Monday News: Tough love, GOP-style edition


Legislature cuts $110 million from regional mental health (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The state’s eight regional mental health agencies must absorb a financial hit in the form of a $110 million budget reduction that state legislators told them to fill with money from their savings.

Shrouded in secrecy: NC's move away from transparency

You only need to know what we tell you:

As the General Assembly concludes its business for the year, it is time to take stock of changes made to North Carolina’s sunshine laws. So far, lawmakers have approved and Gov. Pat McCrory has signed seven new exemptions to the Public Records Law. Three more lurk in the recently finalized budget bill.

The largest new exemption came at the very end of the session. During the budget process, the Senate tacked an expansion of the terrorism exemption into the bill. It would exclude “plans, schedules, or other documents” used with “executive protection and security,” which could exclude the governor’s calendar from public record. It would apply to every government executive with a security detail.

I'm sure Governor McTravel will find that one helpful, since his excursions to RGA conventions and subsequent misfiling of legally-required reports has gotten him into hot water several times. If nobody knows where and when you've gone, they can't ask any pesky questions, right? But if you're patient enough to wait for a century, all will be revealed:

Sunday News: Domestic Threat edition


Tony Tata’s Army career included phony court order, at least 2 affairs (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Tony Tata’s credentials as an Army leader helped him land big jobs as Wake County school superintendent and state transportation secretary, and the retired general continues to trade on his military experience as a TV news commentator and the author of action thrillers. The Army’s Office of Inspector General concluded in June 2007 that Tata had extramarital affairs in 1985 and 1992 while he was married to his first wife, Tracy. The adultery complaint against Tata involved affairs with three women and a son born out of wedlock.

The looming privatization of UNC's bookstore

Beware the education profiteers:

“They expect to be able to pay us significantly more than we receive from the store now,” Fajack said.

Follett also made promises about buying back books, stocking used books and implementing a cheaper textbook rental system. “We estimate that we could save your students several million dollars a year on course material,” the proposal said.

First of all, the primary function of that student bookstore should be to provide already overly-expensive textbooks to students at the cheapest price possible, to avoid compounding their growing student loan debt. What the University gets back (or kicked-back) is a secondary concern. And just a cursory bit of research (you know, like universities are supposed to do) brings into question both Follett's ability and desire to do either:

Saturday News: Regressive taxes and boondoggles edition


NC budget expands sales tax, raises DMV fees, doles out some raises (AP) -- The final budget approved early Friday also increases education funding, with money to preserve teacher assistant jobs and driver's ed.

Budget spends more on ‘boondoggle’ SolarBees (WRAL-TV) -- A provision tucked into the budget enacted Friday spends $1.5 million on a water quality project environmentalists say is a "boondoggle."

Biggest threat to the NC Democratic Party

Accommodating those who aren't really Democrats:

We really need to work on branding. And I'm not talking about a catchy saying or product title, I'm talking about super-heating a steel rod in some hot coals and burning a "J" on the forehead of certain Dem lawmakers. The "J" stands for Jackass, but I'm willing to compromise on the letter.

NC GOP set to privatize healthcare for 1.8 million of NC's poorest citizens

Let somebody else worry about them:

Medicaid reform has been a sticking point between the House and the Senate for several years now, with House leaders championing a Medicaid plan that would emphasize patient-centered medical homes and local providers while Senate leaders have pushed for commercial managed care organizations to be part of the mix. Senate leaders have also said they would not recess this year's legislative session without a Medicaid plan in place.

Add this one to the list of wildly successful programs Republicans in the Legislature feel the need to break fix because they are too obstinate to allow verifiable reports to get in the way of their fact-deficient prejudices:

Friday News: One more lie for McCrory edition

mccrorypuppet.jpegMcCrory says he'll sign NC budget deal

(WRAL-TV) -- Gov. Pat McCrory said Thursday he will sign the North Carolina state budget bill negotiated by fellow Republicans at the legislature this summer when it reaches his desk.

McCrory says he’ll sign budget compromise (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Said he got 90 percent of what he wanted from North Carolina’s legislature


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