NCDP Clips 1/2

Today’s daily clips from the NCDP

How far into 2018 before NC knows shape of election districts in gerrymander case?
N&O // Anne Blythe // December 31, 2017
Summary: “As 2017 drew to a close, an often repeated phrase among observers of North Carolina politics was the only thing certain about the 2018 elections was uncertainty. With the filing period for candidates seeking state House and Senate seats set to open in mid-February, the lines for the election districts remain unclear.”

First up NC lawmakers in 2018? Dealing with GenX pollution
N&O // Will Doran // December 29, 2017

Summary: “The more scientists look for GenX and other similar, potentially hazardous chemicals in North Carolina, the more they find. And next spring they could ramp up their efforts. The state’s environmental regulators at the Department of Environmental Quality took several actions in late 2017 against the company that has been accused of being behind much of the water pollution. And as 2018 rolls around, the legislature appears ready to give DEQ more direction on addressing GenX.”

Funding needed to address GenX, lawmaker says
News & Record // AP // January 1, 2018

Summary: “Legislation that would help state agencies deal with a potentially harmful chemical and similar compounds needs funding, a state lawmaker said…The General Assembly’s House Select Committee on River Quality is expected to consider a proposed bill at its meeting Thursday. Rep. Elmer Floyd, a Fayetteville Democrat who serves on the committee, said its members received the proposed legislation on Dec. 22.”

Year-end Wrap: Highs, low of NC politics in 2017
WRAL // December 28, 2017

Summary: “It was a year that saw change at the top of state government, the inside of countless courtrooms and when GenX came to mean something other than people born from the late 1960s to the early 1980s. The bitter partisanship that has marked North Carolina politics in recent years only got more rancorous in 2017, as Democrat Roy Cooper took office as governor after a hard-fought election against Republican incumbent Pat McCrory that included weeks of allegations of voter fraud.”

Election, prescribers rules altered with new 2018 N.C. laws 
Star News // AP // December 29, 2017

Summary: “All or portions of roughly 20 state laws take effect Monday in North Carolina, with some changing how judges are elected or how doctors prescribe powerful pain medications. New political parties also have an easier time getting on state ballots, while new drivers will get more information on how to respond when an officer pulls them over.”

With sweeping tax cuts, US follows NC over a fiscal cliff
N&O // Editorial // December 23, 2017

Summary: “As Republicans composed their new tax-cut legislation, U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis said they should go the way of North Carolina. When he was state House Speaker in 2103, Tillis said, he and his fellow Republicans cut corporate and personal income taxes and North Carolina’s economy soared…Congressional Republicans would have done better to look closer at North Carolina before once more putting their faith in the trickle-down fantasy. What happened here may now happen everywhere. And if you’re not among the 1 percent, the results will be more phantom than phenomenal.”

Our Opinion: Water quality failure
News & Record // December 27, 2017

Summary: “This year, legislators voted to hire an Indiana company called SePro to apply algae-killing chemicals in the lake, for $1.3 million, pending approval by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which oversees Jordan Lake. This was after DEQ regulators — in the administration of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory — rejected the chemical treatment plan. The legislature ignored scientific opinion and proceeded anyway.”

  • “The legislature seems to think it can fix the water-quality problem in the lake without addressing the quality of water that flows into the lake. So it has come up with SolarBees and chemical treatment schemes. One method was ineffective and the other could make matters worse.”

Republicans seek judicial vote chaos
News & Record // Editorial // December 23, 2017

Summary: “Berger’s party, not Democrats, is turning the judiciary into a partisan boxing match. Republicans this year finished putting partisan labels on judicial elections at every level of the court system, from District Court to the Supreme Court. It’s toying with other radical changes, ranging from more frequent elections, to no elections, to elections in gerrymandered districts.”Our View: A few resolutions for our elected leaders
Fayetteville Observer // Editorial // December 31, 2017

Summary: “We’d like to begin the year with a list of resolutions we offer to some of our local and state leaders, suggestions about how they can make a positive difference in the coming year…”

  • “For this region’s legislative delegation: We have met the enemy and it is water pollution. The GenX contamination in the Cape Fear River and in an apparently broad area around the Chemours plant on the Cumberland-Bladen county line has stunned us all and led us to realize that dangerous and possibly deadly pollution from many sources is in our rivers and streams — and in the drinking water that comes out of our faucets. The state needs to take action, starting with funding our Department of Environmental Quality and Department of Health and Human Services well enough that they can document the extent of the problem and find solutions. Anything less will be political malfeasance that may be costly on Election Day. It’s time to lead on this serious issue.”

