NC lawmakers return with open agenda – WRAL

RALEIGH, N.C. — State lawmakers will return to Raleigh Nov. 27 for a lame-duck session expected to deal with voter ID and Hurricane Florence relief. Democrats are concerned about what other proposals could emerge in the waning days of the Republicans’ veto-proof majority.

Republican leaders have said they intend to pass legislation enacting the photo identification requirement to cast a ballot that voters approved last week as a constitutional amendment. They’ll have to decide which forms of ID will be accepted, from driver’s licenses to student, military or tribal IDs, and whether the law will allow for exceptions for voters who can’t obtain an accepted form of identification.

They’re also expected to consider additional legislation dealing with Hurricane Florence recovery. Although they voted in October to approve nearly $800 million over a period of years, much of that money still has to be specifically appropriated for needs identified by state and local agencies. Lawmakers will hear reports this week on the latest damage estimates. (Read more)

Editorial: Tweet sends powerful legislators into a tizzy

There was a $50,000 legislative panic on display in Tuesday’s hastily called and disorganized special session of the North Carolina General Assembly. It was a day of hurry up and wait. Legislation that was supposed to be all set to go, prepared in secret of course, wasn’t quite ready for prime time and needed more work.

Why all the upheaval? Because Gerry Cohen, who served 32 years as director of the legislature’s bill drafting division, responded to a public call for suggestions and comments from the state Constitutional Amendments Publication Commission on short captions about the content of the proposed amendments. The commission, which includes Democrats Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and Attorney General Josh Stein along with Legislative Services Officer Paul Coble, a Republican, is charged with providing the captions that, by law, are included on the ballot with the proposed amendments. Cohen shared his suggestions on Twitter. (Read more)

General Assembly may hold surprise session – WRAL

By Travis Fain, WRAL statehouse reporter

The N.C. General Assembly may come back into session in the coming days to write short summaries of the proposed constitutional amendments that will be before votes this November.

That’s supposed to be the purview of a three-person commission, but House Rules Chairman David Lewis wrote Speaker of the House Tim Moore Saturday with concerns about the commission’s work. Lewis, R-Harnett, said in his letter that he’s worried about “maneuverings” by unnamed outside political groups trying to sway the commission.

“Politicized captions” with “long sentences or negative language” could hurt the amendments’ chances for passage, Lewis wrote.

The General Assembly is controlled by Republican super majorities. Two of the three commission members are Democrats: Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and Attorney General Josh Stein. (Read more)

North Carolina GOP Moves Forward With Attempt To Take Control Of State Courts

“It’s a huge development and it’s part of an ongoing diabolical plan that the Republican leadership have been promoting and implementing to take over one branch after another,” said Bob Hall, head of Democracy North Carolina.

By Sam Levine

North Carolina Republicans, who have been reprimanded by federal courts for targeting minorities with voter ID restrictions and gerrymandering, passed legislation last week to eliminate primary elections for state judges next year in what critics say is a blatant and brazen attempt to take control of the state’s courts.

Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the bill on Monday, but Republicans have a supermajority in the state legislature and can override the governor’s veto. (HuffPost)

In the NC legislature, an assault on the democratic process – News & Observer

Before the legislature went into its notorious special session last week, 12 Republican state lawmakers issued a statement addressing a contrived controversy about Governor-elect Roy Cooper’s newly hired senior adviser, Ken Eudy.

They said Eudy is unfit to serve because he disclosed in an essay written for the website EducationNC that he stands for the national anthem, but remains seated when a crowd is urged to stand to honor those who serve in the military. Eudy, who served six years in the Army National Guard, wrote that he won’t stand for members of the military until we also honor teachers.

Eudy’s position may not be a popular one, but it represents the freedom of expression soldiers have given their lives to protect. Rep. Holly Grange (R-New Hanover) didn’t see it that way. A West Point graduate, Grange said, “It is very concerning that Governor-elect Cooper’s pick for senior adviser, Ken Eudy, has publicly expressed negative opinions and degrading comments toward our state’s military servicemen and women.”

And yet, only two days later, these Republican patriots participated in an attack on the democratic system they are sworn to uphold. In an unannounced special session they moved to limit Governor-elect Cooper’s power to appoint his Cabinet and fill his administration with people who share his priorities. The Republican majority also sought to change the judicial process by directing that appeals of state constitutional challenges of their laws go first to the state Court of Appeals, where Republicans have an 11-4 majority. Those appeals had gone directly from the Superior Court to the state Supreme Court, which just flipped to Democratic control. (Read more)

7 legislators failing to detail campaign payments to themselves – The News & Observer

The Political Agitator’s response: This is what you call Republican White Privilege (RWP). when black folk steal a few crumbs they are called thugs and other. Well what do you call these jokers? I look at how the Ignant Racist White Folks and ignant Safe Negroes have a problem with blacks in majority but look at what this majority is doing. Hey all of them are just wrong so let’s talk about all of them and not just black folk.

Seven state lawmakers in North Carolina, including Senate Rules Chairman Tom Apodaca, have reimbursed themselves for thousands of dollars in campaign spending without reporting details of those expenditures.

The State Board of Elections says candidates are required to itemize those reimbursements so that state auditors and voters can tell exactly how the money was spent. House Speaker Tim Moore recently had to re-file his reports because auditors found unitemized credit card charges. (Source: Read more)

NC’s regrettable use of $8 million – The Charlotte Observer

We’ve long wondered what the legislature’s wrong-headed laws are costing North Carolina, both in reputation and in taxpayer dollars to defend them in court.

It may be impossible to put a precise dollar figure on the state’s reputation, but we now know the legal cost: More than $8 million.

The Associated Press reported last week that the Republican-led General Assembly has budgeted $4 million a year for the next two years to pay outside lawyers to defend controversial N.C. laws.

The legislature’s outside legal costs have totaled more than $3 million just since July 2014, the AP reported, mostly to defend its election reform bill that included photo ID and other provisions. (Source: Read more)