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Saturday News: Impasse

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MARATHON SESSION ADJOURNS WITH NO NEW BUDGET: "It’s unfortunate that the General Assembly left town passing a sweeping corporate tax cut while leaving teachers with a pay raise much less than other state employees," Cooper said Friday. During the budget impasse, lawmakers passed a series of so-called "mini-budgets" to get new money to various agencies and programs. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger
said Thursday that the various measures account for 98.5 percent of what was in the vetoed budget. Although Cooper complained about the piecemeal process, he has signed many of the proposals into law. The teacher pay raise bill cleared the legislature Thursday, but Cooper wouldn't say Friday whether he would sign it or veto it to force more negotiations.
https://www.wral.com/long-legislative-session-fails-to-produce-state-budget/18738654/

Friday News: Penny-Pinching Phil

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NC SENATE STRIPS FUNDING FROM HOUSE DISASTER BILL: The nearly $280 million package included $30 million for the N.C. Office of Recovery and Resilience to aid local governments in recovery from the hurricanes, $32 million to enhance laser-made topographical maps of North Carolina and $15 million for Golden L.E.A.F. to provide disaster grants to governments and nonprofits, among others. That bill was not the one voted on in the Senate on Thursday, with the body instead considering and ultimately approving a different Storm Recovery Act of 2019. The Senate effort included $70.8 million to provide matching dollars for Hurricane Florence recovery projects funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s public assistance program, as well as $31.7 million for similar projects that are part of the recovery from Hurricanes Matthew, Michael and Dorian. The House voted 106-0 not to concur with the Senate and appointed a conference committee led by McGrady.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article236869443.html

Thursday News: Divide and conquer

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GOP IS NOW TRYING TO BLATANTLY BRIBE SENATE DEMS TO OVERRIDE: Republicans in the General Assembly are offering Democrats a deal that would mean raises for teachers and some other state employees if the state budget becomes law. North Carolina teachers could get the 3.9% raises over the next two years that are in the state budget, which includes step increases for longevity, or an additional raise that would bring the total raise to 4.4% if Democrats vote with Republicans to override the governor’s veto of the budget, Republican General Assembly leaders announced Wednesday. The bill will be considered by the legislature on Thursday, Oct. 31, the day the Senate previously announced it would adjourn for a few weeks or more.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article236823563.html

Wednesday News: Don't be a dick, Burr

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RICHARD BURR COMES UNDER FIRE FOR WANTING TO TAX ATHLETIC SCHOLARSHIPS: From a Playboy reporter to the publisher of a conservative magazine, Burr drew fierce pushback on Tuesday for a tweet about how the government should treat student-athletes. “If college athletes are going to make money off their likenesses while in school, their scholarships should be treated like income. I’ll be introducing legislation that subjects scholarships given to athletes who choose to ‘cash in’ to income taxes.” Roughly an hour after Burr tweeted, his comment generated 6,000 responses -- most of them negative -- and less than 900 “likes.” The criticism came from the left and the right. “You could sell a t-shirt with your own smiling face on it to your friends and (Burr) would want to tax your scholarship. What a stupid backwards garbage idea,” tweeted Ben Domenech, co-founder of The Federalist, a conservative website.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article236789618.html

Tuesday News: Better start drawing...

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NC'S CONGRESSIONAL MAPS THROWN OUT BY 3-JUDGE PANEL: The legislature must now redraw the state’s 13 U.S. House districts. The judge — two Democrats and one Republican from different parts of North Carolina — wrote that the maps show signs of “extreme partisan gerrymandering” which “is contrary to the fundamental right of North Carolina citizens to have elections conducted freely and honestly to ascertain, fairly and truthfully, the will of the people.” Monday’s ruling, a preliminary injunction, said the state may not hold any elections for Congress using the current maps passed in 2016. Those maps replaced a different set of maps from 2011, also drawn by the Republican-led legislature, which were struck down as unconstitutional racial gerrymandering. The judges ruled that if there aren’t new maps in time for the primary elections on March 3 then they could delay all or some of the primaries until later in 2020.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article236752543.html

