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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Morning Roundup: Are You Ready for Buck Newton, Immigration Czar?

Posted by on Tue, Jun 28, 2016 at 8:47 AM

Sen. E.S. "Buck" Newton, R-Johnston, Nash, Wilson, wants to be your attorney general. His backers are spending big bucks to make that happen.
  • Sen. E.S. "Buck" Newton, R-Johnston, Nash, Wilson, wants to be your attorney general. His backers are spending big bucks to make that happen.
Good morning. Let's get right to it.

1. Republican leaders have come to an agreement on the state budget.

From WNCN:
Budget-writer Rep. Nelson Dollar says average pay raises for teachers will be 4.7 percent, with the increases weighted toward mid-career and veteran instructors.

Rank-and-file workers would get at least 1.5 percent raises and small bonuses. There’s also money for merit-based raises. More personal income wouldn’t be subject to taxes this calendar year and next.

Democrats say they were shut out of the process entirely:
“We did not get to help shape the final bill and we did not see it. The conferees did not get to see it before it was released to the press the majority has had a press conference, is my understanding, at 7pm we still have not seen the bill because we were in session,” said Representative Larry Hall.

2. Say hello to House Bill 100.

WRAL reports on this new monstrous creation of Republican legislators:

On a party-line vote, the state Senate gave tentative approval Monday to a bill banning law enforcement from recognizing community identification cards and threatening state funding of any city or county that violates that ban.

House Bill 100 would also set up an anonymous complaint process at the Attorney General's Office. The office, with the help of the State Bureau of Investigation, would be required to investigate any complaint that a local or county government is recognizing non-official or community IDs.

If they're found to be in violation of the ban, cities would lose their Powell Bill transportation funding for the next budget year, while counties would lose their lottery school construction funding.
As The News & Observer points out, the law could put a lot of power in the hands of this guy, if the election for state attorney general goes his way:
Sen. Buck Newton, a Wilson Republican who is running for attorney general, said he’s opposed to the ID program. “When I have new neighbors, we bring them a pie, we don’t give them a fake ID,” he said. “This is an effort to stop fake IDs. This is a matter about public safety.”
His Democratic opponent in the race is Josh Stein. The Republican Attorney General Association is spending $3.8 million on TV ads in support of Newton.

You know what to do. 

3.  Republican senators don't like three things about the state constitution. Well, probably more than three, but they'll just deal with three this time, thanks.

From The News & Observer:

A proposed change to the North Carolina constitution that would reduce its cap on income tax advanced in the state Senate over objections that it could hurt the state when it faces financial crises or natural disasters.

Senate Republicans want three changes to the constitution: capping the personal and corporate income tax rate at 5.5 percent; limiting the cases in which governments can use eminent domain to take property; and protecting the right to hunt and fish. The questions would be on the November ballot.

Monday’s debate centered on the income tax cap, which Republicans said would make fiscal discipline part of the state’s framework, but which some Democrats said would hamstring future legislatures when crises hit.

The Senate is expected to vote again on this today, and send it back to the House.

4. The Durham County Commissioners passed a $587.3 million budget for 2016-17. 

From the Herald-Sun:

There will be no tax increase, as previously estimated the revenue neutral tax rate was set at 73.37 cents, and County Manager Wendell Davis proposed a one-cent tax hike, bringing the overall tax rate to 74.37 cents. But since the initial budget was proposed the tax office has recalculated the revenue-neutral rate based on guidance from the University of Chapel Hill School of Government.


The budget includes new mental health services for jail inmates, as reported by The News & Observer:

A significant addition to the final budget since Davis’ initial May proposal includes 10 new detention officer positions to staff a dedicated mental health pod in the jail.

Durham County Sheriff Mike Andrews asked for 14 detention officers for the mental health pod in his budget request. One of the 33 recommendations of a recent federal assessment of the jail centered on housing detainees with mental health issues in one pod.



5. Durham pays its respects to Ann Atwater. The local civil rights activist was laid to rest on Monday night at Mt. Calvary United Church of Christ.

From The Herald-Sun:

Ms. Atwater first became an organizer for Operation Breakthrough in 1965. Later, she became a resident liaison with the Durham Housing Authority. Speakers paid tribute to her ability to get things done. Even toward the end of her life, people knew they could go to Ms. Atwater to solve a problem, Reese said.

Ms. Atwater "could work a telephone," said the Rev. Tanya Best, associate pastor at Mt. Calvary, who delivered the eulogy. "She had a special gift to relate to the janitor all the way to the CEO," Best said.

Best said she worked with Ms. Atwater for 25 years in the church's Supportive Services Aid Committee, which helps people in need. When she saw a need, Ms. Atwater would come to the church, plead the person's case, and often the church would take up money and deliver it to a family or person in need.

"She was a grassroots person," Best said. "She was a down-to-earth person, and look what one person doing what God wanted them to do did for Durham. She was not trained to be a politician ... but God guided her and gave her what she needed," Best said.

Have a great Tuesday. Give some money, if you can, to your candidates in November.

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