Commentary, News

House Speaker Tim Moore

It appears both House and Senate leaders are in no hurry to to hammer out the differences in their respective budget plans.

House Speaker Tim Moore is already talking about a continuing resolution that could last well into the summer. Here’s what Moore told reporters for the Raleigh News & Observer:

“The issue will be how long. I don’t believe it is realistic to expect that we will have a budget by July 1. So we need a continuing resolution in place so state agencies, schools and so forth will be able to plan at least some for next year.”

The speaker added: “We will be here as long as we need to be. I’m in no hurry.”

Rep. Chuck McGrady, one of key budget writers on the House side, believes lawmakers may be in Raleigh through August:

“I’m expecting to be here until Labor Day,” McGrady said.

That would be especially bad news for teaching assistants, nervous about whether their positions will be funded in the next school year.

As a Friday editorial in the Fayetteville Observer explains:

Both budgets try to beef up teacher pay. It appears all of our lawmakers want to scrape education funding off the bottom of the national barrel. But the Senate will balance its education budget on the backs of teacher assistants, getting rid of more than 8,000 of them over the next two years. If it happens, the Senate will be kicking off yet another crisis for our public schools, especially those in low-wealth communities that are already struggling to provide an adequate education. Creating a few more lead teachers in return for those cuts won’t get the job done.

The leadership in the House and Senate have found one area of agreement. Both chambers will not be meeting July 6 – 10th. They’re taking a week off for a summer break.

For more on the budget differences between the House and the Senate, click here.

candles for victims


Understandably, most editorials this Friday are devoted to helping us come to terms with the senseless shootings at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Eugene Robinson writes for The Washington Post:

I wish we could better address issues of mental health, too. Perhaps it should be easier for concerned family members to compel a troubled individual to seek help. But we are not going back to the practice of warehousing large numbers of people in hellish institutions.

What we can do, if we have the will, is make it harder for those who want to kill innocents to obtain firearms. After 20 young children and six adults were massacred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Congress took up two modest pieces of legislation: a ban on military-style assault weapons, which no hunter needs; and a requirement for universal background checks before buying guns. Both had overwhelming public support. Neither became law.

Can this time be different? Only if we hold Congress, Obama and the presidential candidates of both parties accountable. Only if we remember Mother Emanuel.

Eric Frazier for The Charlotte Observer:

…African Americans here are in no mood for talk of the shooting being simply the random, murderous actions of a psychotic loner.

U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn and others suspect this wasn’t solely an attack on a church, or an attack on a black church – it was an act of war against the black community.

We naturally recoil from that kind of hot-blooded statement. At a time like this, we should first comfort the grieving, and look to tighten the bonds of interracial solidarity. Those are good, and right, things to do.

But given the details dribbling out about Roof’s background, the darker questions won’t be going away anytime soon.

And the Asheville Citizen Times perhaps captures America’s frustration the best: Read More


From former state Senator Malcolm Graham whose sister Cynthia Hurd was among the victims:

220px-Malcolm_Graham“My sister, Ms. Cynthia Marie Graham-Hurd, was a victim of the senseless hate crime at Emanuel AME Church. It is unimaginable that she would walk into church and not return. “But that’s who she was – a woman of faith. This is a very difficult time for our family, and Cynthia will be sorely missed.

Our family is close-knit, and our faith will see us through. I also extend condolences to the other families of Emanuel AME Church and the city of Charleston who have been affected by this inconceivable tragedy.

My family and I appreciate the thoughts and prayers from people across North Carolina and South Carolina.”

From House Speaker Tim Moore:

House Speaker Tim Moore “The horrific event in Charleston yesterday has left us all shaken. Our thoughts and prayers are with our neighbors in South Carolina. Today, we are one Carolina,” Speaker Moore stated. “I am proud that North Carolina’s finest could apprehend the suspect today quickly and without conflict, in my hometown of Shelby.”

“The House extends our deepest sympathies to our General Assembly colleague, Senator Malcolm Graham, for the unimaginable loss of his sister on this tragic day.”

From Governor Pat McCrory:

N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory

N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory

“I want to thank the citizen who reported a suspicious vehicle to the Shelby police and the Shelby police officer who made the arrest of the Emanuel AME Church shooting suspect. Effective law enforcement depends on the support and cooperation of our citizens and the bravery of our police officers.

“Ann and I are shocked and saddened by the senseless acts of violence that took place in Charleston last night. I especially want to offer my condolences to my friend and former state senator Malcom Graham, who lost his sister Cynthia Hurd. Ann and I urge all North Carolinians to join us in keeping the victims and their families in our thoughts and prayers.”

From Congressman David Price:

price“On behalf of myself and my constituents in North Carolina, I want to express deep sadness and outrage at last night’s terrible attack in Charleston, which once again has laid bare our struggles with prejudice, hatred, and gun violence. Our churches and communities of faith are meant to be refuges from the chaos of modern life, places of peace and understanding open to all people. This despicable act of hatred violates that spirit of shared humanity and everything we hold dear as Americans.

“Today, we come together in mutual faith, confident in our shared values, to express sympathy and solidarity. We resolve anew to find a way to put a stop to such violence. And we pray with Reverend Absalom Jones, a founding bishop of the AME Church, ‘Give peace in our day, we beseech thee, O thou God of peace.’”

U.S. Senator Thom Tillis via Twitter:



Commentary, News

The two stories trending on Twitter this afternoon are the Senate’s passage of their $21.5 billion state spending plan, and the arrest of Dylann Storm Roof, the suspect in the tragic Charleston church shooting.

Here are some of the leading tweets on both stories:




After hours of heated debate over two days, the NC House gave final approval (78-37) Wednesday to a sweeping bill that amends various firearm laws.

Several of the more controversial measures of House Bill 562 did not make it into the final version approved by the House.

Specifically, supporters of the bill removed a provision that would have repealed the state’s pistol permit system. Sponsors also dropped a portion of HB 562 that would have allowed individual legislators and their staff members to carry concealed guns inside the General Assembly.

As it stands, the bill:
* allows district attorneys to carry concealed handguns into courtrooms
* authorizes the Commissioner of Agriculture to prohibit the carrying of firearms on the State Fairgrounds during the State Fair
* allows a gun owner to remove their gun from concealment and move it to a closed compartment or container in their vehicle
* prevents local governments from enacting restrictions more stringent than the state’s gun laws
* allows a person to carry an ordinary pocket knife (in the closed or folded position) into the State Capitol Building

The legislation now moves to the state Senate for consideration. To see how your individual lawmaker voted, click here. Click below to watch Craven County Rep. Michael Speciale on Tuesday as he tried to convince his colleagues that they should be allowed to carry concealed handguns within the legislature.

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