NCDP Clips 10/10

General Assembly News

North Carolina GOP moves forward with attempt to take control of state court 
Huffington Post // Sam Levine // October 9, 2017

Summary: “North Carolina Republicans, who have been reprimanded by federal courts for targeting minorities with voter ID restrictions and gerrymandering, passed legislation last week to eliminate primary elections for state judges next year in what critics say is a blatant and brazen attempt to take control of the state’s courts.Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the bill on Monday, but Republicans have a supermajority in the state legislature and can override the governor’s veto.”

  • “Republicans have pushed a number of measures to increase their influence in the courts while moving to reduce Cooper’s appointment power throughout the state. Critics say this is the latest attempt to entrench Republican power in the state.”

A rich donor’s money backed NC’s charter takeover law, and his school network expands
N&O // Lynn Bonner, Jane Stancill, and David Rancor // October 9, 2017

Summary: “A school network founded by a wealthy Oregon resident is expanding quickly in North Carolina. John Bryan founded the charter network TeamCFA, which has 13 schools in North Carolina – more than in any other state. Arizona has four TeamCFA schools, and Indiana has two. Bryan’s influence extends beyond support for the schools themselves and into education policy. He is a generous contributor to political campaigns and school-choice causes in North Carolina.”

Republicans make another power grab — this time, judicial seats
Star News // Editorial // October 10, 2017

Summary: “North Carolina Republicans gerrymandered their way into a hammer-lock on the state legislature, which they will control indefinitely, barring action from the U.S. Supreme Court.Now, they’re going after the state’s courts. Republicans have already turned judicial races back into partisan contests, and they’re shrinking the size of the Court of Appeals so that Gov. Roy Cooper, a confessed Democrat, can’t appoint any justices to it if a vacancy opened up. Now, in yet another special session, the GOP seems to be mopping up. The state House just passed another major redistricting bill, redrawing the boundaries for the districts that elect local judges and district attorneys. ”

Legislature shakes judicial elections
News & Record // Editorial // October 10, 2017

Summary: “Last week’s brief legislative session delivered one of the strangest election changes yet. Gov. Roy Cooper wisely vetoed the measure Monday.Senate Bill 656, the “Electoral Freedom Act of 2017,” would eliminate primaries in next year’s judicial elections. That’s incredibly odd because the legislature has made all judicial elections partisan.”

  • “Some observers think the real reason for this change is to create additional time for legislative leaders to propose a system for appointing judges rather than electing them. Cooper thinks so.”
  • “Cooper’s veto, however, stalls Republican plans. The veto should stand, because a Supreme Court seat shouldn’t be won with just 23 percent of the vote.”

Elections don’t make for better judges
Asheville Citizen-Times // Editorial // October 10, 2017

Summary: “North Carolina’s system of selecting trial judges needs to be reformed, but not in the way some legislators want. ..Some Republicans in the General Assembly want to change that. A bill in the House would create sub-districts within almost all urban counties. There is one glaring exception, which we’ll discuss later. Why? Proponents talk a lot about fair representation, but that’s a smokescreen. The reason, the only reason, is to elect more Republicans to the bench.”

  • “All of this debate misses the larger question: Why should judges be elected? Most of the arguments involve false analogies with the other two branches of government. Election proponents talk as if they think judges should follow the will of the people.”

Tillis’ ‘transformed’ North Carolina is a rosy fantasy
WRAL // Editorial // October 10, 2017

Summary: “Sen. Thom Tillis so desperately wants to make North Carolina a red state he’s taken to wearing rose-tinted glasses. Tillis, in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, discusses tax cuts he helped ram through the General Assembly while he served as House speaker…The Tillis “analysis” was big on sweeping declarations and short on specifics. Who can blame him for looking to paint over the details of reality with the broad brush of generalizations? Let’s add a few facts to the senator’s grandiose conclusions and provide the kind of reality check that middle class North Carolinians know all too well.”

Woodhouse replaced as Wake elections chair to comply with new GOP-passed law
N&O // Paul Specht // October 9, 2017

Summary: “To comply with a new elections law passed by the Republican-led General Assembly, the Wake County board of elections on Monday removed the chairman it had elected two weeks ago – the cousin of the state Republican Party’s executive director. The Wake County Board of Elections on Monday appointed Democrat Mark Ezzell as the new board chairman…Ezzell said the board changed course to comply with a new state law that requires the chairperson of county elections boards to rotate between Republicans and Democrats each year ”

Legislators get change to question health officials on Cardinal finances
Winston-Salem Journal // Richard Craver // October 10, 2017
Summary: “State legislators will have the opportunity today to ask the state health secretary and regulators how they plan to manage the financial issues noted in two high-profile audits of Cardinal Innovations Healthcare Solutions.”

