Opinion Roundup: Cooper vetoes budget, charter school controversy, pork industry lawsuits and more

Thursday, June 7, 2018 -- A round up of opinion, commentary and analysis on: Gov. Roy Cooper vetoes GOP budget changes, controversial charter bill approved, $3B in road borrowing clears Senate, N.C. Constitution Party recognized as official party, Duke Energy expands community solar program and more.

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Thursday, June 7, 2018 -- A round up of opinion, commentary and analysis on: Gov. Roy Cooper vetoes GOP budget, controversial charter school bill approved, $3B in road borrowing clears Senate, N.C. Constitution Party recognized as official party, Duke Energy expands community solar program and more.
GARY ROBERTSON: Cooper vetoes GOP budget changes (AP reports) -- Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the state budget bill for the second year in a row, blaming legislative Republicans for a spending plan doesn't do enough for teacher pay, school safety and the environment.
MATTHEW BURNS: Cooper vetoes GOP budget, saying it 'doesn't cut it' (WRAL-TV reports) -- Saying the $23.9 billion state budget crafted behind closed doors by Republican lawmakers "doesn't cut it," Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the spending.
Segregation in 2018? Resistance builds as NC town charter school bill labeled racist (Charlotte Observer reports) -- Saying it's a revival of segregation, the NC NAACP and an array of Charlotte's black education leaders vow to fight a controversial town charter school bill if it passes. They say they'll go to court if necessary.
JIM MORRILL: Controversial NC charter bill approved. Now, these four towns could open schools. (Charlotte Observer reports) -- A legislative vote opened the door for four Mecklenburg County towns to create their own charter schools — and to what critics say could be the further segregation of Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools. The controversial bill won final approval in a 64-53 House vote, capping a year-long debate. Because it's a local measure, the Senate-passed bill does not need approval from Gov. Roy Cooper.
City money for schools? Why that's a false hope (Charlotte Observer) -- The legislature included a provision in its budget allowing municipalities to use property tax to pay for public schools. It's a policy that is sure to create winners and losers, and to widen the gap between rich and poor and urban and rural.
GARY ROBERTSON: Charter school creation for 4 towns gets final approval (AP reports) -- For the first time, N.C. municipalities now have the authority to apply for and to operate charter schools after the General Assembly gave final approval to the measure.
LAURA LESLIE: Lawmakers OK town charter schools (WRAL-TV reports) -- By a 64-53 vote, House lawmakers gave final approval to allowing four towns in Mecklenburg County to open charter schools under town management.
What’s in the water? Don’t ask, lawmakers say (Fayetteville Observer) -- In a week when many of us observe the 1-year anniversary of the arrival of “GenX” in our vocabulary, the General Assembly chose the most cynical possible response. Instead of passing legislation that will protect Cape Fear River Basin residents from the chemical threat, lawmakers gutted some already anemic responses — at the request of the chemical industry.
TRAVIS FAIN: Farm bill targets nuisance suits against pork industry (WRAL-TV reports) -- "They have all the rights, and we have none," says a woman who lives next to a hog farm.
TRAVIS FAIN: $3B in road borrowing clears Senate (WRAL-TV reports) -- Payback costs would near $4.7 billion, and projects would be chosen through a state ranking formula.
Road debt authority gets unanimous Senate approval (AP reports) – N.C.'s road-building agency could benefit from up to $3 billion in debt to complete more projects faster in a bill getting bipartisan support in one General Assembly chamber.
MATTHEW BURNS: Bill would provide gifted low-income students better access to advanced math classes (WRAL-TV reports) -- Legislation designed to open advanced math classes up to more low-income students statewide received unanimous approval in the House.
Improve medical care for rural residents (Winston-Salem Journal) -- Two bipartisan bills intended to improve access to medical care in rural communities currently before the state legislature could benefit many. But it’s a shame that the situation had to get this dire in the first place. It could have been prevented with earlier action from the legislature.
