While #NCGA makes its mark, McCrory left in dust, Thom Tillis’ fundraising loophole raise concerns, N.C. House committee to take up controversial anti-choice legislation Tuesday, Hagan slams H.B. 695, Rachel Maddow on N.C. Republicans ‘gone wild,’ why gay marriage is winning
News & Observer: Christensen: McCrory wanted to rebrand NC; the legislature is doing it for him
But since he took office in January, the state has been undergoing a brand change of a very different kind. The sharp rightward turn of the legislature and the Moral Monday protests have turned North Carolina into one of the nation’s top political spectacles. CBS News, Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, MSNBC and The New York Times have all beaten a path to Raleigh to gawk.
WRAL: McCrory will not talk about abortion bill
The North Carolina Senate approved the restrictions Wednesday. The House Health Committee plans to take up the bill next Tuesday, meaning it could go before the full House later next week. The bill would require abortion clinics to meet tougher standards similar to those for outpatient surgery clinics. Opponents say that would effectively close most of the state’s 16 abortion clinics.
Fayetteville Observer: Civitas poll: Pat McCrory’s favorability rating slips
Republican Gov. Pat McCrory’s favorability rating in North Carolina is dropping, according to a survey released Monday by the Civitas Institute.
Fayetteville Observer: Editorial: Big Bucks – N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis fundraising flows through a legal loophole
What House Speaker Thom Tillis is doing is completely legal. But it shouldn’t be. It’s one more example of loopholes in campaign-finance law that need closing. Tillis wants to take Kay Hagan’s seat in the U.S. Senate. He’ll need to raise millions of dollars to pull it off – at least $12 million. So his campaign is mounting a furious fundraising effort.
News & Observer: Speaker Tillis raises doubts as he raises money
But it’s all the worse when a candidate such as House Speaker Thom Tillis, who has life and death power over each and every piece of proposed legislation that comes through his chamber, is raising millions of dollars for his U.S. Senate campaign while the legislature is in session and while special interest groups from the financial industry for one example, are pushing legislation to help themselves. Tillis is prohibited by state law from raising campaign money from lobbyists or from concerns with lobbyists while the legislature’s in session. But there is no such ban on candidates for federal office, which with his campaign against incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, Tillis is.
Dome: Anti-abortion bill to be taken up by House committee Tuesday
The sweeping new abortion restrictions will be considered Tuesday by a House committee. The measure would require abortion clinics to meet standards similar to those for outpatient surgery clinics. It also requires doctors to be present when women take pills that induce abortions. Opponents said only one abortion clinic in the state could meet the new standards.
News & Observer: NC leadership split reflected in abortion bill
The Republican leadership that controls North Carolina’s state government came in promising change. They’ve delivered. Longtime observers of state government who’ve watched the muddled, comical and sometimes mean-spirited goings-on in the General Assembly say this session is different than any they’ve seen. It’s not a comment they make with admiration, though there is an element of awe over the sheer scope of the recklessness and political tone-deafness demonstrated this session.
Dome: Drug testing unemployment applicants could be next
Unemployed workers who want state benefits must verify each week that they have searched for a job. Now some state lawmakers want to add a new requirement: pass a drug test.Such a bill has yet to be introduced but Sen. Jim Davis, a Republican from Franklin, said that everyone he’s talked to about the idea has responded positively. Rep. Sarah Stevens, a Mount Airy Republican, emphasized that the bill isn’t finalized but said she is working on it with several other attorneys.“(Davis) talked about (drug testing for) unemployment benefits, for, one, those people who lost their job as a result of being drug tested, or, two, asking them to be drug tested under whatever circumstances would be constitutional,” Stevens said.
VIDEO: WRAL: On the Record: Abortion bill generates impassioned response
House Speaker Pro Tem Paul Stam, R-Wake and Melissa Reed, from Planned Parenthood, go "On the Record" about possible changes to abortion legislation in North Carolina.
The Hill: Hagan slams ‘sneak attack’ abortion bill
Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) denounced what she said was a “sneak attack” proposal advancing through the state legislature that would sharply restrict abortions in her home state. “If this is a healthcare bill about women, I am glad any state legislator in Raleigh is not my doctor,” Hagan, who is up for re-election in 2014, said Wednesday on MSNBC. “When I look at what the leadership and the General Assembly is doing, under a sneak attack they put forward — they forced a sweeping anti-women’s healthcare bill that — with no public notice, no transparency, and that doesn’t pass a public scrutiny test in North Carolina. Those are not the values that we hold.”
Dome: State Democratic Party urges Democrats to descend on legislature on Monday in abortion protest
The state Democratic Party is putting out the word that it wants a big crowd at the Moral Monday protest on Monday to show opposition to the anti-abortion bill making its way through the legislature."As I’m sure you know, Republican extremists in the State Senate pushed through anti-choice legislation that, if enacted into law, would put North Carolina on the path toward Texas-styled conservatism,” writes Robert Dempsey, the Democrat’s executive director. "Our rights are under attack at every level in a move that unparalleled in our state government.
Politico: Wisconsin governor Scott Walker signs abortion bill requiring ultrasound
Gov. Scott Walker quietly signed a contentious Republican bill Friday that would require women seeking abortions to undergo an ultrasound and ban doctors who lack admitting privileges at nearby hospitals from performing the procedures. Opponents contend legislators shouldn’t force women to undergo any medical procedure and the bill will force two abortion clinics where providers lack admitting privileges to shut their doors. The law takes effect Monday. Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit within hours of the signing alleging the bill is unconstitutional and asking for a temporary restraining order blocking the measure.
