Under the Dome

Dome: North Carolinians support some form of gun control

Staff writersFebruary 19, 2013 

Even in gun-loving North Carolina, there is support for some forms of gun control, according to a new poll.

A majority of Tar Heels – 51 percent – said they would support banning assault weapons, while 41 percent said they would oppose such a ban, according to a new survey by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-leaning firm in Raleigh.

Fifty-four percent said they support Congress passing stricter gun laws, while 40 percent opposed any such move.

The survey of 600 likely North Carolina voters was conducted Feb. 7-10 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.

States put mark on exchanges

The decision by the state legislature not to set up a state-run health exchange may be good news for abortion rights advocates in North Carolina.

There are efforts underway in 21 states that are setting up state-run health care exchanges to stop health insurance companies from paying for abortions for women, NBC News reports. The latest was legislation signed Monday by Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe.

The Affordable Care Act allows states to set up health insurance exchange marketplaces and set up their own rules. But states like North Carolina that decline to set up an exchange will rely on the federal government to run them.

So North Carolina will have no say on insurance companies paying for abortions.

Among the states which have passed laws banning health insurance exchanges from paying for abortions are Kansas, Arizona, Florida, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

Cultural exchanges

Thanks to the Washington Post and Legistorm.com we now know which of our U.S. lawmakers and their staffs have been getting some culture the past few years.

According to the Post, there were more than 800 cultural exchange trips paid for by foreign governments from 2006 to 2011 for the nation’s representatives, senators and their senior staff. But According to the Post, Legistorm.com went through personal financial forms to come up with a list of trips and who took them. The Post has put them in a searchable database at www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/congressional-travel/index.html

So who are among the well-travel among North Carolina’s delegation? Well, William T. Poole, chief of staff for Virginia Foxx, R-Banner Elk, has been to Germany, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Switzerland and Qatar. Rep. Mike McIntyre, D-Lumberton, took two trips to the UK, while former Rep. Heath Shuler, D-Waynesville, went to Sri Lanka – twice.

ACLU honors its heroes

The N.C. chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union held a banquet Saturday to give awards to their “civil liberties heroes”: UNC Law Professor Deborah Weissman, the Frank Porter Graham Award for her contributions to the fight for individual freedom and civil liberties; NC-NAACP President Rev. Dr. William Barber II, the ACLU-NC Award for his commitment to preserving and defending civil rights; civil rights attorney James E. Ferguson II, the Paul Green Award for his efforts to abolish or limit the death penalty; Equality North Carolina Communications Director Jen Jones, the Sharon Thompson Award for her efforts toward advancing equal rights for LGBT person; and former ACLU-NC Legal Director Katy Parker, the Norman Smith Award for volunteering extraordinary time and effort in service to the ACLU.

Staff writers Rob Christensen and John Frank

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