NCDP Clips for Wednesday, February 6, 2013


WRAL – Senate GOP seeks to sweep oversight boards
Senate Republican leaders are moving quickly on a proposal to fire all current members of key oversight and advisory boards.
Introduced in Senate Rules Committee Tuesday morning, Senate Bill 10 would effectively fire all members of the Utilities Commission, Environmental Management Commission, Coastal Resources Commission, Lottery Commission and Wildlife Resources Commission.
Gov. Pat McCrory and Republican lawmakers would then be able to reappoint board members who agree with their philosophy, essentially clearing out Democrats and other dissenters whose terms haven’t yet expired.
The bill would also abolish several other boards and commissions, including the Charter School Advisory Committee, the Lottery Oversight Commission, the Turnpike Authority and the Board of Correction.

CHARLOTTE OBSERVER – Bill would give McCrory, legislature control of some state boards
The state’s GOP-dominated legislature and Republican governor would have a free hand to sweep out all the members of several key boards and commissions and replace them with their own appointments, under a bill advanced Tuesday.
The legislation surfaced unexpectedly in the Senate Rules Committee attached to an innocuous bill eliminating certain boards and commissions for efficiencies. Over objections from Democrats, the committee approved provisions to replace and in some cases downsize the membership on the state Utilities Commission, the Industrial Commission, the Coastal Resources Commission and others.

FAYETTEVILLE OBSERVER – N.C. Senate panel approves sweeping changes to state boards, commissions
A state Senate committee Tuesday backed a Republican proposal to fire the members of several key regulatory and policy boards and let GOP Gov. Pat McCrory and the party’s legislative leaders pick their replacements.
Democrats called it a GOP power grab, while Republicans said it’s a cost-saving measure that also gives the new governor the ability to place quickly his own mark in state government. The legislation also would do away with more than a dozen state boards and commissions, scale back others by size or term lengths and reshuffle the power to make appointments to the panels.
"We’re cleaning up some things that have been left behind, some of them for as long as four decades," said Sen. Bill Rabon, R-Brunswick, one of the bill’s chief sponsors, adding that it should make the state more efficient and save $2million.
Democrats on the committee said they were floored by the plan to dismiss all current members of significant panels such as the North Carolina Utilities Commission, state Industrial Commission, Coastal Resources Commission and state Lottery Commission.

WRAL – McCrory: Deal with House may address Medicaid concerns
Gov. Pat McCrory says he is worried that a bill the Senate approved Tuesday afternoon could hurt the state’s efforts to get a handle on Medicaid spending.
The Senate voted 32-17 on final passage for Senate Bill 4, which now goes to the House.
The bill blocks an expansion of Medicaid next year to cover more adults under the federal Affordable Care Act. It also prohibits North Carolina from participating in the development of online health insurance exchanges, which would give people who don’t have employer-sponsored health coverage a way to shop around for their own insurance.

CHARLOTTE OBSERVER – N.C. House to take different path on Medicaid bill
The state Senate gave final approval to a health care bill laden with politics Tuesday, even as Gov. Pat McCrory renewed his objections saying the measure could cost state taxpayers millions of dollars.
With the 32-17 vote, the legislation now goes to the House, where Republican leaders plan to take a slower approach than the Senate, which pushed it through just days after being introduced.
The bill is designed to block the implementation of major parts of the federal health care law in North Carolina, preventing more low-income residents from receiving health coverage under Medicaid and prohibiting a state-sponsored online marketplace for insurance policies.
The GOP-dominated Senate used the debate to attack President Barack Obama’s health care law and demonstrated its independence from the governor. McCrory had asked the Senate to delay the bill.

CHARLOTTE OBSERVER – Jobless bill advances to Senate
A controversial bill that calls for a top-to-bottom overhaul of the state’s unemployment system, including a major cut in benefits to jobless workers, is taking center stage in the Senate after being approved by the House.
On Tuesday the House gave final approval to the Republican-backed bill by a 77-42 vote after rejecting two more amendments proposed by Democrats that were designed to soften the negative impact on the jobless. Tuesday’s vote, on the heels of Monday night’s preliminary approval of the bill, sends the bill to the Senate.
The bill zipped through the House a mere six days after being introduced on the first day of the legislative session, and Senate Republicans also appear eager to push it through. The Senate Finance Committee put the measure on its Wednesday afternoon agenda even before the full House took its second vote.


THE WASHINGTON POST – Obama to nominate CEO of outdoor equipment giant REI to become interior secretary
President Obama on Wednesday will nominate Recreational Equipment (REI) chief executive Sally Jewell to head the Interior Department, according to a White House official who asked not to be identified because the public announcement has not yet been made.
The choice of Jewell, who began her career as an engineer for Mobil Oil and worked as a commercial banker before heading a nearly $2 billion outdoors equipment company, represents an unconventional choice for a post usually reserved for career politicians from the West.
But while she boasts less public policy experience than other candidates who had been under consideration, Jewell, who will have to be confirmed by the Senate, has earned national recognition for her management skills and support for outdoor recreation and habitat conservation.

THE WASHINGTON POST – Obama marks 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade
President Obama on Tuesday night delivered a video message to the NARAL Pro-Choice America annual dinner in which he thanked pro-abortion-rights activists for their work and marked the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.
“We reaffirm our steadfast commitment to protecting a woman’s access to safe, affordable health care and her right to reproductive freedom, because we know that we are better off as a nation when women are treated fairly and equally in every aspect in life, whether it’s the salary you earn or the health decisions you make,” Obama said in the 90-second video to supporters gathered in a ballroom of the Hilton Hotel.
The video message came three months after the end of a campaign season in which reproductive rights became an unexpected focal point in several downballot races across the country, as well as in Obama’s White House battle against former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R).


NBC NEWS – Postal Service to say goodbye to mail delivery on Saturdays
It’s been debated for months and months, but on Wednesday the United States Postal Service finally will announce it’s not going to deliver first-class mail on Saturdays anymore.
The postal service’s announcement, planned for about 10 a.m. EST, is expected to say that packages, mail-order medicine, and express mail will continue to be delivered on Saturday, but not letters, bills, cards, and catalogs. Post offices which are now open on Saturdays will continue to be open on Saturdays.


Clay Pittman
Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party
Twitter: @ClayPittman