Under the Dome

State party’s resolutions include legalizing medical marijuana

jfrank@newsobserver.com June 18, 2012 

At its convention last weekend, the state Democratic Party endorsed 77 resolutions – many of them aligned with party policy positions, but more than a few on the partisan fringes, such as advocating for the legalization of medical marijuana, a single-payer health care system and the repeal of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

Put simply: Enough fodder to keep Democratic political critics well fed. Republican Pat McCrory ran into trouble when he supported a state GOP resolution opposing Agenda 21. And while Democratic gubernatorial nominee Walter Dalton didn’t go out of his way to endorse any of the resolutions, he’s likely to face some questions.

One resolution calls on Gov. Bev Perdue to grant pardons to the Wilmington 10 – a move her office has yet to act upon weeks after the pardon papers were filed – and another opposes fracking, a bill headed to the governor’s desk.

Among the others:

• The abandonment of nuclear energy as part of the U.S. energy policy.

• A request to President Barack Obama and the state’s U.S. senators to “bring war dollars home.”

• A ban on puppy mills in North Carolina.

• To abolish the death penalty.

• A demand for collective bargaining rights for workers.

• To oppose state-level immigration reforms, and to urge Congress to make the issue a top priority.

• To support the creation of a Cabinet-level Department of Peace and Nonviolence.

• To have public campaign financing for all races, instead of private campaign contributions.

The only resolution that didn’t pass: a controversial document calling for “just peace in the Middle East.” It included criticism of Israel and condemned U.S. aid for the country, and asked N.C. federal lawmakers to speak out on the issue. The resolution was tabled and referred to the state party’s Executive Committee.

Weighing in on N.C. law

North Carolina policies received another mention from The New York Times this weekend with an editorial calling on Gov. Bev Perdue to veto the bill that weakens the Racial Justice Act.

If she does veto it, both the House and Senate would have enough votes to override. The 2009 law allows death-row inmates to use statistics to show racial bias in prosecution or sentencing. If successful, their sentences are converted to life in prison without parole. The new bill limits the use of statistics, making them largely worthless.

The N.C. Conservation Network is asking supporters to send Perdue email asking her to veto the bill legalizing fracking. Meanwhile the Southern Environmental Law Center is running an ad in The News & Observe also asking Perdue to veto the fracking bill.

The ad appears as a note to Perdue. More than 100 companies and nonprofits have signed on.

The fracking bill passed the House last week and likely will get Senate approval this week.

Fracking passed with 66 votes in the House, but 11 members were either absent or didn’t vote.

‘Happy hour’ for Obama

Aziz Ansari, a comedian and actor on NBC’s “Park’s and Recreation,” is visiting Raleigh on Thursday to help add energy to the Obama campaign to win young voters.

The event Thursday is billed as a “happy hour” at The Hive at Busy Bee Cafe downtown. It runs from 2 to 4 p.m. The event is free, but an RSVP is required.

Ansari is a big Obama fan. He performed a standup routine in March as part of a campaign fundraiser.

Troopers back McCrory

Pat McCrory’s campaign is touting an endorsement from the N.C. Troopers Association.

“Pat McCrory’s experience as the youngest and longest-serving Mayor of Charlotte and his hands on involvement with law enforcement issues makes him the right candidate to lead our state as chief executive,” Ron Crawford, the Association’s President, said in a statement released by the campaign.

McCrory received the endorsement Saturday at an association event in Blowing Rock. McCrory is backed also by 39 sheriffs from across the state.

Staff writers John Frank and Lynn Bonner

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