Monday News: Uncle Joe comes to town

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BIDEN SPEAKS AT DURHAM HIGH SCHOOL ABOUT BOOSTING HBCUS AND BEATING TRUMP: Hundreds packed the entrance of Hillside High School in Durham on Sunday to hear presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speak. Biden said coming to Durham was important, calling the city a symbol of justice and opportunity. He spent 25 minutes speaking to the crowd and said winning North Carolina is a priority for him. Some goals he touched on include boosting the funding for historically black colleges and universities and closing the poverty and wage gap in America. Biden also discussed the importance of security in the country. He says ISIS remains a threat even though President Donald Trump announced the group's leader was dead after the U.S. raid in Syria.
https://www.wral.com/joe-biden-holds-campaign-rally-in-durham-talks-with-wral-anchor/18726497/

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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WITH THURSDAY'S MEETING, LET GERRYMANDERING REFORM BEGIN: Of the three bills the committee discussed, House Bill 69 -- Nonpartisan Redistricting Commission, offers the best starting point. Maps will be developed with NO legislative involvement: The independent commission would develop the legislative and congressional district maps and submit them to the General Assembly for an up-or-down vote. No substantive amendments would be permitted. If a plan didn’t pass, the commission would be directed to submit a new one. Public input from the outset and throughout the process: No fewer than three public hearings are required before the maps are developed. At least two public hearings are required when the plans are considered by the legislature. Process transparency: All data and methods used to develop any of the plans must be available to the public BEFORE the plans are introduced for consideration by the legislature.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-with-thursday-s-meeting-let-gerrymandering-reform-begin/18717942/

Saturday News: Solidarity

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NC SENATE SCHEDULES VETO OVERRIDE VOTE FOR MONDAY: On Friday, the General Assembly announced that “pursuant to Senate rule 59.2(b), notice has been given by the Chair of the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate to the Senate Minority Leader that HB 966, 2019 Appropriations Act, may be considered by the Senate on Monday, October 28, 2019.” The Senate convenes at 4 p.m. Monday, but the voting session will not be held until 7 p.m., according to a news release from the office of Senate leader Phil Berger. Both chambers are majority Republican, but a supermajority is needed to override the governor’s veto. Unlike the seven Democratic votes that would have been needed to override a veto in the House if everyone was present, only one Democrat is needed to vote with all the Senate Republicans for the needed three-fifths supermajority. Four Democrats voted for the budget — Sens. Floyd McKissick Jr., Don Davis, Ben Clark and Toby Fitch. Earlier this week McKissick told The News & Observer that he would vote to sustain the governor’s veto of the budget.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article236649673.html

Friday News: Choose wisely...

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ONE OF THESE THREE REDISTRICTING BILLS IS A DOG: HB 140 would require a constitutional amendment that would be on the 2020 primary ballot for voters. North Carolina’s primary is March 3. However, HB 69 and HB 648 would be a statute, which means a future General Assembly could change it. If it’s in the state constitution, only the voters can change it. HB 69 would have an 11-person nonpartisan redistricting commission; HB 140 would have a five-person temporary redistricting advisory commission; and HB 648 would have a 16-person independent redistricting commission of 11 voting members and five alternates who do not vote. For drawing the redistricting plans, HB 69 calls for the commission to draw them, while HB 140 would have the legislative service office draw them and HB 648 would be drawn by a special group selected by its commission. Plans would have to be approved by the commissions created under HB 69 and HB 648, but not HB 140, since that one is a constitutional amendment.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article236598383.html

Thursday News: Here we go again...

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REPUBLICANS PASS BILL TO CUT CORPORATE FRANCHISE TAX: The North Carolina Senate voted Wednesday to reduce the franchise tax, a step toward eliminating it entirely. The franchise tax is levied on corporations that do business in North Carolina. Republicans in the General Assembly want to eliminate the franchise tax, which they describe as a double property tax on businesses in North Carolina. While Republicans touted their latest tax cut as being good for business and jobs, Democrats worried about the loss of tax revenue, which would be about $1 billion over five years. The Republican-written state budget that was vetoed by the governor included reducing the franchise tax, but progress on the budget is stalled four months into the new fiscal year. However, some of the tax cuts in the vetoed spending plan are moving through the legislature as “mini budgets,” including the franchise tax reduction.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article236540213.html

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