A meeting between Gov. Pat McCrory and clergy Thursday became a political squabble by day’s end.
The governor’s Chief of Staff Thomas Stith invited Rev. William Barber, the leader of the “Moral Monday” protests and a vocal McCrory critic, to the lunch meeting at the Executive Mansion.
But Barber – the N.C. NAACP president who has repeatedly sent letters asking for a meeting with McCrory – didn’t attend because of a scheduling conflict, the governor’s office said. Asked why not, Barber’s spokeswoman didn’t reply to Dome’s questions and instead issued a mass press release saying the governor’s office was “spreading false information.”
In the statement, Barber said he asked to bring other clergy leaders involved in the protest movement and the governor’s office declined, saying it had it’s own list. Barber said he was told the luncheon may or may not occur and never heard back from the governor’s office.
McCrory’s office responded, laying out how the meeting took shape and issued a list of those invited, which included Barber. Spokesman Josh Ellis said the governor “arranged this meeting to continue reaching out to various individual groups including members of the business, clergy and education community.”
As for Barber’s accusation, Ellis said, “we’re unclear why he’s trying to mischaracterize his absence.”
An NAACP spokeswoman never replied to questions about the scheduling conflict.
The first “Moral Monday” protest is next week.
*** Much more political back-and-forth, another Tillis fundraiser in Washington, and the $5 million house lawmakers partied at Tuesday – all below in the Dome Morning Memo.***
Also Friday, McCrory will attend an animal welfare luncheon sponsored by the Charlotte Humane Society, an organization pushing a puppy mill bill (see more below) that is supported by his wife, Ann McCrory.
Keith Crisco, the textile company founder and former North Carolina Commerce Department secretary, is being remembered in services at 2 p.m. Friday at First United Methodist Church in Asheboro.
Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood is expected to rule in a lawsuit challenging a state law that orders each school district to give the best 25 percent of its teachers four-year contracts. The teachers would get pay raises totaling $5,000 but lose their tenure rights. Read more here.
The judges said some of the rules were unconstitutionally vague, and so legislative staff undertook the first major revision since 1987, which included updating the rules to reflect current practices.
But the process, rushed through on the second day of session in advance of next Monday’s anticipated first round of protests, drew criticism from Democratic legislators. Approved on a voice vote, the new rules will go into effect without going before the entire General Assembly. Soon after the commission voted, Senate Minority Whip Josh Stein, a Democrat from Raleigh, condemned the process on the Senate floor.
“It is deeply concerning we are changing the rules in which the people can enter the people’s house,” Stein said. “It was done without any public comment, or any opportunity for this full chamber to consider those rules.” Read more here.
They called it a move to put North Carolina’s teachers at the top of the state’s priority list, in a year when teachers and their advocates have been protesting low pay and difficult working conditions.
“There’s no question that teachers have the greatest influence on student achievement, so we must ensure they are the top priority for education funding,” said Sen. Tom Apodaca of Henderson County, who sponsored the bill along with David Curtis of Lincoln County and Bill Rabon of Brunswick County. Read more here.
The measure, part of a larger bill on tax law changes, was approved Thursday by the state House Finance Committee and is expected to go to the full House next week. Read more here.
Thomas D. Schroeder, the U.S. District Court judge, issued a memorandum order on Thursday that bats back the lawmakers’ claims that U.S. Magistrate Judge Joi Elizabeth Peake was outside the bounds of law when she issued a ruling earlier this year. Read more here.\
“We could add credibility to the study if we limit the time frame we’re asking people to consider,” commission chairman Frank Gorham III said. Read more here.
Woodward noted that the Senate voted 77-0 to create a committee to investigate the Watergate scandal and to name Ervin to chair it. “Today, you could never get anything like that through the Senate and the House,” Woodward said. Bernstein said it showed the respect for Ervin as a constitutional expert that crossed party lines. Read more here.
McCrory budget makes state employee firings political, critics say. Read more here.
N.C. magistrates sue state claiming breach of contract for frozen salaries. Read more here.
John Edwards wraps up first case since 2012 trial. Read more here.
Animal protection groups lobby on dog breeding bill. Read more here.
Meadows, Shuler to push for “Road to Nowhere” money. Read more here.