Huffington Post: Rachel Maddow: North Carolina Is Like ‘Conservatives Gone Wild’ Right Now
Rachel Maddow took North Carolina Republicans to task Wednesday for their attempts to push changes to election law that could discourage voters — a situation she described as "conservatives gone wild." "The Voting Rights Act had stopped Republicans from going ahead with voter I.D. before," she said. "Now they’re going ahead with that," Maddow continued, "but even beyond voter I.D., which they say they want to prevent voter fraud, they say they’re planning to end same-day voter registration in North Carolina and they’re planning to end early voting in the state of North Carolina and they’re planning to end Sunday voting in North Carolina. What does voting on Sunday have to do with voter fraud? Exactly nothing."
The Nation: Why Gay Marriage Is Winning
Dressed in an immaculate white shirt and white pants, a straw hat with a hot pink band and the customary rainbow sash, 84-year-old Edie Windsor looked like she was having the time of her life as a grand marshal of this year’s New York City Pride parade. As well she should. Four days earlier, the Supreme Court had issued a 5-4 ruling in the case that bears her name, United States v. Windsor, to which she was an unusually active plaintiff. The decision strikes down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibited the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.
The New York Times: Shifting Stance to Back Immigration Overhaul, Reid Reaps Benefits
Senator Harry Reid was as outspoken on the need for new immigration laws 20 years ago as he is today. But his viewpoint was markedly different. Now Mr. Reid, the Nevada Democrat and majority leader, is a chief advocate of creating a path to citizenship for millions of unauthorized immigrants. Not only did he embrace the cause of Hispanics to help him win a difficult re-election race in 2010, he has shown national party leaders the advantages of a strong pro-immigration stance.
Huffington Post: Costco’s Profit Soars To $459 Million As Low-Wage Competitors Struggle
At a time when other retailers are struggling to get people into stores, Costco is enjoying a moment in the sun. The big box giant’s profit jumped 19 percent to $459 million last quarter, thanks in part to the company’s efforts to offer discounts to lure more members, according to Bloomberg. The company was able to offer those discounts and boost its profits while paying its workers a decent wage, a claim many of Costco’s competitors can’t make.
Charlotte Observer: 1 million North Carolinians will move to subsidized health insurance
A massive population shift to subsidized insurance coverage – likely to exceed 1 million people in North Carolina – is underway as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The transformation is expected to be the biggest shake-up in the nation’s medical landscape since Medicare was introduced in 1965.
The Daily Beast: Too Soon! Republican Presidential Hopefuls Already Swarming Iowa
Although the 2016 Iowa caucuses are at least two-and-a-half years away, presidential hopefuls are already descending upon the Hawkeye State with a sense of urgency that even the most rabid political junkie might find a touch unseemly.
Politico: Perry says 2016 an ‘option’
Texas Gov. Rick Perry isn’t ruling out another Republican presidential run in 2016. But he didn’t announce on Sunday whether he’ll seek a fourth term as governor. Asked about 2016 on "Fox News Sunday," Perry said: "Well, certainly, that’s an option out there, but again, we got a lot of work to do in this building right behind me [the Texas capitol] over the course of the next couple of weeks that have my focus substantially more than even 2014 or 2016."
Politico: Hillary Clinton’s answer to the has-been charge
Republicans in search of an attack line against Hillary Clinton have begun to cast her as a tired relic of the past — an implicit contrast to their own bench of up-and-comers like hip hop-listening Marco Rubio and libertarian-leaning Rand Paul. But Democrats are confident that giving voters the chance to make history by electing the first female president — by definition a forward-looking act — would trump any argument that Clinton is too 20th century and give her a “change” mantra of her own.
Politico: Joe Biden backers urge him to rev up fundraising
If Vice President Joe Biden is serious about making a run for the presidency in 2016, he’s got to show he can do more than just fire up supporters at rallies. He needs to get them to open their wallets. A number of Biden’s close allies are encouraging the former senator to prove he can overcome one of his biggest hurdles – fundraising – by launching a leadership PAC for the 2014 cycle.
The New York Times: A New Anti-American Axis?
The flight of the leaker Edward J. Snowden from Hong Kong to Moscow last month would not have been possible without the cooperation of Russia and China. The two countries’ behavior in the Snowden affair demonstrates their growing assertiveness and their willingness to take action at America’s expense. Beyond their protection of Mr. Snowden, Chinese-Russian policies toward Syria have paralyzed the United Nations Security Council for two years, preventing joint international action.
The New York Times: Can Egypt Pull Together?
Anyone who has followed Middle East politics knows that this is a region where extremists tend to go all the way and moderates tend to just go away. But every once in a while — the 1993 Oslo peace negotiations, the 2006 Anbar uprising by Iraqi Sunnis against Al Qaeda, the 2005 Cedar Revolution in Lebanon against Syria and Hezbollah — the moderates actually rise up and take a stand. And when they do, America needs to be there to support them. It is the only hope for moving this region — so poisoned by sectarianism and weighed down by a past that always wants to bury the future — onto a more positive path.
The New York Times: E Pluribus Unum
It’s that time of year — the long weekend when we gather with friends and family to celebrate hot dogs, potato salad and, yes, the founding of our nation. And it’s also a time for some of us to wax a bit philosophical, to wonder what, exactly, we’re celebrating. Is America in 2013, in any meaningful sense, the same country that declared independence in 1776?
Micah Beasley, Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party