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Who is watching the coast? Coastal Resources Commission largely vacant

The Coastal Resources Commission has been pretty much of a shell of itself recently, after most of the commission had their terms ended as a result of a legislature-ordered reorganization.

But that may be about to change. Republican Gov. Pat McCrory is expected to announce new appointments in the coming days according to Ryan Tronovitch, a spokesman for the governor.

The legislature this summer voted to reduce the commission from 15 to 13 members, and replaced all but four of its members as of July 30th.

Morning Memo: McCrory administration slanted Medicaid report

McCRORY BOOED IN HIS HOMETOWN: For his 69th birthday party, Charlotte attorney Bill Diehl rented out The Fillmore at the N.C. Music Factory, hired rockers Grace Potter and the Nocturnals and invited around 400 of his closest friends, Jim Morrill reports. Among them: Gov. Pat McCrory.

When the band took a break, Diehl grabbed a mic and introduced McCrory, who was greeted with a loud smattering of boos. It wasn't the first time the former Charlotte mayor -- elected and re-elected seven times -- has heard boo birds in his hometown. In Charlotte, at least, the popular mayor has been a less popular governor. This summer he appeared at a concert at the Bechtler Museum. When he was formally introduced, many in the audience booed.

MUST-READ: For months, members of the McCrory administration have maintained that the state’s Medicaid program is "broken." But in the first of a two-part investigation, North Carolina Health News shows McCrory officials sat on information that would have depicted the state’s much-lauded Medicaid program in a better light. Read it here.

***More from the N.C. Health News story and an important notice to readers below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

Art Pope's $90 million fix-it list for state government

State Budget director Art Pope is recommending $90 million in repair and renovation projects in state government from repairing new roofs, to putting in new elevators, to paint jobs.

The funds were part of $150 million appropriated by the legislature – with $60 million going to the University of North Carolina system and $90 million going to other state agencies across the state.

In a memo to legislative leaders, Pope said the agencies had requested $554.4 million for 545 renovation and repair projects and the budget office had pared it down to $90 million for 191 projects.

Gov. Pat McCrory had said he would put a particular emphasis on fixing broken systems, particularly projects that had been put off because of the recession.

The projects topping $1 million include $1.6 million for structural work for Parking Deck 65, $2.6 million for a lighting retrofit in several state government buildings, $1.8 million to replace the roof of the Administration Building, $1.3 million for art store renovation and a new fire suppression system at the N.C. Museum of Art, $4.7 million for new heating plant at the O'Berry Neuro Medical Center in Goldsboro, $1.1 million for ADA and security upgrades at the Walter B. Jones facility, $2.2 million for a new steam plant for the John Umstead Hospital, $1.8 million for upgraded SBI crime labs, $1.4 million for renovations to the SBI building, $2.9 million to renovate the gym at the Western School for the Deaf, $1.7 million to upgrade obsolete security systems, $3.4 million to install and replace fire alarm systems, $7.5 million for various roof repairs, and $1.7 million to renovate the Dobbs Youth Development Center kitchen.

Morning Memo: Vice President Biden to raise money for Kay Hagan

VICE PRESIDENT TO HEADLINE HAGAN FUNDRAISER: Vice President Joe Biden will visit North Carolina on Oct. 21 to help Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan raise campaign cash for her re-election bid in 2014. Biden will speak at a luncheon at the Washington Duke Inn in Durham, according to a copy of the invitation obtained by Dome.

The top ticket costs $10,000 and includes a photo and special host reception. The lowest priced ticket is $500 for the reception. The money will go to Hagan’s joint fundraising committee with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which has higher donation limits.

A day earlier, Hagan will hold another fundraiser in Durham at the Deer Chase Gardens hosted by Marcia Angle and Mark Trustin, the property’s owners. The more than two-dozen hosts for the reception are paying $1,000 each. The top ticket is the maximum federal contribution to a candidate, $2,600. The host list includes big local Democratic donors, such as John Replogle, John Sall and Amy Tiemann. The minimum ticket costs $150.

***Read more about the 2014 Senate race and more below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

Cooper says he's planning to run for governor

From The Associated Press: North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said Saturday he’s planning to run for governor in 2016 and told Democratic Party activists that policies adopted this year by Gov. Pat McCrory and Republican legislative leaders have harmed the average state resident.

