The Morning Roundup: About Those Teacher Raises... | News

The Morning Roundup: About Those Teacher Raises...


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Good morning, everyone! We got news.

1. Republican leaders in the state House and Senate have agreed to a $22.225 billion spending limit for the next fiscal year, a 2.26 percent increase over current spending and meaning the short legislative session probably won't drag on for weeks and weeks and weeks like it did last year.

But, since the budget target is set to spend less than the 2.8 percent increase that Gov. McCrory wanted, it could be hard to find the money to fund the 5 percent across-the-board teacher raises McCrory proposed, as well as 3 percent bonus for state workers. D'oh. From The N&O:

“This fiscally sound and sustainable spending target will enable us to fund our shared priorities without repeating the excessive spending binges we saw under Democrats – and it is an important step to quickly passing a final budget,” Dollar and Brown said in a joint statement.

The House and Senate haven’t yet announced details about their budget plans. House budget subcommittees have been meeting this week, and Dollar has said he hopes to have his chamber’s proposal ready in the coming weeks.

Agreeing on a spending target early in the process could help avoid the lengthy budget impasse lawmakers faced last year, when the final budget wasn’t approved until nearly three months after the fiscal year began.

In 2015, the House passed a budget that increased spending by 5 percent, while the Senate’s budget bill had a 2 percent spending increase. It took weeks of negotiations to arrive at a $21.74 billion budget target, which was a 3.1 percent increase.

This year’s budget will bring a smaller increase in state spending, and the decision drew praise from the conservative Americans For Prosperity.

“The lead appropriations chairs, Sen. Harry Brown and Rep. Nelson Dollar, are commended for keeping spending levels low so that taxpayer priorities are funded first, preventing waste and excessive spending while sending real tax relief home to citizens and small businesses,” state director Donald Bryson said in a news release.

But the liberal N.C. Budget and Tax Center warned that the spending limit could make it difficult to adequately fund schools and other needs.

“Setting an arbitrary spending target without discussing the unmet needs in communities isn’t good budgeting or fiscally responsible,” said the center’s director, Alexandra Sirota. “The reality of what a growing state and an innovative, inclusive economy needs can’t be measured by flawed formulas but must be arrived at through careful consideration of the challenges and opportunities North Carolina must address.”
 Rep. Chuck McGrady, for one, takes issues with this speculation:
2. Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Justice ordered North Carolina not to comply with HB 2 because it violates the U.S. Civil Rights Act.

Here's what Senate president Phil Berger had to say in response:

“This is a gross overreach by the Obama Justice Department that deserves to be struck down in federal court, and I cannot say it any better than Fourth Circuit Judge Paul Niemeyer did recently:

“‘This unprecedented holding overrules custom, culture, and the very demands inherent in human nature for privacy and safety, which the separation of such facilities is designed to protect. More particularly, it also misconstrues the clear language of Title IX and its regulations. And finally, it reaches an unworkable and illogical result.’”
Here's a statement from House Speaker Tim Moore as reported by the Carolina Public Press:
“The letters received today serve to give notice that President Obama intends to sue the State of North Carolina unless we yield to his views,” Moore said in a statement.

“They are not court decrees or automatic declarations of law and the issues raised in his letters are far from being decided. President Obama’s interpretation of Title VII and Title IX would radically change all universally accepted protections of privacy and safety that are based on the anatomical differences between the sexes.”
And here's what Gov. McCrory, who has until Monday to respond or risk losing billions of dollars in federal funding for education and other programs, had to say. 
“The Obama administration has not only staked out its position for North Carolina, but for all states, universities and most employers in the U.S.,” the governor said in a statement.

“The right and expectation of privacy in one of the most private areas of our personal lives is now in jeopardy. We will be reviewing to determine the next steps.”
The most unhinged GOP response came, no surprise here, from Lt. Gov. Dan Forest:
To use our children and their educational futures as pawns to advance an agenda that will ultimately open those same children up to exploitation at the hands of sexual predators is, by far, the sickest example of the depths the Obama Administration will stoop to fundamentally transform our nation," Lt. Gov. Dan Forest said in a statement.
Attorney general and Democratic candidate candidate for governor Roy Cooper said "enough is enough" and that it's time to repeal this "devastating law."

3. The N&O has a story about the "two Raleighs," one where white folks live comfortably and one where black residents live with poverty and over-policing in their communities. Residents spoke about police accountability at the city council Tuesday evening. 

Wearing dark shirts and holding signs, residents shared the council chambers with about 30 local tennis advocates who wore brightly-colored T-shirts and asked city leaders for more tennis courts. Many of those asking reforms were affiliated with a group called Raleigh Police Accountability Community Taskforce. PACT believes an independent panel is needed because Raleigh police can’t be trusted to be fair and objective when investigating complaints about their peers, resident Terrence Perry said.

“There are far too many PACT partners with stories of harassment, use of force and racial profiling that have not found justice with this system to suggest that it’s working,” Perry said.

Residents from Southeast Raleigh called for change shortly after a city police officer, D.C. Twiddy, on Feb. 29 shot and killed 24-year-old Akiel Denkins on Bragg Street after Denkins tried to evade arrest for an outstanding warrant. Raleigh police say the shooting happened during a physical confrontation between the two, a narrative some residents have cast doubt on. Twiddy should have called for backup and tried to detain Denkins peacefully rather than chasing him alone, some have said.

Mayor Nancy McFarlane and other council members have since talked about renewing relations between police and the Southeast Raleigh community and potentially improving police practices. The council in March approved a plan to adorn its officers with body-worn cameras and one councilwoman, Mary-Ann Baldwin, last month called on the city to create a commission that would address poverty and other issues in Southeast Raleigh.

The city will also provide a written response to the activists’ requests by the May 24 council meeting, City Manager Ruffin Hall said Tuesday. But, as residents await further government action, the community’s wounds from the shooting appear to be lingering.

Denkins’ mother, Rolanda Byrd, stood beside Akiba Byrd, a leader of Raleigh PACT, as he addressed the council Tuesday night.

“This mother is standing here before you right now holding a picture of her slain child for no other reason than he was evading arrest. That is not a death sentence,” Akiba Byrd said.
4. The Orange County man, Ali Iyoob, who was bitten by his pet king cobra had 34 more snakes and a bunch of other animals in his home according to the Greensboro News and Record:
Animal Services had been working with the Office of the County Manager, the Sheriff's Office, the Office of the County Attorney, the Museum of Natural Sciences, the N.C. Zoological Park, and the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission since early Tuesday to coordinate the safe removal of the animals believed to be in Iyoob’s possession.

Among the 60 animals removed from the home late Wednesday morning and into Wednesday afternoon were 18 venomous snakes, 16 nonvenomous snakes, one caiman, two turtles, five chickens, eight baby chicks, four quail, four fish and a cat and a dog.

Two of the sixteen nonvenomous snakes were constrictors.

Here's Iyoob and a cobra. As if being bitten and hospitalized in critical condition wasn't bad enough, he could also face charges.

4. Here's McCrory being mad about the air horn orchestra, because nothing says Thursday is little Friday like blowing horns in front of the house here and cussing and swearing. What a time to be alive. 

Happy Cinco de Mayo!


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