Nebraska poised to be next state to walk away from the death penalty

You know the death penalty is on its last gasp when one of the most heavily Republican states in the nation votes to repeal it.

That's what happened this week in Nebraska a the unicameral legislature voted 32-15 to abandon the death penalty in the state.

Daily dose: "Rucho, party of one" version

Rucho bullies committee amid questionable rushed approval of energy bill (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Senate finance chairman Sen. Bob Rucho pushed through a bill freezing renewable energy rates on Wednesday, cutting off discussion and refusing to allow a head count instead of a voice vote. He declared the bill had passed, despite a louder and possibly more numerous chorus of "no" votes. The meeting ended with several senators, including at least two Republicans, openly complaining about the way Rucho had handled it. "It wasn’t even close," Sen. Jerry Tillman, a seven-term Republican from Archdale, told Rucho afterward.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article21...

Defending the indefensible: CMPD "explains" rape kit backlog

There's more to this story than just numbers:

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police on Wednesday said the number of victims adversely affected by untested rape kits is much lower than the foundation’s investigation showed. Of the approximately 1,000 untested kits, 650 are related to cases that are already closed, said CMPD Capt. Cecil Brisbon. Some of the remaining kits have been submitted and the remainder are “being reviewed to determine the need for analysis.”

Just because a case is "closed" it doesn't mean testing is no longer necessary. If a case is closed because the victim refused to press charges, it doesn't mean she wasn't raped, and it also doesn't mean her rapist hasn't done it before or will rape again in the future. And if the case ended in a conviction, processing the kit is doubly important. Getting that DNA data on file in the FBI's CODIS database is a critical link in the chain of evidence, because just like other terrorists, rapists thrive when information is not shared by law enforcement. Here are some more numbers for the CMPD to chew on:

Now wait just a fracking minute...

The NC Mining and Energy Commission is not permitted to issue permits, since their very existence is under question by the courts. Like a stopped clock, McCrory (accidentally) got this one right by challenging the NCGA. Not that his choices would have been any less unethical, but we takes our victories where we can get 'em.

Coal Ash Wednesday: Starve the coal, feed the frackers

Duke Energy to replace coal plant with natural gas plant:

Duke Energy spokesman Dave Scanzoni says with projected population growth in North Carolina, the energy supplier was looking for a way to meet practical needs and local demand for cleaner energy.

"We thought this was a great opportunity to move forward with a much larger power plant that's much cleaner, twice the size in terms of electricity output," says Scanzoni. "But significantly cleaner and better for the environment than the coal that it replaces."

Daily dose: "Say what?" edition

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House Medicaid budget provision draws fire (WRAL-TV) -- The proposed House budget would give Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos sweeping authority to run North Carolina's Medicaid program, allowing her to push forward with changes to the program's details and overall structure with relatively little intervention from the General Assembly. "This is audacious," Rep. Verla Insko, D-Orange, said of the provision during the House Appropriations Committee's vetting of the budget Tuesday morning.
http://www.wral.com/house-medicaid-budget-provision-draws-fire/14655988/

Is the "renewable energy" debate masking a struggle for legislative power?

From a long-time BlueNC reader:

There is a war going on among Republicans in the N.C. House of Representatives. To the casual observer it may seem to be about the future of the state’s clean energy economy – one of the few true growth sectors in North Carolina over the last five years.

But the real struggle is over future leadership of the House of Representatives – with Majority Leader Mike Hager, R-Rutherford, looking to position himself to make a challenge to first-term Speaker Tim Moore, before the Cleveland County Republican can firmly establish himself as the undisputed House leader.

Unfortunately, the battleground is playing out in a variety of pieces of legislation jeopardizing the renewable energy sector, most significantly solar energy, where there are now 23,000 jobs and generating $4.8 billion in annual revenues.

Research the research

Rep Jay Adams R of Catawba, warmly quoted a friend of his during yesterday's House Finance Committee meeting. The discussion at the time was on an amendment setting parameters for corporate tax relief for research efforts, and it appeared that Adams was in agreement when this friend said to him,

"..research is what you do when you don't have anything else to do…."

Tuesday Twitter roundup

We'll start with a breakthrough in citizen oversight of law enforcement:

Yes, this is a good thing. Bad behavior cannot survive under public scrutiny.

Daily dose: Too much information edition

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Why 500 Attack Emails Couldn't Take Down Thom Tillis (Roll Call) -- There were a few constants during the 2014 cycle: death, taxes, my three young kids waking up before 7 a.m. and a daily Democratic email attacking North Carolina Speaker Thom Tillis. But in the end, even in the face of hundreds of blistering emails, the Republican challenger knocked off Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan in one of the most competitive Senate races in the country. All of that time and effort spent electronically attacking a candidate who ends up winning begs the question: “Was it worth it?” Looking back, the North Carolina legislature was the national poster child for what Democrats hated about alleged Republican overreach, and Tillis led one of the chambers.
http://blogs.rollcall.com/rothenblog/thom-tillis-2014-campaign-kay-hagan-attack-emails/?dcz=

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