The lawmaking this year begins in earnest Monday and so do the protests.
Four bills sit on the Senate’s calendar for consideration when they meet at 7 p.m. including a contentious issue lingering from the 2013 session: HB150, which would limit local governments’ ability to set building standards.
The House will gavel into session at 4 p.m. but not take any votes. House Speaker Thom Tillis will miss the session to attend fundraisers in Washington for his U.S. Senate campaign.
But expect more attention to focus on the “Moral Monday” protests that begin at 5 p.m. outside the statehouse. Here’s AP with the call: Protesters are calling for a repeal of last year’s laws on unemployment insurance and requiring a voter ID. They also want more funding for social programs and a Medicaid expansion. Republicans, who control both houses in the Legislature, have not signaled a shift in direction. They say their laws have put North Carolina on the path to economic prosperity.
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Terry Van Duyn was arrested during protests last year. Now, as a newly elected Democratic senator from Buncombe County, she hopes to influence things from the inside.
All people and groups visiting the Legislative Building will also face new building rules that will govern how and where they can gather to demonstrate outside the House and Senate floors.
*** Catch the big political news you missed from the weekend, below in the Dome Morning Memo. ***
TODAY IN POLITICS: Gov. Pat McCrory attended the NASCAR all-star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday night. His office did not issue a public calendar for Monday.
Expect to hear more from Van Duyn later today after a 12:30 p.m. roundtable with capital reporters.
Conservative groups, led by Dallas Woodhouse’s Carolina Rising, will hold a press conference outside the statehouse at 4:15 p.m. to offer a counter message to the protests.
Outside the political arena, expect a good bit of attention at Wake Forest University’s commencement Monday, where Jill Abramson, the former executive editor of The New York Times, will speak to graduates just after 9 a.m. Read more here.
#NCSEN --- The headlines from the U.S. Senate campaign trail.
THE MUST-READ – WOMEN HOLD KEY TO U.S SENATE RACE: Women were the key to Sen. Kay Hagan’s election in 2008, and in what is likely to be a close race for re-election this year, she is stressing issues aimed at them: equal pay, health care, birth control and education.
The strategy is part of North Carolina Democrat’s efforts to attack the policies pushed over the past three years by the Republican-controlled state legislature, where her GOP opponent, state House Speaker Thom Tillis, has played a major role.
Hagan’s game plan tries to capitalize on her party’s strength among women voters and gives her campaign a message that it hopes will appeal to women who vote independent as well. Boosting the Democratic turnout in the November mid-term election is crucial for Hagan, and Democratic candidates across the country. Midterms are traditionally low-turnout elections and often hurt the party in power, and this year it’s Hagan’s.
“In all close Senate races, male or female, Democrats win by winning women more than they lose men by,” said Democratic political strategist Celinda Lake. “So women are key to their victory.”
Particularly important for her will be the groups that traditionally drop off in off-year elections --unmarried women under 55, younger women and women of color, Lake said. Read more here.
A NATIONAL LOOK – More tests in Tuesday primaries for GOP, tea party: Tuesday’s primary elections will give establishment Republicans another chance to defeat tea party-backed candidates, but some political activists are asking if it makes much difference.
They see tea partiers losing individual races but winning the larger ideological war by tugging the Republican Party rightward.
Several tea party-endorsed candidates are struggling in Tuesday’s Republican congressional primaries in Georgia, Kentucky and Idaho. In each state, however, the “establishment” Republican candidates have emphasized their conservative credentials, which narrows the party’s philosophical differences. Read more here.
#NCPOL --- More political news from North Carolina.
THE BIG STORY – INVESTIGATION REVEALS PROBLEMS AT STATE MEDICAL EXAMINER’S OFFICE: A Charlotte Observer investigation, entailing the most comprehensive analysis of state death rulings ever conducted, found that examiners regularly close cases without following recommended practices.
• They don’t go to death scenes in 90 percent of cases they investigate.
• In one of every nine deaths, they violate a state requirement to examine the bodies.
