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Party on

Anyone would be forgiven for thinking the legislature is still in session with all the lawmakers still wandering around Raleigh this month. For folks who like hanging out with politicians and have a few thousand dollars lying around, there are enough political fundraisers to fill a social calendar.

House Democrats invited folks to a social spot on Fayetteville Street last week. Top dollar "benefactor" tickets went for $5,000. The lowest cost ticket was $250.

Republican Reps. Mike Hager of Rutherfordton and Jacqueline Schaffer of Charlotte were at Tyler's Taproom on Tuesday. High dollar, $4,000; low dollar, $250. It was not a joint event, so donors were asked to aim their checks at individual campaign committees. Republican Reps. Tom Murry of Morrisville, Tim Moffitt of Asheville, and Susan Martin of Wilson were at Natty Greene's Wednesday night. ("Three M's are better than One!" said the invite.) Again, not a joint event. $250 to $4,000.

The House Republican Freshman Caucus is having a fundraiser Aug. 27 at the Carolina Country Club ($250 to $2,000, contribute to individual committees) featuring Rep. Ruth Samuelson, a Charlotte Republican and House GOP caucus leader who is on the list of potential House Speakers. That will roll immediately into a House GOP Caucus fundraiser at the country club ($150 to $10.000) The $10,000 platinum hosts will get a dozen tickets to the VIP and general receptions.

NC Republicans sign name to immigration overhaul effort

A handful of prominent North Carolina business leaders and lawmakers are joining a national effort to urge the Republican Congress to support an immigration overhaul.

The letter -- sent by major Republican donors such as Vice President Dan Quayle, Carlos Gutierrez, the commerce secretary under President George W. Bush, and Karl Rove -- calls for "legal status" to those living in the country illegally.

In North Carolina, developer Judd Ammons, prominent farmer John Barnes, agribusiness leader Frank Granger and homebuilder Tim Minton joined Republican state Reps. Tom Murry of Morrisville and Tim Moffitt of Asheville in signing their names to the effort.


Morning Memo: All eyes on the House, NAACP fires back at McCrory

TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: The budget and tax watch continues. House and Senate lawmakers are negotiating on both issues this week hoping to break the logjam. Some movement may emerge later this week. In House committees, lawmakers will discuss a power shift at the Charlotte airport, a sweeping bill to weaken environmental protections and consider four election-related bills. With the election bills, it’s not so much what’s in them now -- but how they may get amended. Talk is rampant about an highly-controversial omnibus elections bill. The chambers convene at 2 p.m. The abortion bill is in limbo but not likely to come to a House vote Wednesday -- though stranger things have happened. After a one-day delay, the Senate will debate a bill to impose drug testing and background checks on some welfare recipients.

NAACP PRESIDENT CALLS McCRORY REMARKS 'DISINGENUOUS': Gov. Pat McCrory's take on "Moral Mondays" didn't sit well with Rev. William Barber, the N.C. NAACP president who is leading the weekly demonstrations. In a statement, Barber said McCrory is trying to "play nice and move away from his original comments about Moral Monday protestors being outsiders." He compared McCrory's words to George Wallace, who dismissed segregation as a few isolated instances.

***Read more reaction below -- and get the latest North Carolina political news and analysis -- in today's Dome Morning Memo.***

House Republicans won't push game fish bill

A spokesman for House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, confirmed Monday that the so-called game fish bill is dead for this year, Patrick Gannon at the Insider reports. "It's not going to move," Jordan Shaw said. The House Republican Caucus made the decision last week and Tillis -- who hasn't taken a public position on the measure -- is respecting that position, Shaw said.

Rep. Tom Murry, R-Wake, one of the bill's primary sponsors, said the caucus deferred to coastal legislators who opposed the measure because of opposition from commercial fishermen in their districts. "It puts them in a more difficult spot than anyone else," Murry said of the coastal lawmakers. Murry added that he believed House Bill 983 could have passed the House this year, but that its reception in the Senate might not have been as warm. He said he believed the bill came "closer" to passage this year but that many more negotiations between recreational and commercial fishing interests are needed.

North Carolina lawmakers win easily against South Carolina in charity game

RALEIGH -- A deep bench and powerful inside presence under the basket gave North Carolina lawmakers the advantage they needed to make a second half run and beat a squad of South Carolina legislators 35 -27 in a charity game Wednesday.

With the win at Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh, North Carolina reclaimed the trophy from its southern rival and extended its series lead to 11-6 in an on-again, off-again competition that dates to 1979.

