McCrory not entirely familiar with voter suppression bill he supports, signs anti-choice legislation breaking key campaign promise to women, Thom Tillis lands in the hot seat over ‘pay-to-play,’ NC Public Safety Secretary Shanahan abruptly resigns from McCrory administration, #NCGA adjourns for the year, but leaves lasting damage, 6 families set to challenge NC’s gay marriage ban, President Obama fights for ‘grand bargain’ on jobs, U.S. Senate Republicans ready to shutdown government over Obamacare funding, Palin 2014 catches AK GOP buzz, national leaders & North Carolinians take #NCGA, McCrory to task over education cuts
WRAL: McCrory not familiar with all of bill he’s to sign
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory says he will sign into law a Republican-backed bill making sweeping changes to how and when citizens can vote even though he has not seen one of its key provisions.
WRAL: Abortion law breaks McCrory promise
During an Oct. 24, 2012, debate, WRAL News reporter Laura Leslie asked soon-to-be Gov. Pat McCrory the following: "If you are elected governor, what further restrictions on abortion would you agree to sign? "McCrory’s one-word reply: "None." So when McCrory signed a package of changes to the state’s abortion laws Monday, did he break that campaign pledge?
Politico: North Carolina governor signs abortion bill
Critics say the move will effectively close most of North Carolina’s 16 abortion clinics because only one now meets the standards of an outpatient surgical center. An ambulatory surgical center costs about $1 million more to build than an abortion clinic, the director of the state’s Division of Health Service Regulation told lawmakers earlier this month. It’s unclear how much it would cost existing clinics to convert to higher standards once they are set by DHHS.
News & Observer: McCrory signs NC abortion bill as protesters hold vigil outside governors mansion
“He has signed the most restrictive access to safe and legal abortions this state has ever seen,” said Melissa Reed, the vice president of public policy for Planned Parenthood. “We will make sure women know Gov. McCrory can’t be trusted.”
WRAL: McCrory signs abortion, gun rights changes into law
Gov. Pat McCrory signed 18 bills Monday, including two of the more controversial of the recently ended legislative session – those dealing with gun rights and abortion clinics.
News & Observer: Tillis pushed several major political contributors for UNC board, documents reveal
Democratic opponents said that Tillis was trading appointments for campaign contributions, a charge frequently leveled by Republicans when Democrats controlled the General Assembly and the Executive Mansion. “It sure sounds like a pay for play to me,” Rep. Mickey Michaux, a Durham Democrat, said. “It seems pretty blatant.”
News & Observer: For sale?
Well, there’s one thing you have to give the House Republicans and Speaker Thom Tillis. When it comes to “pay for play,” that disgraceful custom of appointing big contributors to important state boards, they’re about as subtle as a tractor-trailer hitting a ‘possum.
News & Observer: Thom Tillis’ office door jam
It seems a group of Democrats recently went to the speaker’s personal office to deliver petitions opposing the now-law abortion bill restricting access to the procedure for women. The Democrats apparently took a picture of their action. That upset some Republicans. Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln used to greet citizens in the White House. Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch used to walk up to people on the street, shake their hands and ask, “How’m I doin’?” So we wonder. What are they afraid of?
News & Observer: Shanahan resigns as Secretary of NC Public Safety
His abrupt resignation, delivered Thursday afternoon in a letter to the governor, came on the same day that another top official in the state Department of Public Safety, Chief Operating Officer Edward “Sonny” Masso, also unexpectedly resigned after only five months in the position. There was no indication that the dual resignations were connected. But the turmoil in the upper ranks left a team of deputy secretaries to run the 26,000-employee department until replacements are named. Shanahan’s decision was announced Friday.
Dome: Speculation swirls around Shanahan’s departure
Some political pundits have suggested his departure has to do with helicopter use. But DPS told The News & Observer on Friday that Shanahan only took one ride in the agency’s helicopter and provided a log to confirm it: an April 15 flight to the Statesville airport and back accompanied by two senators and a department legislative liaison. McCrory on Friday insisted Shanahan’s departure was just about his business interests and wanting to support his wife’s career advancement in the Navy Reserve. Shanahan has not been reachable for comment.
