Even though she declined to sign a letter with 45 of her Senate colleagues, North Carolina’s Kay Hagan said she has asked the Environmental Protection Agency to delay new regulations designed to limit carbon emissions for power plans.
In a separate letter, the Democrat wrote to EPA Secretary Gina McCarthy to extend the public commend period to four months from two months. (See attached.)
“While the science on the reality of global warming is clear, any effort to reduce carbon emissions will benefit from collaboration and dialogue between diverse stakeholders and interested parties,” she wrote in a letter dated May 21.
Her comments were the first indication that she agreed with other Republican and Democratic senators who sent a letter a day later requesting the 60 days window for review be extended to 120 days. Her absence from the collective push drew headlines.
“As I understand it, the rules are very long and very complicated and that’s why we need to double (the length) of public comment,” she said in a interview Tuesday night.
Republican Thom Tillis’ campaign criticized Hagan earlier in the day for not doing so. “Instead of joining a bipartisan group of Senators to demand a delay of a costly new government regulation that will kill jobs and cause electricity prices to soar, Kay Hagan instead sided with the fringe, left-wing environmental group that just endorsed her campaign,” said campaign manage Jordan Shaw in a statement.
Hagan’s office acknowledged her letter was not publicly released.
Hagan’s disclosure came after she rallied the state’s environmental community and drew a sharp contrast between her accomplishments and the record of her Republican rival. ( More on that here.)
The first-term senator declined to comment on President Barack Obama’s move to limit greenhouse gas emissions ahead of an announcement next week as part of the effort to fight climate change.
“I need to see what the EPA is proposing,” she said.
When it comes to the issue and energy exploration, Hagan straddles the fence, telling the League of Conservation Voters in her speech that she supports the EPA even as she cautions that the regulations must “minimize the economic burdens on middle class families.”
“We must work together to fight climate change and I will continue to stand up to obstructionist efforts to undermine that work,” Hagan said in her speech.
In the evening, McCrory will attend a legislative reception for BEST NC, a group of business executives who are pushing for education changes. The 6:30 p.m. event is at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences.
At the legislature, seven committees are scheduled to meet. ( Full schedule here.) The ones to watch: Senate Education meets at 9 a.m. in room 643 LOB; House Regulatory Reform has a full agenda at 10 a.m. in the same room; and the House State Personnel Committee will meet at noon in 544 LOB to look at a bill to give State Treasurer Janet Cowell more staff to monitor the state’s investments.
Expect bigger news from the Senate Republican press conference scheduled for 10 a.m. in the legislative building. A “major education announcement” is planned. Democrats will hold a press conference at 11 a.m. in the same room to push for Medicaid expansion.
The Senate convenes at 11 a.m. and will consider a major tax overhaul that would prevent local governments from charging businesses privilege taxes. It will also take a final vote on the regulatory reform bill. ( More on that here.)
The House meets at 3 p.m. and is expected to give final approval to Gov. Pat McCrory’s nominee for the Industrial Commission.
The 40-second message asks listeners to call Hagan’s office and demand she ask President Obama for an independent investigation. “... We are learning that this administration’s Department of Veteran’s Affairs is failing our veterans. They are being denied the care they deserve and the department is covering it up,” it says. “So why won’t the President launch an independent investigation to get to the bottom of this?”
Hagan is one of 10 Democrats being targeted nationwide in the effort. She supports the administration’s ongoing investigation into the delays in care for veterans.
Republican Thom Tillis has called for the VA secretary to resign; Hagan has not.
Draft budget documents obtained by The News & Observer indicate that Senate leaders are planning to spend as much as $468 million more on teacher pay in the next budget year – a significant amount that would provide an average raise of 11 percent for teachers who move to the new pay plan.
With Republicans pledging to avoid tax increases, it is not clear where the money to fund that scale of raises would come from, or what areas of the public education system or elsewhere in state government would face cuts to direct more money to lagging teacher pay.
• Create a new pay schedule that has substantial increases built in. Some teachers would see 16 percent to 20 percent increases in pay. In exchange, those teachers who choose the new plan, which is called “professional status” in the documents, would relinquish longevity pay and tenure, which is officially called “career status.”
• Keep pay flat for teachers who keep their tenure.
• Continue to pay teachers an additional 10 percent for having a master’s degree or having started work on one and an additional 12 percent for holding national board certification.
• Jump North Carolina teachers from among the lowest nationally in teacher pay to somewhere in the middle of the pack, depending on which measure is used. North Carolina teachers would be among the highest paid in the Southeast under the Senate plan. Rankings of teacher pay in the state has become a potent political issue, and the movement to address that is reflected in the new plan.Read more here
The arrests came about 1:45 a.m., about 10 hours after 15 demonstrators entered the office. One woman left before the arrests because she is a single mother and needed to be able to get her son to school in the morning, the state NAACP, which has organized the “Moral Monday” campaign, said in a statement.
The people arrested were charged with second-degree trespassing, a misdemeanor. It was unclear Wednesday morning if they had posted bonds or had been released from the Wake County Detention Center, where Raleigh police took them for processing by magistrates. Read more here.
But the group now says it supports the bill – HB1050 – even as it objects to the provision charging a new tax on e-cigarettes, according to a new letter.
“We sought to clarify this today before the committee vote because while our blog post did make clear that the entire bill did not violate the pledge, the letter was less clear,” wrote Paul Blair, a state affairs manager for the Washington-based advocacy organization.
It says offsetting tax cuts balance the new e-cig tax and make the entire bill “revenue neutral.”
Republicans say there’s a budget surplus while Democrats say we’re headed into a structural deficit. Budget talk is tailor-made for politicians. Read more here.
The Houston Independent School District plans to hold a job fair Saturday at the Doubletree Brownstone Hotel on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh. A newspaper classified ad promoting the event notes the district pays a $46,805 starting salary, which is about 20 percent higher than the starting salary for a Wake County teacher. Read more here.
“It takes tremendous humility and courage to ask for help from others, and to follow that request with the level of perseverance seen here today deserves notice,” she said in a statement released by the governor’s office. “We are all defined by how we handle hardships, and these women have transformed theirs.”
Lt. Gov. Dan Forest also spoke at the event.
Horse racing’s tough rough in North Carolina. Read more here.
Army ousted commander after hospital deaths. Read more here.