Commentary, News

In case you are wondering if the animosity between Governor Pat McCrory and Senate leaders has lessened since the legislative session adjourned, the answer seems to be no, judging by comments at this weekend’s apple festival in Hendersonville.MC_AP

McCrory rode in the King Apple Parade Monday and told the Times-News that he was still upset about the new coal ash commission created by the General Assembly and believes it is unconstitutional. McCrory said his lawyers are still reviewing the coal ash legislation that includes the commission.

That prompted powerful Senate Rules Chair Tom Apodaca, who represents Hendersonville and was also in the parade, to respond with this about McCrory’s legal team.

His attorney is probably a great attorney for real estate closings, but I don’t think he pays a lot of attention to the constitutional picture.

Ouch.

It’s not clear from McCrory’s comments if he still plans to sign the coal ash bill. It is clear that his relationship with Senate leaders is still strained.

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The big story of the day is the decision by Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood this morning that the private school voucher scheme passed by the General Assembly last year violates the state constitution and as Hobgood put it,

The General Assembly fails the children of North Carolina when they are sent with public taxpayer money to private schools that have no legal obligation to teach them anything.

NC Policy Watch reporters Lindsay Wagner and Sharon McCloskey have more on the story on the main NCPW page.

 

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Governor Pat McCrory called reporters to his office Friday afternoon and with his cabinet standing dutifully behind him proclaimed that he will be proud to sign the budget passed by the House and Senate.

In case you are wondering when the signing ceremony will take place, a Monday Associated Press story reported that it will happen after McCrory actually reads the budget.

McCrory didn’t know when he would sign the budget bill into law as “the governor is reviewing it line by line,” spokesman Ryan Tronovitch said by email.

So if you are keeping score at home, McCrory announced Friday that he was proud to sign the budget that on Monday his staff admitted he still hadn’t read. That’s reassuring.

 

 

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The complimentary USA Today that hotels give to their guests has this as the only news about North Carolina in their  State-by-State news section this morning.

The Wildlife Resources Commission would like anyone who spots a wild turkey through Aug. 31 to enter it into an online database.

Apparently nothing else is going on in Raleigh these days. Please keep your eyes peeled for those wild turkeys.

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The controversy about the House plan to cynically increase lottery sales to fund teacher pay hikes is getting more troubling every day.

Saturday the News & Observer reported that lottery officials sent a memo to key legislative staffers before the House budget vote explaining that the lottery could not raise the amount  of money included in the House budget because of advertising restrictions the budget also imposed.

Rep. Nelson Dollar, the chief House budget writer, wouldn’t say if he saw the memo before the House vote, which he almost certainly did.  There’s no way that legislative staffers would have kept that memo to themselves.

That means that Dollar and other House leaders intentionally misled members of the House and the public about the budget they were debating. It also means they passed a budget they knew was not balanced.

This morning the News & Observer reports that lottery director Alice Garland says she personally told Dollar before the House budget vote that the lottery could not raise the additional money, leaving no question that he knew he was making false claims about the budget he was supporting.

Garland also confirmed that documents detailing the flaws in the House budget assumptions about lottery revenues were given to key officials.

And even worse, Garland says Dollar told her to “stay quiet about it.” So much for budget integrity in the North Carolina House.