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Morning Memo: GOP Senate hopefuls take hard line on defunding Obamacare

North Carolina’s Republican U.S. Senate candidates are taking a hard line on federal budget negotiations – a position that puts them at odds with the state’s lone GOP senator, Richard Burr.

Four Republican candidates said Monday they support efforts to defund the federal health care act, apparently even if those efforts lead to a government shutdown. Their comments came the same day state Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger announced he won’t join those running for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Kay Hagan.

***Read more from the GOP candidates -- reaction to Berger's decision -- below in today's Dome 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: Fracking board under fire, Letterman takes shot at 'Dick' Burr

ENERGY COMPANY THWARTS FRACKING RULE: After more than six months of congenial meetings, the N.C. Mining & Energy Commission was set to approve its first fracking rule Friday, perhaps the most important of all the safety rules the commission will write to protect the public and safeguard the environment. The standard spells out which chemicals fracking operators have to publicly disclose when drilling natural gas wells in North Carolina.

But commissioners learned Thursday the proposal they had approved in committee in March is on ice. The problem: Fracking giant Halliburton has told North Carolina’s environmental regulators the rule goes too far. The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources is working to get the rule changed.

The developments raise questions about the independence and integrity of the Mining & Energy Commission, a panel created by the state legislature last year to create safety rules for shale gas exploration. Fracking refers to fracturing shale rock formations using high-pressure water and chemicals to release the natural gas trapped inside. Full story.

***Thanks for reading the Dome Morning Memo -- more news and analysis from the North Carolina political arena below. Send news and tips to dome@newsobserver.com.***

Morning Memo: Memo-gate fallout continues, McCrory's 'life of a governor'

FLORIDA GOP JOINS MEMO-GATE: A secret strategy memo designed to weaken Republicans in North Carolina is also getting attention in Florida, where elements of the plan were derived. Florida GOP Chairman Lenny Curry issued a memo to tie Florida Democrats to the plan: "In short, this document is as disgusting as it is alarming, and shows that Democrats do not want to reach across the aisle to find common sense solutions. Instead, they seek to divide and conquer. But this strategy is not just limited to North Carolina. These tactics actually have their roots right here in Florida, as the leaked document, public records and news reports make abundantly clear." (More on Florida memo below.)

TODAY IN POLTICS: Gov. Pat McCrory visits western North Carolina on Friday. He will read "Oh, The Places You'll Go," as part of Dr. Seuss day. (Gov. Bev Perdue read "Cat in the Hat" last year.) And later McCrory will visit Black Mountain's Main Street.

***Good morning. Thanks for reading the Dome Morning Memo -- more North Carolina politics and analysis below.***

Former Gov. Perdue to give UNC lecture on women in the media

Former Gov. Bev Perdue will give a lecture Jan. 17 at the UNC-Chapel Hill journalism school as part of the "Women in Media Leadership Series."

Perdue, the former Democratic governor who was no fan of the media, will give a brief talk and answer questions from students on stage. The 4 p.m. lecture will take place at the Nelson Mandela Auditorium in the FedEx Global Education Center on campus.

Duke University forum to explore media's role in 2012 election

The dust is never settled on the 2012 election. A Duke University forum Saturday will take a look at media coverage of the campaign season with a panel of national journalists.

John Dickerson, a media critic with Slate and CBS News, Ben Smith, the founder of BuzzFeed, and Nia-Malika Henderson, a Washington Post reporter, will serve on the panel. Duke professor James Hamilton will moderate. 

The forum is 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Fleishman Commons of the Sanford Building. It is free and open to the public.

DNC neckwear defines your importance

One thing you learn quickly at the Democratic convention: your importance is defined by your neckwear.

All the folks walking around Charlotte are wearing a necklace with colorful cards dangling as they hustle between convention venues. Organizers call them credentials. It's like the entire town is going to see a NASCAR race with pit passes and such. (See photo above for it takes to cover the convention for a reporter. It's enough to give you neckpain.)

Democratic convention descends on Charlotte

The Democratic convention preparations are continuing in Charlotte with much of the media and protesters arriving early.

Here's a midday update: Democrats are confident they can fill Bank of America stadium for the president's speech Thursday. Security guards are invading Charlotte. The convention center is now the world's largest newsroom. Anti-abortion groups protested outside a Planned Parenthood office. A Charlotte official wants to evict Occupy campers. And the airport is a mob scene.

Morning Roundup: Charlotte trip 'interesting' but not worth political risk

More than 35,000 people are coming to Charlotte for September’s Democratic National Convention. But the buzz Wednesday was on 14 who aren’t. That’s the number of Democratic congressional candidates who’ve said they plan to stay home and campaign rather than attend their party’s convention. And they’re doing it with the blessing of the man trying to get them elected.

U.S. Rep. Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said this week he would advise any candidate to stay home. “If they want to win an election, they need to be in their districts,” he told Reuters. “A trip to Charlotte may be interesting, but why leave your districts?” Read the full story here.

More political headlines:

--Gov. Bev Perdue is being asked by media organizations to veto a bill that would restrict public access to information about businesses that put their employees at financial risk by not purchasing legally required workers’ compensation insurance. An investigation by The News & Observer in April revealed that tens of thousands of North Carolina employers do not have the insurance.

A plethora of parties welcome Democratic convention

Democratic convention festivities will kick off Sept. 1 with a party for 15,000 media members at the N.C. Music Factory, with receptions a day later for 6,000 delegates at a dozen venues around the city. Organizers plan to announce those venues this morning.

"Hosting our guests at these distinct venues truly puts our best foot forward," said Dan Murrey, executive director of the convention host committee. "Showcasing these unique venues allows us to tell the many stories about why this is a great place to live and visit."

The receptions will serve as the official welcome to many of the 35,000 expected visitors, and kick off more than 1,000 convention-related events. The events will add a Charlotte flavor to a convention that already will have a different touch. Read more from The Charlotte Observer here.

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