Our View: Does the state plan to stop pollution?
Fayetteville Observer // Editorial // December 26, 2017

Summary: “All of these recent discoveries have made state officials wonder just how widespread these “emerging contaminants” might be. State environmental regulators said Friday that they will begin testing many of the state’s major supplies of drinking water for the presence of industrial chemicals. Monitoring will be expanded as early as next month to include Norman, Falls and Jordan lakes, and the Yadkin and Catawba rivers. Many compounds in the perfluorinated chemical family are suspected carcinogens, although they are not yet firmly linked to human cancers. Research has established, though, that some of them do cause cancer in laboratory animals, and also some endocrine disorders…The Department of Environmental Quality and the agencies that preceded it under other titles have seen their budgets repeatedly slashed over the past decade. It began as a reaction to to the sharp revenue declines during the recession, but then the cuts continued as Republican lawmakers and Gov. Pat McCrory worked aggressively to protect industry from pollution regulations…Knowing what’s in our water supply will be helpful. But the critical question is unanswered: If regulators find more problems, what are our lawmakers prepared to do about it?”

Our View: Water pollution finally becomes a political issue
Fayetteville Observer // Editorial //
December 23, 2017
Summary: “We’re increasingly seeing signs of a public opinion turning point in North Carolina. We’re seeing something we’ve seldom seen in the past: Widespread fear and anger about water pollution. That’s likely to translate into political pressure soon — and in some small but measurable ways, it has already.”

  • “That’s the problem: This state has long invited industrial pollution. Chemours had a permit to dump GenX and other waste products into the Cape Fear. And no officials saw a problem with that, even though they didn’t have a clue about those pollutants’ effects on human health. Whether our lawmakers like it or not, that’s going to be an issue as they run for re-election next year. It’s about time.”

Rabon’s bill will damage state’s courts
Star News // Editorial // December 31, 2017

Summary: “If Bill Rabon didn’t get coal in his Christmas stocking, then Santa must not have been paying attention. The state senator from Southport has been joining his Republican cronies in Raleigh with some very naughty behavior, sabotaging North Carolina’s court system for little better reason than partisan advantage. Rabon’s contribution to this fiasco was introducing Senate Bill 698, which would essentially fire every single state judge — District Court, Superior Court, Court and Appeals and Supreme Court. Regardless of past elections, under this bill, all of their terms would automatically expire in 2018.”

GOP considering more school funding changes
Daily Reflector // December 26, 2017

Summary: “Beware Republicans bearing changes in the formulas used to fund public education in North Carolina. For one thing, they’re hardly cheerleaders for public schools, what with their strong support of expanding charter schools (intended as laboratories for innovation, but some have evolved in the minds of their proprietors as quasi-private schools) and a voucher program wherein taxpayers pay some parents’ expenses for private schools.”


As NC courts Amazon and Toyota, conservatives chide Cooper over ‘corporate giveaways’
N&O // Paul Specht // December 29, 2017
Summary: “Gov. Roy Cooper ended his first year in office with a flurry of job announcements in December that featured at least 10 projects, including what he touted as the largest investment by a manufacturer ever in rural North Carolina. “The Jobs Governor,” the state Democratic Party crowed in a news release. But as Cooper awards corporate incentives in exchange for those promised jobs, and as he courts Amazon and Toyota with the lure of major incentives packages, he faces criticism from conservatives.”

