N.C. Senate back in legislative action while House in recess, McCrory airs frustrations with tax reform, thousands protest unemployment benefits cut at Moral Monday, everything you need to know about the student loan rate hike, support for gay marriage at an all-time high, Dems land top recruit to challenge Mitch McConnell in ’14
WRAL: Legislative logjam clears in Senate
Rules Chair Tom Apodaca moved 11 bills onto Monday night’s calendar, and has put most of the remainder on the Senate’s agenda for Tuesday. When Apodaca moved the bills last week, he said he hoped it would serve as an "incentive" in the slow, difficult negotiations between the House and Senate on their differing plans for tax reform and the $20.6 billion state budget. Tonight, he said restoring the bills to the calendar doesn’t portend an imminent deal on either issue.
WRAL: Senate OK’s ‘Big Gulp’ bill
By a vote of 37-9 Monday night, the state Senate approved House Bill 683, banning local governments from restricting sales of large soft drinks. The "Commonsense Consumption Bill," which is model legislation from pro-business group ALEC, also prohibits lawsuits against food and drink makers or vendors for obesity or obesity-related illnesses caused by consumption of their products."This bill injects some much needed common sense and personal responsibility into the law," said Sen. Tamara Barringer, R-Wake.
WRAL: McCrory getting impatient on tax reform
As the tax reform impasse between the House and Senate stretches into the new fiscal year, Gov. Pat McCrory is sending signals the issue may need to be set aside. That’s after a meltdown at the legislature Thursday, where tensions over tax reform talks spilled out into the open in both chambers. Leaders say negotiations are ongoing, but the public display of frustration is a clear sign they aren’t going well.
WRAL: Latest Senate tax bill seeks compromise with House
Those negotiations have been slow, and House lawmakers have taken this week off from formal legislative business. If all goes as plan, the latest Senate tax offer will be waiting for House lawmakers to consider when they return from break. Democrats have taken issue with all versions of tax reform offered by Republicans thus far and they are critical of the progress made on this latest compromise effort. “It would appear that the Republican negotiations have consisted of sitting around trying to figure out a way to fool working families," said Sen. Martin Nesbitt, D-Bucombe, the Senate minority leader.
Time: Moral Mondays: Religious Progressives Protest North Carolina Policies
Almost every Monday since late April, hundreds of protestors have gathered at the North Carolina General Assembly in Raleigh to oppose the state’s budget cuts to unemployment benefits, healthcare funding, education, and other social benefits. Today, July 1, the “Moral Mondays” protest may break records: Thousands of people are expected, as it is the first Monday since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned parts of the Voting Rights Act and the day that some of the most severe state cuts go into effect.
Dome: Moral Monday protest centers on unemployment cuts
Thousands of people tramped across a muddy Halifax Mall Monday to take part in the ninth Moral Monday protest. “Seventy-thousand,” the Rev. William Barber shouted. Attendees echoed his words. He shouted the number again and again, focusing in on the significance of Monday, July 1: The date the cuts to the state’s unemployment benefits went into effect.
Maddow Blog: ‘I would call these cuts obscene’
In 2010, Republicans took control of North Carolina’s General Assembly for the first time since the 19th century, and in 2012, the party took the next step electing a conservative Republican governor, Pat McCrory. The result has been predictable but striking: the state’s policy agenda has shifted to the very far right with breakneck speed.
News & Observer: A bewildering turn against public schools
Now there are people in power who think public schools are a problem and public school teachers are part of it. Their solution is to take a hammer to the public school edifice. The teachers, meanwhile, will be given meager salaries and pitted against each other in a competition for merit pay based on test scores. The state superintendent of education is suddenly in a realm of education she doesn’t recognize. When she goes into restaurants, she meets teachers waiting tables. She meets some who work three jobs. That’s how much their work is valued now. “We’ve made teachers villains,” she said. “I believe that has happened at the national level over the past three or four years.”
The Washington Post: Everything you need to know about the student loan rate hike
Congress is, as ever, facing a deadline. Rates on some student loans are set to double on July 1 if it doesn’t act. How much does this matter, and to whom?
Winston-Salem Journal: Protesters oppose Burr’s stance on immigration reform
U.S. Sen. Richard Burr received an unprecedented gift at his Winston-Salem office Monday — 76 bricks. The bricks were delivered by the Latin American Coalition, an immigrant rights organization based in Charlotte, in light of Burr’s opposition to an immigration bill in the U.S. Senate last week. “Senator Burr’s excuse is that the border is not secure enough, so we’re bringing him bricks so he can build a bigger wall,” said Jess George, executive director of the Latin American Value Coalition.
Dome: Fracking Commission to lawmakers: Hands off!
The warning is the latest development in a fracking subplot unfolding between the year-old commission and the state legislature that created the commission last year to write 120-plus safety rules to govern fracking in the state. "As written, the language would allow any company to claim exemption from disclosure of important information about potentially dangerous hydraulic fracturing fluids being pumped into oil and gas wells," Womack wrote in the letter.
