NCDP Clips for Wednesday, January 9, 2013

NORTH CAROLINA GENERAL ASSEMBLY

WRAL – NC lawmakers gather for one-day organizational meeting
In another nod to government efficiency, the North Carolina General Assembly opens its two-year session Wednesday on the earliest date in nearly 60 years.  Lawmakers will go home after just one day of electing chamber leaders, approving debate rules and handing out gavels to committee chairs. They’ll adjourn until Jan. 30, when they can begin introducing bills and passing legislation in hopes of adjourning for the year in June.
WRAL – Proposed cuts to jobless benefits heading to General Assembly
State lawmakers will consider cutting jobless benefits when they return to Raleigh this month after a legislative committee approved changes to the unemployment program on Wednesday.
Under the proposal approved by the Revenue Laws Study Committee, a group of House and Senate lawmakers, the maximum weekly benefit for someone out of work would drop from $535 to $350. Also, the state would replace its 26 weeks of benefits with a cap of 12 to 20 weeks, based on the health of North Carolina’s economy.
WINSTON-SALEM JOUNRAL – GOP’s plan could cut benefits in half
The price of reforming the state’s unemployment benefits program – as proposed in a Republican-backed plan – could be steeper than just sharply reducing claimants’ weeks and payments.
If the plan, which was passed unanimously by the legislature’s Revenue Laws study committee Tuesday, becomes law July 1, North Carolina likely would lose half of the federal extended unemployment benefits Congress recently extended for 2013.
WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL -Up to 613,000 N.C. voters may not have ID card
A new report from the State Board of Elections found as many as 613,000 voters, or 9.25 percent of North Carolina’s voters, may not have a state issued driver’s license or identification card. The report comes ahead of Republican efforts to push for voter ID legislation in the upcoming session.
The new analysis, which compared Division of Motor Vehicles records to state voter lists, discovered that 53 percent of the voters in question are Democrats and a quarter are over age 65. A disproportionate share, about 30 percent, are black.
WFMY – NC Lawmakers To Be Greeted By Governor Pat McCrory
Dozens of newcomers arriving at the North Carolina Legislature to take their seats as senators and representatives will be greeted by someone with a new job as well — Republican Gov. Pat McCrory.
McCrory was slated Wednesday to visit the House and the Senate as they hold a one-day organizational meeting to elect leaders and swear in the next edition of the General Assembly.

GUN CONTROL DEBATE

ABC NEWS – Giffords, Kelly Say ‘Enough’ to Gun Violence on 2nd Anniversary of Tuscon Shooting
After she was gravely wounded by gunfire two years ago in Tucson, Ariz., former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, imagined a life out of the public eye, where she would continue therapy surrounded by the friends, family and the Arizona desert she loves so much.
But after the slaughter of 20 first-graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last month, Giffords and Kelly knew they couldn’t stay silent.
NBC NEWS – Gabby Giffords launches group to counter gun lobby
A national initiative aimed at curbing gun violence was launched by former US. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, on Tuesday — the second anniversary of the shooting that killed six people and left her critically injured.
A new campaign website, Americans For Responsible Solutions, promised to “launch a national dialogue and raise funds to counter influence of the gun lobby.”
The couple last week visited Newtown, Conn., where a gunman opened fire in an elementary school, killing 20 children and six adults in December. They also met with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a gun control advocate.
THE WASHINGTON POST – Giffords and Kelly launch gun control lobbying effort on 2-year anniversary of Ariz. Shooting
Tuesday was not just a day for Tucson to remember the victims of the deadly shooting that severely injured then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. It was also a day when residents could see firsthand the nation’s gun debate play out in a busy parking lot outside a city police station.
On one side was a councilman who supports gun control leading an effort to give $50 grocery store gift cards to anyone who turned in their firearms to police. On the other was an event organized by a state senator that turned into an open, unregulated and legal marketplace for firearms.
CBS NEWS – Biden’s meeting spotlight gun control divide
Seeking to spur fresh action on gun legislation, Vice President Biden is scheduled to meet Wednesday with victims groups and gun-safety organizations.
The meeting is to be part of a series of gatherings Biden is conducting this week at the White House aimed at building a consensus around proposals to curb gun violence following the horrific elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
The vice president will meet Thursday with the National Rifle Association and other gun-owner groups.

IN MEMORIAM

NEWS & OBSERVER – John Randolph Ingram, former N.C. insurance commissioner, dies at age 83
Former state insurance commissioner John Randolph Ingram, a well-known and often controversial figure in North Carolina politics throughout the 1970s and 1980s, died of heart failure Sunday evening at his home in Myrtle Beach.
Ingram, 83, served 12 years in the commissioner’s office after a successful 1972 campaign urging reform of the insurance industry. It was a theme he returned to often during his more than two decades in politics and public life, which included a losing campaign against U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms.
NEWS & RECORD – Former N.C. insurance commissioner John Ingram dies at 83
John Ingram, the former North Carolina insurance commissioner who made runs for governor and the U.S. Senate, has died. He was 83.
Charles Brown said his brother-in-law died at his Myrtle Beach home Sunday after suffering a heart attack.
THE NEW YORK TIMES – Richard Ben Cramer Dies at 62; Wrote of Presidential Race
Richard Ben Cramer, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and the author of “What It Takes,” a prodigious account of the 1988 presidential election that has been widely hailed as among the finest books about American politics ever written, died on Monday night in Baltimore. He was 62.
CNN – Richard Ben Cramer, influential campaign biographer, dies at 62
Richard Ben Cramer, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer whose 1992 book “What It Takes” remains one of the most detailed and passionate of all presidential campaign chronicles, died Monday night, according to his longtime agent, Philippa “Flip” Brophy. He was 62.
News items provided by North Carolina Democratic Party