• When an elderly person dies, they’re even more likely to take shortcuts. Since 2001, more than 40 of the state’s counties went at least three years without a single autopsy on a person 75 or older.Read much more and see the rest of the series here
McCRORY GETS THE NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT: A story about Gov. Pat McCrory and his (rocky) relationship with the state legislature led the National report in Sunday’s New York Times. But the Republican’s big debut on the national scene did little to boost his image.
Not much of the piece is new for Morning Memo readers. This is essentially the entire story in two paragraphs: Stopping at a paint store in the North Hills section of the capital, Charles Snyder, 72, who owns a construction company, called himself “a lifelong registered Republican” but said he was unhappy with the state’s conservative direction.
He lamented that the governor did not have more control over lawmakers. “If he agrees with them, he’s fine,” he said. “If he disagrees, he’s emasculated.” Read more here.
McCRORY SAYS HE’LL PUSH PUPPY MILL BILL AGAIN – FIRST LADY NOT ABLE TO ATTEND EVENT HONORING HER WORK: Gov. Pat McCrory, accepting an award on behalf of his wife at a Humane Society fundraiser Thursday in Charlotte, said he will re-introduce the puppy mill legislation that caused a ruckus in January.
The governor said he hopes a ban on gassing animals will get tacked onto that legislation, and he wants to add $100,000 to the money counties get from the state to help spay and neuter animals.
About 90 women gathered at the Duke Mansion to recognize Ann McCrory and Kim Alboum, North Carolina state director for the Humane Society of the United States, for their work to stop what host Maureen O’Boyle called “the atrocities” of large-scale commercial breeding operations, often called puppy mills. Ann McCrory couldn’t attend because of a medical issue, the governor said.
In accepting her award, McCrory said he’ll again push for regulations to require “basic water and basic care” at puppy mills. He cited pressure from agriculture supporters “afraid of a slippery slope” when it comes to animals’ living conditions. Read more here.
MORE: McCrory tells Wingate graduates to “never give up.” Read more here.
NO NORTH CAROLINA-SOUTH CAROLINA GAME THIS YEAR – From our colleagues at The State in Columbia, S.C.: North Carolina lawmakers have asked to postpone their semi-regular basketball game against their South Carolina counterparts scheduled for Thursday at Colonial Life Arena.
The Tar Heel gang just returned for a short session last week and want to concentrate on legislation – not layups.
“(N.C. House Speaker Thom) Tillis’ office was very apologetic and thought it would be better to come down here when they would have more participation,” according to an email sent by S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell’s office obtained by The Buzz. “His office mentioned they were just getting back for a short session, dealing with governor’s executive budget, et al. and wanted to move the game to June or maybe in the fall.”
The event featuring Carolinas lawmakers includes a game before hand with lobbyists from across the border facing each other.
THE BIG HEADLINE FROM FRIDAY: In a ruling that affects the employment rights of thousands of public school teachers, a judge in Wake County ruled Friday that the state legislature’s move to eliminate teacher tenure is unconstitutional.
Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood ordered a permanent injunction against the implementation of the law that ends career status, known as teacher tenure. The judge’s decision applies statewide to teachers who already have tenure, but not to those who haven’t yet earned it.
Retroactively abolishing tenure for teachers, Hobgood said, violates the contract clause in the U.S. Constitution and “amounts to an unconstitutional taking of plaintiffs’ property rights in their existing contract,” which violates the state constitution. Hobgood said the legislature’s action harmed teachers’ contracts and “was not reasonable and necessary to serve an important public purpose.” Read more here.
CHARLOTTE AREA LAWMAKERS FORM NEW LEGISLATIVE CAUCUS: In the General Assembly you’ll find a Motorsports Caucus, an Agricultural Caucus, a Military Caucus, an Indian Affairs Caucus, a Sportsmen’s Caucus, a Wineries Caucus and, of course, a Prayer Caucus.
Now add another: The Union Mecklenburg Edge City Caucus. Its members include the three senators and five House members – all Republicans – whose districts encompass the small town and suburban tracts along the county line. Read more here.
QUICK LOOK – More headlines from across the state.
Raleigh area gun store’s big glock sign creates a controversy. Read more here.
Mayors in Orange County support gay marriage lawsuit. Read more here.
Rob Christensen: Woodward and Bernstein on Snowden. Read more here.
Governor’s budget plan shifts costs to counties. Read more here.