Cooper appointee accused of dragging lobbyist by her ponytail steps down 
N&O // Lauren Horsch // December 22, 2017

Summary: “About a week after harassment allegations against former state lawmaker Daniel McComas surfaced, Gov. Roy Cooper’s office said McComas stepped down Friday from the state Board of Transportation. An article and radio story by WUNC public radio include allegations that in 2003 McComas, then a Republican House member from Wilmington, pulled a 26-year-old lobbyist around his office by her ponytail.”

Year 1 in the books for Cooper with mixed results
WRAL // January 2, 
2018 // Travis Fain 
Summary: “There was no honeymoon phase for Gov. Roy Cooper. Even before he was sworn in as governor minutes after midnight on Jan. 1, 2017, he was already involved in litigation with the General Assembly’s Republican majority. Twelve months later, Cooper and his allies are still fighting the legislative majority in court. The state board of elections has no members because of one lawsuit. Legislative candidates don’t know exactly what their election districts will look like because of another, with less than a month and a half before filing begins in those races.”

NC economy rolling under Cooper
N&O // Editorial // December 25, 2017

Summary: “As rumors swirl that North Carolina may be about to land a Toyota-Mazda joint manufacturing plant for Randolph County, economic reality has been pretty promising, too. Gov. Roy Cooper, a skilled promoter of the state who conveys North Carolina’s progressive tradition to outside manufacturing industry representatives, announced Tuesday that Triangle Tyre Co., based in China, will establish its first manufacturing plants in the United States in Edgecombe County. Some 800 jobs are expected to be created by the company, paying an average of $56,000 annually in a county where the average is roughly $32,000.”

  • “Credit isn’t important, perhaps, but certainly Cooper’s skills are not to be underestimated when it comes to representing the state. And though some Republicans seem to be claimed their tax-cutting has polished the state’s image with businesses being recruited, that’s a reach.”

Colin Campbell: How did Roy Cooper do in 2017?
Salisbury Post // Colin Campbell // January 1, 2018

Summary: “Gov. Roy Cooper has finished his first year in office — a year full of the fireworks that are common in a divided state government. Cooper and Republican legislative leaders have sparred on TV, in courtrooms and in the most thrilling arena of all: The Strongly Worded Press Release. So how well did the governor do in 2017? Let’s start with the disclaimer — it would have been physically impossible for Cooper to accomplish everything he wanted.”

Faced with cold snap, governor declares state of emergency to speed fuel distribution
WNCN // Amy Cutler // December 28, 2017

Summary: “With cold weather bearing down on North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper had declared a state of emergency. One component of the state of emergency will impact home heating fuel. The Governor is temporarily waiving the cap on maximum-hours-of-service restrictions for fuel vehicles traveling in or through the state.”


Gregory Murphy

STOP Act takes effect to help reduce opioid crisis in North Carolina
WNCT // Josh Birch // January 1, 2018

Summary: “As the clock struct midnight and the world rang in 2018, the STOP Act was taking effect in North Carolina.The act, largely written by doctor and Pitt County Rep. Greg Murphy, was passed unanimously by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2017. “This is an attempt to limit how opioids are prescribed,” said Murphy.”

Michael Speciale

Lawmaker who wanted secession amendment and gay marriage ban has a GOP challenger
N&O // Lynn Bonner // December 28, 2017

Summary: “A Republican primary shaping up for 2018 would pit two retired Marines from New Bern against each other – including Rep. Michael Speciale, a legislative lightning rod. The challenger, Eric Queen, 41, holds views in line with most Republicans. He supports voter ID and small government and opposes abortion.”


Angry at Trump, N.C. Democrats hope for 2018 gains
Wilson Times // Gary Robertson, AP // January 1, 2018
Summary: “North Carolina Democrats say they are beginning 2018 energized and intent on regaining their historical control of the state’s General Assembly, harnessing anger over Republican Donald Trump’s presidency and buoyed by Democratic victories elsewhere. Eager to reassert their longtime influence on North Carolina politics, the Democrats already have already fielded an unusually large pool of candidates for 100 seats in the 170-member bicameral legislature.”

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