Raleigh, N.C. — Good morning and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Monday, April 1. This is WRAL's roundup of what you need to know about North Carolina state government this morning.
SCHEDULE: Neither the House nor Senate has any committee meetings scheduled. Floor sessions are scheduled to be skeleton sessions, during which no recorded votes will be taken. Gov. Pat McCrory has no public events on his schedule.
POLLING: Progress North Carolina, a liberal advocacy group, is scheduled to hold a news conference this morning to release polling that show early voting is popular in North Carolina. The polling responds to a bill that would curb early voting in coming election cycles. Time: 10:30 a.m. Location: Legislative press room.
COLLINS: Buddy Collins, one of Gov. Pat McCrory's nominees to the state Board of Education, is getting some unflattering attention from liberal writers. Collins is a long-time Forsyth County school board member who has received the endorsement of local educator groups.
Amanda Terkel, a HuffPo columnist who once worked for the Center for American Progress, makes the anti-gay charge against Collins for his opposition to anti-bullying measures. She relies in part on the reporting of Matt Comer, an activist and writer for the LGBT-focused Q-notes website. She also quotes local GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard as calling Collins, "a retrograde voice, inimical to the interests of youth." The story has since been picked up by other liberal writers and appears to be something establishment Democrats are ready to use to hammer McCrory with this week.
Collins has also been involved in debates over "systems thinking" and been known to inducing swearing in local reporters. A recent N.C. Policy Watch profile noted that he is a lawyer and conservative Republican who writes the blog "Hiking with a Fat Bald White Guy."
CITIES: "Two years have passed since historic anti-annexation legislation became law, and the Republican-led General Assembly still isn't finished trying to take the powers and clout of North Carolina's municipalities down a few more notches," reports the Associated Press. Earlier and related: Legislation to void Raleigh's lease of the Dorothea Dix property is the latest example of what some say is a war on North Carolina cities by the General Assembly. Also, from the Charlotte Observer: "Even in a state that has grown increasingly urban, North Carolina cities are on the defensive, fighting to keep prized assets and local control against a legislature that appears intent on taking them."
FLAG: "A Confederate battle flag hung inside the old North Carolina State Capitol last week to mark the sesquicentennial of the Civil War is being taken down after civil rights leaders raised concerns," reports the Associated Press.
WORTH THE READ:
STAR-NEWS:A bipartisan group of mostly coastal lawmakers wants to sell naming rights for ferries as a means of offsetting scheduled rate hikes.
News & Observer:During the first four years of a teacher’s career, he or she has a contract up for renewal each year. The idea is that poorly performing teachers are weeded out during a probationary period. After the fourth year, the teacher either receives career status, also called tenure, or is out of the profession. Though tenure is viewed by some as a job guarantee, schools can fire teachers. The law spells out 15 acceptable reasons for dismissal, including inadequate performance, immorality, neglect of duty and a reduction in a district’s teaching force.
N.C. Health News:A bill aimed at reducing some of BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina’s market power raced through a committee this week and passed almost unanimously in the House of Representatives.
Stateline:The sequester will cost energy states tens of millions of dollars in mineral revenues, a move that has sparked anger — and surprise — among some state officials who say they should have been informed sooner.