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Morning Memo: Feds to challenge N.C. voting law; Senate candidates scrap for cash

FEDS TO CHALLENGE NORTH CAROLINA’S VOTING LAW: The U.S. Department of Justice will file a lawsuit Monday to stop North Carolina’s new voter ID law, which critics have said is the most sweeping law of its kind, according to a person briefed on the department’s plans.

Attorney General Eric Holder, who has said he will fight state voting laws that he sees as discriminatory, will announce the lawsuit at noon Monday, along with the three U.S. attorneys from the state. Critics said the law will disenfranchise African-American and elderly voters, while the Republican-led General Assembly in Raleigh said the law will protect the state’s voters from potential fraud.

***Read more on the forthcoming lawsuit, get #NCSEN updates and a roundup of North Carolina political headlines below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

Advocacy group says two-thirds of legislature failed environment

Environment North Carolina says 112 lawmakers received a failing grade by their marks this session with only one Republican receiving a passing score.

The group's 2013 legislative scorecard put 65 percent of the 170-member N.C. General Assembly in the failing category based on nine contested votes in the House and 13 in the Senate. Nearly two-thirds of the Senate didn't pass the environmental advocacy group's test.

“This year, the Senate approved extreme measures to rush the state into fracking, do away with protections for our beaches, rivers and lakes, and dismantle our environmental commissions,” said Elizabeth Ouzts, Environment North Carolina state director, in a statement. “Given all the Senate’s attacks on the environment this year, their dismal scores are disappointing, but not all that surprising.”

Morning Memo: Rove to raise money for Tillis; Harris plans statewide tour

GOP strategist Karl Rove will headline a series of fundraising events for U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis in mid-November, an aide to the former Bush administration official confirmed to Dome. The details are still being finalized but Rove and Tillis are likely to hit events across the state, Tillis allies said.

Next week, Tillis will attend a reception hosted by Rove’s political action committee, Crossroads GPS, which spent big money in the 2012 election. Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan used Rove as a foil in one of her recent fundraising pitches -- showing Rove’s close link to Tillis may help both sides.

As Tillis focuses on raising money his latest rival Mark Harris begins a high-flying announcement tour for next week. Read about it and more North Carolina political news below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

Morning Memo: Democrats hit GOP on education in new ad campaign

SEE IT HERE FIRST: N.C. Democrats launch ad campaign hitting GOP on education: The headline "Republican leadership has failed teachers in North Carolina" is hitting newspapers across the state this week in full-page advertisements paid for by the N.C. Democratic Party. The ads target 17 legislative districts (eight Senate, nine House) and criticize Republicans for not increasing teacher pay, forcing class size increases, eliminating some teacher assistants, ending the back-to-school tax holiday, cutting money for textbooks and supplies, taking away the graduate school bonus for (future) teachers and allowing private school vouchers.

"We’re putting Gov. McCrory and Republican legislators on notice that their assault on public education is not going unnoticed," said Robert Dempsey, the party's executive director.

***See the ad and get a list of the targeted lawmakers below in today's Dome Morning Memo.***

Document(s):
AD.pdf

Morning Memo: Hold the fries; striking workers, a challenge to Ellmers and more pay questions

It may be harder to get your burger fix today. Fast food workers from about 30 chain restaurants in the Triangle are planning to walk off the job and march to the Martin Street Baptist Church. Welcome to Dome's Morning Memo.

NOT SO FAST FOOD TODAY: Fast food workers say they can't pay their rent and must rely on food stamps to feed their families. Among those planning to strike today an Army veteran who has lost her home. Strikers want higher wages and the right to form a union. Similar walkouts have been staged across the country this year. Full story.

1377778112 Morning Memo: Hold the fries; striking workers, a challenge to Ellmers and more pay questions The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Morning Memo: Fracking, casinos, wood pellets and Bev Perdue

Landowners could be forced to give up control of the natural gas under their land and sell it to energy companies whether they want to or not.