Politics 365: Strict North Carolina voter ID law passes, DOJ could review law
North Carolina becomes the first state since the Supreme Court decision to strike down the federal government review of changes in the voter laws to push through a strict voter ID law. Attorney General Eric Holder has suggested that the Department of Justice could monitor the voting laws and file suit if it considers the new laws to be discriminatory. The North Carolina law limits the kind of identification that voters can use at the polls to a North Carolina driver’s license, a state-issued ID card, a military ID, or a U.S. passport.
Charlotte Observer: ‘The North Carolina way’ takes a sharp right turn
For generations, North Carolina tended to walk a middle path, spending more on roads, universities and culture, and later on community colleges and research parks, as a way to modernize. Often called “the North Carolina way,” the approach was backed by the state’s forward-looking business leadership as an alternative to the low-tax, low-regulation strategies of much of the rest of the South. “That self-image has been rejected by this legislature,” Campbell said. “It seems that our leadership is turning now toward following (conservative) Southern trends, whereas in the past North Carolina tended to boast that it was leading in new directions. That is different in the state leadership’s self-perception.”
WRAL: Five things to know about the legislative adjournment
The North Carolina General Assembly adjourned its 2013 legislative session on July 26. They are not scheduled to return to lawmaking until May 14, 2014. But that doesn’t mean the legislative branch won’t be making news for nine months. Here are five things to keep in mind about this year’s legislative adjournment: vetoes, special session, sine is not dead, oversight and study, and politics.
WRAL: Court challenge could be next for NC elections changes
The [N.C.] attorney general wrote, "With a veto, you can encourage more people to be involved in the political process, stop this bad public policy, and prevent the confusion and cost of a legal battle." Cooper says he expects a legal challenge from the federal government. Congressman G.K. Butterfield, D-District 1, is also mounting an effort to block sweeping changes to election laws. He too sent a letter to the governor urging a veto. Butterfield said if McCrory signs the bill into law, he will ask the U.S. Attorney General to challenge it.
DOME: Republicans haven’t represented the people, House Democrats say in last presser
“Every interest was served in this General Assembly, except one: The public interest,” said Rep. Rick Glazier, a Fayetteville Democrat. “And that was never probably clearer than what happened last night.”
News & Observer: Biofuels Center issues its own obituary
The center characterizes its own demise as a setback for North Carolina, a competitive advantage for neighboring states and a sign of legislative myopia. "Other Southeastern state will note with pleasure that North Carolina has eliminated the Center," the release quotes CEO W. Steven Burke.
Huffington Post: Moral Monday Turnout Surges In North Carolina As Largest Crowd Once Again Protests GOP Agenda
Demonstrators flocked to the state Capitol in Raleigh, N.C. on Monday, turning the 13th consecutive weekly gathering into what authorities called the largest protest yet. This week’s Moral Monday rally against the state GOP agenda came three days after lawmakers left the Capitol for the summer. Without official legislative business, the rally led to little police activity against the type of civil disobedience that has resulted in more than 900 arrests over the past three months. But that didn’t stop thousands of protesters from joining together to oppose a number of issues championed by Republicans, who control both chambers of the state Legislature and the governorship.
Charlotte Observer: Largest Moral Monday crowd yet floods downtown Raleigh
This year, though, the historic lawmaking session was followed by a storm brewed by an agenda legislative leaders said was a necessary new course for the state. Hoisting signs that said “First in Flight, 48th in Education,” “I Don’t Want a Tax Cut, I Want Good Schools,” and much more, thousands turned out for one more Monday demonstration organized by the state NAACP.
WRAL: Six families challenge NC gay marriage ban
The families originally sued over North Carolina law that bans both partners of a same-sex couple from adopting a child. In an amendment to that complaint, the couples say that North Carolina’s gay marriage ban not only deprives them of rights as a couple, but hurts their children’s well-being.
