Major #NCGA bills stuck in limbo, McCrory spends weekend with special interest donors, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest has ‘principal’ problem, countdown to immigration vote in the U.S. Senate, Democratic prospects in the deep south, Nelson Mandela in critical condition, outlook for Republicans in 2016 looks hazy
WRAL: Big bills on hold: Where are they now
The budget and tax reform bills aren’t the only high-profile bills still in limbo as the 2013 legislative session draws to a close. House Speaker Thom Tillis said Thursday he expects the session to adjourn by July 4. If that’s the case, lawmakers will have just a week and a half to resolve the fate of some high-profile bills.
Dome: In budget negotiation, 24 is a crowd
House Speaker Thom Tillis appointed 23 legislators, or nearly one-third of Republican House members, to the conference committee that will sign off on the budget compromise with the Senate. Rep. Nelson Dollar of Cary is leading the House conference committee. The House and Senate each passed $20.6 billion budgets, but negotiators must work out numerous policy differences.
Charlotte Observer: Two-in-one bills ahead for vehicle registration, property tax
Beginning in July, North Carolina drivers will start seeing combined bills for their vehicle’s property taxes and registration renewals, which have previously been dealt with separately. The change may be a source of confusion for taxpayers – property taxes have gone to the county and registration fees to the state. But the combined collection is designed to streamline the payment process and yield increased revenue for the counties. In Wake County, for example, property-tax revenue on vehicles could increase by more than $3 million annually.
Charlotte Observer: Nonprofit linked to McCrory to host retreat for big donors
A private nonprofit formed to promote Gov. Pat McCrory’s agenda is hosting a $5,000-per-person retreat that features exclusive policy briefings with the governor just as the legislative session enters a crucial phase. Two tickets to the dinner with the governors cost $1,000. Two passes to the entire retreat cost $10,000. The invitation sent to potential donors comes just as dozens of bills arrive on McCrory’s desk and Republican leaders work behind the scenes to finalize a $20 billion state budget and a $1 billion tax overhaul measure. The retreat will take place the same week that lawmakers hope to reach deals on a number of key legislative priorities ahead of an impending adjournment.
WRAL: NC ranks 35th in US in overall child well-being
An annual report finds North Carolina isn’t seeing a big improvement on the overall well-being of its children compared to other states. he group says families could slip further because Republican legislators and GOP Gov. Pat McCrory cut unemployment benefits and set the state’s earned income tax credit to expire next year.
News & Observer: First wave of Moral Monday protesters due in court today
The first wave of protesters arrested during the Moral Monday demonstrations at the General Assembly are scheduled to appear in Wake County court Monday morning. Demonstrators have said they were exercising their First Amendment rights, voicing their dissatisfaction with the agenda of the Republican-led General Assembly. When the founding fathers drafted the U.S. Constitution, they enshrined the right to peaceably assemble and petition the government.
U.S. SUPREME COURT
NBC: Supreme Court sends affirmative action case back to lower court
The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that affirmative action can be used in college admissions only in very narrow circumstances. By a 7-1 vote, with one justice recusing herself, the court sent a case about the University of Texas’ admissions policy back to a federal appeals court for review — the Supreme Court’s equivalent of a grade of Incomplete. A Supreme Court ruling in 2003 allowed public universities to consider race to get a critical mass of minority students, but Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who wrote that opinion, has since retired, and today’s court is more conservative.
News & Record: Wait. What? LG Forest on immigration bill
"The Lieutenant Governor stands by his letter to the editor and his opposition to giving drivers’ permits to illegal aliens. He came to his decision to oppose it after reading the bill in its entirety and meeting with the bill’s primary sponsor for a briefing to share his concerns." So here we go. You can find the letter on the LG’s website. As of Sunday morning, it still misspells "principle" in the first sentence.
Politico: Graham: We’re close to 70 votes on immigration reform
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a chief Republican proponent of immigration reform, says he’s confident the Gang of Eight bill can net the 70 votes he’s been shooting for. The Senate could pass a reform package by the end of the week, but the bill could face a tall hurdle in the Republican-controlled House.
Huffington Post: Obama on Immigration: Time for Excuses ‘Is Over’
Declaring "the time for excuses is over," President Barack Obama is trumpeting the economic benefits of an immigration overhaul, arguing that a bipartisan bill picking up steam in the Senate would put the nation’s loathed deficits and fragile entitlements on better footing.Confidence that the overhaul could pass the Senate by impressive margins is growing, and leaders scheduled a test vote on the bill for Monday, with a final vote expected by the end of next week.
