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Morning Memo: Democrats hit GOP on education in new ad campaign

SEE IT HERE FIRST: N.C. Democrats launch ad campaign hitting GOP on education: The headline "Republican leadership has failed teachers in North Carolina" is hitting newspapers across the state this week in full-page advertisements paid for by the N.C. Democratic Party. The ads target 17 legislative districts (eight Senate, nine House) and criticize Republicans for not increasing teacher pay, forcing class size increases, eliminating some teacher assistants, ending the back-to-school tax holiday, cutting money for textbooks and supplies, taking away the graduate school bonus for (future) teachers and allowing private school vouchers.

"We’re putting Gov. McCrory and Republican legislators on notice that their assault on public education is not going unnoticed," said Robert Dempsey, the party's executive director.

***See the ad and get a list of the targeted lawmakers below in today's Dome Morning Memo.***


Environmental secretary responds to fiery retirement letter

John Skvarla, secretary of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resource, responded to a former water quality employee who sent him a "Dear John" email when she took early retirement.

To recap, Susan Wilson told Skvarla she couldn't work at DENR anymore, and attached at "Take this job and shove it" YouTube video to her email.

"Between your inappropriate mission statement, the dismantling of the Division of Water Quality, and HB74 (along with a few other gems from this session's NCGA), I see no reason to continue here - because my own mission - to assist all citizens and protect those that don't have a voice, would be compromised," she wrote in part.

In his reply, Skvarla said maybe it's a good thing she left.

Morning Memo: GOP faces messy veto politics, with Tillis in spotlight

UPDATED: THE POLITICS OF THE VETO: In pushing to override Gov. Pat McCrory’s of an immigration bill in coming days, Republicans find themselves in the middle of a political mess. The bill won near unanimous approval in the state Senate (43-1) but a solid block of conservative House Republicans voted against it (85-28). Now that McCrory has framed the bill as an anti-immigration conservative test, will that change? A leading Republican -- who voted no -- says the vote isn’t likely to change. And another no vote, GOP Rep. Frank Iller, issued a statement Tuesday saying the bill "opens up too many loopholes in the eVerify system."

EYES ON TILLIS: But what will Republican U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis do? Political analyst John Davis said the race is too "fragile" for Tillis to upset the conservatives in his party. "Tillis cannot make any mistakes especially with the right," David said. "By rushing back into the arena and trying to override McCrory’s veto on the immigration bill, he does risk alienating some members of the Republican Party who are very, very sensitive about this issue."

***More on the 2014 U.S. Senate race -- and the potential Republican field -- below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

Morning Memo: Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to attend Wake fundraiser

JAN BREWER TO ATTEND WAKE GOP FUNDRAISER: The Wake County Republican Party announced Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer will attend a Sept. 14 fundraiser in Raleigh for the local party's fall candidates. The announcement email includes the now infamous photo of Brewer, a Republican, wagging her finger upon meeting President Barack Obama at an airport tarmac. The top ticket for the fundraiser is a $5,000 VIP package and a single ticket is $75. The party expects the event to sell out.

THE MUMMIES RETURN: From columnist Rob Christensen-- "We have seen this before in North Carolina – the reign of the green-eyeshaded men who thought low taxes trumped all, and if there were any coins left in the till at the end of the day they would throw it into the education pot.

"It was called the 1800s. And Walter Hines Page had a name for them. He called North Carolina’s leaders “the mummies” as in very old, well-wrapped, very dead Egyptians because of their complacent conservatism." Read his full column here.

***Get more North Carolina political news below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

Virginia leaders appeal to feds, McCrory to block landfill bill

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia is asking the federal government to examine a bill moving in the N.C. General Assembly that would allow a large landfill near the state border.

Virginia Congressman Randy Forbes, a Republican, recently made an appeal to Gov. Pat McCrory to stop the bill -- SB 328. The measure reverses restrictions lawmakers put in place in 2007 to prevent what critics call mega-dumps from being located in northeastern North Carolina.

FWS ltr to NCDENR on Landfill 6-19-13.pdf
Cong Forbes ltr to Gov McCrory on NC Landfill 7-9-13.pdf
Sen Kaine NC Landfill Ltrs 6-27-13.pdf

Landfills bill gets first Senate nod

With a 28-18 vote, the Senate gave tentative approval a contentious measure to loosen landfill restrictions in a move critics say will lead to mega-dumps for out-of-state trash. It reverses restrictions put in place in 2007 that bled into the governor's race the following year and plagued then-unsuccessful candidate Pat McCrory.

Under the measure the buffer for locating landfills near parks shrinks from miles to 1,500 feet and restricts the state environmental agencies ability to reject permit applications.

DHHS makes former employee new chief financial officer

A former employee of the state Department of Health and Human Services is returning to the agency to be its first chief financial officer.

Rod Davis will oversee the department's $18 billion budget, will be responsible for budget forecasting, for overseeing the controller's office, the procurement and contracts division, and the property and construction division. He will earn $169,148 a year.

From 1995 to 1996, Davis was chief of budget operations and information systems at DHHS.

He is returning to DHHS from the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources, where he had been the department's controller since 1996. New DENR Secretary John E. Skvarla named him DENR's CFO in February.

What's Skvarla think about global warming?

John Skvarla, the personable and accomplished new secretary of the state’s environmental-protection agency, has been dodging the question of just what he thinks about global warming. Perhaps the fact that he suggests it’s still an open question provides the answer.

But here’s a more definitive clue.

Skvarla crafts new DENR mission statement, raising Sierra Club questions

John Skvarla, the new head of the state’s environmental protection department, continues to make environmentalists a little nervous.

On Tuesday, he issued a mission statement cautioning that environmental science “contains a diversity of opinion” and that “all public programs and scientific conclusions must be reflective of input from a variety of legitimate, diverse and thoughtful perspectives.”

The statement comes after comments Skvarla has made in news media interviews indicating he believes climate change is a controversy that remains unsettled. Although most scientists think that it is, there are some who dispute that there is global warming or, if there is, that it isn’t caused by human activity.

DENR Mission Statement.PDF

Rep. Gillespie leaving House to join DENR -- an agency he targeted

Veteran lawmaker Rep. Mitch Gillespie – who in 2011 literally drew a bulls-eye target on his legislative office window aimed at the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources – will resign next month to become an assistant secretary of the agency.
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