Known as forced pooling, the once-obscure practice is about to be put to a major test as the N.C. Mining and Energy Commission grapples with creating fracking regulations to protect the public and safeguard the environmnet.

***Thanks for reading the Dome Morning Memo. There's a lot going on today; read about it below. ***

DENR head John Skvarla riffs on fracking, agency layoffs, job creation

John Skvarla, North Carolina's top environmental regulator, said Monday he is overseeing 15 reorganizations simultaneously at the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources in an effort to streamline the agency he has been running since January.

Skvarla said he doesn't know how many people will be laid off from the 4,000-employee agency, but noted that the purpose of the reorg is not to maximize body counts. Rather, Skvarla said, his goal is to make DENR more responsive in its dual mission of protecting the environment and growing the economy.

"Historically, the philosophy has been that corporate America is the enemy," Skvarla told a lunchtime crowd of several dozen at the conservative John Locke Foundation in Raleigh.

"We can't take people who are going to build the economy and treat them like the enemy," Skvarla said. "Everything we do in DENR has to involve some consideration of economics."

Morning Memo: Education takes center stage

State Reps. Larry Hall of Durham and Rick Glazier of Fayetteville, both Democrats, called on the State Board of Education Thursday to protect the master's pay supplement for the graduating class of 2014.

The State Board imposes an April 1 deadline for completing the paperwork for teachers to get a pay supplement for having received their Master's degree. The new state budget gets rid of the pay supplement but grandfathers in those teachers who already receive it. Hall and Glazier think those teachers who went back to school to receive their masters under the impression that they'd get the pay raise (which would theoretically help pay for the cost of the degree) should be entitled to the supplement.

They've asked Superintendent June Atkinson to request that the State Board of Education extend the deadline to June 30, 2014.

TGIF and welcome to Dome's Morning Memo.

Morning Memo: House goes into OT, GOP pushes major bills in final moments

OVERTIME AT THE STATEHOUSE: What day is it again? The legislation continues its Friday session later this morning -- the one it started at 12:01 a.m. “Good morning, everybody,” House Speaker Thom Tillis said as he gavel in a new legislative day. The 9 a.m. session is one more than expected but House lawmakers didn’t want to stay past 1 a.m. to finish their work like the Senate, expecting lengthy debates. The House session is expected to last a couple hours. On the calendar: the “technical corrections” state budget bill that includes $2 million for the governor’s office to spend on innovative education programs -- a last-minute request from State Budget Director Art Pope’s office, budget writers said. Also: a final vote on a sweeping regulatory overhaul measure.

The big item left unfinished: Gov. Pat McCrory’s commerce bill. The fracking language added to the reorganization measure in conference doomed its chances in the house. (Special session, anyone?)

LEGISLATIVE SESSION ENDS WITH A FLURRY OF ACTION: Abortion. Voter ID. Massive changes to state regulations. Charlotte airport. It’s all headed to Gov. Pat McCrory. If you went to bed too soon, read it all below in the ***Dome Morning Memo.*** Along with Tillis campaign news.

Morning Memo: Adjournment arrives but much remains undone

ADJOURNMENT DAY : The end is near. State lawmakers intend to conclude the legislative session tonight -- likely after midnight Friday to allow for final readings on controversial bills, House and Senate leaders said. But much remains on the to-do list: final votes on voter ID, the fracking bill, a commerce department reorganization, the closely watched abortion legislation and final votes on a handful more key measures.

The last-minute scramble begins at 10 a.m. when the House and Senate Rules committees meet to discuss last-minute legislation Republican leaders want to push through. The House and Senate will convene at 11 a.m. and stay on the floor most the day with intermittent recesses to shuffle legislation between chambers. Gov. Pat McCrory canceled a trip to a conference in Aspen, Colo., to remain in Raleigh for the final day of the session.

***Miss the action? Get all the North Carolina political news and analysis below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

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