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Senate advances bill to undo Dix lease

A bill that revokes Raleigh’s lease on the Dorothea Dix hospital property sailed through a Senate appropriations committee Thursday, with several legislators calling former Gov. Bev Perdue’s final major act “illegitimate.”

After a heated debate, the Republican-led committee approved the measure with a few Democrats dissenting. Supporters of the bill argue that the state signed away the property for less than it’s worth, and they want to craft a new lease with Raleigh that reserves some of the land for state offices.

“This was a lame-duck deal done by a lame-duck governor,” said Sen. Tommy Tucker, a Republican from Union County who co-sponsored the bill. “It was kind of an end run to the process. ... This is the point of the city taking property from state government – a power grab without question.” More here.

McCrory convenes new Council of State, declines to back Berger

Gov.-elect Pat McCrory convened an informal Council of State meeting hours after the current panel met Tuesday to decide the Dix land lease deal.

At the meeting of the incoming Council of State, the Dix vote from earlier in the morning didn't get discussed, said McCrory spokesman Chris Walker. It was more of a get-to-know-everyone meeting, he said, in which all pledged to work together.

Through the spokesman, McCrory declined to comment on the Dix deal and wouldn't publicly support Republican Senate leader Phil Berger's efforts to find a legal way to block the lease to the City of Raleigh.

Gov. Perdue says election results aren't repudiation of N.C. Democratic Party

UPDATED: Gov. Bev Perdue said the Republican victories that defined the 2012 election in North Carolina are not a reflection on the state of the N.C. Democratic Party.

In her first comments about the election, the Democratic chief executive said the election showed larger forces at work in the state. "It's just the times. It's absolutely the times," she said. "What happened in the country was great: President Obama was re-elected, we gained Senate seats across the country. North Carolina is at an interesting time. Our population is changing."

Asked how long it would take Democrats to return to the governor's mansion, Perdue dodged.

Absent from campaign trail, Perdue helps Dalton behind the scenes

UPDATED: A major question entering the gubernatorial campaign: How would outgoing Gov. Bev Perdue handle the election of her successor?

At first glance, it seems that she ignored the governor's race. She didn't appear on the campaign trail for Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton and kept $1.3 million in her campaign account instead of donating it to the state Democratic Party to help her would-be successor. On Monday, the day before the election, Perdue's lone public event is a digital learning conference in Asheboro.

Gov. Bev Perdue touts graduation numbers, GOP credits teachers

More than 80 percent of North Carolina public school students are now graduating from high school — the first time the state has reached that milepost.

Education leaders say a variety of state and local efforts aimed at encouraging students to stay in school have helped raise the graduation rate by nearly 12 percentage points in the last six years. “None of us are proud of 80 percent,” said Gov. Bev Perdue at a news conference on the graduation results. “ But wow it’s a good day, a great way forward for North Carolina.” (Read more here.)

Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis waded into the who-deserves-credit game: “This achievement is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our state’s students, parents, teachers, principals, and superintendents, and they are to be commended for their results," he said in a statement.

Perdue's signatures avert summer session

UPDATE: The governor this afternoon cleared her desk of remaining bills. She'll let the sea-level bill become law without her signature.

She signed three other bills -- delaying stormwater-control standards in the Jordan Lake watershed, loosening water-quality regulations for some projects in the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico river basins, and exempting newer vehicles from emissions testing.

On Friday she announced she would let a bill having to do with municipal water systems become law without her signature.

GOP video says North Carolina election holds 'fate of a nation'

With dramatic music and videography, a new spot from the N.C. Republican Party is designed to tingle the spines of its faithful activists. Think of it as an action movie trailer for the 2012 election in North Carolina.

The two-minute long web video starts with the darkly cast villain -- in this case President Barack Obama, Gov. Bev Perdue and Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton -- before giving the bright-Hollywood-light treatment to Pat McCrory and a trio of big name Republicans who attended the state party's convention, Donald Trump, Rick Perry and Tim Pawlenty.

The video highlights one thing missing from the N.C. campaign trail so far this year: Mitt Romney. He's made only two brief trips to the state since the primary season -- one for fundraising, one for a speech -- and he doesn't appear in the video at all. His name isn't even mentioned.

Republicans override fracking veto, thanks to an accidental vote

Republican lawmakers worked into the night to get enough votes to override Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto of the fracking legislation -- possibly winning approval thanks to a Democrat's mistaken vote.

Rep. Becky Carney, a Charlotte Democrat, hit the wrong button and voted in favor of the override, giving the GOP the one-vote margin it needed to void the veto just before 11:30 a.m.

Carney said she "made a huge mistake" and hit the wrong button in the rush  to vote. House rules don't allow lawmakers to change their vote if it affect the outcome of the tally but Carney wanted to ask to waive House rules. 

Gov. Perdue changes tone on GOP's $336 million business tax break

Gov. Bev Perdue on Thursday took her first swipe at a $336 million tax break that state lawmakers added to last year's budget. It was billed by House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate leader Phil Berger, both Republicans, as a break for small businesses, but in reality it is open to anyone who is an owner or partner in a business that is not your standard corporation. 

As the N&O reported June 3, lawyers in the state's top money-making firms, for example, will be eligible to collect the roughly $3,500 tax break. What's interesting about Perdue's attack on the tax break isn't what she says now, but what she didn't say when we thrice asked her whether she supported it -- twice while reporting the June 3 story and a third time when we did a reaction story a few days later.

Given GOP actions, Perdue says North Carolina is like "Alice and Wonderland"

On vacation last weekend, Gov. Bev Perdue said she read a book that reminded her of North Carolina. 

"I don't know about you all but when I continue to watch what's going on in North Carolina I feel like I'm in Alice and Wonderland," she said. "It's like being in a different country."

Perdue made the remark came in response to a reporter's question Tuesday morning about the Colbert report clip on the state. 

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