Politico: Countdown to immigration vote
The Senate is rushing to the finish line on the Gang of Eight bill, setting up a key vote Monday that could clear the way to final passage of the immigration overhaul by the end of next week. Negotiators have predicted that as many as 15 Senate Republicans may sign on to the overall bill, but that remains a premature figure. “We’re picking up more supporters each day,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters Friday. “We’re not at 70 yet. But we’re gaining support and this amendment helps a great deal.”
The Washington Post: Three signs of trouble for immigration reform in the House
The Senate’s bipartisan immigration reform effort picked up steam this week following . But over in the House is a different picture. There are some emerging signs of trouble on the other side of the Capitol for comprehensive reform advocates.
The Washington Post: Obama to take sweeping action on climate
President Obama will announce his intention to limit greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants, increase appliance efficiency standards and promote renewable energy development on public lands in a speech Tuesday outlining his plan to use executive powers to address climate change.
The Atlantic: Can Democrats Win Back the Deep South?
It may be less far-fetched than you think, at least according to a new crop of activists who are trying to turn back the Republican tide in America’s reddest region.A Democratic comeback will be a tall order, to say the least, in a region whose political story in recent decades has been a steady march toward the GOP."It’s hard to conceive we could go any farther down," chuckled Don Fowler, the South Carolinian who chaired the Democratic National Committee in the 1990s and is now chairman of South Forward. "But where can you find a place where a new Democratic thrust would be more welcome and could do more good?"
The Boston Globe: Turning the political map into a partisan weapon
Redrawing congressional districts bore fruit for Republicans in other regions of North Carolina, as well as across the rest of the country. It was part of a concerted nationwide strategy engineered by GOP leaders in Washington that has had a profound impact, securing Republican House victories and rolling back Democratic inroads in red states, while increasing polarization and gridlock inside the beltway.
Real Clear Politics: GOP Strategy for 2016 Looks Deeply Unsettled
The Republican Party’s road map for winning presidential elections looks hazier than ever as GOP lawmakers and others reject what many considered obvious lessons from Mitt Romney’s loss last year.Despite Romney’s poor showing among female voters, House Republicans this past week invited renewed Democratic taunts of a "war against women" by passing the most restrictive abortion measure in years. Despite corporate fears of the economic damage that would result from a default on U.S. obligations, GOP lawmakers are threatening to block an increase in the government’s borrowing limit later this year if President Barack Obama won’t accept spending cuts he staunchly opposes.
Politico: Nelson Mandela in critical condition
Nelson Mandela’s condition in a Pretoria hospital remained critical for a second straight day Monday, said South Africa’s president who described the stricken anti-apartheid hero as being "asleep" when he visited Mandela the previous evening."Madiba is critical in the hospital, and this is the father of democracy. This is the man who fought and sacrificed his life to stay in prison, the longest-serving prisoner in South Africa. He is one of those who has contributed to democracy."
Politico: Gabriel Gomez no Scott Brown redux
If nothing else, the five-month campaign for the Massachusetts Senate seat has clarified this: Republican Gabriel Gomez is no Scott Brown. Memories of Brown’s stunning 2010 victory led to unrealistic expectations that another GOP upset was possible in reliably blue Massachusetts. But Democratic Rep. Ed Markey heads into Tuesday’s special election the overwhelming favorite to succeed John Kerry — and it might not even be close.Not a single poll has shown Gomez ahead since he prevailed in a three-way April primary.
The New York Times: Young and Isolated
Diana had planned to graduate from college, marry, buy a home in the suburbs and have kids, a dog and a cat by the time she was 30. But she had recently dropped out of a nearby private university after two years of study and with nearly $80,000 in student loans. Now she worked at Dunkin’ Donuts. Young working-class men and women like Diana are trying to figure out what it means to be an adult in a world of disappearing jobs, soaring education costs and shrinking social support networks. Today, only 20 percent of men and women between 18 and 29 are married. They live at home longer, spend more years in college, change jobs more frequently and start families later.
The Boston Globe: John Boehner’s legacy rests on immigration
From the moment John Boehner ascended to the House speakership after the 2010 elections, there was broad agreement that his chance to leave a mark on history depended upon securing a “grand bargain” with President Obama and Democrats to cut the deficit and entitlement spending.But Boehner’s legacy no longer rests on securing a grand bargain that simply isn’t going to be struck. The deficit is falling dramatically, Republicans won’t consider additional tax revenue, and Standard and Poor’s just upgraded its outlook on US debt, reducing what little urgency there was to reach a deal.Instead, Boehner’s legacy will hinge on immigration reform. http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2013/06/21/boehner-legacy-rests-immigration-reform/77XnuDtaLjWiFp8WsogfAM/story.html
Micah Beasley, Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party