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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.***

Morning Memo: New poll gives Hagan the edge; Hillary Clinton bashes NC voter law

U.S. SENATE POLL: Politico is offering a sneak peek at the latest U.S. Senate poll numbers in North Carolina this morning. Public Policy Polling shows Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan with an eight-point edge in hypothetical matchups against Republicans Thom Tillis and Phil Berger. Both legislative leaders, along with other possible candidates, have negative approval ratings with many voters still not sure what to think. The margin of error is 4 percentage points. Look for more numbers from PPP when the poll is released later today.

VOTER ID, ELECTIONS BILL SIGNED: The implications of Gov. Pat McCrory's signature on the elections bill that requires a voter ID at the polls is far-reaching -- and so is the coverage. Get a round up below -- including Hillary Clinton's comments on the bill, a new PPP poll showing it unfavorable and more. Also, a story from Boone shows Republicans taking over local elections boards will likewise mean major changes.

***The Dome Morning Memo continues below. Thanks for reading.***

Morning Memo: McCrory quietly signs RJA, Social Security is landmine for GOP

TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: The growing consensus at the legislative building: state lawmakers may stay in session through mid-July. And the not-in-a-hurry pace is evident in today's calendar. Only a handful of committees will meet and most of the work is being done behind the scenes among select lawmakers negotiating the tax bill and state budget. A bill allowing coastal jetties will draw a crowd in the 10 a.m. House Environment Committee. And on the floor, the House will consider a measure to up the speed limit to 75 mph in some places. The Senate will debate a bill that could allow mega-dumps for out-of-state trash, a political hot potato the McCrory administration now supports.

Gov. Pat McCrory will meet with legislators in the morning before attending a ribbon cutting in Greenville for a children's hospital at Vidant Medical Center and meeting with N.C. League of Municipality officials later in the day at the mansion.

McCRORY SIGNS RACIAL JUSTICE ACT: Talk about burying the lead -- Just before 6 p.m., the governor's office announced that he signed 56 bills Wednesday. Among them: the Racial Justice Act. It was tucked into the long list at the bottom, noted only by its bill number. From AP -- Gov. Pat McCrory’s signature Wednesday repealed a landmark law that had allowed convicted murderers to have their sentences reduced to life in prison if they could prove racial bias influenced the outcome of their cases. McCrory signed a repeal of the 2009 Racial Justice Act, which both proponents and critics say will restart the death penalty in a state that hasn’t executed an inmate since 2006.

***More on the Racial Justice Act, the GOPs latest political problem and McCrory's agenda below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

Morning Memo: Guns and money top legislative agenda

This post has been corrected to reflect Gov. Pat McCrory's activities today.

TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: House lawmakers are expected to give final approval to their $20.6 billion budget. The debate starts at 9 a.m. Today's ground rules: no amendments, unlimited debate. Wednesday saw 27 amendments, 16 of which passed. Full story.

TIMEOUT: If the debate stretches into the afternoon, House Speaker Thom Tillis will have his eye on the clock. He's scheduled a 3 p.m. conference call with supporters/potential donors to discuss his campaign for the U.S. Senate. According to the email invite:

The U.S. Senate Race in North Carolina will be one of the top three races in the country as identified by the NRSC. It will be one of the best chances of picking up a seat on our way to taking back control of the U.S. Senate. Please consider hosting an event or contributing to Thom’s race so that we can continue to stay on the offensive!

The email touts Tillis' accomplishments, including being named "National Legislator of the Year by the American Legislative Exchange Council."

Welcome to Dome's Morning Memo, a quick look at the day ahead and a wrap-up of Wednesday's goings on.

Morning Memo: Szlosberg-Landis resigns, House tends to budget and an attack on the Wright Brothers

STEPPING DOWN: The state's Democratic Party took another blow Monday night, as vice-chair and major fundraiser Nina Szlosberg-Landis resigned. She cited her concerns over chairman Randy Voller's leadership as her reason. See Under the Dome.

