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Morning Memo: Let the shutdown politics begin

THEN SHUT IT DOWN: The U.S. government started shutting down early Tuesday after a bitter fight over the new health care law deadlocked the Congress and stymied every attempt to keep money flowing after the federal fiscal year ended at midnight. It was the first such collapse of the government in nearly two decades and there was no immediate way to know how long it would last or how it would end. Read more here.

NOW BLAME GAME BEGINS: Hours after the partial shutdown, the blame game started, with Democrats and Republicans trying to say the other party was responsible. North Carolina congressmen are in the crosshairs.

***Read more shutdown politics and a look at what Gov. Pat McCrory did as the impasse and a federal lawsuit against the state loomed -- it's all below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

Morning Memo: McCrory opposed to new casino; Hagan still trumps GOP rivals

McCRORY OPPOSES CATAWBA CASINO: The Catawba Nation has filed an application with the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs in a first step toward gaining permission to build a casino and resort in Cleveland County. But Gov. Pat McCrory declined requests to endorse the application, a spokesman said Monday. In his first comments on the project, the governor's office said McCrory “remains unconvinced that any new casino proposal is in the best interest of North Carolina.” Read more here.

2014 U.S. SENATE POLL: Look for a new Public Policy Polling survey on North Carolina's U.S. Senate race later today. In a preview, Politico reports that Democrat Kay Hagan is still trumping her GOP rivals and Senate leader Phil Berger is slightly edging House Speaker Thom Tillis in a hypothetical GOP primary-- though nearly half of voters are still unsure.

***Get a full N.C. political news roundup below in the Dome Morning Memo. Send news and tips to dome@newsobserver.com.***

Morning Memo: Voter ID on hold, as taxes takes stage

VOTER ID STILL ON HOLD: From AP: The Senate is putting on hold for another week debating legislation that would require photo identification to vote in person in North Carolina. Rules committee Chairman Tom Apodaca of Hendersonville said previously a voter ID bill and legislation with broader election changes would be unveiled this week. Apodaca said Monday that won't happen until next week because Republicans are still working on the legislation. He declined to provide details.

MONDAY ARRESTS AT LEGISLATURE NEAR 700: About 80 more people were arrested outside the legislative chambers Monday after a rally attracted thousands outside. Earlier in the day, lawyers, professors and religious leaders who were among the first to get arrested were in Wake County District Court. Concerned about mounting court costs, Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby has encouraged General Assembly Police Chief Jeff Weaver to consider issuing citations rather than arresting the protesters. Weaver said, however, that arresting them gives law enforcement officers a way to disperse the crowd.

***In the Dome Morning Memo below, find a GOP lawmaker's thoughts on why the Confederacy lost the war, reaction to the Senate's final tax plan and more N.C. political news and analysis.***

Morning Memo: Arrest top 300, legislative work heats up

ARRESTS NOW TOP 300: The 151 protesters arrested Monday brings the grand total this session to more than 300. But even the roughly 1,000 people who attended the rally outside the Legislative Building pale in comparison to tens of thousands who attended the Wisconsin recall protests. (Read more on the demonstrations in the memo below.)

TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: The House Finance Committee is expected to vote Tuesday on its plan to tweak the state's tax system when it meets at 8:30 a.m. It is a partial overhaul compared to the Senate, but would still cut $1 billion in tax money over five years for future government services. A House transportation panel will revive a controversial bill to transfer control of the Charlotte airport to a regional authority. The Senate Commerce Committee will consider two beer bills while the judiciary committees have packed agendas. The House convenes at 2 p.m. and is scheduled to vote on Senate Bill 325, which would change the election boundaries, election dates and composition of Wake school board seats. Expect some heated debate from Democrats before the bill is ultimately passed by Republicans and sent back to the Senate. In the Senate, lawmakers will consider adding making it unlawful (apparently it wasn't) to drink in EMS and police vehicles.

Gov. Pat McCrory and the Council of State will meet at 9 a.m. and then the governor will take a tour of Strata's solar energy farm in Willow Spring. The visit sends a statement the legislature considers a bill to end state mandates on renewable energy.

***Thanks for reading the Dome Morning Memo -- the ultimate source for North Carolina political news. Click below for a can't miss photo from the protests Monday. ***

Morning Memo: Senate rolls out tax plan; ALEC keeps clout in North Carolina

SENATE LEADERS TO PITCH TAX PLAN: The long-awaited plan to overhaul the state's tax system will debut Tuesday. Senate Republicans want to slash the personal income tax from the highest 7.75 percent rate to 4.5 percent over three years and drop the corporate income tax from 6.9 percent to 6 percent.

