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House passes investigative grand jury bill

Attorney General Roy Cooper issued a statement Tuesday hailing the passage in the House of a bill that would allow prosecutors to use investigative grand juries.

“This is an important step in our fight against public corruption,” Cooper said in a statement his office released. “Investigative grand juries are a critical tool that can help uncover the truth and assure that wrongdoing by public officials will be prosecuted.”

HB908 would allow it in cases of public corruption and complex financial crimes. A three-judge panel would have to grant permission.

Controversial commissions bill dramatically rewritten in House committee


The controversial Senate bill sweeping out members of key state commissions has been substantially rewritten in the House, where a committee on Wednesday morning approved the new version.

Sen. Tom Apodaca, the bill's prime sponsor, was invited to address the committee, and he made it clear he wasn't happy.

"This is not a good way to start the session," he said.

Rep. Murry plans mini jobs tour

State Rep. Tom Murry is planning a western Wake jobs tour this coming week. He has scheduled three meetings in which he hopes to hear from business owners and other constituents fresh ideas for stimulating the economy.

It’s part of the Morrisville Republican’s new role as chairman of the House Committee on Commerce and Job Development.

Here’s the schedule:

2:30 p.m. Monday at Cloer Family Vineyards, 8624 Castleberry Road, Apex, for a walking tour.

8 a.m. Thursday at the Cary Chamber of Commerce, 307 N. Academy St., for a discussion of tax reform and other issues the legislature may take up this session.

9 a.m. Friday at Crowder Construction, 1111 Burma Drive in Apex, for a discussion with small business owners, builders and contractors.

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.

The pharmacist candidate says he's got the right 'prescription'

Republican state House candidate Tom Murry, a pharmacist, debuted his second TV ad of the campaign season this week, saying he has the right "prescription" to help the state.

The 30-second spot lists a few Republican accomplishments from the prior session, including cutting the gas tax and a business tax cut. The incumbent's campaign spent $100,000 to target the TV ad to his Morrisville-area district through cable and YouTube channels.

With Weiss out, a new Democrat emerges to challenge Rep. Murry

A Cary Democrat announced his candidacy Thursday for the state House, filling a hole left by the impending retirement of state Rep. Jennifer Weiss.

In making his bid for House District 41 official, Jim Messina called himself a fiscal moderate businessman who will focus his campaign on "innovative educational approaches" as the fuel the state needs to improve the economy. "I am running to ensure that the North Carolina our family chose as a home continues to attract 21st century jobs and to maintain a great quality of life," he said in a statement.

Messina, who works at Raleigh web consulting firm, is married and the father of three teenagers. If he wins the Democratic nomination (no other challengers are in the race so far), Messina would face Republican Rep. Tom Murry of Morrisville in a newly drawn district. Weiss, an outspoken Democrat, announced earlier this week she wouldn't seek another term.

Tom Murry debuts bumper billboard campaign sign

State Rep. Tom Murry, a Morrisville Republican, is trying an inventive way to get his face in front of voters: an illuminated billboard attached to a car bumper. 

One of the Murry's signs sat outside the legislative office building this week, attached to a Land Rover trailer hitch and shining like a beacon on the road.

Steve Donohoe is the Bumper Signs ambassador. He parked the car outside the statehouse Monday evening to get the attention of lawmaker as the left at the end of the day. For now, Murry is his only client.

"It looks great," said Rep. David Lewis, the House elections committee chairman, as he stopped to check out the sign.

Donohoe says the sign meets all transportation rules -- the main one being the brightness allowed for taillights. "It's just under the DOT size rules for being a nuisance," he said. When parked, the sign also swings out to face multiple directions.

Murry said he's excited to try it it out. "Pretty cool, huh?" he said Tuesday as he handed out Donohoe's business card from a pile he kept in his pocket.

Republican bill would create single economic development agency

Some Republican lawmakers are pushing to revamp the state's programs that recruit businesses and create jobs, a move that would call for gutting the state's lead economic development agency, the N.C. Department of Commerce.

A bill introduced Wednesday would replace the state Commerce Department with the N.C. Carolina Jobs and Commerce Corp. The new agency would consolidate all economic development functions under one heading.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Tom Murry of Wake County, said the state has more than a dozen economic development agencies, commissions, bureaus and offices, working without coordination and sometimes at cross-purposes.

One of Murry's criticisms, echoed by others over the years, is that the system lacks accountability. It generates publicity for elected officials at staged ribbon cuttings but often fails to produce the promised jobs, he said.


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