PROFITABLE RELATIONSHIP: Politico takes a look at what it calls a "fresh innovation in the world of outside spending" for political candidates: "nonprofits organized around broad issues of public interest that actually function to advance the ambitions of a single candidate." Their poster children for the piece? Our own House Speaker Thom Tillis and the NC House Legislative Partners, and Mark Jacobs, a former energy executive, who is considering a run for Iowa's open Senate seat. Full story.

Good morning and welcome to Dome's Morning Memo this fine Tuesday.

TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: The House will convenes at 10 a.m. but it will be a no-vote session. Instead members will be focused on their budget proposal. It will in the Appropriations Committee at 8:30 this morning. From there it goes to Finance on Wednesday and then to the full House. The goal is to get it done by Thursday, and that could mean a third reading after midnight Wednesday.

1370953422 Morning Memo: Szlosberg-Landis resigns, House tends to budget and an attack on the Wright Brothers The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

New York Times editorial hits Racial Justice Act repeal

The New York Times on Saturday editorialized against North Carolina's repeal of the Racial Justice Act, which is headed to the governor's desk for his signature.

The Times editorial recounts the context around the 2009 law, which allowed convicted killers to try to have their sentences converted to life without parole by proving racial bias against them, including evidence that prosecutors kept African-Americans off juries.

"The persistence of racial bias in death penalty prosecutions makes abolishing capital punishment even more urgent," the editorial concludes.

House passes Racial Justice Act repeal

The full House on Wednesday gave its final approval of a bill repealing the 2009 Racial Justice Act, which would re-start executions in North Carolina if it becomes law.

The legislation has to return to the Senate for concurrence in minor changes a House committee made to the bill earlier this month. Wednesday’s vote was 77-39, mostly along party lines.

Democrats say the Racial Justice Act, which allows convicted killers to petition to get off death row if they can prove racial bias in their cases, has been proven as necessary by a Cumberland County judge’s rulings in a handful of cases already. But Republicans say there are other ways of challenging whether a trial was free of bias or not.

Racial Justice Act repeal progresses

A complete repeal of the Racial Justice Act has just one final hurdle – a vote by the full House – following a subcommittee’s approval of the bill along party lines Wednesday morning.

Sen. Thom Goolsby, a Republican from Wilmington who is spearheading the drive to resume executions in North Carolina, sparred with House Democrats on the judiciary subcommittee over the same arguments that have comprised this debate since the Racial Justice Act was enacted in 2009.

Racial Justice Act supporters make another stand against repeal

Supporters of the Racial Justice Act mounted an offensive Wednesday in hopes of beating back this session’s attempt to wipe the Act off the books and resume executions.

On Wednesday morning, a House judiciary subcommittee took public input on SB306, which has passed the Senate and will be voted on in the subcommittee next week. Afterward, RJA supporters – including about a dozen legislators, two lawyers, a doctor and a relative of a murder victim – gathered for the news conference.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Thom Goolsby, a Republican from Wilmington, would repeal the Racial Justice Act; allow doctors, nurses and pharmacists to participate in executions without retribution from licensing boards; and speed up the process leading to executions.

NAACP criticizes Fayetteville senator over remarks about judge

The NAACP is taking issue with a Fayetteville legislator's remarks on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday during the debate over repealing the Racial Justice Act.

Republican Sen. Wesley Meredith argued that Cumberland County Superior Court Judge Gregory Weeks should have recused himself from hearing claims filed under the RJA because he had presided over some of the cases earlier. Meredith asked "why do we need a minority judge who knew the case?"

Weeks is black. The argument was not about the judge's race, but whether people convicted of capital murder should have their sentences converted to life in prison without parole if there was racial prejudice in their trial. However, prosecutors fought hard to stop the first RJA cases before they went to Weeks, and then tried to have him removed from the hearings.

Rev. William Barber issued a news release calling Meredith's remark offensive.

At the end of Wednesday's debate, Sen. Dan Blue, a Raleigh Democrat who is African-American, spoke on the floor in defense of Weeks, adding that he was sure Meredith didn't intend to disparage the judge.

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