Winston-Salem Journal: Congressional delegation split over offshore drilling
North Carolina’s congressional delegation is largely split along partisan lines on a bill that would open up the North Carolina coast to offshore drilling. The House passed The Offshore Energy and Jobs Act by a 235-186 on Friday and it will now go to the Senate. All the state’s Republicans as well as Democrat Mike McIntyre voted for the bill. All four Democrats voted against it. Democratic Rep. David Price of Chapel Hill blasted the measure, calling it part of the “drill, baby, drill mentality.”“In my home state of North Carolina,” Price said, “offshore drilling is highly controversial because of its potential adverse impacts on the environment and coastal communities, as well as the tourist economies on which they depend.
USA Today: Gabrielle Giffords: Gun rights come with responsibilities
Some might consider me an unlikely advocate for gun rights because I sustained terrible injuries in a violent shooting. But I’m a patriot, and I believe the right to bear arms is a definitive part of our American heritage. For centuries, that right has come with the responsibility to use our guns safely and ensure that our families, our communities and our children are protected. You’ve heard me say often that 92% of Americans support this simple, fair solution: background checks for all potential gun buyers. But it has been a while since our Senate failed to pass the measure when it first voted on the legislation. Some might think we’ve moved on, or wonder whether we’ve become cynical. Neither. From Nevada to New Hampshire and everywhere in between, expanded background checks continue to be popular with significant majorities.
USA Today: Poll: Support for gay marriage hits high after ruling
Last year was the first time a majority of Americans had backed gay marriage. The only major demographic groups in which a majority oppose same-sex marriage are Republicans (68%) and seniors 65 and older (51%). Even in the South, which continues to be the only region that doesn’t show majority support for gay marriage, opposition has slipped below 50%.
The Washington Post: 2013 is halfway over: This is how the economy is doing, in 11 charts
We’ve reached the halfway point of 2013. We are nearing the five-year anniversary of the most intense phase of the great financial crisis, and are now at the four-year anniversary of the beginning of the recovery from the Great Recession. So, as Ed Koch might ask, how’re we doing? The answer, as always on Wonkblog, can be found in the charts. Here are the 27 charts that show how the economy is doing as the second half of the year begins.
The Atlantic: How North Carolina Became the Wisconsin of 2013
With a Republican takeover of state government and weekly protests in Raleigh, the Tar Heel State is the front line in America’s partisan battle. Nowhere is the battle between liberal and conservative visions of government fiercer than North Carolina. From the environment to guns, abortion to campaign finance, religion to taxes, Raleigh has become a battleground that resembles Madison, Wisconsin, in 2011.
Politico: GOP could pay price for gerrymandering
No one disputes Republicans used the once-a-decade redistricting process to lock in their House majority — almost certainly through 2014 and possibly until the next round of line-drawing in 2020. But the party could pay a steep price for that dominance. Some top GOP strategists and candidates warn that the ruby red districts the party drew itself into are pushing House Republicans further to the right — narrowing the party’s appeal at a time when some GOP leaders say its future rests on the opposite happening. If you’re looking for a root cause of the recurring drama within the House Republican Conference — from the surprise meltdown on the farm bill to the looming showdown over immigration reform — the increasingly conservative makeup of those districts is a good place to start.
The Hill: Democrats land top recruit to challenge McConnell in Kentucky
The daughter of a prominent Kentucky Democratic activist who has ties to former President Clinton, Lundergan Grimes won the most votes of any Democratic candidate statewide in 2011. Running on a business-friendly agenda in her first run for an elected office, she defeated a Democratic incumbent and later, Bill Johnson, a Republican with ties to the Tea Party. In both races, Lundergan Grimes had significant fundraising advantages. Democrats believe she has the profile and fundraising ability to take on McConnell in a race that’s expected to be fierce.
Huffington Post: Alison Lundergan Grimes Running For Senate
"I have met with supporters, we had a great conversation," she said at a press conference in Frankfort, Ky. "We can next make the best move, the best difference by running for the U.S. Senate." Grimes is the first Democrat to mount a challenge against McConnell. Even though he represents deep-red Kentucky, McConnell, a five-term senator, is very unpopular in the state. An April Public Policy polling survey showed him with a 36 percent favorability rating, while 54 percent disapproved of his job performance. In a January Courier-Journal/SurveyUSA poll, 34 percent of respondents said they would vote against McConnell no matter who runs against him.
Politico: 2016 Latino poll: Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio lead
In a potential 2016 presidential election matchup, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would beat Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) among Latinos, a poll out Monday shows. Clinton is the favorite to Rubio 66 percent to 28 percent, the survey from Latino Decisions reports. Rubio also loses in a potential matchup against Vice President Joe Biden 60 percent to 28 percent.
Politico: What if Hillary Clinton passes on 2016?
She has said she has yet to make up her mind, but few in the party believe that. The Clintons’ ambition and the chance to make history as the first female president, they figure, will overpower any reticence about another grueling campaign or spending her golden years carrying the burdens of the world’s weightiest job. But if they’re wrong, there is no obvious replacement. And the party would be looking at a mad scramble to fill the Clinton void.
Micah Beasley, Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party