It’s a little quiet on Jones Street this week as members of the General Assembly are enjoying their scheduled Spring Break. So, with no substantive votes on the calendar, here are six stories worth keeping an eye on:
1. Council of State to meet – Governor Pat McCrory and the North Carolina Council of State will hold their monthly meeting Tuesday morning. The big question is, with lawmakers out of town, will members discuss the sale of the Dorothea Dix property?
2. Offshore Drilling – What’s Next? Recently, the U.S. Department of the Interior released a draft five-year plan that would make the Mid- and South Atlantic coasts available to oil and gas leasing starting in 2017.
If you’re worried about how this policy shift could forever change the landscape of our coastline, you won’t want to miss NC Policy Watch’s Tuesday Crucial Conversation.
Southern Environmental Law Center attorney Sierra Weaver will discuss what to expect next in the drilling and permitting process now that the initial public comment period has passed.
3. AARP/Shaw team up – With average retirement savings for the majority of Americans at worrisome lows, AARP and Shaw University Divinity School are announcing a “first-of-its-kind” effort to improve the financial security of folks of all ages.
On Tuesday, officials from Shaw and AARP will hold a 10:00 am press conference to explain how this new program can help put people on a path to financial freedom.
4. Leandro lawsuit heads back to court – Judge Howard Manning has ordered another special hearing in the Leandro lawsuit this Wednesday and Thursday in Wake County Superior Court.
The purpose of this hearing is so that the state may provide an update on its plans to “reduce, diminish or eliminate” any educational standards, any assessments currently being used, and accountability standards that measure a child’s ability to get a sound basic education. The hearing will also cover statewide EOG results for Grades 3 and 8 for reading and math for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years.
(The hearing begins at 10:00 a.m. in Courtroom 10A of the Wake County Superior Court.)
“A Conversation with Governor Mitt Romney” is free and open to the public, but tickets will be required. Tickets are available online at www.tickets.duke.edu.
Romney will deliver the Ambassador Dave and Kay Phillips Family International Lecture at 5:00 p.m. The lecture will also be livestreamed. Visit #RomneyDuke on Twitter for details.
6. Have your say on coal ash permits – Also Wednesday evening in Lincoln County, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will hold a public hearing from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the James Warner Citizens Center in Lincolnton about the proposed permits for coal ash pond discharges into Lake Wylie, Mountain Island Lake, and Lake Norman.
The folks at Appalachian Voices, who have been following the state’s coal ash saga since last year’s spill along the Dan River, have an excellent rundown on what’s at stake as DENR considers authorizing these wastewater discharge permits.