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McCrory's school safety report favors restricting campus guns to SROs

State Rep. Tim Moffitt, a Republican from Asheville, on Friday tweeted a link to his legislative website, where he has written a defense of relaxed gun laws.

Moffitt defends the gun bill signed into law this year that expands the places people with permits to carry concealed guns can bring their weapons, which includes schools if locked in a container in a vehicle.

“Contrary to what the media wants us to know, almost every public mass shooting that has taken place in this country has occurred in a so-called ‘gun-free zone,’” Moffitt writes. “Since the implementation of the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1995, there has been a 370 percent increase in the rate of school shooting deaths.”

There were several unsuccessful bills last session that proposed to put more weapons on school campuses, including by arming teachers and volunteers with weapons.

Media conspiracies aside (the rate of gun violence at schools has been well-reported), Gov. Pat McCrory’s initiative to make sure schools are safe released its first report on Friday, which calls for more school resource officers.

“The key finding here is that when properly trained and equipped, SROs are thought to be the only professionals who should be required or permitted to carry weapons on school campuses,” the report concludes.

Anti-Bloomberg "Big Gulp" bill surfaces in North Carolina

Not to be outdone by Mississippi, three North Carolina lawmakers on Tuesday filed a bill that would prohibit cities and counties from limiting how big a soft drink can be.

Recently, Mississippi passed such a law, “The Anti-Bloomberg Bill,” which took a swipe at New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s effort to limit giant sugar drinks for health reasons.

House Bill 683, filed Tuesday in North Carolina, would also protect food manufacturers from being sued over weight gain, obesity or other conditions stemming from long-term consumption. Packers, distributors, carriers, sellers, marketers and advertisers would also be protected.

Sponsors are Rep. Brian Brown, a Republican from Greenville; Rep. Tim Moffitt, a Republican from Asheville; and Rep. Nathan Ramsey, a Republican from Fairview.

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***

Morning Memo: McCrory to talk higher ed, lawmakers to approve Medicaid bill

GOV. McCRORY TO TALK HIGHER ED: Weeks after he stuck his foot in his mouth, Gov. Pat McCrory will make a speech about higher education and the role of innovation in the university economic growth. The Republican governor made controversial comments about changing the higher education funding formula to reflect job output from colleges, not how many students enroll, and he also suggested the state shouldn't subsidize liberal arts classes like gender studies. The noon speech is at N.C. State.

TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: House and Senate leaders appear ready to agree on a bill to block the expansion of Medcaid to 500,000 North Carolinians. The conference report is on the calendar for concurrence and then would go to the governor. But the topless bill is no longer on the calendar. On Monday, Republicans sent it back to committee. Buncombe Rep. Tim Moffitt told AP the delay would give time for consultations with Senate lawmakers. U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan will hold a call this morning to discuss the ramifications of the federal budget impasse on North Carolina.

***Welcome to the Dome Morning Memo, get more political news and analysis below.***

Pro-topless group vows to fight the injustice

The pro-topless organization – what, you didn’t know there was such a thing? – that is the target of the bill to ban the public display of female nipples, is vowing to fight back.

GoTopless organized rallies in Asheville the past two years, which prompted Asheville Republican Rep. Tim Moffitt to sponsor legislation clarifying that constitutes a violation of the state’s indecent exposure law. The group says that even if Moffitt’s bill becomes law, it will continue to hold topless rallies.

“Though we’ve explained our viewpoint many times during GoTopless rallies over the last two years, politicians are still missing the entire point,” president Nadine Gray said in a news release Wednesday.

What’s that point?

“Our rallies are aimed at bringing attention to a serious matter of unconstitutional, unequal treatment,” she said.

What’s the unequal treatment?

“In much of the United States, woman are still persecuted or arrested for going topless, while men aren’t.”

If the bill becomes law, Gray said, the rallies will continue to drive home the point that men should be arrested, too.

Baring a problem in Asheville

Now here’s a problem you might not have realized need exposing, but apparently it does out there in wild and wooly Asheville – and maybe in Lexington, too.

A bill filed Thursday would make it illegal for women to bare their nipples in public.

It’s not about breastfeeding – which the bill would allow in public – but about clarifying that indecent exposure includes fully exposed breasts. Here’s what the authors write:

“For the purposes of this section, the term 'private parts' means external organs of sex and of excretion, including the nipple, or any portion of the areola, of the human female breast.”


Planned Parenthood PAC works phones, mail against Murry, Moffitt

Planned Parenthood’s political arm is working the phones and sending out mailers urging the defeat of two freshmen Republican members of the state House: Rep. Tom Murry of Morrisville and Rep. Tim Moffitt of Asheville, among others.

Planned Parenthood of Central N.C. Action Fund, a political action committee, reports having spent $5,809 on the effort so far from late September to early October. The national political arm, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, last month sent $27,000 to help out in North Carolina.

Effort to partially privatize N.C. Zoo likely dead for the session

The money needed to transition the North Carolina Zoo to a public-private partnership did not make it into the final budget, likely ending legislation on the issue this session.

David Jones, director of the North Carolina Zoo, says he's not going to waste time by pushing forward with the bill, which is currently on the House calendar for consideration Monday. "It's not fair to anybody in a busy season to take this forward, knowing theres no money for it," said Jones.

GOP lawmakers pepper UNC Health Care CEO, question governance structure

UPDATED: A Republican state lawmaker is considering legislation to reconfigure the leadership at the UNC Health Care as the legislature continues exploring whether the hospital system gets an unfair advantage against private entities.

Asheville Rep. Tim Moffitt, a management consultant, suggested at a legislative meeting Thursday that the 20-member board of health care system is too stacked in UNC's favor and doesn't allow for divergent viewpoints. He is planning to ask legislative staff to draft legislation that would curtail the board to a dozen members, the bulk of which are selected by the UNC System's Board of Governors instead of the health care entity.

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