  • “A joint legislative oversight committee will meet at 9 a.m. with Rep. Donny Lambeth, R-Forsyth, serving as chair for the meeting.”

Gov. Cooper News

NC officials reject environmental plan for Atlantic Coast Pipeline
N&O // John Murawski // October 9, 2017

Summary: “Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration has rejected environmental plans by Duke Energy and three other energy companies to build an interstate pipeline to carry natural gas from West Virginia into North Carolina.”

State officials deliver school supplies
Rocky Mount Telegram // Corey Davis // October 10, 2017

Summary: “School supplies sent from the governor’s office will help four local Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools.As part of Gov. Roy Cooper’s School Supply Drive, D.S. Johnson Elementary School, Fairview Elementary School, Baskerville Elementary School and J.W. Parker Middle School will have much needed supplies given to their respective school.The supplies were delivered Monday by Erik Hooks, secretary of the N.C. Department of Public Safety, and Eric Boyette, secretary of the N.C. Department of Information Technology and state chief information officer, to students at D.S. Johnson Elementary School.”

Gov. Cooper vetoes bill to eliminate 2018 judicial primaries 
N&O // AP // October 9, 2017

Summary: “North Carolina’s governor vetoed Republican-backed legislation that would have eliminated 2018 judicial primaries among other electoral changes. Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, said Monday the legislation would erode voters’ ability to choose judges. The bill would eliminate primaries for 2018 judicial races ranging from the state Supreme Court to district courts. It left November general elections in place, but delayed the candidate filing period.”

Cooper vetoes judicial bill, signs budget corrections bill
WRAL // Travis Fain // October 9, 2017

Summary: “Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed legislation Monday that would have canceled next year’s judicial primary elections, saying he saw it as a precursor to a Republican push to appoint judges instead of having the public elect them. Cooper signed a separate bill, Senate Bill 582, making a number of changes to the state budget. Among other things, the bill does away with what would have been a 2020 sunset for the state’s film industry grants program.”

Cooper vetoes bill that would have eliminated 2018 judicial primaries 
Winston Salem-Journal // Richard Craver // October 10, 2017

Summary: “Gov. Roy Cooper on Monday issued the 13th veto of his term, targeting a revamped elections bill that cancelled the 2018 judicial primaries. ”

Film grant program sunset date eliminated 
Star News // Hunter Ingram // October 9, 2017

Summary: “The state film industry has logged another legislative win that signals its grant program is here to stay. On Monday, Gov. Roy Cooper signed S.B. 582 which, among other actions, included a provision that eliminates the film grant program’s sunset date of Jan. 1, 2020. The sunset date would have marked the end of the grant program, which was established in 2015 after the much more lucrative incentive sunset.”

Key Targets News – House

Donny Lambeth

Legislators get change to question health officials on Cardinal finances
Winston-Salem Journal // Richard Craver // October 10, 2017
Summary: “State legislators will have the opportunity today to ask the state health secretary and regulators how they plan to manage the financial issues noted in two high-profile audits of Cardinal Innovations Healthcare Solutions.”

  • “A joint legislative oversight committee will meet at 9 a.m. with Rep. Donny Lambeth, R-Forsyth, serving as chair for the meeting.”

Key Target News – Senate

Trudy Wade

An assault on newspapers, transparency
Daily Reflector // Colin Campbell // October 10, 2017

Summary: “The bill targeted only Guilford County in order to circumvent Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of similar legislation — governors can’t veto bills that only affect a few counties. But some lawmakers want to make the change statewide: Allowing local governments to put important notices on their own websites instead of newspapers. It’s billed as a way to cut costs on newspaper advertising, and supporters argue that printed classified ads are obsolete because the internet exists.”

  • “The proposal’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Trudy Wade of Guilford County, insists it’s not personal. But she’s been a frequent critic of the Greensboro News & Record, where editorials often criticize her. As a vote on the notices bill loomed, the paper’s opinion page ran a headline calling it a personal “vendetta” by Wade. The senator, in turn, was spotted proudly showing off the headline on the Senate floor to colleagues, as if it were a sort of trophy.”

 

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