PETER NICHOLAS: Democrats’ Interest in Midterm Elections Running Ahead of Republicans’ (Wall Street Journal reports) -- Democrats are showing considerably more interest in the fall elections than are Republicans, and voters overall are signaling they would like control of Congress to flip to the Democrats, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds.
GARY ROBERTSON: N.C. Constitution Party recognized as official party (AP reports) --There's another new official political party that can field candidates in November's general elections.
Apple campus would be a transformative addition to the Triangle (WRAL-TV/TechWire reports) -- Apple reportedly is in the final stages of negotiating a deal to bring thousands of jobs to the Triangle, a deal that could transform the region.
KELLY HINCHCLIFFE: Civil rights advocates discuss risks, benefits of 2020 Census (WRAL-TV reports) -- How do you warn people about potential problems with the 2020 Census while also encouraging them to participate in it? That was the question civil rights and demographic experts discussed during a panel discussion at the Junior League of Raleigh.
MICHAEL ABRAMOWITZ: State treasurer presses Vidant-ECU on merger (Greenville Daily Reflector reports) -- North Carolina’s treasurer Dale Folwell told officials he was concerned an agreement to address the potential effects a merger between Vidant Health and ECU might have on state employees’ benefits had yet to be reviewed by an outside counsel.
JOE MARUSAK: Former NC official now accused of stealing millions in taxpayer money, faces more charges (Charlotte Observer reports) -- A former Buncombe County manager in the North Carolina mountains was indicted on charges accusing her of stealing millions in taxpayer dollars and spending it on life insurance for her, her son and eight unwitting NC county employees.
ALEX GRANADOS: Supporting the education of homeless youth (EdNC reports) – There are 26,377 homeless youth and children N.C. The State Board of Education heard a presentation on the education hurdles they face, and what is being done to help them.
API Launches Offshore Drilling Coalition (Coastal Review reports) -- American Petroleum Institute launched Explore Offshore, a coalition of more than 100 businesses and leaders from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida that support offshore energy exploration.
JOHN DOWNEY: Duke Energy expands N.C. community solar program (Charlotte Business Journal reports) -- Responding to critics, Duke Energy Corp. proposes expanding its planned N.C. “community solar” program to 10 megawatts from its original 2-megawatt proposal. But it also proposes delaying the program for about two years to enable its utilities to provide on-bill solar charges and credits to customers. Originally Duke had proposed starting the program next year.
TYLER DUKES: After long silence, Chemours touts plan to cut GenX emissions (WRAL-TV reports) -- Chemours officials said they are committed to responding to the concerns of residents nearby and downstream from their Bladen County plant, but maintain safety of drinking water containing GenX.
VAUGHN HAGERY: GenX Wake=up call, legislative snooze button (Coastal Review analysis) – It’s been a year since news was first reported of GenX and other contaminants in the Cape Fear region’s drinking water, but despite all the attention, little progress has been made to protect public health.
STEPHANIE CARSON: Statewide Campaign Launches to Reduce Polystyrene Use (Public News Service) -- Our take-out culture is taking its toll on N.C.'s landfills. It's estimated that Americans throw away 70 million plastic foam cups every day - and that doesn't include bowls and take-out containers. It's something that community groups and concerned citizens are working to change in the Tar Heel State. Environment N.C. joined Compost Now and Every Tray Counts to launch "Wildlife Over Waste." Executive director Drew Ball said something must change.
LINDELL JOHN KAY: ‘Eyesore crawling with criminals & cockroaches’ - Authorities close Gold Rock motel (Rocky Mount Telegram reports) -- Calling the motel an eyesore crawling with criminals and cockroaches, the Ashburn Inn in Gold Rock has been shuttered by a court-order as result of a complaint from state and local officials.
Joel Davis named vice president and general manager of WRAL-TV and WRAZ/FOX 50 (WRAL-TV reports) -- Capitol Broadcasting Company, Inc. President Jimmy Goodmon announced that Joel Davis has been named vice president and general manager of WRAL-TV and WRAZ-TV/FOX 50.

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