In a video previewing a 12:30 p.m. announcement, Senate leader Phil Berger called it a $1 billion tax cut -- the largest in state history. The question is how to pay for it and the details are less clear, but Berger said it will involved taxing a range of services from haircuts to auto mechanics. (More details below.)

TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: Taxes won't take all the air from the N.C. General Assembly today. In committees, the governor's transportation plan gets a final hearing before going to the full House; a health committee considers a measure to limit what a doctor can do about sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy and birth control without parental consent; and Senate lawmakers will consider (but not vote on) a proposal to allow armed guards in elementary schools who aren't necessarily law enforcement officers.

The controversial gun bill gets a third reading on the House floor and the Senate will consider a controversial state charter school bill similar to ALEC-sponsored legislation. (More on ALEC below.) Gov. Pat McCrory -- who promised to hold regular media availability -- will not take questions after the Council of State meeting at 9 a.m. today. It is normal practice but McCrory has shunned the media after the meetings just about every time since he took office. He lists no other public events on his calendar today.

***Thanks for reading the Dome Morning Memo. A big day in North Carolina politics ahead. Get the scoop below. Send news and tips to dome@newsobserver.com.***

Gov. McCrory rocks out on drums at inaugural event

Gov. Pat McCrory banged out a drum solo on stage at the Lincoln Theater in Raleigh on Thursday night, kicking off the inauguration festivities.

The mostly young crowd, some in suits, some in flannel, clapped along and a few started singing Queen's "We Will Rock You" to McCrory's bass line. "There we go," McCrory said.

The Republican governor, wearing a sport coat and no tie, seemed at ease at the event. When he left the stage, he listened to the music from in front of the stage, shunning the roped-off VIP section saved for him on the club's upper level.

Morning Memo: GOP in power, today's big vote and a new political show

BIG VOTE TODAY: North Carolina children as young as 5 may soon be able to receive their public school education online from for-profit companies. The State Board of Education plans to vote Thursday on a special application for virtual schools that want to run public charters and receive taxpayer money. Full story here.

INAUGURATION FESTIVITIES GET UNDERWAY: Thursday marks the beginning of the traditional inauguration festivities. Council of State officials will get feted at a reception at 6 p.m. at the Progress Energy Center. The event is hosted by the Junior League of Raleigh and five companies with business before the state will sponsor: Charlotte Pipe and Foundry, Cisco Systems, Duke Energy, Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians and the Hendrick Companies. It's just one of the few opportunities special interests will get to lobby the state's top officials this week.

***This is the Dome Morning Memo, a digest of the state's big political news with analysis the reads between the lines. Thanks for reading. Click below for more.***

Gov. Perdue, Raleigh mayor to sign Dix property lease agreement Friday

Gov. Bev Perdue on Friday will sign official documents with the City of Raleigh to lease the Dix Hospital property for use as a public park.

The two parties negotiated the terms of the lease after the Council of State approved the controversial deal in a Dec. 4 vote. The signing ceremony will take place at 1:30 p.m. in the old Senate chambers at the Capitol. Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarland and the governor will take part.

McCrory takes oath Jan. 5 but cancels Jan. 8 Council of State meeting

UPDATED:Republican Pat McCrory is taking the oath of office Jan. 5, a week earlier than his predecessor and ahead of the traditional inauguration festivities.

But he won't hold a Council of State meeting currently scheduled for Jan. 8, the Office of State Budget and Management announced Thursday. The body of the state's top elected leaders meets monthly and handles administrative financial matters, such as property acquisitions. The council will likely meet for the first time with McCrory at the helm in February.

McCrory will spent that afternoon touring the state holding open houses ahead of the public inauguration festivities.

Morning Roundup: McCrory keeps ties to private firms amid transition

A month after his election, Gov.-elect Pat McCrory remains employed at a law firm that lobbies state government even as he establishes his administration and controls a $660,000 pot of taxpayer money.

His dual role creates a potential conflict that makes government watchdogs uncomfortable. Another ethical move McCrory should consider, they suggest, is putting his assets in a blind trust. Read full story here.

More political headlines:

--Legislators seeking to eliminate $2.4 billion the state of North Carolina owes the federal government to help pay jobless benefits are prepared to unveil a proposal they also say would put the state unemployment insurance program on firmer financial footing.

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