Today @NCCapitol (Feb. 22): McCrory heads to D.C. as memo roils political waters

Posted February 22, 2013

— Good morning, and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for FRIDAY, Feb. 22. This is WRAL's roundup of what you need to know about North Carolina state government this morning.

MCCRORY: Gov. Pat McCrory heads to Washington, D.C. today for the National Governors Association winter meeting. According to his public schedule, McCrory will stay through the weekend, attending a dinner at the White House Sunday and a governors-only meeting with President Barack Obama on Monday. 

MEMO: A strategy memo circulated to left-of-center groups sparked an outcry from Republicans Thursday evening. The memo and accompanying polling data calls for liberals to attack GOP ethics and conflicts of interest. It cites "tensions" between House and Senate Republicans and calls McCrory "extremely thin-skinned."

"I think it's shameful," said Ray Martin, caucus director for state Senate Republicans. "This is who is in control of the Democratic Party in North Carolina, radical left-wing zealots."

LEGISLATURE: There are no legislative meetings scheduled for today. 

The Wrap @NCCapitol (Feb. 21) The Wrap @NCCapitol (Feb. 21) WRAP: The legislative week ended with Senators taking up the group-home fix and sending the possum drop bill to McCrory. Capitol Bureau Chief Laura Leslie and reporter Mark Binker review the day and look ahead to next week in Thursday's The Wrap @NCCapitol

REDISTRICTING: The Senate is reactivating its redistricting committee. "We're going to take a hard look at judicial districts," said Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson.

FILED: Bills of interest filed Thursday include a measure aimed at bringing cursive writing back into the elementary school curriculum and a bill that would put a state program to issue drivers licenses for DACA immigrants on hold.

ALSO THURSDAY: In other legislative action Thursday:

Senate takes up Group Home fix, Possum Drop bill Senate takes up Group Home fix, Possum Drop bill MEDICAID: An outside computer expert evaluating North Carolina's new Medicaid billing system says it's on schedule to be running this summer without additional unplanned spending, reports the Associated Press. Click here to read the report summary.

PANTHERS: Although no bills have been filed yet, lawmakers are discussing whether and how to support renovations at Charlotte's NFL stadium. The idea of public funding has gotten mixed reviews.

However, House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger put out a joint statement Thursday: “Conversations with the Carolina Panthers organization and local and legislative officials are ongoing and productive. The Panthers not only produce thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in economic impact, but are a source of pride for the Charlotte region and the entire state. We remain steadfast and committed to keeping the Panthers in North Carolina and will continue to work together to achieve that goal.”

INVESTIGATES: A Lexington-based company is accused of swindling hundreds of thousands of people out of money through its online auction website. The government called it a Ponzi scheme and shut it down, yet no one has been charged. As many as 840,000 people could be fighting to get their money back, including 47,000 North Carolinians. Meanwhile, others are fighting to keep the online auction concept alive.


  • Fayetteville Observer: "Nearly 12 years after North Carolina lawmakers prohibited short-term payday loans in the state, lenders are trying to make their controversial industry legal again....Advocates for the military accuse the lenders of taking advantage of young personnel who are low-paid and naive about money matters."
  • NC Policy Watch: "State Rep. Jason Saine, a Lincolnton Republican, said he spent more than a year collecting unemployment checks, up until his August 2011 appointment to finish out the term of his predecessor....He sits in an unusual position – the program he benefited from for more than a year was drastically changed this month by the votes he and other lawmakers cast to overhaul the state’s unemployment insurance system."
  • News & Observer: "Randy H. Dishong was hired Monday as chief enforcer of the state’s car inspection and registration laws. The next day, he had to take care of an inspection and registration problem with his own car."
  • Independent Weekly: "This blog is the worst-kept secret in Lee County, where many credible sources say its founder and frequent author is Jim Womack, chairman of the state's Mining and Energy Commission, an appointed board tasked with preparing the state's regulations for hydraulic fracturing by 2014."
  • Stateline: "State employees who stayed put through years of pay freezes, furloughs and layoffs could find good news in their paychecks this year. Modest pay increases have been promised at the bargaining table or are being considered in at least half the states."
  • Winston-Salem Journal: "North Carolina is the only state that will clearly mark all people who are not U.S. citizens – everyone from business executives with “green cards” to students on visas – with a newly designed driver’s license coming this summer, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks legislation in all the states." (Previously from the WJS)
  • Wilmington Star News: "A proposed General Assembly bill designed to streamline state government processes could have the opposite effect, critics say, potentially burying agency employees in an avalanche of paperwork and regulatory reform measures."
  • Wilmington Star News: "Holdout sweepstakes owners face $200 daily fine."

