There’s plenty to talk about over Monday lunch links, so let’s get started….
The NC League of Conservation Voters  announced this morning the recipients of its annual Green Tie Awards. Senator Angela Bryant and Representative Larry Hall are among the honored legislators who have stepped up, spoken out, and carried water for environmental issues at the General Assembly. For more on 2014’s Rising Stars  and details on the May 27th awards program, check out the League’s website.
This morning a federal challenge to Amendment One was filed in the Western District of North Carolina on behalf of the United Church of Christ (UCC). The case challenges the constitutionality of marriage laws in North Carolina – including Amendment One – that ban marriage between same-sex couples and make it illegal for clergy to perform wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples within their congregations. NC Policy Watch’s courts and law reporter Sharon McCloskey has more  on the significance of this latest filing.
This evening, the four leading candidates for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate take part in one final debate trying to sway voters ahead of next week’s primary.
The 7:00 p.m. debate will be held at the UNC-TV  studios in Research Triangle Park and be broadcast statewide. The participating candidates will be Speaker Thom Tillis, physician Greg Brannon, pastor Mark Harris and Heather Grant, a nurse practitioner and military veteran.
AARP North Carolina  is holding two forums this week – in Goldsboro on Tuesday and Eden Thursday – to discuss some of the challenges facing North Carolina’s more than 1.7 million family caregivers.
High Point University has a great education roundtable  set for Wednesday with both business and education experts discussing the challenges of North Carolina’s K-12 public schools, along with the role of colleges, universities and the business community in addressing the state’s workforce needs.
- Bill Cobey, Chairman, State Board of Education
- Rep. Linda P. Johnson, N.C. House of Representatives
- Jim Goodmon, President and CEO, Capitol Broadcasting Company
- Dr. Jim Merrill, Superintendent, Wake County Schools
- Dr. Heath Morrison, Superintendent, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
- Dr.-Nido-QubeinDr. Nido Qubein, President of High Point University
The HPU program is being filmed by Carolina Business Review  and will air on UNC-TV at a later date.
Also on Wednesday, NC Women United  issues the findings from their 2013 NCWU Legislative Report Card. Representative Rosa Gill (D-Wake) will recommend steps legislators can take to reverse some of the damage created by the harmful laws enacted in the last session.
On Thursday, Duke Energy holds its annual shareholders meeting and several environmental groups will be outside Duke’s corporate headquarters in Charlotte to call for social justice, political transparency and clean energy for all.
Coming up this weekend, Mecklenburg County’s Democratic Executive Committee meets on Saturday to vote on Dan Clodfelter’s replacement in the state Senate. Clodfelter stepped down as the state senator for District 37 earlier this month to become Charlotte’s mayor, replacing Patrick Cannon.
Make sure you have on your agenda this Saturday’s special forum host by Public School First North Carolina (PSFNC): “Keeping NC Public Schools Strong.”  The program will include a legislative roundtable featuring Senator Josh Stein, Rep. Rosa Gill, and Representative Paul Stam.
Saturday also marks the last day for Early Voting  before the May 6th primary – don’t say we didn’t remind you!
Finally, turn up your speakers, get out of your chair, and try to keep up with Laurel & Hardy as we close out Monday’s lunch links with a little Santana :