WCNC: ‘We don’t condone’ sexist twitter messages
Representative Susan Fisher is a six-term member of the house elected from Asheville. “It was quite upsetting,” she said in a telephone interview. “They’re from the dark ages.” Rep. Fisher traces the animosity to her delivery of a petition containing thousands of signatures supporting a woman’s right to abortion to Speaker Thom Tillis’ office when no one was present in the office.
RealClearPolitics: Obama Proposes "Grand Bargain" for Jobs
White House officials say just because they’re at an impasse with congressional Republicans over a grand bargain on reducing the deficit doesn’t mean they shouldn’t look for other areas of agreement. So Obama plans to use a trip to an Amazon.com distribution center in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Tuesday to propose a "grand bargain for middle-class jobs." "As part of his efforts to focus Washington on the middle class, today in Tennessee the president will call on Washington to work on a grand bargain focused on middle-class jobs by pairing reform of the business tax code with a significant investment in middle-class jobs," Obama senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer said.
The Hill: White House cautious as Kerry resumes Mideast peace talks
The White House downplayed prospects for new Israeli-Palestinian peace talks that began Monday, arguing negotiators face months of hard work to get a deal. “This is a promising step forward, though hard work and hard choices remain ahead,” Obama said Monday. “I think all three sides recognize that the odds are long but the consequences of failure are enormous,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of the liberal pro-Israel lobby J Street.
The Maddow Blog: Obama’s time away from the office
As August approaches, and President Obama schedules a little r-and-r at Martha’s Vineyard, there are apparently some predictable gripes on the right about his time off. The AP provides some context: "Obama has taken far less time away from the White House than his predecessor, George W. Bush, who spent weeks at a time at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. Obama has taken 87 days off, compared with 399 days for Bush at a similar period in his presidency, according to CBS News’s Mark Knoller, who keeps detailed records of presidential travel."
RealClearPolitics: Obama, Clinton Meet for Lunch, Sparking 2016 Buzz
A summertime meal shared by Obama and his rival-turned-ally threw the political speculation machine into overdrive Monday, highlighting how closely both are being watched for signs of their intentions in the next presidential race. "The purpose of the lunch was chiefly social," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest, calling it a "chance to catch up" and adding that Obama had initiated the invitation. "Secretary Clinton and the president have developed not just a strong working relationship, but also a genuine friendship."
Politico: Senate confirms James Comey for FBI
The Senate confirmed James Comey to head up the FBI with an 93-1 vote Monday. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) – the only senator who voted nay – lifted his hold on the nominee to succeed FBI Director Robert Mueller late Monday afternoon, minutes before the vote, after receiving more information from the agency on the domestic drone program. Paul had maintained that he would delay the nomination until his questions were answered.
Politico: Harry Reid: Ask Newt Gingrich about government shutdown
In his remarks opening the Senate for the last week of congressional action before the August recess, Reid warned against Republican efforts to oppose spending bills that contain funding for Obamacare. He said for evidence of the consequences of such brinksmanship, they should dial up Gingrich, who served as House speaker during a government shutdown in 1995. “If Republicans force us to the brink of another government shutdown for ideological reasons, the economy will suffer. I would suggest to any of my Republican colleagues that has this idea: Give a call to Newt Gingrich,” Reid said. “He’ll return your phone calls. Ask him how it worked. It was disastrous for Newt Gingrich, the Republicans and the country.”
National Journal: Midterm Elections Could Be a Wave, But Who’s Going to Drown?
Although it is far too soon to make any conclusions about what kind of election we will see in 2014, with just over 15 months to go before the midterm balloting, today’s environment seems to suggest that both of the overarching dynamics described before could take place. Republicans have made no progress in improving their party’s standing with the electorate overall, or for that matter with minorities, women, young voters, and those self-described moderates. On the other hand, voters increasingly seem to have hit the mute button on President Obama. Mush all these factors together, and there is a chance they just might cancel each other out.
DOME: Morning Memo: Tillis headed to D.C. fundraisers
Reid Wilson, editor of the National Journal Hotline, a campaign tipsheet, writes about "The Trouble with Tillis" and points out that he may not be the candidate the Republicans need to beat Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan. Tillis’ trouble? The super PAC funded by donors he nominated — and persuaded House members — to elect to the UNC board. Wilson also says the abortion and voting bills lawmakers passed this year will give Hagan valuable opportunities.