Cooper used his platform as a speaker at the state Democratic Party’s Western Gala in Asheville to attack Republicans, who with McCrory’s election last year controlled the state’s legislative and executive branches for the first time in more than a century.

Asked whether he planned to run for governor in three years, Cooper told the Asheville Citizen-Times: “It’s a little early to make a formal announcement, but certainly that’s in the plans.”

Morning Memo: Cooper's unofficial debut; peek inside GOP voters' minds

ROY COOPER'S DEBUT: Attorney General Roy Cooper is the featured speaker Saturday morning at the N.C. Democratic Party's Western Gala. The speech at the women's breakfast will serve as his unofficial debut in the 2016 governor's race. In recent weeks, Cooper has made his intentions to run clear and the event will give him a platform to begin gathering Democratic support as other party challengers emerge. Later in the evening, U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan and R.T. Rybak, the vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee, will speak at the party fundraiser.

***A must-read analysis of Republicans and its potential impact on the N.C. Senate race below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

North Carolina's GOP Senate candidate will accept nomination at a casino

UPDATED: Picture this: North Carolina's Republican U.S. Senate candidate accepting the party's nomination at a casino. And what if that candidate is Mark Harris, the outgoing president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina?

It's a possibility. The N.C. Republican Party announced it will hold its 2014 state convention at the Harrah's Cherokee Casino and Hotel in the far western part of the state.

Even if it's not Harris who wins the nomination, the optics are less than ideal. Republican lawmakers were deeply divided in 2012 on whether to allow the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to expand gambling at the casino to include slot machines and live table games, such as blackjack and roulette. It's the most high-profile bill approved in the House -- where U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis presided -- that a majority of Republicans opposed.

Morning Memo: Harris stakes his ground; GOP lawmaker presses McCrory

HARRIS DECLARES HE'S THE SOCIAL CONSERVATIVE IN THE RACE: The Rev. Mark Harris, a leading social conservative, entered the North Carolina Senate race Wednesday, setting up a potential insider/outsider GOP primary showdown next May with House Speaker Thom Tillis.

Harris, the outgoing president of the state Baptist Convention, said he would campaign as a staunch advocate for lowering taxes, reducing government, ending Obamacare and protecting gun rights, that he would back measures that he believes would improve “traditional moral values.” Read more here.

GOP SENATOR SAYS McCRORY ADMINISTRATION IS BREAKING THE LAW: A high-ranking Republican state senator said Wednesday that Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration is flouting the law. Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, complained that McCrory hasn’t named an independent Unemployment Review Board to review decisions on unemployment benefits made by the state Division of Employment Security. Rucho’s remarks came during a legislative committee meeting where lawmakers were questioning Dale Folwell, the agency’s head. Read more here.

***Read more on the Harris announcement and a North Carolina political roundup below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

Morning Memo: Hundreds furloughed; U.S. Senate candidates make moves

HUNDREDS OF STATE WORKERS FURLOUGHED: The federal government shutdown caused the furlough of hundreds of state government workers whose jobs are fully or partially federally funded Tuesday, and state officials said several thousand more jobs could be be affected.

The state Department of Health and Human Services told 337 employees not to show up for work Wednesday morning. Officials said as many 4,500 DHHS workers could be furloughed or see their hours reduced. There was also a smaller furlough in the Department of Transportation, and a small group of workers at the state Labor Department saw their hours slashed in half.

#NCSEN DAY: The Republican challengers in the U.S. Senate race are all making moves this week to position themselves. Charlotte Pastor Mark Harris enters the race today, Thom Tillis is hiring staff and Greg Brannon is touting fundraising numbers.

***Read all the U.S. Senate race news below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

In video statement, McCrory tries to be 'helpful' about Obamacare

Gov. Pat McCrory and Republican lawmakers wanted nothing to do with the new federal health care law, passing a law earlier this year to reject any ties to the insurance exchanges.

But Tuesday, the day the online exchanges opened, McCrory struck a softer tone in a video statement released by his office but outlined no state help to those with questions.

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