NORTH CAROLINA GENERAL ASSEMBLY
WILMINGTON STAR NEWS – N.C. bill to sweep out board members facing big changes
A North Carolina Senate bill that would sweep out the members of several important state boards and commissions will be drastically changed by the House, lawmakers said Tuesday.
Republican Deputy Majority Whip Rep. Pat McElraft, R-Carteret; Rep. Rick Catlin, R-New Hanover; Rep. Frank Iler, R-Brunswick; and Rep. Tom Murry, R-Wake, met Monday to discuss changes to the bill.
"We exchanged some ideas and talked about a substitute bill," Catlin said.
Calls to McElraft, Iler and Murry were not returned.
THE DAILY REFLECTOR – NC lawmakers vote to bar Medicaid expansion
North Carolina lawmakers approved a bill Tuesday barring the state from expanding Medicaid under the federal health care overhaul.
Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican, has indicated he’ll sign the GOP-backed bill when it reaches his desk.
The measure approved by the House and Senate makes clear that North Carolina doesn’t want to expand Medicaid eligibility and will leave the operation of the state’s online health insurance marketplace to the federal government. States have choices on both matters through the federal Affordable Care Act championed by President Barack Obama.
About 500,000 low-income North Carolinians would qualify for government health insurance under the expansion. The federal government said it would cover 100 percent of the state’s expansion costs through 2016 and at least 90 percent thereafter.
WRAL – Bill would take ‘education’ out of lottery name
A bill filed by a bipartisan group of lawmakers would place restrictions on lottery advertising and remove the word "education" from the state gambling enterprises formal title.
Both Democrats and Republicans sponsored The Honest Lottery Act, HB 156, including House Speaker Pro Tempore Paul "Skip" Stam, R-Wake, and Minority Leader Larry Hall, D-Durham.
The bill does not contain a previously discussed provision that would prohibit those on public assistance from buying lottery tickets.
CHARLOTTE OBSERVER – Topless ban pulled on eve of NC House vote
A bill that could send women to prison for publicly going topless has been sent back to a committee in the North Carolina legislature.
The Republican-backed measure had been scheduled for a vote Tuesday in the House. Buncombe Rep. Tim Moffitt said the delay would give time for consultations with Senate lawmakers.
THE NEW YORK TIMES – Hagel Approved for Defense in Sharply Split Senate Vote
The Senate confirmed Chuck Hagel as defense secretary on Tuesday after he survived a bruising struggle with Republicans. At the same time,President Obama’s nominee to be Treasury secretary moved closer to approval with bipartisan support, suggesting that the Republican blockade against the administration’s second-term nominees was beginning to ease.
After escaping a filibuster from members of his own party, Mr. Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, prevailed in a 58-to-41 vote — the smallest margin for a defense secretary since the position was created in 1947, according to Senate records. Fifty-two Democrats, two independents and four Republicans backed Mr. Hagel, and 41 Republicans opposed him.
NBC NEWS – Senate confirms Hagel for defense secretary
The Senate voted to confirm former Sen. Chuck Hagel as President Barack Obama’s next secretary of defense following weeks of dogged opposition by Republican senators to their erstwhile colleague.
The Senate voted 58 to 41 to formally confirm Hagel, on the heels of a procedural vote earlier in the day that cleared the way for Tuesday afternoon’s final vote.
That earlier vote dispensed with a filibuster that Senate Republicans had waged for a week and a half against Hagel, whose confirmation was delayed by Republicans past the President’s Day recess in order to allow for more time to dig into the former Nebraska senator’s background.
A number of Republican detractors — including Sens. John McCain, Ariz., Lindsey Graham, S.C. and Kelly Ayotte, N.H. — reversed their votes on Monday in order to allow the Hagel nomination to move forward.
THE PROGRESSIVE PULSE – NC House, Senate will regret not accepting federal $ for Medicaid
With the backdrop of yet another Republican Governor – this time New Jersey’s Chris Christie – announcing this afternoon that yet another GOP-led state would take the federal money available under Obamacare to extend health coverage to more poor people under Medicaid, I watched our NC Senate and House soundly reject that same federal money this afternoon.
I imagine our own new Republican Governor, Pat McCrory, is going to be staring morosely into his cereal bowl tomorrow morning while wishing his fellow Republican chief executives weren’t making him look quite so bad. After all, if eight states led by Republicans can manage to figure out how to accept billions of dollars from the federal government to expand health coverage for poor people, it is a question as to why North Carolina can’t seem to get its act together. Every week North Carolina appears to be joining a smaller and seedier club, a group of states so craven as willing to sacrifice the health of millions of their own poorest citizens on the twin altars of political ambition and just plain contempt for people who make under $15,000 a year.
THE WASHINGTON POST – Michelle Obama’s wings
KATHLEEN PARKER – If second-term presidents feel liberated by reelection to pursue bolder agendas, first ladies often become more comfortable to be their own person.
Witness Laura Bush, who in her husband’s second term discovered that she, too, had a voice and a bully pulpit. Seemingly overnight, she transformed herself from librarian to liberator, becoming a voice for oppressed women — from advocating for Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi, the democratic leader then under house arrest, to spearheading a women’s health movement across the Middle East.
Likewise, it appears that Michelle Obama has begun to break out. Though she long ago established herself as a health-and-fitness mom in chief, she had until recently been careful to stay well within the lines of traditional first lady. Obviously accomplished in her own right, she spent the past four years fashioning an image of good wife and mother to counter early impressions of her as politically ambitious and, to certain of her critics, angry.
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