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McCrory's school safety report favors restricting campus guns to SROs

State Rep. Tim Moffitt, a Republican from Asheville, on Friday tweeted a link to his legislative website, where he has written a defense of relaxed gun laws.

Moffitt defends the gun bill signed into law this year that expands the places people with permits to carry concealed guns can bring their weapons, which includes schools if locked in a container in a vehicle.

“Contrary to what the media wants us to know, almost every public mass shooting that has taken place in this country has occurred in a so-called ‘gun-free zone,’” Moffitt writes. “Since the implementation of the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1995, there has been a 370 percent increase in the rate of school shooting deaths.”

There were several unsuccessful bills last session that proposed to put more weapons on school campuses, including by arming teachers and volunteers with weapons.

Media conspiracies aside (the rate of gun violence at schools has been well-reported), Gov. Pat McCrory’s initiative to make sure schools are safe released its first report on Friday, which calls for more school resource officers.

“The key finding here is that when properly trained and equipped, SROs are thought to be the only professionals who should be required or permitted to carry weapons on school campuses,” the report concludes.

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.***

In surprise vote, House defeats Wake schools bill

Wake County schools’ multi-billion-dollar real estate portfolio will remain under the control of Wake County school board, barring renewed reconsideration of a bill that would have given control to the county commission. It failed to pass the House Wednesday afternoon, on a 54-62 vote.

Epi-pen bill dead for this year

A bill that would require schools keep Epi-pens on hand for emergency treatment of children's severe allergic reactions won't become law this year.

Parents from around the state are pushing the bill - signing petitions and sending email - which passed unanimously in the House in April and now sits in the Senate Education Committee.

Sen. Dan Soucek, a Boone Republian and co-chairman of the committee, said the committee was concerned about putting additional regulations on school administrators and are worried about the cost.

Though Soucek said the Senate won't hear the bill this year, it's still alive for the short-session.

Senate committee approves school construction bill

A state Senate panel approved a bill Wednesday that would allow Boards of Commissioners in nine counties, including Wake, to take away from their local school boards their authority to build and own schools.

Senate Bill 236 would allow boards of commissioners in those counties to take over all facets of school construction, including the locating, constructing, owning, maintaining, renovating and building of schools. These responsibilities have traditionally been held by school systems.

In the counties that take advantage of the legislation, the bill would leave school boards only the ability to advise commissioners on school construction.

Armed school marshals proposed in new bill

After all the recent controversy about whether Wake County elementary schools should have unarmed or armed security, a new state Senate bill could affect the situation.

The "Public School Protection" bill introduced Thursday would authorize school boards to designate people to the newly created position of school safety marshal. These people, who could be school employees, school volunteers, or people specially hired for the position, would be authorized to carry firearms on campus.

Morning Roundup: School grades change and Michelle Obama revs supporters

This is the last year of a much-maligned system that made parents angry, caused teachers to complain that they had to “teach to the test,” and kept principals up nights worried about showing improvement. The ABCs are gone after Thursday. In its place is a new measuring stick that emphasizes national standards and students’ readiness for college and work. Read more about the changes here.

More political news:

--Michelle Obama attended a campaign rally in Greensboro, previewing her role at the Democratic National Convention, and then attended a fundraiser in Raleigh in which she defended her husband's administration.

--Even in the wake of last month’s Colorado shooting rampage and a gunman’s spree last year that nearly killed former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, don’t expect Democrats to arrive in Charlotte armed with renewed calls for tougher gun laws. The issue is too risky.

Teacher salary schedule, Pre-K fixes approved

The House this morning overwhelmingly concurred with Senate changes to a bill that sets a teacher salary schedule and makes changes to Pre-K eligibility to comply with a court order.

Rep. Hugh Blackwell, a Republican from Burke County, said he had a problem with putting teacher raises in a separate bill rather than in the budget. He said the only purpose was to give the Senate more leverage in its budget negotiations with the governor.

This morning’s 105 to 6 vote ratifies the bill and sends it to the governor for her signature. Republican leaders rushed the bill through to send a message to the judge in today's hearing, clarifying legislative intent.

Morning Roundup: Democratic Party controversy takes a new crazy turn

In an extraordinary act of political theater, the state Democratic chairman described and dismissed outright the sexual harassment claims against the party’s former top official and refused to immediately relinquish his post Thursday, despite intense national political pressure.

David Parker stood behind a podium, pale in the TV lights, speaking for 35 minutes using prepared notes and pausing long enough before answering questions to allow the laughter of children on the school playground next door to fill the cavernous room. Read the full story about the controversy paralyzing the Democratic Party and learn more about his investment in a Charlotte area development that put him in the public eye.

In other headlines this morning:

--Activities for and against the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage and civil unions have drawn more attention than the primary campaigns so far. The marriage campaigns have been working for months on their messages, but now that early voting has started and with less than three weeks until the May 8 primary, the pace and intensity of the efforts are increasing. Read about the competing campaign's efforts here.

Morning Roundup: School superintendents vent about budget cuts

State budget cuts have damaged the quality of education offered in public schools across North Carolina, school superintendents said during a five-hour gathering Tuesday, where they shared stories and sounded alarms about financial woes that have worsened during the past three years. Read more here.

Other headlines:

--The Council of State takes action to close Dix Hospital. More here.

--The UNC system continues its push to remove university workers from the state personnel act. Read an interview with President Tom Ross here.

--Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who will chair the Democratic National Convention, took his first look at Charlotte’s convention venues Tuesday, and took the chance to reach out to the city’s Hispanic community. Read Jim Morrill's story here.

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