Huffington Post: Sarah Palin Poll Finds Her The Top Choice Of Alaska GOP, But Badly Trailing Mark Begich
Palin was the choice of 36 percent of the Republican primary voters surveyed, but Begich would beat her in a hypothetical match-up, 52-40 percent. While Palin is well-liked among the GOP base, she is unpopular with voters overall, with 58 percent viewing her unfavorably and 39 percent viewing her favorably. Only 47 percent of voters still consider her to be an Alaskan, while 46 percent do not.
BBC News: Pope Francis: Who am I to judge gay people?
His remarks on gay people are being seen as much less judgemental than his predecessor’s position on the issue. Pope Benedict XVI signed a document in 2005 that said men with deep-rooted homosexual tendencies should not be priests. But Pope Francis said gay clergymen should be forgiven and their sins forgotten. "The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this very well," Pope Francis said in a wide-ranging 80-minute long interview with Vatican journalists. "It says they should not be marginalised because of this but that they must be integrated into society."
NYT: North Carolina First in Voter Suppression
Freed of federal election supervision by the Supreme Court, the North Carolina legislature passed a bill that combines every idea for suppressing voter turnout that Republicans have advanced in other states. Rick Hasen, an election-law expert at the University of California, Irvine, called it “the most sweeping anti-voter law in at least decades.”
Charlotte Observer: Legislature done; let the lawyering begin
At least one group is unhappy to see the 2013 N.C. legislature end. From voting restrictions to abortion restrictions to, perhaps, the heist of Charlotte’s airport, lawmakers have set our state up for some serious time on future court dockets. Call it the Lawyers Full Employment Act of 2013. But it could cost North Carolina in ways more significant than attorneys’ fees.
Education Week: The Most Backward Legislature in America
I realize many of you in states like Texas, Indiana, Wisconsin, Florida, and Tennessee could tell similar stories, but the North Carolina General Assembly, with its GOP super-majority and leaderless Governor, who is also a member of the Republican Party, have managed to destroy the reputation of a state. Once known for having the most innovative and progressive public school system in America, North Carolina is now a trajectory of backwardness. However, thankfully, NC still has a majority of progressive and pro-public school people who have learned a great lesson about studying candidates’ positions on issues and voting in every election. The majority of concerned and compassionate Tar Heels will prevail. It will just take time, mobilization, and voting.
Sun Times: North Carolina’s Tea Party nightmares
Upon taking control, the Republicans began systematically dismantling the social infrastructure of the state. They slashed taxes on the top 5 percent and raised them on the bottom 95 percent. They eliminated the earned-income tax credit for 900,000 low-wage workers. They cut Medicaid coverage for 500,000. They ended unemployment benefits for 170,000. They threw about 30,000 kids out of pre-K, while transferring $90 million from public schools to vouchers. They voted to allow guns purchased without a background check to be carried in parks, restaurant and bars. As the Rev. William Barber II, president of the North Carolina NAACP, put it: “They’ve drank all the Tea Party they could drink and sniffed all the Koch that they could sniff.”
News & Observer: Ann Goodnight: Massive mistake
We are knowingly under-investing in our pre-K-12, community college and university students; in our teachers; and in innovative new approaches to learning. This budget is an embarrassment in its lack of investment in the skills and competitiveness of its people. This is a grievous mistake. Let the economists debate whether lowering tax rates will attract business. What I do know is that the state’s poor education funding will deter knowledge-based companies from choosing North Carolina. We need aggressive action to improve education across our state. What we have is worse than inaction: It is harmful action.
Rocky Mount Telegram: Bipartisan student loan bill a positive step
The bill would lower interest rates for all borrowers who have taken out or will take out a new federal student loan after July 1. It also would help to ensure the interest rates on student loans stay low in the coming years by capping the interest rate at 8.25 percent for undergraduate students. We’re glad lawmakers recognized the need for this bill and put aside.
Micah Beasley, Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party