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  • yankee1 Feb 22, 2013

    to allow the LIVING POSSUM DROP...Deep Thought but apparently Deep and Empty. How long has the possum drop existed? How many have been hurt? You guys on the left never give up on your jealousy. Just because liberalism has failed all of you, you expect to punish those who ignored your foolishness and succeeded. Just remember, without the 2% who pay 70% of the income tax load, the 49% who pay zero, zilch, nada, not only would have to finally contribute to the country but would lose a good portion of their freebies as well. Maybe it's time that happened. In fact, it's beyond time! Ruin your water tables? Really? Deep Thought again I see! Do you even know why the unemployment benefit problem was created?

  • Deep Thought Feb 22, 2013

    "I think it's shameful," said Ray Martin, caucus director for state Senate Republicans. "This is who is in control of the Democratic Party in North Carolina, radical left-wing zealots."

    This from a party whose leader, Sen Mitch McConnell, after the FIRST inauguration of Obama stated "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president." Not jobs, not the economy, nothing productive but obstructive.

    Our republicans first acts have been to reduce the time and amount of benefits the unemployed can receive, protect their wealthy friends from horrible estate taxes (over $5.25 milliion) and introduced a bill that may actually result in a mother nursing her baby being arrested and convicted of a felony and having to register as a sex offender. Oh, and don't forget the bill that has been sent to McCrory to allow the LIVING POSSUM DROP. Stay tuned for what they will do about fracking to ruin our water tables.

    Lord, save us from republicans.

  • faperrigo Feb 22, 2013

    A couple of questions: First, will investigative reporters please tell us the identity of the progressive groups associated with blueprintNC? Second, is Carolina Journal ever a 'must read'? Just as partisan as Policy Watch.

  • sixnitepkg Feb 22, 2013

    funny, a Republican calling the Democrats "radical...zealots". talk about projection! (which by-the-way is s ign of psychosis. Mr. Martin should be removed immediately for mental instability because, in fact HE is the radical zealot, albeit a right-wing one! Today's GOP would vilify truly conservative republicans like Eisenhower, Goldwater, and Teddy Roosevelt as a socialist or worse!

  • Grand Union Feb 22, 2013

    "yankee1: "For far too long Republicans have cowered in the corner afraid of being called racists and haters of the poor and the old"...From 2000 to 2006 who was in control?....My, my how quickly we forget."

    Now they seem quite happy to be openly racist and hateful.......and sowing the seeds of their own destruction in the process.

  • Grand Union Feb 22, 2013

    Whats the problem with the (Draft)memo? Seems that the dems should have a plan to help get the GOP dixiecrats out as soon as possible.

  • corncop Feb 22, 2013

    Just as an aside. Why can't the Gov just stay home and conference call or Skype? If NC is hurting so badly for cash, why can't he do his part to save a few bucks?

  • corncop Feb 22, 2013

    It"s shameful, Mr. Martin? Why? Because you Republikooks didn't think of it first? All's fair in love, war, and politics! The Republican party took the gloves off first, many years ago, so what's wrong with a little fair play? If you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear! So, what is it that you have to hide?

  • williams6 Feb 22, 2013

    Mr. Richardson is 76 years old, as smart and as wealthy as he obviously is, has waited until now to effect estate planning? A smart man has already made estate plans. A smart man is now manipulating the public to place additional money in his, or his heirs, pockets. Dear NC Legislators,,,,, please, do not fall for this ruse, or be intimidated by the vocal leverage, yet once again, of public money benefiting private pockets.

  • ctya Feb 22, 2013

    Can't say either party is doing much of anything but blowing smoke. It's all a big game and the working people are the ones that suffer and loss in the end.