Morning Memo: State GOP heads to casino; Democrats meet at Convention Center

Posted by John Frank on June 6, 2014 

Republicans and Democrats will rally their teams this weekend as the political parties host annual conventions that will showcase different story lines.

The Republican convention, which starts Friday, is sure to receive more attention, given its location at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino in western North Carolina and the speaker lineup.

The party is expected to maintain its opposition to gambling as part of its platform, creating the first of a few awkward moments. The next is the keynote speaker at the big Saturday dinner, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. The 2016 presidential contender endorsed Mark Harris in the GOP primary, picking against the party’s nominee, House Speaker Thom Tillis, not to mention he’s a Baptist preacher speaking at a casino convention.

Republicans will sing together when it comes to Tillis’ nomination and likely on the convention itself, though some Republican lawmakers are not attending, whether for distance or the gambling factor.

On the Democratic side, the confab begins Saturday at the Raleigh Convention Center and it’s sure to generate its own headlines. The party’s resolutions alone includes provisions to endorse the Moral Monday movement, label the “Obamacare“ roll out a “successful launch” and support Palestine statehood.

Oh, and this mouthful: a “resolution in Support of Governmental, Science-Based Policies that Protect and Improve the Earth’s Life Support Systems of Clean Water, Clean Air and Healthy Food, that Protect Our Forests, Rivers, Streams and Ocean and that Address the Consequences of Global Climate Change.”

Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan will not attend the convention as originally planned, opting instead to attend the memorial servies for the late Maya Angelou in Winston-Salem. But Hagan will speak at the party’s Saturday Jefferson Jackson dinner, a party spokeswoman said.

*** At the end of the week here, get caught up on the latest from Jones Street and the campaign trail below in the Dome Morning Memo. ***

TODAY IN POLTICS:

Gov. Pat McCrory will make an economic development announcement at 10 a.m. in Research Triangle Park, according to his calendar. He will later visit Appalachian Care, a U.S. Department of Defense program in Cherokee County.

The House and Senate have recessed until Monday. No committee meetings are scheduled for today.

FLOTUS IN THE STATE: First Lady Michelle Obama will speak at Maya Angelou’s memorial service in Wake Forest on Saturday, the White House announced.

#NCSEN --- The headlines from the U.S. Senate campaign trail.

KAY HAGAN GETS A BOOST FROM HER FORMER HOME STATE: Hagan is returning to Florida, where she grew up, to raise campaign cash for her re-election campaign. According to a fundraising invitation posted by the Tampa Bay Times, Hagan will attend an event in Tampa hosted by the state’s former Chief Financial Officer and Democratic congressional candidate Alex Sink and former U.S. Rep. Jim Davis.

The 3 p.m. Sunday fundraiser costs $2,600 from the top level with a minimum $100 donation to attend. The invitation lists a number of familiar names for Hagan, whose maiden name is Ruthven.

On the list of hosts: Rosemary Armstrong and Sandy Weinberg, Justin Day, Ben Diamond, Vevie Dimmitt, Sherida Ferguson, Carrie and Bob Henriquez, Karen and Joe L. Ruthven, Kim and Greg Ruthven and Judy and Joe P. Ruthven.

Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson is also expected to attend. See the invitation here.

#NCGA – A roundup of news from the N.C. General Assembly.

DENR ON DEFENSE: The governor’s coal ash plan was given a rousing defense by his top state regulator during a Senate commitee meeting.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary John Skvarla insisted that Gov. Pat McCrory’s proposal was based on science and engineering, not special interests.

“The state of North Carolina is in charge of this process – no one else,” Skvarla said.

Reaction from members of the Senate agriculture committee and environmentalists who spoke at the meeting was polite, but lawmakers made it clear they intend to write their own plan. Read more here. And for the Charlotte perspective, read here.

PRODUCT PLACEMENTS REQUIRED: The Senate wants to replace the state’s expiring film incentives program with grants, capped at $5,000. Priority for receiving grants would go to movies based on variety of criteria, including the number of state residents they employ and whether they feature identifiable state attractions in a way that would increase tourism. The Senate, of course, doesn’t get the final word. The governor also favors a grant but would cap it at $6,000. The House hasn’t weighed in yet. Read more here.

McCRORY, McAULIFFE SHARE MORE THAN “Mc”: McCrory’s signature on the state’s fracking bill shared billing with Virgina Gov. Terry McAuliff’s move to create a comprehensive energy plan in “Shale Daily,’ a publication of NGI (Natural Gas Intelligence). Read it here.

COMMON CORE UNCOMMON GROUND: McCrory said Thursday that the legislature’s effort to repeal Common Core standards is “not a smart move,” but his Republican counterpart in South Carolina, Nikki Haley, disagrees. Haley has signed a bill that requires her state to replace the standards by the 2015-2016 school year. Read more here.

PUBLIC-PRIVATE MOVES FORWARD: The prospects of the state’s economic development marketing efforts shifting to a new public-private partnership took a major step forward Thursday as the House tentatively endorsed the concept.

The House voted 73-41 in favor of a bill that would create a nonprofit that the Commerce Department would hire to help it recruit jobs and promote international trade and tourism. Thursday’s vote followed the second reading of the bill on the House floor; a third and final reading is expected Tuesday. The Senate has its own version of the bill and it includes the provision to replace the state’s current film incentives with grants. Read more here.

JOB SEARCH REQUIREMENT UPPED: A bill that calls for North Carolina workers receiving unemployment benefits to step up their job-seeking efforts received a preliminary go-ahead from the state House Thursday.

The unemployment bill would require jobless workers to contact five potential employers each week in order to remain eligible for unemployment benefits. Currently, jobless workers are required to contact two potential employers weekly.

The bill, which must be voted on again before it can move to the Senate, passed by a 77-39 margin. Read more here.

BACK TO SCHOOL: McCrory has been sent a bill that lessens some of the requirements of Read to Achieve. The bill cuts the amount of time children who don’t pass the third grade end of grade reading test have to spend in summer reading camps (a k a Camp Phil Berger) from six weeks to 72 hours. It also offers schools more flexibility in determining a child’s reading ability. Critics say there is still room for improvement.

ARKANSAS WANTS TO BE LIKE NC:

While NC looks to revamp its Medicaid system, Arkansas wants to be more like us, Triangle Business Journal reports. From TBJ: Community Care of North Carolina, the nonprofit group that helps manage the Medicaid population in North Carolina, was selected to implement its program in Arkansas. CCC will receive a $750,000 grant for start-up costs and share in savings after the first year. Read more here.

CHARTER SCHOOLS COULD LOSE PUBLIC SCRUTINY, CHARLOTTE OBSERVER: The future of public access to information about charter schools became murkier this week with a Senate education committee proposal.

The committee is considering stripping a bill of requirements that the schools comply with open meeting and public records laws.

Read more here.

QUICK LOOK – More headlines from across the state.

• Grandson of U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx charged with selling narcotics at high school. Read more here .

• GOP Senate candidates grope for safe position on climate change. Read more here.

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