annual event was scheduled for Sept. 19-20

Adams visits Rowan County during congressional recess (Salisbury Post) — Coffee, a chat and tour of a coal ash recycling facility were all on tap for U.S. Rep. Alma Adams, D-12, when she visited Rowan County.

Jacksonville hires former military police officer under new law (Jacksonville Daily News) — Jacksonville Police Department became the state’s first to employ an officer sworn in under military credentials.

Why does the N.C. Senate want to cut funding for mental health organizations?(Independent Weekly) — Because they want to privatize the system, say advocates

Rally held for woman suing Guilford County deputy (Greensboro News & Record) — Supporters of a woman is suing Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes and Deputy Daryl Lanier held a rally on the streets near the jail in Greensboro late Tuesday afternoon.

SCHOOLS & UNIVERSITIES

Fewer people want NC teaching jobs (Asheville Citizen-Times) — Fewer people are applying for teaching jobs, and some Western North Carolina educators worry a teacher shortage in larger North Carolina school districts this year will make it harder to find qualified teachers. "If I were a parent with children of school age, I’d be concerned," said Dale Carpenter, dean of Western Carolina University’s College of Education and Allied Professions.

Report finds NC black students disproportionately suspended (Raleigh News & Observer) — Blacks 26% of enrollment but 51% of suspensions

ACT test scores are stagnant in NC (Raleigh News & Observer) — Scores are below national averages

Newest NC teachers get raises now, rest must wait on state (Charlotte Observer) — Teachers with zero to four years of experience get immediate raises under the stopgap state budget, while the rest must wait to see what, if anything, North Carolina lawmakers approve.

EDCAMP: Educators teach each other (EdNC) — With the end of Race to the Top, the state is being left with gaping holes in its education coffers, including money for professional development. According to Phillip Price, the Department of Public Instruction‘s chief financial officer, the State Board of Education requested in its continuation budget $4.4 million in recurring dollars to continue professional development efforts funded by Race to the Top.

Groups push for school district consolidation in Halifax (WRAL-TV) — A coalition of advocacy groups and parents is suing the Halifax County commissioners over a three-district school system which the plaintiffs say divides children into "good" and "bad" school districts along racial lines.

Wake County withdraws memo on school grading guidelines (Raleigh News & Observer) — Wake County school administrators are yanking a memo sent to schools that board members complained Tuesday would allow students to game the system to get higher grades.

Local groups sue Halifax Commissioners, hold press conference (EdNC) — Some local community groups and parents in Halifax County announced a lawsuit against the Halifax County Commissioners over violations of Halifax students’ constitutional right to the opportunity for a sound basic education. The suit is being brought by the Coalition for Education and Economic Security, the Halifax County branch of the NAACP, and three parents and guardians of children in Halifax County public schools.

First virtual charter schools open in NC (WRAL-TV) — As students return to school across North Carolina, some are going online to attend a charter school for the first time.

Duke College Advising Corps Expands (Duke U. News) — The Duke College Advising Corps (CAC), which helps disadvantaged North Carolina high school students pursue college, is expanding. The program will now serve high schools in Sampson and Johnston counties, as well as expand the number of advisers in Durham, Lee and Wake county high schools. The corps aims to help low-income, first-generation and under-represented students attend college by placing recent Duke graduates in selected high schools. For 2015-2016, 16 advisers will serve 16 high schools in seven counties.

Folt, Hawking kick off historic physics conference (UNC News) — UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol L. Folt welcomed renowned physicist Stephen Hawking in front of a sold-out crowd at the Hawking Radiation Conference in Stockholm, Sweden

Meet Rabbi Elana Friedman, Duke’s Rabbi For Jewish Life (Duke U. News) — I got my B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis where I majored in Environmental Studies with minors in Political Science and Photography. After college, I worked on environmental and election campaigns and learned about dedication and the pursuit of justice. … After much introspection, I recognized that the rabbinical school (particularly the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College) was the path for me since it enabled me to fuse my values, dreams, and passions.

SBI Confirms Investigation Of Former CFCC President Spring (Wilmington Business Journal) — The N.C. State Bureau of Investigation has initiated an investigation of former Cape Fear Community College president Ted Spring, SBI spokesman Shannon O’Toole confirmed Tuesday.

EDITORIALS

Playing games, hurting students (Mount Airy News) — We believe the Senate knows that many school systems won’t be able to take advantage of funding for new teachers because there’s no more classroom space available. Unless we’re wanting to move trailers in and camp students there, many school systems simply don’t have room for any more classrooms. So the Senate gets to claim it’s increasing funding for teachers knowing full well that at least a portion of that money won’t ever be spent, while area children end up paying for these political games.

Sorry, no budget yet. But hey, what’s the big rush? (Fayetteville Observer) — For a while last week, there was some hope that North Carolina would have a budget soon, maybe even by the time the kids went back to school.

Legislature to laid off: Get off your duffs (Raleigh News & Observer column) — North Carolina has the stingiest unemployment insurance benefits in the country. How stingy? If your plant closes or your company gets downsized, you are now eligible for a maximum of 12 weeks of unemployment insurance. Most states offer 26 weeks. Alabama offers 26 weeks. So does Mississippi, Texas, Tennessee and so forth. But the legislature last week was worried that the state’s unemployment insurance program was too soft on laid off workers.

Not a broken system (Greensboro News & Record) — The legislature has gotten a favorable report about the system that delivers care to most Medicaid patients, just in time to kill it.

Once opposed, GOP senators now tout lottery (Charlotte Observer) — It was 10 years ago this Sunday that the North Carolina Senate created a state lottery despite the opposition of all 21 Republican members.

Leadership lacking (Greenville Daily Reflector) — Educators locally and statewide have by now scratched the L-word from their students’ civics vocabulary lists as their first week is well underway without decisive action from state legislators on spending levels for the new school year.

Expanding the NC lottery: a bad bet (Raleigh News & Observer) — Seeing more potential revenue in the lottery, state House and Senate REPUBLICAN negotiators are considering having lottery games for the Internet and smart phones. They’re also considering increasing advertising for the lottery. … Expanding the lottery would attract more people who can’t really afford to gamble. Sure, some play for a little harmless fun. But most of us have been in stores where people who clearly had little to spare were spending $10, $25 or $50 a pop on the lottery. Should we make it easier? No.

Bonner Bridge: Replacement can’t come fast enough (Winston-Salem Journal) — People from around the world have passed over the Bonner Bridge, that high-span landmark that connects North Carolina’s Hatteras Island with the rest of the Outer Banks. And in recent years, as the bridge has grown older and weaker, many have shuddered as they crossed it.

Relief, at last, from high utility bills (Rocky Mount Telegram) — It’s enough to make you want to turn on every light in every room, crank up the air conditioning and plug in a Christmas tree. In August.

Why NC businesses must find ways to support schools (Raleigh News & Observer column) — While many other states have restored education funding to pre-recession levels, we’re still at recession levels both in overall investment and per-pupil investment in K-12 education