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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
POLICY & POLITICS
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.
ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
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.
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.
... AND MORE