NCDP Clips for Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

NCDP Clips for Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

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LEGISLATURE 2015

House prepares to roll out Medicaid reform bill (WRAL-TV) – -Members of the state House are preparing to roll out a Medicaid reform plan that would change how the state’s health insurance system for the poor and disabled operates over the next six years.

Women’s Rights Moral Monday on Wednesday (TWCN-TV) — They will focus on how the governor and legislature’s extremist approaches to issues such as Medicaid expansion, public education, voting, and the minimum wage, have had a disproportionately negative impact on women across the state.

Gun Safety Debate Accompanies Legislative Push (N.C. Health News) — This week, lawmakers in Raleigh may consider a bill that would make sweeping changes to North Carolina’s laws around firearm permitting, background checks and places where concealed weapons could be carried. The bill has fired up debate between advocates for gun rights and gun control and caused tension within the Republican caucus.

Driving Privileges for Undocumented Immigrants Clears House Committee (TWCN-TV) — The bill was easily moved out of committee, but it is considered controversial and has split members of the Republican caucus. But others say it is granting privileges to someone who is here illegally and therefore already breaking the law.

Veto override on marriage bill gets delayed a fourth time in NC House (Raleigh News & Observer) – -For the fourth time in the past week, N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore skipped a veto override vote Tuesday on Senate Bill 2, which would exempt magistrates from performing marriages if they have a religious objection.

NC Senate OKs controversial personnel law changes (Raleigh News & Observer) – -The N.C. Senate voted 31-15 – mostly along party lines – to change personnel laws governing state employees. The bill’s most controversial provision involves opening up otherwise confidential aspects of an employee’s personnel file. Supervisors from other state or local government agencies would gain access to a worker’s file if they interview for another government job. Those supervisors could review “performance management documents.”

North Carolina’s Ag-Gag Law Might Be the Worst in the Nation (VICE News) — The North Carolina legislature has approved a law that proponents say is aimed at protecting businesses from property theft. But critics of the law say it is actually meant to silence whistleblowers who want to expose wrongdoing on factory farms and other businesses. Known as ag-gag laws, bills like North Carolina’s have historically sought to protect meat and poultry producers against employees who document health or safety violations inside slaughterhouses. North Carolina’s new law is "deceitful," said Matthew Dominguez of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which fought its passage.

POLICY & POLITICS

Year after request, McCrory’s office produces no records (WRAL-TV) — One year after WRAL News requested emails from Gov. Pat McCrory’s office under North Carolina’s public records law, his staff has so far failed to produce a single document. … McCrory Communications Director Josh Ellis said Tuesday that his staff was "very close" to finalizing the request and hopes to have it by the end of the week. On May 20, he estimated his office was reviewing more than 10,000 emails to ensure staff is protecting confidential information. … Given the size of the request and the legal mandate, a year-long wait is "absolutely unreasonable," said Jonathan Jones, director of the North Carolina Open Government Coalition at Elon University.

Hearing on voter ID rules draws crowd (Winston-Salem Journal) — More than 100 people gathered at the Forsyth County Government Center on Tuesday for a public comment hearing on the N.C. State Board of Elections’ proposed rules for implementing the state’s new voter identification law. The state board selected Winston-Salem as one of nine sites across the state to hold these public comment hearings

McCrory to laughs off, but doesn’t reject, vice presidential ambition talk (WTVD-TV) — North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory laughed off a question regarding a possible vice-presidential bid during a Tuesday stop in Fayetteville. … McCrory moved on to the next question without addressing the prospect of becoming a presidential running mate. When ABC11 asked McCrory about his answer he joked, "I couldn’t hear. They weren’t reading my teleprompter well enough there." When pushed about it, McCrory returned to his points regarding the Connect NC proposal. "I’m governor of the greatest state in the United States of America, which is the ninth largest state now, and we’d better prepare for being the seventh largest for the next generation and that’s my goal-is to help the next generation right here in North Carolina," said McCrory.

McCrory takes bond promotion tour to Fayetteville (WRAL-TV) — Gov. Pat McCrory continued his statewide push for putting $2.8 billion in bonds to improve highways and state buildings before voters in November. On Monday, he highlighted the bonds’ impact on the Fayetteville area.

THE SPILL

State hires big legal guns for Duke Energy’s appeal of $25.1M coal-ash fine (Charlotte Business Journal) — N.C. regulators have hired the law firm Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton to represent it in Duke Energy’s challenge to the $25.1 million fine the state imposed for groundwater contamination at the shuttered Sutton Steam Electric Plant. The private firm and the N.C. Attorney General will represent the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in the case now before the Office of Administrative Hearings.

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

Charlotte entrepreneur’s $175M effort to change GOP minds on climate change (Charlotte Business Journal) — Jay Faison, founder and chairman of Charlotte’s SnapAV and himself a Republican, says he always felt a little alone on climate change among those in his party.

Appeals court tosses suits challenging Obama climate change plan (Fuel Fix) — The ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is a temporary setback to opponents of the plan who are expected to renew their legal attack once the regulation is finalized later this year.

EDITORIALS

Will legislators keep pace with social changes? (Shelby Star) — Even as acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals grows, some people hold fast to religious beliefs that run counter to that acceptance. In Raleigh, Republicans may let public servants opt out of performing marriages on religious grounds. In 2001, Americans told Pew Research pollsters they opposed same-sex marriage 57 percent to 35 percent. Today, it’s 52 percent for same-sex marriage and 40 percent against. That’s a stunning turnaround.

Franklin Graham’s lonely crusade (Raleigh News & Observer) — Franklin Graham thinks he can harness opposition to same-sex marriage by pulling his ministries’ money from a bank that has run ads featuring a same-sex couple. But polls and changing business practices suggest that Graham is jumping into an argument that’s already over.

Applying the benefits vs. risk standard to guns in NC (Raleigh News & Observer column) — Arthur R. Kamm: The North Carolina legislature is considering HB 562, which expands public exposure to concealed-carry and weakens permit checks. That the concealed-carry population itself increases the risk of serious bodily injury and death to the general public is beyond dispute.

Phil Berger, Religious Exemptions, & Teaching in NC (Camel City Dispatch column) – I understand that many in the state of North Carolina are against same-sex marriage. But it was a comment by Sen. Berger during a recent debate on this bill that sparked my thought process. He stated, “Just because someone takes a job with the government does not mean they give up their First Amendment rights.” Well, that also applies to me.