"It was a great game," said Rep. Burt Jones, a Rockingham Republican who coached the team and reveled in his post-game interview. "I think we played just a little bit better. ... We had a little run in the second half and pulled away."

The 6-foot, 5-inch center Rep. Chris Millis, a Hampstead Republican, scored big points for the bipartisan N.C. General Assembly team and swatted a few big South Carolina shots, easily winning the crowd's MVP nod. "Everybody played hard," he said, sounding just like a professional athlete. "It was a team win."

Gov. Pat McCrory made an appearance in the second half, playing good minutes but later clanked two free throws late in the game. "I've never been so nervous in my life," McCrory said at the line.

Morning Memo: Art Pope lecture protested; major bills moving at legislature

STUDENTS TO PROTEST ART POPE LECTURE: UNC-Chapel Hill students are plannning a "teach out" demonstration Tuesday outside a campus building where Art Pope, the governor's state budget director is a guest lecturer. Pope will speak to Faculty Chairwoman Jan Boxhill's 12:30 p.m. philosophy course, according to The Daily Tar Heel. Pope is a major donor to the university but also to ttea party groups and others that aim to elect Republican candidates. Students are upset about the proposed cuts to the university in tthe budget Pope drafted. Interestingly, Gov. Pat McCrory earlier this year questioned the use of state money for liberal arts courses such as gender students and philosophy.

TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: House and Senate lawmakers will consider a corporate income tax cut and school safety measure Tuesday with major legislation begins making progress as the legislalture nears crunch time. The House Education Committee will meet at 10 a.m. and the Senate  Finance Committee will meet at 1 p.m. Both chambers convene at 2 p.m. The House is still waiting to vote on a measure to background check many receiptients of public assitance and prohibit some from getting federal aid. Two major groups will hold rallies at the legislature to push back against the Republican majority.

McCrory hosted a breakfast this morning with advocates for the state's historically black universities and colleges -- the groups most fearing any potential study of consolidation of UNC system campuses. Later in the day, the governor will meet with the Legislative Black Caucus, a group that has been very critical of his agenda.

***Thanks for reading the Dome Morning Memo. Much more North Carolina politics below.***

House rolls out less restrictive voter ID bill

House Republicans unveiled their long-awaited voter id bill Thursday, offering a less restrictive version than the measure that was vetoed by Democratic Gov. Bev. Perdue two years ago.

The measure would require all voters to show a government-issued photograph at the polls starting with the 2016 elections, in what supporters said was an effort to restore voter confidence in the electoral system.

But it would include several provisions that seem designed to address the concerns of critics who charged that it would disenfranchise older voters, students, and the poor. The bill would accept expired driver's licenses up to 10 years, student ID's from public universities, state employee Ids, and would allow persons older than 70 years to use old IDs. It would also require the state to provide free photo ID's to those who claim financial hardship.

Morning Memo: McCrory in spotlight in MetLife deal

BIG JOBS DEAL PUTS McCRORY IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The Charlotte law firm Moore & Van Allen, where Gov. Pat McCrory was employed until just days before taking office, helped the New York-based insurance company negotiate with state and local governments to receive more than $94 million in taxpayer-funded incentives in return for the promise to add more than 2,600 jobs in the next three years. The connection raises questions in the minds of Democrats about McCrory’s role in the deal and again shines light on his employment at the law firm, which also runs a lobbying practice in Raleigh. Republicans used similar concerns to reject a major economic development project under Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue, citing how the company hired a Raleigh law firm that employed her son.

TODAY IN POLITICS: McCrory will tout the MetLife deal at another event in Charlotte Friday. The U.S. Labor Department reports the national unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent, a four year low. The full N.C. Mining and Energy Commission meets Friday as the debate about what to do with fracking waste remains unresolved and lawmakers are getting involved.

Thanks for reading the Dome Morning Memo. Much more on the MetLife deal and the political implications below. Send news and tips to Have a good weekend and Go Heels!

Tillis makes key committee chair appointments, emphasizing sophomore representatives

House Speaker Thom Tillis on Wednesday announced his choices to lead several key committees, elevating several second-term representatives to prominent positions.

GOP says not supporting fracking is an 'extreme agenda'

Democrats often use the word "extreme" to describe the Republican legislative agenda. But now Republicans are throwing it back at them. 

In one of the most over-the-top mailers so far, state GOP sent attacking Democratic House candidate Jim Messina said he "supports an extreme agenda that rejects modern scientific fact and will ultimately kill economic expansion in North Carolina." The GOP put a colander on Messina's head to make him look like a crazy conspiracy theorist. (Click below for flyer.)

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