BlueNC's blog

Saturday News: Slim pickings


GOP SENATE HOPEFULS QUESTIONED ABOUT THE BIG LIE: Of the three leading Republican candidates in North Carolina’s U.S. Senate primary, just one confirmed he would have voted to certify the election of President Joe Biden. Pat McCrory, a former governor and Charlotte mayor, confirmed through an advisor this week that he would have voted to uphold the election results. U.S. Rep. Ted Budd, who received former President Donald Trump’s endorsement in early June, was in Congress on Jan. 6 and Budd voted against certification. In a statement, an advisor to Budd’s campaign said the lawmakers were “exercising their Constitutional authority to seek a review of the integrity of the 2020 elections process.” Former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker, who left office on Jan. 3, said through an advisor this week that he would have voted for “election integrity,” but declined to answer the question directly.

Friday news: Some cheese with that whine?


NCGA REPUBLICANS SEND NASTY LETTER TO NCAA OVER BASEBALL DECISION: "The decision to disqualify the NC State baseball team came at the recommendation of the Championship Medical Team and the Douglas County Health Department. Their recommendation was not a requirement," the letter reads "The NCAA, in turn, treated this recommendation as a directive and eliminated the NC State baseball team from further participation." The 65 House and Senate signatories, mostly but not all Republicans, also complain that the NCAA had announced that it would test only unvaccinated players. "[T]he infected members with COVID-19 were in contact with Vanderbilt’s team. Yet, they were allowed to continue forward in the series. If the NCAA’s goal is to follow the science behind the COVID-19 virus, Vanderbilt’s baseball team should have also been eliminated," the letter reads. That makes no sense whatsoever.

Thursday News: Green (big) deal


MEDICAL MARIJUANA BILL GETS THUMB'S UP FROM NC SENATE COMMITTEE: A key Senate committee gave overwhelming approval Wednesday to a proposal to allow marijuana use in North Carolina for certain medical conditions and to set up a state network for supply and distribution of the drug. The vote was historic. No North Carolina Senate committee has ever taken a vote on medical marijuana. One House committee voted down a proposal back in 2015, and no bill has been heard in committee in either chamber since then before Wednesday's Senate Judiciary committee vote. Senate Bill 711 was amended to reduce the number of distribution centers from a maximum of 80 statewide to 40 and to lower the fine for an infraction to $100. Trafficking in medical marijuana would receive a slightly harsher penalty than trafficking non-medical marijuana.

Wednesday News: Power to punish


REPUBLICAN MAJORITY COUNCIL OF STATE REFUSES TO EXTEND EVICTION MORATORIUM: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently extended a national moratorium on evictions through the end of July, keeping many protections for tenants in North Carolina in place for another month. The Republican majority on the Council of State, a 10-member board made up of statewide elected officials, rejected a similar extension in North Carolina. The council split along party lines, six Republican against and four Democrats for, on the question of extending the state moratorium. “It’s disappointing to see Council of State members revoke eviction protections for people still struggling to stay in their homes,” Gov. Roy Cooper said in a statement. “Many North Carolinians still need help, and we will work to make sure landlords abide by the CDC evictions moratorium and that tenants can access rent and utility assistance from counties and the state HOPE program."

Tuesday News: Oh, the hypocrisy


NC REPUBLICANS GO WHOLE HOG WITH PORK BARREL SPENDING: The Senate budget includes at least $765 million in earmarks for local projects and nonprofits — almost all of it in counties represented by Republican senators. The earmarks, sometimes known as “pork barrel spending” or even “member money,” are a common practice in the legislature’s budget process. But the amounts sent to GOP districts are high this year, in part because the budget would spend billions of dollars in federal American Rescue Plan Act money. Sen. Brent Jackson, R-Sampson and a top Senate budget writer, argued that the discrepancies between districts is because of “all the needs there are in rural North Carolina,” such as water and sewer infrastructure projects. The budget funds at least $66.6 million worth of projects in Jackson’s three-county district. Projects in Hise’s six-county district in the mountains received at least $73 million.

Monday News: Blame Trump


BILL DELAYING SOME MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS UNTIL 2022 BECOMES LAW: A state bill pushing back some municipal elections, including Raleigh’s, will become law without the governor’s signature. The election delay is caused by delays in getting U.S. Census Bureau data. Now some local elections will occur at the same time as the March 2022 primary instead of this fall. The deadline for N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper to take action on SB 722 was Saturday. An amendment added to the bill, at the request of the Raleigh City Council, pushes back Raleigh’s municipal election even further, to fall 2022, That permanently moves the election to even years and changes the election from a run-off method to a plurality method.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


CURRENT UNC TRUSTEES MUST ACT ON HANNAH-JONES TENURE: The current trustees should act on Hannah-Jones’ tenure before the end of June. This board should not avoid its responsibility. Hannah-Jones deserves a vote, up or down, on the tenure request. North Carolinians and those committed to academic freedom should demand it. Failure to act on, much less grant, the request for tenure has sparked a controversy that has become both the preeminent debate in the nation over academic and intellectual freedom as well as more fodder for the mis-informed partisan outrage over critical race theory. Current trustees chair Richard Stevens, whose appointment expires June 30, has a demonstrable life-long commitment to the university. There’s hardly a top UNC campus committee on which he hasn’t played a key role. He should not leave this important task unresolved.

Saturday News: No justice, no peace


HUNDREDS GATHER TO PROTEST UNC'S LACK OF RACIAL EQUITY: Saying “this fight is not new,” more than 200 UNC-Chapel Hill students, faculty, alumni and others gathered Friday to protest the university’s failure to grant tenure to journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, as well as what they say is a larger lack of support for Black faculty and students. Taliajah Vann, president of the campus Black Student Movement, said racial issues on campus are bigger than the tenure of Hannah-Jones. Vann cited too few Black faculty and a lack of support for Black students on campus. The BSM, which organized Friday’s “solidarity demonstration,” outlined a list of 13 demands for UNC-CH Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz, including the removal of police from the residence hall move-in process and increased funding for student mental healthcare.

Friday News: Supporting mediocrity


A HANDFUL OF DEM SENATORS VOTE FOR BERGER'S BLAND BUDGET: The budget, Senate Bill 105, would give an average of 3% raises to teachers and most other state employees over the next two years. It also doles out $5.4 billion in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds for coronavirus relief. The budget’s tax cuts include cutting the personal income tax rate to 3.99% by 2026, down from 5.25%, and phasing out the corporate income tax rate to zero. Also, the tax bracket for paying zero taxes, called the standard deduction, would be raised to $25,500. The child tax deduction would increase to $500. It was the first of two votes required to move the bill to the House. The other will be held Friday morning. The four Democrats who voted for the budget are Sen. Paul Lowe, Sen. Kirk deViere, Sen. Don Davis and Sen. Ben Clark.


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