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Tuesday news: Be sure you vote today

Back to gerrymandering. Lawmakers back to begin new Congress map (AP reports) -- Legislators are already starting the process of redrawing the state's current congressional map after state judges last week blocked its use because they said there was evidence of likely excessive partisan bias in those districts. The following are members of the committee: Sen. Ralph Hise (co-chair), Sen. Warren Daniel, Sen. Chuck Edwards, Sen. Paul Newton, Sen. Jim Perry, Sen. Dan Blue, Sen. Ben Clark, Sen. Toby Fitch; Rep. David Lewis (co-chair), Rep. Destin Hall (co-chair), Rep. Elmer Floyd, Rep. Ed Goodwin, Rep. Pricey Harrison, Rep. Kelly Hastings, Rep. Robert Reives, Rep. John Torbett, Rep. Harry Warren, and Rep. Shelly Willingham.

Monday News: Unexcused absence

TILLIS IS A NO-SHOW AT KAY HAGAN'S MEMORIAL SERVICE: Former U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan was remembered Sunday as a woman who brought tireless energy and passion to her job, her family and her faith. More than a thousand people filled Greensboro’s First Presbyterian Church to honor Hagan, who died last week at 66 after a three-year battle with encephalitis, caused by Powassan virus. The crowd included five of Hagan’s Senate colleagues: Sen. Richard Burr, an N.C. Republican, Democratic Sen. and presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and three former Democratic senators, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana. The service came almost 11 years to the day that Hagan defeated Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole to win election to the Senate and five years after she lost the seat to Republican Thom Tillis in what was then the nation’s most expensive Senate race.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article236823213.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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UNC BOARD'S FOCUS SHOULD BE EDUCATIONAL EXCELLENCE, NOT LEGISLATIVE FEALTY: A dozen members of the UNC board – fully half of its members – carry the very real potential to be compromised and become puppets of the legislative leadership. Years ago there were various criteria and categories legislators were required to follow in their election of UNC board members. There were even candidate nominations and fierce campaigns within the General Assembly to win a coveted slot. We are not about to suggest that the old was optimal. But the evolution has NOT been an improvement. To achieve more diversity and less fealty to the legislature, give the governor the authority to appoint a third – eight members -- of the board. Even in circumstances where the governor and legislature’s majority may share political party the clear difference in interests would bring about a broader board.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-unc-board-s-focus-should-be-educational-excellence-not-legislative-fe...

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/

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