Republican judge retires early from CoA to protect the Court from GOP machinations

Pay attention, lawmakers, because this message is clear:

McCullough is one of three Republican members of the court approaching mandatory retirement. State law in North Carolina requires judges to retire at 72. McCullough, whose term does not expire until 2018, would have had to retire by May 28. McCullough’s letter to Cooper was brief.

In it he said, “it is my firm belief that it is appropriate that I retire now rather than wait approximately thirty-six more days I would be required to retire by operation of the law.” In an interview, McCullough said he retired several weeks early because he did not want his legacy to be an “impairment to the appeals court” by reducing its size.

Get that? Judge McCullough is retiring anyway, so he wouldn't have to suffer from cases piling up under only four 3-judge panels. And he knew good and well his replacement would be a Democrat. Those things did not matter. Protecting the viability and integrity of the NC Court of Appeals is the only thing that mattered to him, and every single GOP Legislator needs to keep that in mind when the Veto override vote gets called. Just because you can do a thing, it doesn't automatically follow that you should. Also, hat-tip to Roy Cooper for choosing John Arrowood. Because quality and equality in one capable package.

Legislative update: Plastic bag ban repeal and other nonsense

Brought to you by the inimitable (try to say that ten times real fast) Kirk Ross:

Boswell’s bill and yet another aimed at repealing the ban were scheduled to be heard in committee meetings earlier last week, but the bills were taken off the calendars before being heard.

The new provisions to repeal the bag ban were introduced by Sen. Bill Cook, R-Beaufort, who said it was time to end the prohibition. Cook, one of the committee co-chairs, said statistics from two beach cleanup projects before and after the ban proved it was ineffective. “It puts an unnecessary burden on our job creators and it has become very costly to business,” he said.

Ehhh. Bill Cook is fast becoming a bigger threat to the environment than C. Montgomery Burns. Here's more GOP "lawmaking":

Monday News: Without art, what's the point?

BILL TO SAVE ART, MUSIC & PE CLASSES FINALLY GETS A HEARING IN NC SENATE: A state Senate panel will consider Monday night a bill that school districts say is needed to prevent thousands of potential teacher layoffs and cuts in art, music and physical education classes in North Carolina elementary schools. Monday’s discussion comes after Senate leaders, who questioned how school districts were spending state money, put the bill on hold for two months. The bill’s consideration Monday comes less than a week after several hundred people rallied on the Halifax Mall in downtown Raleigh to demand that the Senate quickly approve House Bill 13.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article146343209.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

quillpen.jpg

INCESSANT TAX CUTS ARE RUNNING OUR STATE INTO THE GROUND: North Carolina tax cuts have primarily benefited large corporations and high income people. There is little evidence that this grows the economy. (We don't believe in trickle down any more than we believe in the Easter bunny.) By resisting any increases in the minimum wage, our legislative leaders’ policies are keeping a lid on disposable income. They’ve expanded sales taxes to more items and services as they’ve eliminated popular programs like the back-to-school sales tax-free weekend and the sales tax holiday on Energy Star appliances. None of these actions increase consumer purchasing power. Rather than continue with tax cut obsessions, legislative leaders need to focus first on what North Carolina needs to have – well paid teachers and school administrators; best-in-the-nation schools and universities; access for all to affordable health care and; a top quality of life. If there’s anything left over after that, only then should any adjustments in revenues be considered.
http://www.wral.com/obsessive-tax-cutting-hurts-n-c-economy-neglects-critical-needs/16656309/

Saturday News: Veto time, baby

GOVERNOR COOPER REJECTS ATTEMPTS TO SHUFFLE COURTS AND ELECTION BOARDS: Gov. Roy Cooper has vetoed bills that would cut the state appeals court by three judges and deny the governor’s political party control of the state elections board. The legislature is likely to vote to override the vetoes. House Bill 239 would reduce the state Court of Appeals from 15 to 12 members, which would prevent replacement of three Republican judges approaching mandatory retirement age. Senate Bill 68 would consolidate the state elections and ethics boards. The new board would have eight members, four from each major political party, with a Republican chairman in presidential-election years and a Democratic chairman in midterm-election years. Local elections boards would also be split. A three-judge panel struck down an earlier attempt by Republicans to merge the boards.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article145960749.html

Kakistocracy: NC GOP chooses man who sued Elections Board to sit on Elections Board

Civitas' Francis De Luca is the last name that should have come up:

Republicans’ latest attempt to overhaul the state’s elections and ethics board is still awaiting Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto stamp, but the N.C. Republican Party is already nominating members for the new board. Once Cooper vetoes the bill, the House and Senate are expected to override the veto and pass the bill into law. Based on the initial votes on April 11, it appears Republicans have the three-fifths majority needed for a successful override.

That likelihood appears to have prompted N.C. Republican Party chairman Robin Hayes to announce his picks on Thursday. He proposed a list of six candidates, and if the bill becomes law – and isn’t put on hold by courts – Cooper would pick four. Here’s who Hayes picked: Francis De Luca of Cary, leader of the conservative Civitas Institute and a former Ethics Commission member. De Luca sued the State Board of Elections last year seeking to delay the counting of absentee ballots. Stacy “Four” Eggers IV of Boone, a former member of Watauga County Board of Elections.

Don't really care about the other four, because these two dudes take the proverbial cake. Four Eggers is notorious for suppressing the vote on the local level in Watauga County, but De Luca set his sights much higher, challenging the votes of thousands of his fellow citizens, and trying his best to get rid of a process on which countless voters rely, Same-Day Registration:

Friday News: Astroturfing the Triad

BELTWAY GROUP ORGANIZES OPPOSITION TO "WELCOMING CITY" RESOLUTION: An online petition to prevent Winston-Salem City Council from passing a “welcoming city” resolution is generating a Washington beltway publicity push through a privately held conservative influence outfit with a murky funding structure. Although Councilman Dan Besse withdrew a “welcoming city” resolution from consideration on Monday, Stand United is working to promote opposition to the resolution in the event that it is resurrected. Triad City Beat received an email from a strategic communications fellow at the Pinkston Group, an East Coast public relations firm that specializes in “earned-media exposure,” on Thursday morning with an offer to facilitate an interview with Stand United about the effort to kill the “welcoming city” resolution.
https://triad-city-beat.com/2017/04/beltway-influence-machine-lends-aid-welcoming-city-fight/

Makers vs. sellers: Craft brewers thrown under the bus by NC GOP

If you don't pay, you don't play:

Charlotte’s two biggest craft brewers appear headed to court after a campaign to raise their production limit collapsed in the face of opposition from North Carolina’s influential beer wholesalers. Olde Mecklenburg and NoDa breweries have spearheaded the so-called Craft Freedom fight, a bid to raise the 25,000-barrel cap on production before craft brewers must enter a distribution contract with a wholesaler. But House Bill 500, which would have raised the cap to 200,000 barrels, was gutted Wednesday, barely three weeks after it was introduced amid fanfare and support from the state’s more than 200 craft brewers.

“I’d say it’s disappointing, but disappointing doesn’t do it justice,” said John Marrino, owner of Olde Mecklenburg. “It’s outrageous. It’s backroom politics. … I’m not sure the General Assembly is the best avenue to ensure the success of the micro-brewery industry in North Carolina.”

Welcome to the cesspool that is Republican policy-making. They'll spout rhetoric all day long about the glory of the Free Market, but when it comes down to the wire, they will support monopolies every single time. Money = Freedom, and a lack of money equals subservience.

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