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Opinion Roundup: Another brazen NCGA power grab

Posted June 22

Final state budget plan outlined

Thursday, June 22, 2017 -- A roundup of opinion, commentary and analysis on the devil in the details of the General Assembly's budget, how the final version lines up with initial House and Senate plans, takeaways from Tuesday's congressional elections and more.

MARK JOSEPH STERN: NC. Republicans Are Trying to Strip the Governor of His Power to Challenge Laws (Slate column) -- Now, the state GOP believes it has devised a solution: stop Gov. Roy Cooper from filing suit against unconstitutional laws in the first place. This week, the General Assembly’s Republican leaders released their final budget, which includes a brazen plan to thwart the governor in several ways. First, the budget prevents Cooper from using the governor’s office attorneys without the General Assembly’s permission. Second, the budget prevents Cooper from using “lapsed salary savings”—money saved when the state pays an employee less than it had budgeted—to hire outside counsel.


JASON DEBRUYN: The Final Budget And How It Compares To House, Senate Proposals (WUNC-FM analysis) -- North Carolina legislators are expected to give final approval to a $23 billion dollar state budget.


Special elections send stark warnings to both parties (Charlotte Observer) -- Georgia and South Carolina voters gave wins to Republicans but warnings for both parties.


JUSTIN PARMENTER: Big pay raises? N.C. gives teachers just a tank of gas (Charlotte Observer column) -- The proposed North Carolina state budget does little for teacher pay.


JESS CLARK: Three Big Changes In Education Policy That Made The Budget Deal (WUNC-FM analysis) -- Education spending is far and away the lion's share of the state budget. This budget also includes some important changes to policy that will impact the state's teachers, students and schools.


CAROLINE METZLER: Gov. Cooper criticizes budget during CPCC visit but won’t say he’ll veto it (Charlotte Observer analysis) --NC Gov. Roy Cooper toured Central Piedmont Community College Wednesday. He criticized the state budget but won’t say he’ll veto it.


Pipeline land grab sets stage for limit on eminent domain (Wilson Times) -- Imagine selecting the supermarket’s finest-quality produce, filling your buggy to the brim, skipping the checkout line and flinging a fistful of change at the cashier on your way out the door.


MICHAEL GEBELEIN: Fired Transylvania Child Protective Services supervisor demands job back despite county’s appeal to Supreme Court (Carolina Public Press analysis) -- A court case that has called into question the practices of the Child Protective Services unit of the Transylvania County Department of Social Services under its previous supervisor could be headed to a hearing at the North Carolina Supreme Court. However, her legal team has asked a lower court to force the county to reinstate her before the Supreme Court decides whether it will weigh in.


The arts pay off; let’s sell them better (Wilmington Star-News) -- The arts aren’t just niceties or distractions. For communities like Wilmington, they mean business -- serious business. The local arts council crunched some numbers recently in cooperation with Americans for the Arts, a nationwide advocacy group. Their study indicates that the non-profit arts community -- that’s not counting businesses like art galleries -- generate close to $56 million in economic activity in New Hanover County each year.


ALEX GRANADOS: Tweak to educator preparation bill could favor Texas organization (EdNC analysis) -- The House K-12 Education Committee changed Senate Bill 599 today in a way that could create a faster path for certain types of teacher preparation organizations to enter the state. One such group, Teachers of Tomorrow, previously tried and failed to gain concessions from the Senate bill sponsor that would allow it to enter the state sooner.


BILLY RICHARDSON: Handgun Reform Act makes life more dangerous (Fayetteville Observer column) -- Guns and their use is one topic that causes the most spirited debate in our General Assembly. Clearly it is the supreme “wedge issue” and shows us the deep divide of emotional and intense beliefs each member possesses. It also shows how this division can cause us to abandon reason, abandon the democratic process, and abandon our better selves. It is the only topic that reduces our membership into drawing stick men and passing them out prior to what little debate we had on a crucial piece of legislation.


JEFF HAMPTON: Large new island forms off popular Outer Banks fishing spot (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot column) -- Shell-finding is great, but mind the sharks, stingrays, old fishhooks and strong current trying to get there.


LEAH ASMELASH: Pet Therapy Program Needs Help to Sit… Stay (N.C. Health News analysis) -- PAWS, a program to help people with mental health issues connect with dogs is on the chopping block.


TRISTA TALTON: Navassa Residents Demand Health Answers (Coastal Review analysis) -- Folks living near the site of a former wood-treatment operation in Navassa in Brunswick County say their questions about its health risks have gone unanswered for too long.


AP, Charlotte Observer Seek Access in Church Beating Case (AP analysis) -- The Associated Press and the Charlotte Observer have filed legal motions to gain access to documents and lift a gag order in the case of a North Carolina minister accused of orchestrating the beating of a congregant to expel his "homosexual demons." The news outlets' motions are related to the case of Brooke Covington, a minister at Word of Faith Fellowship church in Spindale, North Carolina. She is charged with kidnapping and assaulting Matthew Fenner in the church's sanctuary in 2013.

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