Freshly back from playing pretend pilot in Washington, DC, Deputy Assistant Guvnor McCrony is once again comfortably ensconced in his home in Alternate Realityville, where he proclaimed this the "month and week of the young child" in NC.
WHEREAS, the State of North Carolina joins the North Carolina Early Childhood Advisory Council, the North Carolina Education Cabinet, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Public Instruction, along with the North Carolina Partnership for Children, and the North Carolina Association for the Education of Young Children, in recognizing and supporting the people and programs that are committed to providing high quality early childhood education and services;
But one of his leading challengers, Rev. Mark Harris, is hoping to stir things up and is planning to repeatedly criticize Tillis's decision to remain as House Republican leader while running for the Senate. Tillis is able to raise money for his Senate campaign from lobbyists with interests before the state's General Assembly, but it's illegal to raise such funds for his state legislative campaigns. Framing the speaker's conduct as "pay to play," Harris suggested the activity was unethical.
"It would have been better judgment for him to step down as speaker. It opens the door for questions of ethics to be raised," Harris told National Journal, arguing that it could become a glaring vulnerability if Tillis wins the GOP nomination against Sen. Kay Hagan. "If I had one thing to do differently [in the campaign], I would have demanded he step down as speaker in October."
Tillis is blatantly taking advantage of a loophole in our campaign finance/lobbying laws by doing this, and it should be an issue for voters (both Primary and General) to contemplate. And unless I missed it somehow, our NC reporters have left this issue alone. Maybe he isn't "breaking the law" in the classic sense, but it is definitely newsworthy.
When your voting policies are so complicated that they require a 16-page brochure to explain, you know things are going to end badly. And when that brochure appears to have been created by a mid-level bureaucrat with the design sense of a cockroach, well, "ending badly" looks more and more like purposeful incompetence.
I just read the new State Board of Elections 2014 Primary Election Voter Guide three times, trying to make sense of all the new rules and regulations involving registration, early voting, same-day registration (no longer allowed) and absentee voting. My takeaway? The guide has been designed to foster confusion, screw-ups, voter challenges, and election fraud. It is Republican governance at its rock-bottom worst, and in most homes, will go directly into the recycling bin. They couldn't have screwed this up more if they had tried.
They printed 4.2 million copies at a price of $233,888. God only knows what the postage cost. And it's all designed to make voting more difficult and more confusing.
During next month’s primary election, there will be 3,069 different ballots. According to North Carolina General Assembly Senior Counsel Gerry Cohen, Iredell County — population 162,000 — will have 249.
More than three thousand freakin' ballots isn't just a side-effect of gerrymandering, it's also a symptom of incompetence by people who don't give damn about the consequences of their policies. More ballots, more chances to screw up, more litigation, more arrogance. The hits just keep on coming.
An April 1st administrative decision by North Carolina State Board of Elections staff to reject absentee ballot requests that are signed electronically violates the letter of the law, according to the Voting Rights Taskforce, a grassroots Watauga County group that formed to counteract voter suppression efforts by both the local and the state Boards of Elections.
(The State Board of Elections staff ruled that absentee ballot requests with electronic signatures made by Watauga County voters prior to their April 1 ruling will be accepted.)
"First, the local and State Board of Elections does everything it can to discourage the voting of Appalachian State University students, staff and faculty, and then they move precincts to remote locations and grant only one Early Voting site to over 60% of the voting population in the county," said Pam Williamson, a Voting Rights Task Force spokesperson. "The state legislature made it easier to request an absentee ballot, and members of the State Board of Elections encouraged us to use it. We did. But once the Watauga County Task Force for Voter Rights decided to actually use the state's new absentee ballot request laws to encourage voter participation, the staff at the State Board of Elections quickly put a stop to it.”
"Just a week after the state publicly abandoned its sweetheart deal with Duke and promised to "enforce" the law, it has appealed a judicial ruling that confirmed the state's legal authority to enforce a real solution for coal ash contamination," Gerkin [of the Southern Environmental Law Center] said in a statement. "We’re disappointed that this administration remains so determined to delay through litigation rather than move forward to stop ongoing pollution of North Carolina's rivers, lakes and groundwater."
Submitted by Betsy Muse on Mon, 04/07/2014 - 6:54pm
State Senator Dan Clodfelter has been appointed Charlotte mayor. He will have to resign from the NC Senate before being sworn in as mayor.
Now the jockeying begins for his replacement in the NC Senate. He was running unopposed in November's general election.
This story is developing.
Update: The final vote was 10 to 1 after a vote for James Mitchell, the former council member who challenged Cannon in the primary last year, failed. The lone holdout was LaWanna Mayfield. I don't think she was voting against Clodfelter as much as representing the wishes of the Mecklenburg LGBT community that had endorsed Mitchell. Mayfield is one of two openly gay members of council. Mitchell and Clodfelter are both strong allies to the gay community.
Submitted by teddyrooseveltp... on Mon, 04/07/2014 - 6:25pm
Faced with cutting $12.8 million from the school's budget, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro may cut up to 120 jobs and 600 classes. This is on top of a cut to UNC's budget of $90 million in the past five years and the elimination of 30 jobs last year, all courtesy of your Tea Bagger legislature and Art Pope, intent on giving tax breaks to a handful of North Carolinians while leaving everyone else out in the cold.
Submitted by Tom Sullivan on Mon, 04/07/2014 - 12:02pm
Renewed attacks on voting rights in North Carolina, Pennsylvania and other states are as much about power as about policy and race. The hand wringing over elusive "fraud" is because America's majority ethnic group sees its traditional grip on power eroding with shifting demographics.
In North Carolina last week, Republican lawmakers again raised the alarm over the possibility that hundreds -- maybe thousands -- had criminally cast ballots in two states in the 2012 election. GOP leaders were quick to insist that the numbers justified the draconian voting law they passed in the last legislative session. The U.S. Department of Justice has challenged the law in court.
Chris Kromm of the Institute for Southern Studies just as quickly debunked the study by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach whose office, after checking 5 million voter records in 2013, "couldn't provide any evidence of a single instance in which the Interstate Crosscheck's data had led to an actual legal charge of voter fraud." Because the data, Kromm writes, "offers no proof such fraud is occurring." Requiring citizens to present identity cards to vote would have no effect on voting in multiple states.
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