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Lt. Gov. Forest calls for massive teacher pay hike

Tea Party conservative Lt. Gov. Dan Forest wants North Carolina to have the highest-paid teachers in the country, and thinks wireless broadband Internet should be in a every school.

The Greensboro News-Record reports Thursday that Forest called for the ambitious goals at a small meeting of conservatives in Greensboro on Wednesday.

Raising teacher salaries wouldn’t require a tax increase, he said.

“I think there’s plenty of money in government,” he said. “We’ll figure out a way to do it.”

The newspaper quoted Forest as saying a project to bring high-speed computers to schools could happen by 2016, but raising teacher salaries could take a decade or longer.

North Carolina average teacher pay is currently ranked 46th in the country.

Lt. Gov. Forest backs McCrory on immigration bill veto

Lt. Gov. Dan Forest on Friday announced he supports Gov. Pat McCrory's veto of H.B. 786, the immigration bill.

Forest sent out a news release acknowledging the General Assembly can muster enough votes to override the veto when it convenes for a veto session on Tuesday. "But I respectfully ask that they do not do so," Forest said.

The lieutenant governor's opposition to the bill is the same as the governor's -- that it carves out a loophole that would allow employers other than in the agricultural industry to classify some workers as seasonal for a much longer time than is permitted under current law.

The loophole "will be exploited by some unscrupulous employers to reclassify non-agricultural workers as 'seasonal' for the purposes of evading the E-Verify law," Forest said.

Forest said the legislature could accept the veto and fix the loophole in a bill next year. He noted that as president of the Senate he can't vote unless there is a tie -- which will not be the case on this veto vote. But if he could he would vote to uphold the veto.

Morning Memo: Ahead of 2014 race, Berger, Tillis hit by national Democrats

2014 WATCH: National Democrats hit potential GOP candidates Tillis, Berger on Ryan budget. Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis are making enough moves toward challenging incumbent U.S. Sen. Kay Hagain in 2014 that its attracting the attention of national Democrats. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is asking whether the two Republicans support Congressman Paul Ryan's budget plan. "Republicans in Washington are back with their Medicare-busting budget plan, but potential GOP Senate hopefuls Phil Berger and Thom Tillis have yet to tell North Carolinians where they stand," starts a statement from the DSCC set for release later Tuesday.

TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: The House will consider a bill to curtail local building design standards that local mayors want stopped dead in its tracks (more below) as well as a measure to limit tanning beds for those under age 18. House convenes at 1 p.m.; Senate convenes at 2 p.m. Gov. Pat McCrory will make a school safety announcement in Apex in the morning.

***Good morning. Thanks for reading the Dome Morning Memo -- the source for exclusive North Carolina political news and analysis. Send news and tips to dome@newsobserver.com. Read more below.***

Morning Memo: Emails show Tata's troubles as former Wake education chief

TATA'S TUMULTOUS TENURE AS SCHOOLS CHIEF REVEALED: Newly released email shows that former Wake County Superintendent Tony Tata -- and now state Transportation Secretary -- spent his final month in office surrounded by growing distress and concern from school board members and parents over his handling of the school bus problems and student assignment. More than 3,400 pages of email released this week as part of a public records request by news media organizations, including The News & Observer, show how much the bus fiasco affecting thousands of families was a daily concern during the first month of school. (More on this story below.)

TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: A bill to limit local governments from requiring inspections of homes in some instances -- a measure that is opposed by environmental groups -- is on the House calendar. The House will also consider legislation to make it a felony for a parent to fail to report a missing child, dubbed Caylee's Law after the Caylee Anthony case, in which the 2-year-old was found dead and her mother didn't report her missing for a month. At 10 a.m., Senate committee will consider (for discussion only) a midwife bill and a measure to put teeth in the state's public records law. On the Senate floor later in the day, the "red route" bill gets a final vote with toll road language attached. Gov. Pat McCrory is making an economic development announcement in Raleigh at 1 p.m.

***Good morning. Thanks for reading the Dome Morning Memo. Click below more more North Carolina political news and analysis. Send tips and news to dome@newsobserver.com.***

Lt. Gov. Dan Forest gets a new gavel

Lt. Gov. Dan Forest will gavel the N.C. Senate to session Monday with new oomph.

House Speaker Thom Tillis surprised Forest and presented him with a new gavel (at right) made from heart pine during Saturday's Mecklenburg Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner. It is made from the same wood as Tillis' gavel.

On Tillis' Facebook page, he writes that the wood comes from the state tree, the Long Leaf Pine. "The tree was a sapling around the time of the founding of our nation. It was felled around 1825 and used to build a house near Speed, North Carolina. The house was "visited" by Sherman's troops during the Civil War but the house was not destroyed. 150 years later it was used to turn historic gavels now in the hands of the leaders of the NC Senate and NC House. I am proud to share that history with my friend and my Lt. Governor," Tillis wrote. Find more on the wood's origin here.

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