Good Monday morning, fellow worker bees. As you make your way back to the mine, here are some stories we’ve been watching. But first, if you haven’t already, you really need to check out Mandy Locke’s ongoing series in The News & Observer. Locke, one of the best investigative reporters around, is digging into the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office. It’s not pretty. Here is part 1 and part 2. Onward.
1.N.C. Republicans impeach Hasan Harnett. Harnett, the NCGOP’s first African-American chairman and a tea party favorite, was deposed Saturday at a meeting of the party’s executive committee.
The North Carolina Republican Party's first black state chairman was removed from his post Saturday, the climax of months of conflict with other party leaders who recently reprimanded him after deciding he exceeded his authority and tried to crash a GOP website.
More than two-thirds of roughly 280 members attending the party's Executive Committee required to throw out Hasan Harnett voted to do so at the private, trial-like meeting in Raleigh that lasted several hours, according to meeting participants. Committee members earlier Saturday found Harnett responsible for violating the GOP's organizational rules and committing acts of "gross inefficiency."
Later Saturday, the committee elected ex-chairman and former U.S. Rep. Robin Hayes of Concord to fill the rest of Harnett's two-year term.
Harnett was out of the country Saturday, but he has previously denied the allegations against him.
As Donald Trump keeps winning primaries and delegates, prominent Republicans in the Carolinas who had put their hopes on one or more of his rivals are now torn.
They would still prefer somebody else at the top of the ticket but see little chance that Trump can be denied the GOP presidential nomination.
And while they shudder at the prospect of another Clinton presidency, they’re afraid Trump would lose big to the Democratic nominee in November – and possibly take down GOP candidates for Senate and governor with him.
These former backers of Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and other vanquished candidates are left with a less-than-enthusiastic pledge that, as loyal Republicans, they will go along with whoever the delegates in Cleveland nominate in July.
That last bit is key. Sure, Trump, whose entire campaign has been built on bombast and the exploitation of white-male angst, who has targeted women and minorities and the disabled for ridicule and fear-mongering, and who rightly earned the endorsement of the Ku Klux Klan—"The reason a lot of Klan members like Donald Trump is because a lot of what he believes in, we believe in,” said the imperial wizard—may be a godawful candidate who dooms Republicans up and down the ticket (though McCrory is doing just fine fitting that noose around his own neck), but hey, party loyalty.
For one, Barber doesn’t allow politicians to join him on stage at Moral Monday events. He says he doesn’t want his movement to be viewed as partisan or supportive of any individual politician.
“We don’t look at people based on whether they’re Republican or Democrat,” he said. “Our job is to change the political atmosphere. This issue is too big to be seen as a Republican or Democrat issue.”
Instead of inviting politicians to speak, Barber prefers to give the microphone to “advocates and people who are impacted” by laws such as HB2.
Many Democratic politicians, meanwhile, have avoided aligning themselves with Barber or publicly praising his work – which includes the sit-ins and acts of civil disobedience that resulted in 54 arrests at the legislature last week.
The Republicans, meanwhile, have no problem rallying with the Bible-thumping nut cases.
A rally in support of the law featured House Speaker Tim Moore, attorney general candidate Sen. Buck Newton, Rep. Dan Bishop of Charlotte and House Speaker Pro Tem Paul Stam of Apex.
They were on stage with the Rev. Mark Creech’s Christian Action League, Tami Fitzgerald’s N.C. Values Coalition and Ron Baity’s Return America. Those groups have been the state’s strongest opponents of LGBT rights, and their leaders have made controversial statements.
Creech recently called HB2 opponents “social terrorists” who seek “total domination.” His group is lobbying against allowing beer sales in dry areas of Johnston County. Baity made headlines a few years ago when he said same-sex marriage would prompt judgment from God that would include plagues worse than Ebola.
Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla announced that Puerto Rico's government will not make nearly $370 million in bond payments due Monday after a failure to restructure or find a political solution to the U.S. territory's spiraling public debt crisis.
Garcia said Sunday that he had issued an executive order suspending payments on debt owed by the island's Government Development Bank, a default that will likely prompt lawsuits from creditors and could be a prelude to a deadline to a much larger payment due July 1.
The governor said Puerto Rico can't pay the bonds without cutting essential services.
If you’re curious about why this is happening or who’s to blame, John Oliver is here to help.
An N.C. State grad from Charlotte and her mother were rescued over the weekend in the New Zealand wilderness, where they were lost for five days after setting off on a day hike. A helicopter pilot spotted the large "help" signs they had made from fern fronds.
You can read a tick-tock of their ordeal at the link.
As local budget battles begin across the state and locally in the county the Durham County Board of Commissioners is signing a resolution urging the General Assembly to “raise additional state revenue in an equitable fashion to avoid regressive tax shifts” in counties.
The resolution will be considered Monday, May 2 during the board’s monthly work session.
The resolution was requested by the Durham Association of Educators and County Manager Wendell Davis has recommended its approval.
According to the resolution, North Carolina ranked 46th in the country in 2014-15 in per pupil spending at $8,632. In 2013-14 per pupil spending was $8,620.
The resolution points out that adjusting the spending per pupil to account for inflation still put the spending at “pre-recession levels.” The majority of funding — about 60 percent — for public schools comes from the state with the other 40 percent coming from local and federal sources.
With a warm front to the north of the Tar Heel State and a cold front to the west, the stage is set Monday for showers and thunderstorms, WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said.
Rain chances will increase during the afternoon and evening as sunshine tries to peek through the clouds.
"Our best chance to see storms will be during the late afternoon, into the commute hours and right on through dinner time," Gardner said. "These storms could include heavy rain, damaging straight-line winds and possibly hail, but I'm not expecting widespread severe weather."