The N&O’s former cartoonist just couldn’t sit out this legislative session, not with all the fun things to draw. He’ll be offering his view every Sunday in The N&O during the session. Here’s this week’s cartoon (click it to enlarge it).
These letters got overrun by other issues and did not make the paper.
Jon Stewart had Robert Downey Jr. on his show the other night to discuss "Iron Man 3", Downey's latest movie. The two didn't mention one thing they have in common: both recently benefited from tax breaks from North Carolina. Jon Stewart's company (Hello Doggie Inc.) received a check for $190,211 from the N.C. Department of Revenue after he filmed several episodes of the Daily Show in Charlotte during the Democratic convention in Charlotte last year. The Department of Revenue sent a $20 million check to Iron Works III, LLC, the production company for Iron Man III.
We've posted a database of all the film tax breaks paid out in recent years on our website here.
You can also read Andy Curliss' story on film tax breaks here, where you can also find links to Dan Kane's first two stories on tax breaks.
Here's Dwane Powell's take on General Assembly doin's this week:
Chapel Hill’s Town Council joined UNC students Monday in support of early voting and student voting rights.
An N.C. House bill would shorten early voting periods, end same-day voter registration and require students to vote in their home county or by absentee ballot. A second, Senate bill would keep parents from claiming students as dependents on their taxes if they register to vote in another county or register their vehicles at a different address.
Shelby Hudspeth, director of state and external affairs for UNC’s Student Body, said the proposed legislation would negatively affect student voting rights and create a tax burden on parents. Similar resolutions have been sent to more than a hundred House and Senate members, news outlets and others, she said.
“UNC students consider the town of Chapel Hill their home. Many of us are active in the community, whether it’s through volunteering, having a job on Franklin Street or spending time on Franklin Street, so we feel that we should be able to participate actively through voting in elections here,” she said.
Before the council voted, Council member Matt Czajkowski pointed out that the town's support probably wouldn’t carry any authority with the state.
“Do you think that the town of Chapel Hill endorsing this will strengthen or weaken your position with (House) Speaker (Thom) Tillis and (Senate) President (Pro Tem Phil) Berger? If it were up to me, for what it’s worth, I wouldn’t start here,” he said.
Looks like a proposal to consider consolidations and closures among the 17 UNC campuses to save money has bit the dust this legislative session. It comes up perennially (read the story here
). We had a Point of View ready to go on the subject by John L. Sanders, a retired UNC system vice president and a former head of the Institute of Government.
House and Senate members on the Joint Transportation Oversight Committee say they still have not been given a chance to review 10 new appointees to the state Board of Transportation, as required by state law. But Gov. Pat McCrory is moving ahead with plans to install them at the April 3 board meeting.
On March 1, McCrory sent the 10 names, along with documents that disclose how much money each appointee contributed to the governor's election campaign -- to the House and Senate clerks, the House speaker and the Senate president pro tempore. He didn't send the packets to members of the oversight committee, as was done by previous governors.
“In the past they were mailed directly to us, each member, from the governor’s offices," said Sen. Clark Jenkins, a Tarboro Democrat who serves on the oversight committee and previously was its chairman. “I think the governor’s office should go a little bit further than leaving some sort of notice at the clerk’s office and the chambers’ leadership offices. I think it should go to the oversight committee."
McCrory has sole authority to make appointments to the 19-member board. But the law provides for review by the House-Senate committee of the new members and their campaign financial disclosure statements before they are sworn in: ... [MORE]
Gov. Pat McCrory has picked 10 new members for the 19-member state Board of Transportation, and he's hoping to seat them at the board's next meeting April 4. But the governor could be forced to cancel the April meeting -- just as he canceled the March meeting-- because he still hasn't submitted his appointee list to a legislative committee responsible for reviewing it.
McCrory did submit a letter (see copy, below) March 1 to Denise Weeks, the principal House clerk, and he copied it to House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate leader Phil Berger. But he didn't send it to any members of the House-Senate Joint Transportation Oversight Committee, which is responsible under state law for reviewing the names. ... [MORE]
When the 1963 General Assembly convened, it was in the brand new Legislative Building. Construction of the building had taken two years and cost $6.2 million. The building's architects considered the structure a "bargain" at a cost of $1.20 per Tar Heel citizen.
Features of the new structure included red carpets and a 28-foot diameter terrazzo mosaic of the Great Seal of the State of North Carolina. All this finery caused some to speculate whether lawmakers would be tempted to linger in session, but citizens could rest assured that the historic State Capitol building would not be abandoned.
Will the Old Gray Lady of Capitol Square be overshadowed by her gleaming younger sister down Halifax Street?
Most Tar Heels would say emphatically "no."
The gray granite Capitol building will continue to be a pride of the State, and will continue to serve as useful and important function in State government even though the General Assembly will no longer meet in her 19th century halls but will gather instead in the State House.
Simply because the Governor's offices will continue in the Capitol, it will be an important government structure.
The lawmakers are in town only four months every two years. The chief executive runs Tar Heel government in the meantime. And even working out of the 19th century decor, he will maintain a powerful hold over the gentlemen of the Assembly in their spacious, pyramidal quarters.
As the Assembly leaves it forever, the Capitol hums with gubernatorial activity, and still houses the offices of the Secretary of State and the state Treasurer.
Remaining, too, will be the immense historic tug of the Old Gray Lady, which has been the seat of Tar Heel government for 122 years.
Reflecting its historical value, the House and Senate chambers in the Capitol will be maintained in their present decor by the State Department of Archives and History.
General Services Director George Cherry, whose agency is in charge of Capitol housekeeping, promises she will get loving attention.
Cherry's schedule calls for a complete re-painting of the Capitol interior every three or four years. Her next refurbishing will probably come in 1964.
Her stolid granite superstructure, which periodically greens over with a patina of age, is ageless and needs little attention.
The departure of the Assembly was a blessing for Capitol furnishings, some of which date from Civil War days. They were beginning to show the wear of use. Now, that wear will be prized for its antique value.
The former chambers of the Assembly will probably continue to be used periodically, especially for swearing-in ceremonies, for meetings of the University of North Carolina trustees, and for historic occasions called by the executive branch of government.
The Assembly will leave its historic records in the Capitol. In small third floor offices, row on row of files contain the original acts of the General Assembly, irreplaceable records which are in the charge of the Secretary of State.-- The News & Observer 2/3/1963
One item considered a symbol of legislative government was missing from the modern state house. There would be no spittoons on the terrazzo floors. By 1963, pipe and cigarette smoking had replaced most snuff-sniffing and tobacco chewing habits. Not to mention that spittoons were getting harder to come by. They were mostly considered "antique" items by this time and would not "blend with the building's modernistic style."