Daily Dose: $51 billion giveaway edition

FIVE THINGS TO BE GLAD YOU DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT:

The sour, critical commentaries that are populating the editorial pages this weekend aren’t the only things causing some heartburn around the McCrory camp. In the coming days and weeks there are even bigger concerns looming.. Here are five questions that Gov. Pat McCrory, his brain trust, top DENR officials and his legal/communications team might be, are, or should be, pondering:

News reporters don’t wake up on sunny late spring morning and say to themselves: “We think we’ll toddle on down to the Ethics Commission and check out Ol’ Pat’s latest financial disclosure statement.” Someone, somewhere, made sure the news reporters knew what to look for and where.

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NC GOP tries to become immune from judicial checks and balances

The NC GOP, stung by a series of judicial rulings that their unconstitutional laws are...er...unconstitutional, isn't about to put up with that.

When judges get in their way of passing unconstitutional laws, Tillisberger just passes a new unconstitutional law.

After passing laws imposing new conditions on abortions and elections, taking away teacher tenure and providing vouchers for private school tuition, Republican state legislators have seen those policies stymied in state and federal courtrooms.

So they have passed another law, this one making those kinds of lawsuits less likely to succeed when filed in state court. Beginning in September, all constitutional challenges to laws will be heard by three-judge trial court panels appointed by the chief justice of the state Supreme Court.

That'll be $2.5 million, please. Cash or credit?

Blogging the bloggers' conference

Nearly 20 bloggers and wannabe bloggers have showed up in Raleigh today for a chance to share ideas that can help shape the political environment in North Carolina. Great representation from many great organizations.

Speakers include Rob Schofield, Greg Flynn, Thomas Mills ... with lots of ideas to be shared by other participants. If you have have questions about blogging, the blogging ecosystem, who's who in NC blogging, how to do it, how not to do it, etc., please post them below and I'll make sure they get asked.

I'll post some of what happens today, but mostly am here to learn.

Daily dose

PHIL BERGER, MILK CARTON MAN? -- A new television advertising blitz Republican backers of Gov. Pat McCrory and House Speaker Thom Tillis is aimed at boosting the lagging images of two of the three top leaders in North Carolina. For the immediate future, it is particularly critical for Tillis who is in a very tight battle with incumbent U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, for her seat. The effort to inflate the images of Tillis and McCrory, both Mecklenburg County Republicans, isn’t an easy task. First, they’ve been unable to bring the contentious legislative session, marked by infighting among the GOP leaders at a time when they promised in their campaigns and at the opening of the session church choir-like harmony. The General Assembly appears to be headed to a finish, shuffling out of Raleigh with more a whimper than a bang. Attempts to complete work are marked by failure on addressing the Duke Energy coal ash spill disaster and no action on the promised fix to Medicaid.

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It's the wages, stupid

Gene Nichol nails it again.

Writing on chronic poverty in North Carolina, where it was recently revealed that four of the ten cities in all of American with the worst poverty increases are in (SURPRISE!) North Carolina.

Standard & Poor’s piled on last week, concluding that the gap between rich and poor in the U.S. has become so extreme it’s damaging the entire economy. S&P declared such intense disparity markedly hampers economic growth and has slowed our anemic recovery. And that’s Standard & Poor’s, not The Nation magazine. North Carolina has among the worst economic inequality rates in the country. Over the last three decades, the top 1 percent of Tar Heels saw their incomes grow by 98.4 percent, while the bottom 99 percent inched up only 9 percent.

Bloggers workshop in Raleigh on Saturday

If you're at all interested in reality-based political blogging in North Carolina, this is for you. Here are the details:

Engage Carolina

Sponsor:
NC Policy Watch and Progress NC

Location:
Workplace Options
3020 Highwoods Blvd.
Raleigh, NC 27604

Time:
Saturday, August 16, 2014
12:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Tillis has a meltdown

The NC House and Senate were expected to adjourn today.

But that was before Thom Tillis decided to throw a big wrench in the works -- and his GOP colleagues revolted!

The House rejected the [business incentives] bill earlier this month, but now the proposal is tied to an unrelated measure aimed at sparing teacher assistant jobs. Many districts have said that, despite legislative promises, the state budget will force them to cut teaching assistant positions.

Tillis linked a third bill on Friday, a measure that would give Wake County the option to hold a referendum in 2016 on a .25 percent sales tax increase.

The maneuvering uses one piece of legislation to undo provisions in the incentives bill, which otherwise would kill Wake County’s option to levy a quarter-cent sales tax to raise teacher salaries.

Short-changing NC's environment in the Short Session

From the good folks at NC Policywatch:

[Updated: The Senate adopted the conference committee report as its first act this morning]. As state lawmakers prepare to gather this morning for what could be the final day of the 2013-14 General Assembly, it should come as no surprise that one of the final acts is likely to be the enactment of a polluter “wish list” that was crafted mostly out of public view.

According to environmental protection advocates who finally got a chance to begin reviewing the last minute conference committee report that emerged to Senate Bill 734 last night, the legislation contains at least a dozen gifts to industry. Many of the changes are technical, wonky and even minor on their own, but make no mistake, the cumulative effect will be to weaken environmental protection, hasten the development of more open land and wetlands and further imperil our increasingly fragile environment.

You're right, I'm not surprised. Republicans are no longer even attempting to appear as if they're acting in the public's interest, they're just going for broke. That's not confidence in the legislation they're cramming down our throats, it's confidence in their gerrymandered safety.

Daily dose: whine with that sleaze

McCRORY ETHICS QUAGMIRE

McCrory: 'We Haven't Broken Any Rules' (WUNC-FM) – Gov. Pat McCrory is responding to charges that he misstated when he sold his stock in Duke Energy. McCrory worked for the company for almost 30 years. Speaking to reporters after an education conference held by the North Carolina Chamber, the Governor faced a series of questions about when he sold the Duke stock that was part of his 401k. "We haven’t broken any rules or ethics violations or anything," McCrory said. "And I was very transparent that I did own it. I was 29 years, and I’m proud of that experience and I had a 401k retirement account, like many of you may have had, or still have.”
http://wunc.org/post/mccrory-we-havent-broken-any-rules

As ethics scandal erupts, Carolina Rising launches $1.5M NC pro-McCrory ad blitz (AP) — A group promoting policies implemented by North Carolina Republicans is running a television ad before most public schools open to praise Gov. Pat McCrory and House Speaker Thom Tillis – GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate -- for education legislation.
http://www.news-record.com/news/north_carolina_ap/carolina-rising-begins...

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