McCrory says he’ll veto anti-choice legislation, setting up battle with #NCGA, is immigration reform headed for a slow death in U.S. House? Sen. Hagan pushes fix for student loans rate-hike, ACLU to challenge Amendment 1, National Republicans second-guessing Tillis? NYT highlights the decline of North Carolina under Republican leadership
News & Record: Charter school bill changes pass NC House
A bill creating more rules to govern a growing number of public charter schools in North Carolina but omitting the creation of a powerful panel to oversee them has passed the House. The House and State Board of Education Chairman Bill Cobey opposed that idea and developed a new version that would essentially retain an advisory commission already in place to make recommendations to the State Board of Education.
Dome: House sends McCrory a stack of reading material
The House gave about 20 bills final legislative approval Tuesday and sent them on to Gov. Pat McCrory. Here are some notable ones: Under House Bill 250, charter schools will no longer need to ask permission from the State Board of Education to expand by adding one grade.House Bill 492 allows Medicaid recipients who have Alzheimer’s disease to receive up to 130 hours of personal care services per month, up from 80 hours. The House passed the "Big Gulp" bill 99-16. This legislation promoted by the American Legislative Executive Council prohibits cities and towns from banning sales of big sodas… also says food producers cannot be held liable in court for making people obese.
Charlotte Observer: Revised proposal still may deter welfare recipients
House Bill 392 requires county Social Services employees to do background checks on all applicants for Work First benefits – the state’s welfare program – and food stamps to ensure they’re not parole or probation violators, or have outstanding felony warrants. It also requires drug testing of any Work First recipient suspected of being a drug user. “Instead of being the place you come to get support or perhaps intervention when there’s family crises, the social services eligibility workers (would) now (be) an extension of the police,” said Sen. Angela Bryant, a Democrat from Rocky Mount. “These people are checking you for warrants … making you have drug tests, as opposed to providing family support. And I think that cultural shift is dangerous.”
Dome: Democrats, advocates call for "common sense" on abortion bill
Lawmakers speaking at the press conference said the bill doesn’t just increase abortion safety, as its supporters argue; they said it’s a a partisan attack that would make the legal medical procedure more difficult to do. “We are not abortion advocates, we are choice advocates,” said Rep. Verla Insko, a Chapel Hill Democrat, responding to bill supporters’ comments during the House committee meeting. She said she would agree to increase clinic inspections, but the bill goes past that, restricting access to abortions by shutting down centers.
WRAL: McCrory plans to veto abortion bill unless changes made
Gov. Pat McCrory said Wednesday that he will veto a House bill designed to adopt new restrictions on abortion clinics unless significant changes are made to the legislation prior to its passage by the House and Senate.
WRAL: DHHS chief calls for more study of abortion restrictions
Secretary of Health and Human Services Aldona Wos urged lawmakers Tuesday to slow down on a break-neck effort to adopt new restrictions on North Carolina abortion clinics, saying some of the provisions need more study while others need to be clarified.
Dome: Art Pope key legislative ambassador but not subject to reporting rules
His actions raise questions about whether Pope should register as a McCrory administration legislative liaison. Pope is not registered with the Secretary of State as a liaison — a move that would require him to report lobbying expenditures and are subject to the gift ban.
Salon: House GOP apparently wants to be even more unpopular
With the July 4 holiday behind them, House members might be expected to take up work on the immigration reform bill passed by the Senate. But they won’t. They’re looking at piecemeal reforms that will be heavier on border enforcement than the Senate bill – which doubled the number of border control agents, after the border control budget already doubled in size in the last decade — and even nuttier ideas.
CNN: White House touts economic benefits of immigration reform as GOP lawmakers huddle
Long supportive of the Senate measure, President Barack Obama and his aides have pushed the Republican-controlled House to take up the comprehensive immigration reform bill, which includes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and strict border security provisions.
Politico: Immigration reform heads for slow death
Republicans walked away from their 2012 debacle hell-bent on fixing their problems with Hispanics. Now, they appear hell-bent on making them worse. In private conversations, top Republicans on Capitol Hill now predict comprehensive immigration reform will die a slow, months-long death in the House.
Fayetteville Observer: Congress to consider bill to restore student loan interest rates for a year
Congress could take action today on a bill that would reduce interest rates on a federal student loan and give leaders another year to craft a sustainable plan for setting the rates. Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat from Greensboro, told reporters during a teleconference Tuesday that she is pushing for action on a bill that would bring the interest rate back to 3.4 percent for a federally-subsidized student loan.
Q city metro: Sen. Hagan pushes student loan bill
With Congress back from its Independence Day break, both parties are vowing to fix a federal provision that allowed the interest rate on student loans to double July 1. Because Democrats and Republicans could not agree, the interest rate on Stafford loans went from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. The new rate applies to new loans, not against money already borrowed. Last week in Charlotte, U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan vowed to make repealing the increase her top priority when Congress resumed July 8.
Charlotte Observer: ACLU moves to challenge NC gay marriage ban
The American Civil Liberties Union announced today that it wants to challenge North Carolina’s ban on same-sex marriages by asking the state Attorney General to allow the group to amend an existing case on second-parent adoptions.
The Atlantic: The New State-by-State Fight for Gay Marriage
With jurisprudence, public opinion, and state laws all seeming to be moving in their direction, the future looks bright for their cause. But the campaigners at Freedom to Marry, the only national group solely devoted to gay-marriage advocacy, believe it is time not to rest on laurels but to fight harder than ever. And they have a plan to do just that.
Dome: Graham, Adams in lead for Watt seat
In the race to replace Congressman Mel Watt, state Sen. Malcolm Graham of Charlotte and Rep. Alma Adams of Greensboro have the early edge, according to a new survey. Graham leads with 31 percent, while Adams has 22 percent according a survey by Public Policy Polling, a Raleigh firm with Democratic leanings. George Battle III and state Rep. Beverly Earle poll at 8 percent, state Rep. Marcus Brandon has 5 percent, Harold Cogdell and state Rep. Rodney Monroe at 3 percent and Torre Jessup, Ed Hanes and Avery Staley each have 1 percent.
Dome: National GOP still trying to recruit an opponent for Hagan
Word on street is that the National Republican Senatorial Committee is in Raleigh on a recruiting trip to find an opponent for Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan next year. The GOP operative is talking with Senate leader Phil Berger and Congresswoman Renee Ellmers or at least their people, to see if they have an interest in running next year. Berger confirmed to Dome he met with NRSC representatives Tuesday morning. The scouting trip suggests that the national party is not yet completely sold on House Speaker Thom Tillis, the major GOP candidate who has announced his candidacy.
WRAL: Berger says he hasn’t decided on Senate run
Sen. Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, said he has not made a decision as to whether he’ll run for U.S. Senate, a move that could put the state Senate’s top leader directly in conflict with the top leader in the state House. Berger, the president Pro Tempore of the Senate, said Tuesday that he met with operatives from the National Republican Senate Committee that morning, adding in a typical dead-pan that the meeting went "about as I expected."
Politico: Sarah Palin considering 2014 Senate bid
Sarah Palin opened the door Tuesday to running for Senate next year in Alaska. “I’ve considered it because people have requested me considering it, but I’m still waiting to see what the lineup will be and hoping that … there will be some new blood, some new energy,” the former governor told Sean Hannity during an appearance on his radio show.
The New York Times: The Decline of North Carolina
In January, after the election of Pat McCrory as governor, Republicans took control of both the executive and legislative branches for the first time since Reconstruction. Since then, state government has become a demolition derby, tearing down years of progress in public education, tax policy, racial equality in the courtroom and access to the ballot.
Micah Beasley, Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party